Over the last year I have been experimenting with reducing the weight of my hiking pack when out on track.

Reading books on ultralight hiking, has left me with some great strategies for doing so.

As a result has made hiking more enjoyable for me. Not only do I have more energy, I can walk further, my body doesn’t feel broken at the end of a big day, meaning I can just enjoy the journey that much more.

Stacked packing system

Maximising the space in a 35L is essential. Using the stacking method, I discovered on the amazing Darwin Hikes - 35L how to pack walkthrough, is a modular system, that involves stacking components up in a specific sequence.

Some benefits:

  • Dry things stay down the bottom.
  • Easy access to rain jacket, food and tent.
  • The food bag is often the heaviest item. Locating it in the centre of the pack, keeps the pack squared securely on your back.

packing system

Inner pack

  1. Sleeping pad folded up against the back of the pack (great for providing some structure to frameless packs)
  2. A bag liner (garbage bag is best)
  3. Quilt
  4. Clothing
  5. Puffer jacket - at this point seal the bag liner off
  6. Food bag
  7. Tent
  8. Rain jacket

Side pockets

  1. 1L water bottle on bother side (to balance the pack out)
  2. Cold soak container
  3. Snacks
  4. Water filter

Front pocket

  1. Tent stakes
  2. Trowel and toilet paper.
  3. Ditty bag.
  4. Empty 1L platypus bladder.


  • In colder seasons don’t scrimp on warm gear to save grams
    • booties
    • heavy quilt
    • high R value sleeping pad
    • gloves
  • A 1L nalgene bottle is great as a hot water bottle
  • Cook system is optional (see cold soaking below)
  • Try a single hiking pole


Things that have worked for me, over trial and error:

  • Plan for at least 700 grams of food per day.
  • At least 4L of water per day.
  • Drink of much as possible at water sources.

Cold soak meals

A method for rehydrating meals using just cold water, over a couple of hours. The plus side, not having to carry out a cook system (i.e. weight savings).

Refried beans

  • Dehdrated refried beans (or Quinoa)
  • Seasoning
  • Corn chips
  • Olive oil

Pinto beans

  • Dehydrated precooked pinto beans
  • Taco seasoning
  • Corn chips
  • Olive oil

Cous Cous

  • Couscous
  • Sun flower seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Raisins
  • Vegetable soup mix
  • Olive oil
  • Curry powder
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Tuna packet


  • Dehydrated vegetables
  • Cous Cous

Oil wrap

  • Almond butter
  • Dried fruits
  • Tortilla

Potato Bomb

  • Powdered potatoes
  • Corn chips
  • Summer sausage

Rice Bomb

  • Knorr rice side (mexican or spanish)
  • Tortilla
  • Corn chips
  • Refried beans


  • Oatmeal
  • Protein powder
  • Dried fruit
  • Paleo mix


  • Cereal (ex nutri-grain)
  • Protein powder
  • Dried fruit

Dope resources