10 Ultralight Backpacking Tips for Beginners

tips for ultralight backpacking

Before hiking the trail, you need to know a few basic things. It’s important to learn what the terrain is like, understand the local weather patterns, and how to properly pack. When you load yourself with the unnecessary stuff, you might get injured, feel uncomfortable and have a very bad experience.

Let’s face it:

When going on a hiking adventure nobody want’s any additional load on their shoulders. It sounds heavy, right?

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, we will explain how going ultralight is much easier and less expensive than you might think. Paying attention to the details will help you save big and feel more comfortable on the trail.

These 10 easy ultralight backpacking tips for beginners will help you with loading your bag properly.

“I realized that the most important aspect of ultralight backpacking comes from a mindset and not from cool gear. For me at least, there is a joy to liberating yourself not only from ounces but from old ways of thought.” said Mike Clelland the author of the “Ultralight backpackin’ tips”.

Tip number 1 – Use A Scale

Use a luggage or a digital scale to measure the amount of weight you are carrying. It is important to weigh all your gear. This way you will see which item is the heaviest.

If you can, replace it immediately with something smaller, but equally important. Or when you need to choose between the similar things, remove the items that are not crucial. Anyway, knowing the right weight of your supplies and gear will help you to pack more strategically.

Tip number 2 – Clothing

Before hiking, always check the forecast. You should only wear and pack for the conditions you are likely to face while on the trail. Because leaving stuff behind is the easiest way to reduce the weight. (source)

The importance of planning ahead is crucial for this outdoor adventure. When you are prepared for the rainy, hot or cold weather you know exactly what to wear. This will prevent bringing unnecessary stuff.

Always choose lightweight synthetic materials, because they are easier and water resistant. We recommend you leave the heavy boots behind. It is always best to use light hikers and trail-running shoes.

Tip number 3 – Water

Drink a good amount of water before you start hiking. Bring the one-liter plastic water bottle. This way you don’t have to carry a lot of it, before the next source of water.

Also, the great thing about these plastic bottles is that they are cheap, lightweight and durable. So, you will save the money and lighten up your pack.

plastic water bottle

Tip number 4 – Alcohol Stove and Cooking Pot

You don’t have to spend additional money on the backpacking stove when you can make it yourself. Build your own ultralight alcohol stove, and provide yourself with warmth and fire. The best thing about it is that it’s light, cheap and durable.

The cooking pot is unnecessary when you can bring a titanium mug. It is light and you can cook and eat from it. That will surely save your space and lighten your bag.

Tip number 5 – Don’t Use Electronics

For this trip try to go primitive. That means no iPhones, cell phones, kindles, GPS, chargers or similar things. When you in nature, try to enjoy the solitude. Or if you are having a company on the trip, make conversation and learn something new about your friends.

Tip number 6 – Sleeping Bag, Ultralight Tent, and Tarp

When choosing a sleeping bag, look for the one that weighs about one pound or less. Be aware that the warmer sleeping bag is, the heavier it will be. It should be down material which is more compact, warmer and lighter than a synthetic one.

Make sure to bring a proper dry pack liner and protect the bag from the rain. It is affordable, extra waterproof, replaceable and lightweight.

As for the tent, go with the one that is ultralight with footprint/ ground cloth, that weighs about one or two pounds. It is made from a full mesh to protect you from the insects. Ground cloth and footprint work as a barrier in between the floor of your tent and the ground.

ultralight tent

Tip number 7 – Trash Bag

You don’t need a pack cover to protect your gear. Instead of it, you can use a trash-compactor bag. If you are carrying a gear that needs to be waterproof, then this is the perfect solution for you.

Place all of your important items in it, and you don’t have to worry about them at all. This bag is durable, waterproof, and cheap.

Tip number 8 – First-Aid Kit

You don’t need to bring all of the stuff from med kits because you will probably never use them. The important things to pack are blister treatments, stomach medicine, ibuprofen, medical tape, and bandages. The health is the most important thing while on the trail, so make sure to pack every item we wrote, in case you’ll need it.

Tip number 9 – Batteries

Don’t forget to bring the batteries for your headlamp. Buy them before you hit the trail, so you can be sure that they are full and don’t run out of light in the middle of a trip. If you are not going on a long hike, don’t bring the extra ones with you.

The good choice is to buy lithium batteries because they weigh less and last longer.

headlamp batteries

Tip number 10 – Use a Razor Blade and Mini Lighters

Instead of a knife, you should pack a razor blade. Why is this better? Well, it is easier than the knife and equally efficient in any medical or survival situation.

Also, use a mini lighter which is half of the size as regular one. This will decrease your weight even for a little bit.


Following these tips, you will surely learn how to quickly lighten up your pack. This means more comfort, no injuries and a better experience on the trail.

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