Pros and Cons of Ultralight Backpacking

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Pros and Cons of Ultralight Backpacking

Post by FrancisTapon » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:20 am

So here's the basic outline of what I want to do
1. Definitely do the AT, that's the main goal. The only problem is I don't know how to go about it.
2. I'd prefer average weight (20-30 lbs.), unless Francis knows of equipment that would help me do it lighter without giving up too much use.
a. I'd also like to know the advantages/disadvantages of each type you mentioned (average, lite, ultra lite) if you've got extra time.
3. A decent gear list that would help me and maybe one extra person complete the trail would be great considering how little preparation I have for such an expedition.
4. Anything else that may be of use to me if I wanted to attempt more than just the AT at some point in my life.

Doesn't seem like much, I guess, but hope it provides a basis on which to elaborate.

Thanks again and best wishes,


Jon, when you mention "average weight," it's best specify if that includes food/water. I assume it does. I hope it does!

- Go farther with equal effort
- Go same distance as traditional/heavy backpackers with less effort
- Reduce chance of injury
- More enjoyment (when you weighed down, you tend to look down at your feet and ignore the scenery.
- Safer (you can escape a bad situation, like bad weather)
- Less gear, simple
- Often is cheaper than traditional gear

- You have to have some experience to deal with extreme situations since you'll have less gear
- You have to be gentle to your gear (lightweight gear is usually more fragile than heavy gear)
- You may sleep worse (lightweight sleeping bags/pads can less comfortable than heavy ones)
- Small tarps might not keep you totally dry if you don't know how to set them up well

Critics claim that lightweight backpackers are less comfortable than heavy backpackers. But as long as you master sleeping well and you don't mind simple cooking, then you will be more comfortable during the conscious hours than heavy backpackers.

See my Ultralight Backpacking Gear List.

And read about what it takes to do a thru-hike. :)
- Francis Tapon

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