I got the backpacking bug from a decade of summer car camps near Red’s Meadow in the Eastern Sierra, meeting backpackers on their 212-mile trek along the John Muir Trail while day hiking.
My first backpack was just a few weeks shy of my 48th birthday, making me a late backpack bloomer.
I carried 55 pounds on my first backpacking trip and was amazed that I successfully completed the 2 1/2-day, 30-mile trek with all that weight.
Not long after, I read about the “Ray Way” of backpacking and jumped on ultra lightweight bandwagon.
Over the years, I’ve made several changes to my gear list, figuring out ways to add comfort back in the austere regimen of super minimalist backpacking.
Has my age colored my approach to backpacking? Sure. When you’re young and powerful, a thing like weight barely fazes you. Age (I’m 67), however, makes you aware of your limitations.
If anything, age has fueled my love of the go-light philosophy. I am very comfortable with my “heavy” pack of 2 pounds, 4 ounces, big “downmat 7” pad at 2 pounds, tent and sleeping bag, all totaling about 9 pounds. With my lighter pack and pad, it weighs about 7 pounds — not a bad place to start go-light backpacking.
Ultimately, LightBackpacking.com is about hiking lightly and safely and being one with the pack as you glide quietly and effortless through the wilderness enjoying the sights, sounds and smells, unburdened by such things as big packs and heavy boots.