30 Indicators You’re Carrying Too A lot Stuff in Your Backpack


There isn’t a common blueprint as to how you need to backpack. All of us have our personal motivations, wants, and ranges of expertise. That being stated, one factor upon which everybody can agree is that mountaineering is considerably simpler and extra pleasurable in case your pack doesn’t weigh the proverbial tonne. Listed here are 30 telltale indicators that you need to take into account lightening your wilderness load.

(Word: This can be a revised and expanded model of an article I printed in March 2019 – 14 Indicators You’re Carrying Too A lot Stuff in your Backpack; Word 2: For the opposite finish of the load-carrying spectrum, see 50 Indicators You Could Have Taken Ultralight Backpacking Too Far):

(L to R) Over the many years, I’ve carried packs of all sizes and weights. The shot on the left is from the Pyrenean Haute Route in 1999. The picture on the best is from the Cape to Cape stroll in 2010.

1.  Your backpack has a capability of 70 liters or extra. No matter the size of your mountaineering journey, you at all times discover a approach to fill it.

2.  Your path identify is “Kitchen Sink.”

3.  You must sit right down to put your pack on.

4.  Whenever you subsequently stand up, not solely do you inadvertently groan and wince, however anybody who occurs to be within the neighborhood additionally groans and winces.

5. You’ve obtained a poster of Cheryl Strayed in your gear storage space at house. You’ve got a miniature model of the identical photograph within the leather-based pockets you keep it up path.

6.  Your First Assist Package places EMTs to disgrace.

7.  When totally loaded, the highest of your pack is above your head.

8.  You frequently attain water sources with between one and two liters of H20 nonetheless in your pack.

9.  When trekking within the Himalaya, porters seek advice from you as “brother.”

Porters on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit (Picture: Dmitry A. Mottl, Wikimedia Commons, Inventive Commons License).

10.  You’ve got named your pack one of many following: Ennis, Bertha, Goliath, Beast, or Ben (like the massive bell inside Elizabeth Clock Tower). Alternatively, should you predicate any reference to your backpack with the “F” phrase, that’s additionally a fairly good indicator.

11.  Your go-to sleeping bag for three-season journeys has “Arctic” within the mannequin identify.

12.  No matter whether or not you’re going up or downhill, individuals on horses at all times give approach to you. Mountain bikers too.

13.  You take into account carrying a heavy pack to be a badge of honor. Funnily sufficient, lately, I’ve seen the “pack weight script” flipped on its head. Nowadays, you’re extra prone to hear cherry-picking ultralighters drone on about their pack’s tininess than bipedal packhorses puff their chest out about how a lot weight they’re carrying.

14.  Your luxurious gadgets outnumber your necessities. Two to 1.

15.  Your steadiness is considerably compromised any time you’re negotiating river crossings, snowfields, blowdowns, scree, boulder hops, and steep/uneven descents.

16.  Whereas out on the path, you always end up rummaging via your pack, in search of gadgets that you’re certain are in there someplace however can’t fairly bear in mind the place.

17. Boy scouts level at you and giggle at any time when they see you on the path.

Scouts on the point of hit the path (Picture: NThurston, Wikimedia Commons, Inventive Commons License)

18.  After breaking camp and hitting the path, your morning espresso lastly kicks in and also you notice you forgot to take a #2 earlier than departure. Nonetheless, your pack is so heavy that you just don’t wish to undergo the method of taking it off and placing it again on once more. Subsequently you resolve to suck it up and subsequently spend the following hour in a hide-and-seek battle of wills with Terry the Turtlehead. When the purpose of no return inevitably occurs and also you notice that Tezza gained’t be denied, you drop your pack unceremoniously in the midst of the path and sprint for the woods. Nonetheless, you don’t make it greater than ten yards earlier than you lose all sphincter management and soil your self previous to with the ability to dig a cat gap and decrease your shorts. Making a nasty scenario even worse, you have been in such a rush that you just left your rest room paper within the backpack. The ethical of this not-uncommon story is: A. Have your espresso a little bit earlier, and; B. Carry a lighter, much less encumbered load, which is simple to take off at any time when the necessity arises.

19.  When it’s pouring rain, your mountaineering companions (all six of them) congregate in your tent’s vestibule to play playing cards.

20.  You might be always worrying about not being sufficiently ready and invariably overcompensate by bringing gadgets which might be unsuitable and/or pointless for the setting into which you’re venturing (e.g., mega multi-tools).

21. You latterly signed a deal to be the face of Coleman Tenting Gear.

22.  You carry sports activities sandals (which weigh nearly as a lot as your footwear). “However I want them for river fords.” Are you certain? Alternatively, take your socks off and insoles out and cross in your path runners.

Crossing the Rio Verde (in path runners) in the course of the Copper Canyon Traverse (2013).

23. Whenever you empty your pack after ending a visit, you notice that there are at the least 5 gadgets that you just not solely didn’t use however that by no means truly noticed the sunshine of day in the course of the course of your hike.

24.  You frequently end up leaning too far ahead whereas mountaineering. That is typically an indication that not solely is your pack too heavy but additionally that it’s sitting too low in your again. Given time, this posture may end up in rounded shoulders, neck pressure from always tilting your head up to be able to see correctly, and stress on the lumbar area.

25.  Your tenting kitchenware for an prolonged backpacking journey consists of a pot, plate, bowl, frying pan, two mugs (one for strangers in want), knife, fork, spoon, french press, and a cheese grater.

26.  You pack an additional day’s meals for weekend journeys.

27.  You put on sturdy mountaineering boots on three-season backpacking journeys. Historically talking, heavy-duty boots and overloaded backpacks go collectively like peanut butter and jelly or vegemite and toast. If you happen to see one, you’ll typically see the opposite (For an in depth dialogue, see Path Runners Vs. Mountain climbing Boots: A Thirty-Yr Perspective).

28. Your garments and all of your mountaineering gear are in camouflage design. Even your bathroom roll is in camo.

29.  You’re a bushcrafter (see #28).

30.  And the most important signal that you just’re carrying an excessive amount of stuff in your backpack whereas out within the woods? You focus extra on how uncomfortable you are feeling than the fantastic thing about your environment.


Clearly, among the above-listed factors are tongue-in-cheek. Nonetheless, the premise of the article is sort of severe. There are a variety of causes to hold a lighter load whereas out within the wilderness*, nonetheless, in my expertise, the massive ones are merely consolation, well being, and delight. It’s higher for each your physique, which is much less prone to incur stress-related accidents, and likewise your thoughts, which can be much less distracted than it will be beneath the burden of a heavy load (*Word: All the time in accordance together with your expertise degree and the dictates of the setting into which you’re venturing).

Postscript: I used to be nearly to hit publish for this text when the previous axiom, “don’t pack your fears,” popped into my head.  That is a kind of phrases that hikers repeat advert nauseam when discussing what (and the way a lot) you need to carry within the woods. Nonetheless, I’ve lengthy felt that biases, preconceptions, and plain old style stubbornness can typically be equally limiting and heavy. As somebody who travelled the lengthy path to light-weight/ultralight backpacking, I’ll depart you with three parting ideas: 1. Regardless of how lengthy you’ve been mountaineering, maintain an open thoughts with regards to gear selections; 2. Do your due diligence and hearken to individuals with a broad depth and breadth of expertise, and; 3. Finally, we’re all making an attempt to optimize our day out in nature. Lightening your load might help.

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