Intro: Light Backpacking Gear
This is a simple Instructable stating the bare minimum amount of kit to take when backpacking and travelling light. Please note this is my first Instructable so any constructive criticism is welcome! Furthermore, the images may only be a representation of my actual kit list as some of my kit list currently has a few holes in it... however, despite this fact, I will still go into as much detail as possible!
Step 1: Sections
While travelling light, the gear you can take is very often split up into the four main sections:
-sleeping and accommodation
-cooking and eating
-clothing and miscellaneous
we shall start off with sleeping and accommodation:
A lot of people when backpacking or travelling light still want to stick with the camping classic, the tent! However, although tents work, the can be very heavy and cumbersome; such as the one pictured... there are other, more efficient methods. My personal favourite is the hammock and tarp method which comes out much lighter as, not only is the actual shelter lighter, an insulation mat is very often un-necessary as can too be pictured below. Unfortunately, i do not currently posses a tarp as there were some unexpected circumstances causing my tarp to be located upon the fire. Aswell as actual accommodation, while backpacking you need a sleeping bag that packs relatively small, of which mine does reasonably well. The sleeping bag in question, if you are curious, is the vango NITESTAR 350 which is on the DofE approved kit list. However, despite me owning a reasonably decent sleeping bag, I do in future wish to purchase a RAB down sleeping bag which can pack down to the size of a rock climber's climbing boot.
(the tent pictured weighs a few kilograms yet my lightweight alternative weighs little over a kilogram including pegs.)
Step 2: Cooking and Eating
This next step shall be a slightly shorter step than the previous (hopefully) as it involves less description, and shall focus on cooking and eating. Now, many traditional campers my swear by the Tranjia cooking system (which I love) however, there can be lighter alternatives that work the same way, or use a completely different system all together. My personal favourite method of cooking is on a tin can alcohol stove which is basically the Tranjia system without all the excess materials. It is made by cutting two tin cans and forming the burner... I then went an extra step and spoke to a friend of mine who created an aluminium stand and wind break for this stove. Below is my favourite youtube clip on how to form one of these stoves. Please not that this clip does not belong to me and is simply to be used for reference:
To light this pour in your alcohol or methylated spirits and a bit over and around the stove to prime it, light it then put a penny on the central holes to keep the pressure.
The other cooker type is the HEXAMETHYLENETETRAMINE (HEXAMINE) stove used by the British military. This is used by lighting a paraffin block and placing a pan over the top!
(image with pans, description from right to left: can stand, Vaseline tin stove, Pepsi stoves with pans; stand and handle)
As well as cooking, I promised eating too. Some people swear by pot noodles, but if you want to get noodles, you can get other brands of dehydrated noodles of which you can get up to five packs for the price of one pot noodle. These also have much more nutritional value. However, if you have a frying pan as well like I do, what is stopping you from doing a rehydrated fry up?... (in consideration of travelling light!)
Step 3: Personal Survival
This section will definitely be shorter than the previous as it covers Knives, light, fire, sight and survival... yet, although it's detailed, it's short and sweet.The aspects in This main image are:
-Two powerful torches for light
-A pair of binoculars for long distance sight
-A pair of shades with Clear lenses for protection, Yellow lenses for poor visibility and Regular lenses for sunny conditions.
-A swiss army knife
-A whitby Locking knife
-A turbo flame windproof lighter.
Knives: It is always Ideal to carry a multitool knife such as the swiss army knife as it can help in most eventualities. Dependant on the knife laws for you, this should be ok. For example, in the UK as long as the blade is under 3" and non locking it is legal. Most people the advise a fixed blade knife but I do not like this as for Every Day Carry (EDC) these break most knife laws unless you have an acceptable reason for carrying it. Because of this I carry my Whitby knife which, although it is frowned upon, does not break as many laws as a fixed blade does.
Fire: Most people advise a zippo, which are great, but in little over a week the petrol inside will evapourate... This is why I choose my reliable turboflame lighter.
I also carry a first aid kit, compass, survival kit, fire kit and magnifying lens but I lent these out this week to a friend on a Scout camp.
Step 4: Clothing and Miscellaneous
This final step will simply give an overview of what to where and when and miscellaneous items such as boots and head wear!
The best top layer is simply base layers that are light weigh, wick moisture and dry incredibly quickly! These are more commonly known however as tech-tops or under armours yet they originated from thermals. These are like Thermos flasks however as they work both in winter and in summer.
In the bottoms department, you can get light weight thin and cotton pants that are ideal for summer weather or thicker polyester type pants that are lined and are ideal for winter conditions... As for jackets and coats it is an idea to always have a soft shell which is a light weight waterproof coat that is often lined with fleece. You should also take just a regular fleece. Furthermore, do not just rely on your soft shell as your coat and make sure you have a proper waterproof coat as well. You should also invest in a down jacket which is filled with down and feathers which are amazing at insulating up to minus 40 degrees Celsius dependant on the fill level. My jacket has 600 fill and I have had this down to minus 7 degrees Celsius comfortably! I shall post two images, one of winter wear and one of summer wear and also jackets and tops. As for miscellaneous this is basically your boots and anything else you wish to bring. My main miscellaneous is a buff. This is just a thin tubular piece of fabric that you won't realise it's usefulness un till you own one.