SHARE THE LOAD - A Backpacker?s Guide to Making Every Ounce Count: Tips and Tricks for Every Hike (2015)

A Backpacker?s Guide to Making Every Ounce Count: Tips and Tricks for Every Hike (2015)



On some of your longer trips with more than two hikers, you may want to share the load. You can decide when to share the load and with how many hikers. This is a huge step and the easiest one, so we don’t really need to spend a lot of time here.

Most of us want to use our own gear that we made or bought or inherited, but let’s think about this for a while. Three hikers do not need to take three stoves, three canisters of fuel, three water filters, or three lighters. You get it? If you have a tent, there are ways to share that load as well. Take one of these items, and you can even combine all the food into one bag, all of the meals, that is. Keep the snacks in one pack and the food that is to be cooked in another bag. Here is how that might work.

If you are the hiker who is carrying the meals, then you will carry the stove and the fuel. If you are carrying the snacks, you will not carry any other food.

If there is a tent on the scene, and three hikers will be sharing the tent, then one hiker will carry the tent, someone else will carry the tent poles, and someone else will carry the rain fly. Those three will be sleeping in the tent, and they will need to stay together. The easiest way to split this up is to plan right so you will all be able to pack light and still carry similar weights in your packs.

When sharing the load, all hikers need to know what each item weighs in said pack. Once you know what each item weighs, you will be able to get with the others in your group who, hopefully, have been counting their ounces, and you can decide who takes what so that each person is carrying the same amount of weight—or close enough to the same amount.

You may be able to shave a few pounds of weight off each of the packs should you decide to split up the gear. A few pounds shaved is a sore back saved!

On one trip, we had seven hikers and six stoves. We had plenty of fuel and food, and since we slept in a shelter on the Appalachian Trail, no tents or hammocks were taken, so there was some shaved weight there, but we all carried our own food. I’m sad to say that not a lot of planning was done on that trip. Had we gotten together sooner and known each other’s weight, we all might have taken less. This was prior to my starting down my path to Gram Weenieism, so I learned quite a bit on that trip. We had a blast nonetheless.

To answer the question posed a while back: How do you and when do you start culling items from your pack and decide not to take certain items over others? Now that you have gone on a trip and are back home, it is time to go through the three-pile process.