Once you get into going ultralight it goes from a way of backpacking, to a lifestyle. After countless hours of putting all your gear on a scale, modifying it somehow, putting it back on the scale, and repeat you start to live, breathe, and eat UL. You’ll find yourself picking up random objects throughout your day while at the grocery store or work and ask yourself, “I wonder how many ounces this weighs?” You’ll be spending a good bit of money and whip up some genius innovation to save an ounce here and there. Does it really matter if you cut off every label and tag that comes on a piece of gear or extra strings? Typically no. But to an UL’er it adds up, maybe even to a whole ounce!
So what is the benefit of going ultra light? Well the first obvious advantage is being able to put bigger mile days in, with a lighter pack you can hike further and faster without feeling quite the strain that you would with a heavier pack. It will also save you some aches and pains. There’s no doubt that you’re going to feel it even more in the morning if you carry a heavier weight as opposed to a lighter one. And lastly it allows you to connect to nature better in several different ways. You can explore off the established trail and see new sights, climb new peaks because you won’t have to worry about the burden and consequences of lugging a heavy pack off trail for what would seem to be extra hours being miserable with your 40 pound pack. You also don’t have as many distractions to take away from your trip into the beauty that is this earth. Going UL means you don’t pack anything that is not absolutely necessary, no radios, no huge double wall tents, and anything else that would remind you of that busy busy life you left behind in order to take your trip.
I am still on my path to the ultra light backpacking world. As of this post my base weight of my pack is about 12.77 pounds and while there is no official rule on what your pack has to weigh to be ultra light, it’s widely accepted at being 10 pounds or under. There’s even Super Ultra Light but I don’t think I will ever be so adventurous to dive into that category. It’s all about trial and error, becoming best friends with your scale, and realizing that lighter is better!