What Is Considered Lightweight Backpacking?

By Michael Ferguson

Lightweight backpacking is a type of camping that emphasizes carrying the lightest and simplest gear possible, allowing for long-distance travel with minimal impact on the environment. It is a combination of low-impact camping, Leave No Trace principles, and lightweight equipment. The goal of lightweight backpacking is to reduce the amount of time spent packing and unpacking bulky items, and to enjoy the outdoor experience in comfort without compromising safety or enjoyment.

Lightweight backpacking allows hikers to move faster and farther than traditional methods. By only bringing the essentials, you can reduce your pack weight by up to 50%.

This means that you can cover more ground in less time, allowing you to explore more terrain or spend more time enjoying nature. It also reduces the strain on your body from carrying heavy loads over long distances.

Lightweight backpacking requires careful planning and selection of equipment. The key is to find gear that is light but still durable enough for your needs.

Many pieces of standard camping gear can be replaced with lighter alternatives such as synthetic sleeping bags, ultra-light tents, lightweight stoves, and water filters. Additionally, you should consider purchasing items that are multi-purpose such as a tarp or blanket which can be used as a shelter or ground cover.

When packing for a lightweight backpacking trip, it is important to balance weight with comfort and safety. Start by making sure that all items are necessary for the trip; any unnecessary items should be left behind. Then focus on finding lightweight versions of standard camping essentials such as sleeping bags and tents that will still provide adequate protection from the elements.


Lightweight backpacking is an effective way to reduce pack weight while still providing all the necessary equipment for a comfortable and safe outdoor experience. By selecting lightweight gear and focusing on only bringing essential items, backpackers can reduce their load while still enjoying nature without compromising safety or enjoyment.