Lightweight Walking

I am always amazed at the amount of equipment some backpackers take with them on a walking trip. As well as the necessities, some people also take things which are completely unnecessary and only add to the weight of the backpack.

Hair straightners
Hair Straightners are not Required on the Trail

Unneccessary things are curling tongs and hair straightners – any hairstyle is going to be messed up quickly with the wind and rain. Other people carry large bottles of shampoo, shower gel and large tubes of toothpaste.

The curling tongs and hair straightners are not a joke – some women have been known to carry gas filled ones. Regarding items of personal hygiene, small bottles should be used to carry enough shampoo etc to cover the walk to save some weight.

Clothing should be quick drying and some companies such as Tilley and Rohan sell quick drying underwear and outer wear which avoids the need to carry large amounts of clothing.

One of the ways to save weight is to get a cooking system which is lightweight and cooks food to a reasonable temperature. I have two systems in place for cooking.

Spirit Stove
Cooking system using spirit stove

One uses a Primus spirit burner, an army kidney-shaped stainless mug, an old tuna tin and a metal sheet which is used as a pot stand. This fits into a British Army Crusader water bottle pouch with a small bottle of methylated spirits included in the pouch.

The other one uses a similar set up but instead of the spirit burner it uses a cut up tuna tin as a hexamine tablet holder and pot stand. This is even lighter than the above, but not quite as efficient.

Gas is of course much faster, but spare cartridges are not always available. Methylated spirits are quite easy to buy, even in remote places, and a packet of hexamine tablets can last a week.

When you are looking for a cooking system decide what your main objective is. Your consideration can be weight or efficiency, but whatever method you choose it should be capable of cooking meals on the trail.