1. Hindsight is 20/20. When you’re unpacking after your next trip, make two piles; gear you used, and gear that remained stuffed at the bottom of your pack the whole trip. Did you wear the same shirt the whole time? Did you even crack the spine of that tattered copy of The Hobbit? Make a list of the things you did use, and use it as a guide next time you pack.
2. Plan your food carefully. Using the same technique as above, examine the leftovers you came home with and next time you can avoid carrying an extra kilo of trail mix. Another way to save on food weight is minimising packaging – aim for ziplock bags that can be reused for carrying out any rubbish.
3. Do your research. Before you go, find out what’s available in the area so you don’t pack unnecessary gear. For example, if there’s a water source on the track, you can cut down on how much water you carry in. Or, if you’re going somewhere as well-equipped as Pinnacles Hut, you won’t need a cooker or your plates.
4. Get creative and customise your gear. Does your toothbrush need that full handle? Can you get away with cutting extra straps or zipper pulls off your pack? Sometimes it pays to lop off excess weight, as long as you’re absolutely sure you won’t be needing it. You can also photocopy your maps so you’re only bringing the section you need.
5. Think minimalist. It’s our tramping insecurities that make us travel with far more than we need. Identify what ‘comfort items’ you find yourself reaching for, and determine whether you can get by without them.