Ultralight doesn’t have to be Expensive

Many people mistakenly believe going ultralight is expensive. While it can be, more often than not, it is less expensive than your non-ultralight counterparts.

Here are some quick action steps you can do today to lighten your pack, as well as saving you some money before you make the decision to buy.

The first obvious thing you can do is get rid of things. A common mantra in the ultralight community is people pack their fears. For those reasons, people over pack gear really not needed. And most often, people spend a lot of money on what I call fear gear.

Get rid of your knife.

Typically speaking, the biggest expense is a knife. Seriously, you don’t need it, not even for just in case. Carrying a knife is poor insurance for backcountry emergencies. There are MUCH wiser investments for emergencies I will cover later.

Get rid of your stuff sacks

They take up room and add weight. That said, some items benefit from organization. For items such as hygiene kit and what not, get some ziplock bags from the kitchen. I guarantee they’re cheaper and lighter

Get rid of your water bottles and bladders

You can save a lot of weight and money here. You don’t need stainless or nalgene type water bottles. Go to the store and buy some Smart Water bottles of water. They’re thin so fit into side pockets of your pack well, are cheap, and are reusable. As it is, water is heavy enough. You don’t need the added weight of specialized bottles

Get rid of your stove and cookware

I know this is a touchy subject, but hear me out. Ditching your stove will save you weight on the stove AND fuel. In addition, you can save money on cookware. Light titanium cookware is expensive. It also adds volume. Try going stoveless and use the soaking method of rehydrating your food. An old peanut butter jar is perfect for rehydrating food. Put your dehydrated noodles in the jar, add water, seal, and stick in your pack while you hike. Forty five minutes later your noodles are perfectly hydrated and ready to eat. Better yet… Concentrate on prepackaged ready to eat foods. Cheeses, salamis, snickers, nuts, etc all last a long time and are ready to go while on the go.

Get rid of your spares.

You don’t need 4 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of underwear, 5 t-shirts etc. In addition to the socks you already wear, you may want one extra. You can rotate them in and out—one day on one day off. Try going commando with your underwear, or lack there of.

Trim your first-aid kit.

This is another area where people over do it. There is a tendency to try and pack for every medical emergency. The truth is it’s healthy to be concerned, but not be controlled by paranoia. You don’t need tourniquets, quickclot, etc. Learn how to use items you already carry.

Ditch the tent.

Depending on the time of year and your location, you may want to go without a tent. Try cowboy camping or simply using a tarp. A tarp can be strung out with surveyors line. It is not only cheaper, but lighter than paracord. Often times, a tent is more fear gear. Personally, I avoid as much as possible setting up a shelter. When I do, it is a tarp. For the most part, I cowboy camp. Some folks, instead of silnylon or cuben fiber tarp use a tarp made of polycryo…it’s a fraction of the weight and cost.

Ditch the store bought footprint.

Instead get a piece of polycryo. It is cheaper and lighter than a footprint. Duck brand window film is inexpensive and you can get two good foot prints out of it.

Ultralight doesn’t have to be Expensive

Get rid of your water filter

Instead, get some Chlorine Dioxide pills. Filters can be expensive and heavy. Chlorine dioxide pills on the other hand are cheaper and lighter. That said, in full disclosure, I use a sawyer mini filter. I’m very impatient and don’t like the wait time needed when using chlorine dioxide. That said, my pack is so light this is one area I can compromise.

Following these quick action steps, you’re guaranteed to trim some weight and save some money to redirect it to more important and common sense things, such as a satellite-based communication device for emergencies, which is a way more common sense approach than a knife.

There you go, quick action steps you can take today to lighten your load and save some money