The equation : freedom / safety / comfort
I’ve been travelling by hitch-hiking for a while and before each departure, I have this question : How to get my bag lighter than last time ? For me, a light backpack is the key of a pleasant journey. Some people can carry easily a 30kilo bag-pack for days but I can’t. I’m not that muscled and each kilo I can avoid to carry means less tiredness at the end of the day. I try to save as much energy I can on carrying my bag because I prefer to use it to climb mountains, feeling full of energy to walk always further and higher. When you are travelling for month, saving energy and listening to your body to know when to stop for a rest are very important to enjoy fully the journey.
To sum up, there is an equation to solve between : freedom, comfort and safety. I’m trying to solve it journey after journey. My first journey by hitch hiking was to go to the mountains in the center of France and hike there for a week and my bag weight 22 kilos. I realize that i had lot’s of item useless and one year after, I travelled 2 months with 15kilo (no food and no water). Last years, i’ve manage to travelled with 12 kilos and I know that i can still go for lighter.
My inspiration come from some hikers who are trying to be as light as possible. They try to save 100gr on everything and some people joke about them because they are even cutting their tooth-brush to save x little grammes. Why not…20gr less * x item = maybe enought to be worth for your knees when you will spend one day going down from a mountain.
At the end, they can go for a 7 days hike with just 5kg and they have everything, food, sleeping bag and shelter in their bag. With a light bag, you walk easily, there is less risk of getting injured if you fall, you are just enjoying more the mountain and at night, sleeping under your shelter, you are more in contact with the nature. Sound’s good, isn’t it ?
Being light it’s not a question of money or buying titanium fork or “ultralight” (and expensive) gears. It’s more about taking only what you need fro sure and try to find how one item can do more than on function. For example, a poncho can be your shelter if you mount it with two sticks, your towel is also your scarf etc…
I’m not going to cut my bagpack to 5 kilo…not yet. Travelling for months is not like a 7 days hike and I think that if you can live with a very limited confort for a week, it’s a bit hard to do it for months.
You can check here my list of equipment (in french but link on the right to translate to english)