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

There isn’t any 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 mountain climbing is considerably simpler and extra fulfilling in case your pack doesn’t weigh the proverbial tonne. Listed here are 30 telltale indicators that you need to think about lightening your wilderness load.

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

(L to R) Over the a long time, 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 suitable 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 mountain climbing journey, you all the time discover a approach to fill it.

2.  Your path title is “Kitchen Sink.”

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

4.  If you subsequently rise 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 residence. You’ve got a miniature model of the identical picture within the leather-based pockets you keep it up path.

6.  Your First Help Equipment places EMTs to disgrace.

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

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

9.  When trekking within the Himalaya, porters check with you as “brother.”

Porters on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit (Picture: Dmitry A. Mottl, Wikimedia Commons, Artistic 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 title.

12.  No matter whether or not you’re going up or downhill, folks on horses all the time give approach to you. Mountain bikers too.

13.  You think about 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 more likely 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 at least one.

15.  Your stability 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 consistently end up rummaging by means of your pack, on the lookout for gadgets that you’re certain are in there someplace however can’t fairly keep in mind the place.

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

Scouts on the brink of hit the path (Picture: NThurston, Wikimedia Commons, Artistic 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 need to undergo the method of taking it off and placing it again on once more. Due to this fact you resolve to suck it up and subsequently spend the subsequent 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 having the ability to dig a cat gap and decrease your shorts. Making a foul state of affairs even worse, you have been in such a rush that you just left your bathroom paper within the backpack. The ethical of this not-uncommon story is: A. Have your espresso just a little earlier, and; B. Carry a lighter, much less encumbered load, which is straightforward to take off every time the necessity arises.

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

20.  You might be consistently worrying about not being sufficiently ready and invariably overcompensate by bringing gadgets which are unsuitable and/or pointless for the setting into which you might be 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) throughout the Copper Canyon Traverse (2013).

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

24.  You usually end up leaning too far ahead whereas mountain climbing. 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 consistently tilting your head up with a purpose to see correctly, and strain 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 mountain climbing 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. Should you see one, you’ll typically see the opposite (For an in depth dialogue, see Path Runners Vs. Mountaineering Boots: A Thirty-12 months Perspective).

28. Your garments and all of your mountain climbing tools are in camouflage design. Even your bathroom roll is in camo.

29.  You’re a bushcrafter (see #28).

30.  And the largest 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’re feeling than the great thing about your environment.


Clearly, a few of the above-listed factors are tongue-in-cheek. Nonetheless, the premise of the article is kind of severe. There are a selection of causes to hold a lighter load whereas out within the wilderness*, nevertheless, in my expertise, the massive ones are merely consolation, well being, and delight. It’s higher for each your physique, which is much less more likely to incur stress-related accidents, and likewise your thoughts, which shall be much less distracted than it could be below the burden of a heavy load (*Be aware: All the time in accordance together with your expertise stage and the dictates of the setting into which you might be venturing).

Postscript: I used to be nearly to hit publish for this text when the outdated axiom, “don’t pack your fears,” popped into my head.  That is a type 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 school stubbornness can typically be equally limiting and heavy. As somebody who travelled the lengthy path to light-weight/ultralight backpacking, I’ll go away you with three parting ideas: 1. Regardless of how lengthy you’ve been mountain climbing, maintain an open thoughts in terms of gear decisions; 2. Do your due diligence and hearken to folks with a broad depth and breadth of expertise, and; 3. In the end, we’re all attempting to optimize our outing in nature. Lightening your load may help.

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