This writer, Glen Van Peski of Gossamer Gear has some interesting ideas about reducing weight when backpacking. I am an early morning riser so he is right in mentioning that I do put on extra clothing when I get up. Some of my friends start down the trail with heavier clothes and take them off within 30 minutes. Anyway, he suggests changing the way you hike, by shifting your times.
Most people like to hike all day, or most of the day, get into camp, set up their tent, cook dinner as night falls, and sit around until its time for bed. This means you are sitting around, not generating any heat from activity, during the coldest part of the day. In turn, this means you are probably bringing long underwear or a puffy jacket that is too warm to hike in, and the only purpose is to wear it around camp.
No breakfast or later breakfast. The early morning will be one of the coldest parts of the day. It makes no sense to stand around in the cold. The best bet is to pack up quickly, throw a food bar into your pocket, and start hiking. The activity will quickly warm you. Then, when the sun is shining brightly and you come to nice sheltered or scenic place, stop for breakfast.
Do the main break in the late afternoon. In the warmth of the afternoon, it’s great to take a long break. It gives you a chance to dry out any damp gear, and it breaks up the day. You can pick a scenic place, near water, which may not be good for sleeping at, but is perfect for cooking the main meal. You can enjoy the meal without shivering. Heck, you might even take a little nap if so inclined.
Then, hike on. You’ll be fueled by the meal, the cooling evening is great for hiking, and the miles will pass easily beneath your feet. As daylight wanes, you can pick a stealth camp without worrying about cooking….More at Backpacking | Jeremy M. Day
He suggests you will save the weight of some of the clothes you would normally bring. This approach is suitable if you are hiking in the mountains or early season but is something to think about.
One one trip with three friends we did not follow his method and finished our day about 5 pm, had an early dinner using our stove and because we didn’t have a lantern and it got dark early in September we ended heading into our tents and sleeping bags anyway even though we were not ready for bed.
So on your next backpacking trek in cooler weather why don’t you give Glen’s suggestions a try. Start by checking out these lightweight compact tents.