Is Ultralight Backpacking for Me?

Enjoying the site?
Stay current with all the new stuff.
Sign up for my FREE newsletter.
For Email Marketing you can trust

Ultralight backpacking is commonly defined as hiking with a pack base weight of between 10 and 12 pounds. By necessity, it requires making solid choices about the items taken on the hike.

The goal is to get the pack base weight at 12 pounds or below. The base weight includes your pack, shelter, sleeping system and all non-consumable items. Therefore, the items carried must be the lightest available. Base weight does not include food and water.

Typically, the more experienced the hiker, the more he or she shifts toward a lighter load. Many experienced hikers are lightweight backpackers. However, careful planning and forethought are required to make the transition to ultralight backpacking.

Why Ultralight?

One winter, while I was backpacking with a group of friends in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, an old knee injury flared up. Near the end of the first day, the entire group had passed me by and settled into camp. One of the younger hikers, realizing that I was still on the trail, backtracked until he found me. He took my 30 pound pack from me and I proceeded to limp painfully into camp. It was then that I began to explore the benefits of lightening my load.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would I enjoy the outdoors more if I was not burdened with a heavy backpack?
  • Am I willing to give up a few creature comforts in exchange for a lighter load?
  • Could I travel farther and see more sights if I had a lighter pack?
  • Is a decreased risk of injury associated with carrying a lighter pack valuable to me?
  • Am I willing to invest the time and energy to experiment until I find the supplies and equipment that suit my needs, personal style and budget?

If you answered is yes to any of these questions, then ultralight backpacking may be for you!

Ultimate Ultralight Backpacking Blog
The Ultimate Ultralight Backpacking Blog keeps you up-to-date with all additions and changes to the Web site. Subscribe here.
Hiking Tips
These hiking tips will get you started on a well-planned hiking adventure
Ultralight Backpacking Gear
You don’t have to cut the handle of f your toothbrush to meet your ultralight backpacking gear goal. Here is how to pack all the right stuff.
Best Hiking Gear
You are on a quest for the best hiking gear. Find it here.
Backpacking and Hiking Equipment
Learn the difference between backpacking and hiking equipment and backpacking gear. Discover what equipment you need to take with you.
Ten Essentials of Backpacking
Find the Ten Essentials of Backpacking here. Having these few items with you greatly increase your chance of survival in a backwoods emergency.
Top Backpacking Tent Options
Don't waste money buying the wrong backpacking tent. Here is how to make the right decision the first time.
Lighweight Warm Backpacking Sleeping Bag
A lightweight 3-season backpacking sleeping bag weighs in at less than 2 pounds. Modern bags are lighter, warmer and more compressible than your old relic.
Backpacking Sleeping Pad
The right backpacking sleeping pad can make sleep much more comfortable without adding significant weight. It not only provides cushion but increases warmth.
Choosing Backpacking Clothes to Stay Warm and Dry
Use a simple 3-step recipe to choose the right backpacking clothes. Staying warm and dry is easier than you think.
Hiking Boots
Everything hiking boots. From boots to hybrids, to trekking shoes and sandals.
Backpacking Food
Backpacking food is an important part of your trip planning. I like to eat and that doesn't change when I hike.
Backpacking Stove
Backpacking Stove --canister, alcohol burner, wood burning. Which do I choose?
Choose an Ultralight Backpack to Carry your Ultralight Load
Don't destroy careful planning of your ultralight adventure by choosing a heavy pack. Here's how to choose an ultralight backpack that will serve you well.
How to Pack a Backpack
It can be intimidating to figure out where to put everything. Here's how to pack a backpack.
Topo Maps
Don't get lost in the backwoods. Learn to use topo maps here.
Hiking Trail Maps
Don't hit the trail without hiking trail maps. Know where you're going and what you'll find along the way.
Great Hiking Destinations
Following the suggestions in this website, you have gained the knowledge to put together a complete, ultralight ensemble. Now all you need are great hiking destinations to use it. Here it is!
Hiking Safety
Hiking safety is largely a marriage between advance preparation and common sense. Get the preparation here.
Cold Weather Hiking
Cold weather hiking occurs in winter as well as late fall and early spring. Learn the extra precautions necessary to safely navigate the backwoods.
Many hikers fall victim to hyperthermia every year. Learn how to recognize, avoid and effectively treat it.
Hiking Dog
Many hikers would like to include a hiking dog on their outdoor adventures. Here are some considerations in choosing one.
Women Hiking
There are issues peculiar to women hiking that should be considered before you head off into the woods. Research them here.
Hiking With Kids
For kids, hiking is little more complicated than a walk in the park. A simple change in perspective and careful planning can make hiking with kids fun and rewarding.
Mike Kearns
Meet Mike Kearns adventurer and explorer of Auyuittuq in the Canadian Arctic.
Read interviews of top experts in backpacking and related fields.
Laura Mathys
Laura Mathys is an outdoorsman with expert advice regarding ultralight backpacking. Read about me and my outdoor exploration here.
Call Out -- Contact Me
Contact me. Give me a Call Out. Let me know what you think.
Share This Site
Share this site with others in need of information about ultralight backpacking.
Site Map
Site map for's Privacy Policy
Ultimate-Ultralight-Backpacking's Privacy Policy