Minimizing your Hiking Pack Weight

Preparing for a Hike is often a battle against the pounds or kilos. And we do not mean this in a weight loss kind of way. What we mean is that on your hike you will be the beast of burden and everything you take with you will have to be carried by you. Every time you lift your foot to make a new step you will be lifting the full weight of your body plus your pack load. Multiply this by many thousands of steps and you will realize how a few pounds extra will make a big difference on a large hike.

There are a few terms used for Hiking Weight:

  • From the Skin Out (FSO) Weight:
    the weight of everything you carry outside of your skin so this includes your backpack but also your socks, boots, etc.
  • Packweight:
    the weight of your Backpack not including the Provisions (food/drink) you are bringing.

So preparing for a trek always involves a great deal of contemplating on what you really need and how you can minimize your FSO weight. Often making this calculation boils down to choosing between comfort in walking (lighter loads) and comfort when not walking (better food, more and/or better equipment, books, entertainment, etc). Here are some tips:

  • A well trained hiker might be able to carry up to one third of his own body weight as FSO weight. In general however one fourth will already be very cumbersome. From one fifth and down you should be able to hike comfortably.
  • Start by contemplating on what you will absolutely need in terms of provisions and gear. Note down these functions.
  • Try looking for ultra-light and multipurpose equipment that will fulfill the functions you listed down. The constant demand for lighter pack loads has sparked some very high tech solutions that are able to combine multiple hiking functions in light weight gear.
  • Pack lightweight but high nutritional value Dehydrated Foods. On the flip side of the equation: minimizing your packweight will actually allow you to bring better food. Of course this choice is very personal but 4 straight days of dehydrated foods is no fun!.

Gear Trekking List

Walking pole 
Manufacturer: Coleman, USA
Telescoping pole extends from 27 to 53 inches. Contoured handle grip features adjustable nylon strap and compass. Aluminum pole has steel tip with removable cover and basket for various terrains

Manufacturer: Travelo Vietnam, Vietnam
Waterproof and breathable gaiter. Used for jungle trek

Manufacturer: Kenwood, Malaysia
Kenwood, 16-channel VHF FM Transceiver. Used for jungle trek with group from 5 passengers up. Help to manage group

Manufacturer: China

Manufacturer: Wildebeast – Manyoli III, Germany
4-season, water proof tent for 2 persons
Inflatable mattress
Manufacturer: China
Comfortable camping air mattress

Summer sleeping bag 
Manufacturer: Vietnam
Satin sleeping bag 60cm x 180cm. Used for home stay and camping in hot weathe

Winter sleeping bag 
Manufacturer: Landus, France
Winter bag (5 degree) 60cm x 200cm. Used for home stay and camping in cold weather

Anti-insect repellent 
Manufacturer: Vietnam
Used when being out in jungle or rural area. Keeping mosquito away

Steelless glass 
Manufacturer: Vietnam
To serve tea or coffee at the campsite or home stay

Manufacturer: China
Easy to use, Strong and focus light. Used at camping site in the evening

Manufacturer: Vietnam
Strong and focus light. Used at camping site and home stay in the evening

What to bring
Trekking boot, sun block, hat, anti-insect repellent, warm clothes, rain coat, toiletries, original passport.