Throughout years of lightweight backpacking and adventure travel I have learned that and attitude and gear are two keys in preparation for active travel! I believe that the most important thing necessary to become a lightweight or ultra lightweight backpacker is attitude! Having an attitude the you CAN do it and WILL do it is step one.
Next, take a close look at your gear and weed out those things that are not necessary but are the ‘just in cases’ or the ‘luxury’ items. These things are not 'forbidden' when backpacking but recognizing the difference between needs and wants when lightweight backing will help you drop pounds – literally!
To shed that weight, begin with the purchase of two important tools:
A digital postal scale. These are approximately $30 at---yes, the post office. You can even purchase one at Walmart. The digital ones are the most accurate and the easiest to read. The postal scale is the best tool against rationalization---you know---the one that goes ‘oh, this doesn’t weigh much at all, it won’t make any difference’. The postal scale shows you exactly what things weigh and how quickly those few ounces can add up to pounds.
A regular bathroom scale. Yes, the dreaded one! Again, digital is the easiest to use and the most accurate.
Now that you have the tools, divide your clothing and gear into three piles:
The first pile can be labeled ‘must go.’ This would include items such as sleeping bag, tent, food, and those types of items.
The second pile would be the ‘just in cases’ pile like the extra shirt, pants, etc.
The third pile would be labeled ‘would like to take’ such as that camp chair or that really cool but really heavy leatherman. Then---the attitude comes in----take only the first pile!
Then, weigh everything. And get rid of anything that is not useful such as tags, extra rope, webbing, buckles---anything that is ‘just there’ and serving no useful function.
Weigh all the things you eliminated and you’ll see you’re already lighter and on your way to enjoyable active travel.