Sunday, January 20, 2013

tips on lightening the load | intro

i have to confess something: i'm often miserable while backpacking in the glorious backcountry. seriously. miserable.

i don't think i've ever gone backpacking without asking myself, "why the hell are you doing this liz!?" why would i want to carry between 40-50lbs on my back, hike up and down mountains, and dig my own poop holes? don't get me wrong, the views are epic and i never regret having spent time in the wilderness. i'd just rather do it "skipping up those mountains," - as fellow hiker, phil said to me once - not sluggishly dragging my feet. 

my experience thus far tells me i self-impose unnecessary suffering, caused primarily by two things: the weight of my pack and the expectation for a certain kind of unobtainable comfort while on the Trail.

the former is something i'm working on (which i'll get to in the next post), the latter is more of a mental/heart practice that only wise people can obtain with a lot of practice. ;)  i'm not there yet, so i'm reading a book to help me learn how to re-orient my heart posture by reading jennifer pharr davis' "becoming odyssa."  (it's such an interesting read, btw.)

back to the weight of my pack. this year, i've made a goal to actively pursue getting my base pack weight down as low as possible without breaking the (piggy) bank. ideally, i'd like for my base weight to be at 17lbs or less, then add consumables and my camera and it should be at about 30lbs (which still feels a bit high). the typical "rule of thumb" is to carry about 25% of your body weight. i vacillate between 125-130lbs, so this means i should be carrying about 31lbs. to give you a bit of context, i have been typically carrying around 40% of my body weight = 50lbs. (it's painful just spelling that out.) 

so i'm going to start a series on tips i learned on how i'm reducing my pack weight (and other little things i learn along the way). hope it's helpful to you!

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