Most stories of long distance hikes start with tales of vast packs almost too heavy to lift and the agonies of blisters: an endurance test enough to put anyone off.
No, it doesn’t have to be like that. Neither of us got blisters, and our packs always weighed less than 12 kilos, even with food and water. And I think the two things – blisters and pack weight – are related. If you put less weight on your feet, then they are less likely to get sore. The rest of your body will thank you too.
I’m a gramme counter. Before I left UK, I made a list of everything we planned to take and weighed it. Over the eighteen months before we left, we gradually invested in more lightweight stuff. The tent weighed just over a kilo between us, my sleeping bag was 415 grammes, and our stove was 160 grammes. Lightweight gear is more expensive, but I reckoned it was worth it, and I saved a lot by planning ahead and making the most of sales. Have a look at our top recommendations. And here is our list of equipment and how much it all weighed.
Light and ultralight hiking have really taken off in the past decade or so, and there are lots of websites with excellent advice, as well as online shops with the latest lightweight goodies.