Lightening the load in your kayak or canoe saves you energy, makes your load easier to portage, and ends up making camp life easier. These 8 easy tips are a few ways that you can reduce your load.
- Store your composite kayak or canoe upside with the hatches open. As composite materials age, they can absorb water, which makes your canoe or kayak heavier. If as little as a quart of water absorption, you’re craft will gain 2 pounds. Not only does this matter on the portages and for car topping, but a heavier boat performs worse on the water.
- New dry bags are now lighter and just as waterproof, consider trading in your old heavier dry bags for lighter versions. You could save as much as 1 pound per bag. If you use 6 dry bags, your savings could be close to 6 pounds. Try a few Outdoor Research Helium Dry Sacks. These OR bags are light and work like a charm.
- Consider your choice of stoves: do you really need a white gas stove when you’d save weight and ease of use with a 3 ounce canister stove, or with an even lighter pop can stove. Try the MSR 3 ounce PocketRocket. Since, I switched to this stove, there has been no going back. It’s light and easy to use.
- Leave the tent at home or upgrade. Many new lightweight tents are available now. Don’t buy a new two person tent unless it weighs less than 4 pounds. Or, even better, consider using just a tarp. Tarps combined with a bug bivy and result in total shelter weight of less than 2 pounds. Some of the lightest bug bivys weigh under 5 ounces. Sierra Designs’ Lightning XT 2 two person three season tent is one of the best sub-4-pound tents on the market. If you’re going solo, try NEMO Equipment Inc.’s Gogo Solo Tent. This cross between a tent and a bivy is a nice way to go if you’re going solo light and fast. My 8×10′ Integral Designs Siltarp has never let me down.
- The weight of packaging adds up, so repackage all your food items. It’s really surprising how much packaging gets hauled into the woods and much of it doesn’t burn well, so it’s best to repackage your food into light plastic bags and leave the heavy store bought packaging at home.
- Eat big breakfasts and snack during the day. Breakfast fuels your body in the morning to get ready for a big day and eating snacks during your day, allows you to feed a constant stream of fuel to your body. Big lunches tend to weigh more and if you’re cooking, they tend to take more time.
- Change maps. A more detailed scale maps requires more paper to cover the same area and often a bigger scale will work just fine. If a 1:250,000 will work for your paddling trip, don’t bring 1:60,000. Use the more detailed maps to locate interesting areas and transcribe those markings to notes on the 1:250,000. A waterproof map may weigh slightly more than a paper map, but paper maps easily get wet and require a map case.
- The easiest is leave stuff at home. Why do you need it anyway?
Do you know a few easy ways to reduce the weight of your load? Feel free to post them below.