Featherweight gear for easy carrying.
Feather-light kit makes country walks so much more fun. So what’s the best way to keep the weight down? Hanna Lindon packs her bag with a full set of easy-to-carry items
acking for a walk always used to be a compromise between comfort and common sense. Should you hit the trail weighed down by a mammoth rucksack, or brave the consequences of leaving out the extra layer and that rarely used first aid kit? A new wave of high-tech outdoor gear has taken the struggle out of travelling light – but keeping your pack weight to a minimum is still a subtle art.
Trawling the shops for a waterproof jacket that will squeeze into a golf ballsized stuff-sack is just the start. If you want to go further and walk faster, in comfort, then every gram counts.
To start with, be ruthless with unnecessary kit. Swap multiple dry bags for a single rucksack liner; wear waterproof socks instead of packing an extra pair; and choose versatile clothing such as trousers with zip-off legs.
Heavy kit can often be exchanged for lighter equivalents. Why lug countless litres of water around when a packet of purification tablets does the same job? Modern phones will stand in for heavy cameras, and excess insulation may be ditched if the foreacast is good.
Finally, a compact stove and gas can weigh in at less than 300g, so dumping the sarnies in favour of a dehydrated meal might make sense. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to brew up a sneaky cuppa whenever you start flagging.
The key to a lightweight approach is immaculate organisation. Cutting down on grams requires forward planning and a bit of bother – but when you’re skipping uphill without a pack the size of a baby elephant, the effort will feel worthwhile.
Hanna Lindon 1. Namche midlayer jacket, Sherpa, £70. A light and durable fleece that holds plenty of warmth in its 315g weight, and dries quickly when wet. 01572 772504, www. sherpaadventuregear.co.uk 2. Lightwool Headover, Aclima, £23.95. Wear this merino wool buff as a scarf, head cover or bandana. 0131 552 3000, www.nordicoutdoor.co.uk 3. Windboiler Stove, MSR, £110. Jawdropping fuel efficiency, impressive wind resistance and a speedy boil time, all wrapped up in a flask-sized package. If you walk in all weathers and need a compact, fuss-free stove, this is for you. 07734215821, www.windboiler.eu 4. Abisko Hybrid Zip-Off Trousers, Fjallraven, £115. It’s worth splashing out on these feather-light but durable convertible trousers, which count map-sized leg pockets among their plus points. 02392 528711, www.fjallraven. co.uk 5. Mountain 50 Combi-Stick, Lifesystems, £7.25. All-in-one factor 50 lip and face protection. 01666 575500, www. cotswoldoutdoor.com 6. Quest 4D boots, Salomon, £155. Combining the sturdiness of a walking boot with the support and lightweight comfort of a trail running shoe, these Gore-Tex boots need no breaking
is a freelance journalist who writes about walking, scrambling and general outdoor adventuring.