The annual Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide is just out and it is absolutely jammed with all the latest packs, tents, boots and more for backpacking, hiking and camping.
Good news for light and ultralight backpackers: of the 479 packs reviewed, 64 are 3 pounds are less. This is the culmination of a real revolution in materials and construction that has created a whole new generation of really light packs.
For those of you who don’t think this is a big deal, consider that when I started backpacking in 1998, monster internal packs were the rage. My own pack was a beauty — a Dana Design 5800 cubic inch model made for carrying 50+ pounds very comfortably.
In fact, when Backpacker Magazine’s editors did gear reviews, you would have thought they were human pack mules — raving about how easy it was to carry huge loads.
Well, no more. My mantra is keep your base weight to 10 pounds or less (pack, sleeping bag, tent/shelter and sleeping pad. And now, you can do that with no sweat.
I also noticed that the listings include foreign manufacturers. The Europeans have long been experts at hiking and backpackinging with lots of innovative gear, but few have gained mainstream status in the U.S.
Alas, in the Gear Guide pack division is Bergans of Norway with six sub-three pound packs. This is a real breakthrough.
More on the gear guide once I’ve had some time to digest it.
In the meantime….
Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.