If you are trying to shave the weight of your backpacking gear so that it’s more comfortable to carry, it is possible to save additional weight by using items for multiple purposes. Here are two common examples, used by many ultralight backpackers:

  • If you use trekking poles, it may be possible to use them  instead of the tent or tarp poles provided by the manufacturer, saving about 8 ounces of gear weight.
  • Many ultralight backpacks have pockets or sleeves on the back of the pack that let you use your sleeping pad or a sit pad as the pack’s back frame. This can cut your pack weight by another 8 to 16 ounces.

The possibilities are really endless, and surprisingly easy to come up with once you start thinking about it.

Here are some more examples:

  • Eat and drink out of your cook pot instead of bringing an extra cup and plate
  • Use a rain poncho as an ultralight tarp or footprint
  • Use your bandana as a pot holder or wash cloth
  • A tent stake is as good as a cat hole scoop
  • Cut sticks or use rocks to make tent pegs instead of carrying them
  • Wear all of your layers at night, so you can carry a lighter weight sleeping bag
  • In winter, bury your gear (snowshoes, crampons, skis, trekking poles, ice axe) in the snow instead of carrying heavier snow stakes

Is it worth it? Let your digital scale decide.

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Replace Tent Poles with Trekking Poles ©Philip Werner
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