Trimming down the Burden

When I talk about trimming my burden I mean that more literally than you might expect:
Tent, my latest tent (well its my sons tent, but I borrow it freely) was a bargain from Ross our local fashion liquidator, it cost $10. Gone are the days when you had to pay more to get a smaller tent. This tent is CHEAP, there nothing to it, it’s missing all the bells and whistles. The tent is just 6 feet by 4 feet, I’m a few hairs over 6 feet, but I can sleep in it diagonally. It has two carbon rods in an “X” which stretch it into shape, so it really doesn’t need tent pegs. So in preparation for my trip, I pitch the tent in my living room and look to see what I don’t need. OK the carbon rods I need those, but they come in a separate bag. Throw away the bag. Inside the tent, an instruction label, I didn’t find the instructions until after I had put the tent up. Snip snip gone! Tent pegs in a neat little bag, history. Little pouch that hangs from the ceiling to store your bits in, you guessed in, there on the scrap pile. So there it is, I took an ultra cheap tent and threw 10% of it away. What’s left weighs about 3 pounds.
First aid kit, nice, comes in a handy Ziploc plastic bag, wrapped inside an orange nylon bag that says First Aid. I know what it is; I throw away the nylon bag.
Flashlight, actually I have 3 lights, a headband with a variety of bright LEDs, a red flashing rear bicycle LED lamp stripped down to the minimum, a small single AAA LED flashlight, it’s as big as your little finger. The headband is for hands free night hiking, the modified red bicycle lamp fits on the back of the headband for road hiking, and also as an emergency locator, and the third is handy to have in the tent at night.
I also have an old 2 megapixel camera, which will take 400 photos before these new high tech batteries run down, still leaving room for an additional 200 more pictures on the 0.5Gb card
Figure out the MINIMUM set of batteries to cover any single event, wrap them all together in a hair-band, and dispense with all other battery packaging
Emergency raincoat, good to have, it usually comes in a plastic bag with a cardboard insert. What do you do with the bag and the insert? Yes you’re getting the picture, it’s now on the pile. Actually, if you have anything whatsoever in your pack made of cardboard you are probably overpacking
A handy to tool to have while packing is a kitchen scale. You can see how much you are winning as your scrap pile grows, and you can do quick comparisons like which is lightest, my 1 titanium spork, or 1 plastic fork plus 1 plastic spoon. Hmmm, now there’s food for thought.

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