Packing for a lengthy hike or trail run can be a tough task. You don't want to take too much and weigh yourself down but you also don't want to be short on supplies. Rory Southworth, a trail runner fresh from his Wainwrights Coast to Coast 11 day adventure, is fortunately on board to share his tips on how to pack lighter to make your next trip to the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors or wherever your next venture may be a little lighter on luggage.
- Lighten up your load. Whatever size bag you think you need - take 20L off that. Backpacking with a 30L bag is perfectly achievable even with camping equipment! The smaller the bag, the less you over pack and the cooler you look!
- Don't cook. Unless you are Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, rustling up a tasty dish from things you’ve foraged probably isn't an option. So don't do it! Stove, pots and food take up a lot of space and weigh a great deal. Just taking snacks and buying food on the way, greatly reduces your pack size and weight. It also gives you a perfect excuse to spend your evenings in pubs, as well as of course helping the local economy too.
- Wear polyester pants. Wearing fast drying sports underwear is the biggest game changer to your backpacking life! It enables you to wash and dry your clothes in the evening (making use of drying rooms where available), meaning you only need to take one outfit for walking/running and one for camp/evenings. Fewer clothes mean less weight and less space needed.
- Live in your synthetic jacket instead of taking a fleece (or two), take one synthetic insulated jacket, it will pack down smaller and weigh much less than a fleece. All importantly, it will also make you look like a hardened Alpinist!
- Trainers over boots. Trail running shoes are designed to move fast over mountain terrain, give excellent grip and breathe far better than your smelly boots. It's much easier to go fast when your feet feel light and your ankles are free from the restraints of boots. The downside is you now have to rock hop to keep your feet from getting wet and smell of bog for the rest of your trip which they inevitably will.
- Take less. You only really need snacks, water, some clothes, a first aid kit, sunglasses, suncream, a toothbrush and toothpaste, travel wash, body wash, a towel and your camping gear. Nothing more! No camping chairs
We all think we are packing lightly until we see someone with an even smaller backpack. Be more like them!
Also be sure to check out Rory Southworth's other awesome article on 5 Ways To Run Trail Faster.