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[pct-l] Lightweight Backpacking--I'm a Believer

>From Ray Jardine's "Beyond Backpacking," which I edited:

"Even though reducing our packweight is extremely beneficial, reducing our
food weight is entirely counterproductive. We must never scrimp on quality
food. Ultralight (and nutritionally empty) meals are about as useless to a
hiker as a pogo stick would be to an astronaut. Neither provide enough
usable energy to get them where they want to go.

Continuing with the analogy, rocket fuel is incredibly heavy, but it is also
packed with enough energy to propel both it and the spacecraft skyward...

When we consider our hiking inventory, we must remember that the weight of
each item, while a major concern, is less important than the item's
function. In my experience, most lightweight "foods" are not functional."

(pg. 182 - Food chapter)

To anyone looking to lighten their loads without compromising on food
enjoyment, buy the book and focus particularly on this chapter. Quality of
food is enormously important to a long-distance hiker. And town stops (such
as Cascade Summit or Kennedy Meadows on the PCT, and many of the smaller
towns along the AT) don't necessarily provide a great nutritional boost, in
terms of the services they offer.

One of the great benefits of reducing the baseline packweight (minus food
and water) to its bare minimum, is that we're then free to fill some of that
empty space with truly useful things, like fresh produce. What's more useful
on a long journey, say 1500 miles into a PCT thru-hike, a camp chair or a
fresh, ripe, Granny Smith apple? That may be hyperbole in this case, but you
get the idea.

These are just generalized thoughts on the subject, not directed at or
against anyone else's beliefs. The following is included only for reference.

- blisterfree


From: "dude" <dude@fastmail.ca>
Date: Sun,  8 Sep 2002 15:20:51 -0400 (EDT)

It takes getting used to.  The last ultralight hike that I planned
with some friends illustrated the point:  We had just finished hiking
about 14 miles before lunch and all my friends were saying all
morning long how great the ultralight philosophy was because we could
cover so much distance so effortlessly.  But then when we had lunch
(tuna and crackers), my buddy says "Wait a minute... Let me get this
straight.  I hike 14 miles before noon and the only food i get are
these six crackers and some damn tuna!!!???"   Like I said, it can be
a let down if you are looking forward to a big reward at the end of a
day's hike, but once you get used to it and just accept that the
rewards will only be at the drops or at the end, then it works out