If you you find yourself saying “Hey, that’s a good idea,” to more than one of the following, you might be an ultralight backpacker. They are collected from various lightweight backpacking forums. For those of you that don’t share our passion for ultralight backpacking, let me explain that these are funny, but also mostly true stories.
You Just Might Be An Ultralight Backpacker If…
– Your wife’s purse holds more stuff than your backpack.
– You pack light for a family trip to Grandma’s house.
– You use the fruit scales in Walmart to determine the weight of a possible new piece of gear.
– At home you use just 4 toilet paper squares, to “practice”.
– You read that last one and say, “toilet paper?”
– You have no idea what the title, scale or contour interval of your map is because…. you cut away all of the margins to save weight.
– You sleep at home with the temps turned down while in the buff just to get used to the cold so you can take an even lighter sleeping bag.
– The thought of 1000 fill-power down gives you a little shiver down your spine.
– You’re glad you’re going bald.
– You’re wondering if your compass would still work OK without all that heavy liquid.
– Your woman says, “Go down baby!” and you hop out of bed hootin and hollarin and order a Western Mountaineering Highlite!
– You no longer have tags on any clothing you wear.
– Your mailman is trying to figure out why people send you empty boxes all the time.
– You eat with $40 titanium chopsticks instead of a plastic fork because they weigh .01 ounces less.
– You walk through the grocery store thinking “saltines have 1760 calories per pound, but mixed nuts have 2720 calories per pound”.
– Your waterproof/breathable rain jacket cost more than your best suit.
– You shave ALL the hair off your body to save a few ounces on your “from the skin out” weight!
– Your trail runners weigh more than your multi day pack.
– You know the weight of your backpack, and not your wife.
– You have to take your tent down to use your combination spork/toothbrush because you used it as a stake.
– You compulsively weigh things you have absolutely NO intention of ever taking backpacking, just because.
– You take laxatives before a trip, just to “lighten the load.”
A Note To Backpackers: You might be an ultralight backpacker if you can easily come up with more of these from your own experience.
Steve Gillman is a long-time backpacker, and advocate of lightweight backpacking. More of “You Might Be An Ultralight Backpacker,” plus advice and stories can be found at