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Lightweight Backpacking Gear Ideas


Below are a few ideas for lightweight backpacking gear that doesn't yet exist. These are things that I think are practical and I hope will be made someday. You can make some of them fairly easily, if you just want to use the ideas for yourself. You can also take them, make them, sell them, and you don't even have to give me credit.

Pole-Less Tent

In place of poles, there would be two inflatable sleeves that criss-cross over the top of a dome-style tent. Rigidity could be insufficient for windy nights, but it's worth a try. I'm not sure if there would be a weight savings or not, because the airtight sleeves would add some weight obviously.

Ultra-Lightweight Backpack

I threw away an old backpack, but kept the aluminum frame, with the straps and padded waist-belt. It was a tough frame, and when I tied a large nylon duffel bag to it, the whole thing weighed less than two pounds. Why aren't there packs out there this light? Just because nobody has done it yet. The idea is simple. Cut out the extras, and have a large sack attached to a light frame. If my contraption was only two pounds, there is no reason there couldn't be a exterior-frame pack that weighs a pound and a half.

Sleeping Pad - Bivy Combo

Basically, this would be a sleeping pad that is covered. It would be lighter than carrying a bivy sack and a sleeping bag pad (less material for the sack, since it wouldn't have to go under the pad). A sleeping bag might be incorporated into it too, with the insulation primarily on top, since it is normally crushed underneath, making it of little insulating value. I think the whole contraption (with the insulation) could be under 2 pounds for summer use. Bag and shelter under 2 pounds - that's lightweight backpacking gear.

Ultralight Bivy Sack

I once paid $20 for a bivy sack, and it was more or less just a plastic bag. It was only 7 ounces, but I realized I could make an even lighter one. I taped together two large garbage bags and I had a 4-ounce 7-foot long bivy sack. Like all bivy sacks, it got a bit damp inside after a night in it, but it wasn't bad if I didn't breath in it. It made a great cheap and light shelter. I think it's time for a mass-produced lightweight, disposable bivy sack. They could be under four ounces, and good for maybe a three to six nights of use.

Attachable Sleeping Pads

Pads insulate you from the ground and provide comfort. However, they only do this at the points of contact, which amount to less than 20% of surface area. In other words, there is a lot of extra pad, and therefore extra weight. The invention to resolve this problem would involve small, thick pads that attached to your clothing at the hips, shoulders, knees, etc. - the point of contact. They would only need to be a few inches wide, and velcro might work for attaching, as long as the total weight of the system was under the 10 ounces or so that closed-cell foam pads normally weigh.

Mesh Backpack

A mesh backpack would be light, even after accounting for six or seven plastic bags to keep the contents dry and organized. It would also allow you to see the contents.

(Adapted from "Lightweight Backpacking Gear Ideas," at www.999Ideas.com.)

See A Backpack with Wheels for more lightweight backpacking gear ideas.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Lightweight Backpacking Gear