Just when I believe I’ve got it all figured out… I have to run off and change something. And by “change,” I mean different. Not necessarily better. Just different.
Pack weight is the holy grail of backpacking and experienced long-distance backpackers are always looking for ways to reduce their pack weight. Some forego the comfort of cooking hot meals on the trail. Others purchase insanely priced and light-weight materials and even others go so far as to cut the unused straps off their backpacks. When it comes to saving weight on the trail, I don’t believe I’ve seen it all — but I’m definitely not surprised by what I see.
I wouldn’t consider myself a chronic over-packer, but I tend to obsess over items I pack that don’t get used. At the end of the hike, I’m always evaluating the gear I brought to determine if it is truly necessary. Can that item be replaced by another item that performs other tasks or was it really required for my comfort or survival? If I’m guilty of carrying more than I should, it’s always water. I’m still haunted by that weekend on the Art Loeb Trail when carrying THREE LITERS of water between sources wasn’t enough. I still refer to the Art Loeb Trail as the Bataan Death March.