Even if you’re new to the world of hiking, you’ve likely heard the word ultralight thrown around before.
Ultralight backpacking, hiking, and camping refer to carrying the absolute bare minimum with you so you can enjoy a range of benefits.
With ultralight backpacking gear, you’re ensuring that your light is light and more convenient to carry. This way of travelling appeals to many campers and hikers, but it can be hard to know where exactly to start with the essential gear.
This handy ultralight backpacking gear list has been compiled to help even the most amateur hiker with their quest for a simpler camping style.
The four main areas of concern with ultralight backpacking equipment are your shelter, backpack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad.
With these essentials, you have everything you need for a hike, and you can then add on anything else you require, depending on your personal preference.
Benefits Of Ultralight Backpacking
Whether you pack light or not, there are so many amazing benefits to be had from hiking and camping.
However, ultralight enthusiasts will swear that the only way to go is to pack super light, due to the additional benefits the practice can bring.
- Closer to nature feeling: For many, the whole point of a hike is to escape from civilization and live off the grid for even just a day. When you’ve packed light, you can truly appreciate this light feeling of living in nature and give yourself a better chance to lose yourself in your environment.
- Good for your body: Using ultralight backpacking gear can reduce the strain on your body and give you a lot more energy to work with. As hiking can be strenuous on your joints and muscles, you need to reduce your load any way you can so that you’ll be able to enjoy the trails into your very old age.
- Money-saving: A good investment in some quality ultralight backpacking gear means you spend less over your lifetime on equipment. Considering Americans spent $1.5 billion on camping gear in 2014, there’s never been a better time to reduce what we take along with us to enjoy nature.
- Good for the environment: Any way we can reduce our impact on the environment is a good thing, and ultralight backpacking can certainly do this. Adopting ultralight practices ensures that you leave no trace behind of your travels so that these areas can remain as pristine as you found them for years to come.
Unless you truly want to live in the wild, it’s best and safest to have some form of shelter on your journey. An ultralight backpacking tent or tarp can protect you from the wildlife and weather surroundings that might cause you harm.
For a two-person tent to suit the ultralight way of life, aim for something under two pounds, otherwise, you’ll be bogged down with the weight.
A recent trend towards camping hammocks has seen more and more people shift away from the tent, and considering how lightweight these hammocks can be to carry, they fit in with the ultralight way of life.
Your backpack is an essential item when hiking, and for many, it’s the only thing they truly need.
While you might be tempted to go for the absolute lightest material, consider that the lighter the backpack, the less durable it’s going to be, so it’s not always a smart choice.
An ultralight backpack should weigh no more than three pounds for a standard 65-litre pack.
This size will keep you going for a few days at least, but you can go even smaller if you think you can fit your supplies in.
Ultralight Sleeping Bag
Shopping for an ultralight sleeping bag may require you to select one a little narrower than you might find comfortable, but these are some of the restrictions that the ultralight follower has to accept.
Again, the camping hammock trend may also reduce the need for a sleeping bag, so consider what might be best for you.
You’ll need to assess the current climate to ensure that whatever option you choose will provide adequate cooling and heating for the weather.
Ultralight Sleeping Pad
This is a personal choice for ultralight campers, as some are happy to set up camp on rocks and rugged terrain just to save the space and weight of a sleeping pad.
Most of these can be blown up on the spot, so they pack quite lightly if you’re willing to put in the work.
A sleeping pad is considered an essential item for many, as without adequate and comfortable rest, they’re unable to perform at their best the next day.
Depending on your comfort levels and the area in which you’re camping, there may be no need for this piece of equipment.
Other Supplies For Ultralight Backpacking Gear
Ultralight camping is a different experience for everyone, as there will be some things that you consider essential but others do not.
Once you’ve packed the basics with your sleeping gear, backpack, and shelter, you can then add on any other niceties you want to bring along.
No matter how light you pack, there are some items you shouldn’t leave home without.
Your compass, first aid kit, insulation layers, and food and water supplies are crucial for your health, so never neglect these just to lose some pounds.
Once you have the basics, you might like to add an ultralight backpacking stove or shower just for added comfort.
When done correctly, ultralight backpacking can be a truly amazing experience for the hiker.
This trend allows you to strip yourself of all non-essential items and get close to nature, so you can really enjoy the experience.
Once you realise how little you actually needed those other things, you’ll wonder why you ever camped any other way.