Ultralight backpacking is commonly undertaken by outdoorsmen who have been braving the backcountry for years and have fine-tuned their gear requirements to a science. Because of this, they’ve invested in the lightest, most compact gear possible in order to save weight, cover more distance, and stay in the wilderness longer. Going ultralight is not a necessity, though, and you definitely don’t need to shave as much weight as humanly possible to enjoy yourself on the trail.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we’ll find the over-packer. This is someone who hasn’t quite learned how to shed the truly unnecessary, or simply tends to overdo it when it comes to packing. As a result, over-packers may suffer from uncomfortably heavy packs, which leads to unnecessary fatigue and potential injury. If you’re packing for a two-night trip and your bag weighs over fifty pounds, then you’re probably over-packing.

Existing somewhere in the grey area between ultralight and over-packing are the economical backpackers. This is where the average backpacker should strive to thrive. You generally want to walk the line that rests between loin cloth and knife, and bursting at the seams.

Don’t worry if you can’t afford all the lightest backpacking gear on the market. Backpacking can be costly, especially lightweight gear, which are made from high quality materials. There are always ways to save money and still shed weight, without sacrificing quality, which we’ll explore next week!