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Also called “minimal hiking”, the ultralight trekking was born recently from a group of particularly experienced and equally trained trekkers, who think of the usefulness of leaving at home everything that can be considered superfluous during a trek. More comfort and lightness, in fact, is equivalent to a faster and safer stepas well as to a greatest distance traveled. Yes, because if we carry a lighter load on our shoulders, our body will be less tired and will allow us to increase our mileage.

The ultra-light trekker’s backpack

The vast majority of hikers carry a weight of at least 10/15 kg on their shoulders, while ultralight trekking provides a maximum of 5 kg. So up to a third less. And it doesn’t stop there, because there are also those who manage to stay around 2.5 kg, in this case we even talk about super ultralight trekking. Of course, as expected at the beginning, the less heavy the backpack, the more experience and training you need.
We have already reduced its content to the bone, just to walk lighter, but now we also have to reduce its weight. Most backpacks designed for ultralight trekking have no support structure, which reduces the weight to less than one kg. The consequence is that they will also be less bulky and resistant, which is why the comfort limit for this type of backpack is around 12/14 kg. By reducing the weight we carry on our shoulders, however, we can afford to have a safer and more “precise” step. This is why, at this point, we can also wear lighter shoes: ultralight hikers usually wear “approach” or trail running shoes.
Indeed, it is not enough to buy the “lightest” equipment on the market to magically become an ultralight trekker. At the base, let us repeat, there is a wealth of personal knowledge and awareness of one’s physical means which cannot be bought or exchanged, but which, on the contrary, can only be acquired after having traveled many and many miles underfoot.
The first rule is therefore that of learn to correctly interpret the signs that our body sends us and, thanks to this, always being able to understand how far we can go.

First step: clothes

We need to start with what we would normally put in our backpack. And ask yourself, for example, if we took a certain thing because we really needed it or simply because there was still space. Does it make sense to carry two pairs of pants and two pairs of shirts? Maybe not, because, in principle, during the stages of our trek we can wash everything we have soiled. Thinking about having to contain the weight because you’re using a smaller backpack forces us to take the bare minimum with us.

Reconcile hydration and lightness

Be careful of canteen: it is not necessary to have more than one with you, because, if necessary, we can fill the one we have emptied. In short, to maintain good hydration, it is not necessary to start with all the liquids we need. On the contrary, it is essential to know the areas that we will visit or to study the routes well, in order to know where and how to draw water. A little purifier it’s a supply of mineral salts they take up little space, weigh less and allow you to have everything you need.

The ideal food for ultra-light trekking

Similar reasoning applies to food, with a few additional tricks. Probably, if we are already experienced in trekking or camping, our first thought will probably be to resort to freeze-dried foods, protein bars or other very advanced solutions. However, this is not always the best solution. Freeze-dried food, for example, needs water, a stove, and usually a few tools, so it’s actually functional weight-wise only if our trek is longer than a few days (and we we are sure we have access to drinking water). Alternatively, even more traditional solutions such as aged cheeses, cured meats, dry foods and more foods that can be eaten without cooking may turn out to be a better solution.

Maintaining Hygiene Essentially

Personal hygiene is also important during ultralight trekking, as in any other physical activity where you are expected to spend a lot of time away from home. It is not only a social issue, but also an indispensable resource. Good personal hygiene, in fact, reduces the risk of irritation, infection, dermatitis and simple discomfort. The best thing to do to contain the weight and bulk is to bring only the essentials: soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and a microfiber towel. If we want to contain the weight to the extreme, we can use a travel tube and, for example, a bar of soap of the type found at the hotel, or one of our favorites which is almost finished.
The only equipment you should never skimp on is that related to FIRST AID. We probably won’t use it (fingers crossed or touch the iron!), but it’s always better to have it behind.

ultralight trekking

The heaviest and bulkiest items in our setup

CURTAIN.

Again, we need to start thinking about what we can get out of a normal curtain. Do we really need a curtain closed on all four sides? If the answer is no, we can settle for a tarpaulin, that is, a tarpaulin made of very light and resistant fabric that can be fixed by means of ropes to a tree or to our trekking poles (the weight is approximately 500 g, while a trekking tent lightweight for two people can weigh 4/6 times Suite). If this solution must seem excessively “minimal”, one can opt for the so-called “single wall curtainwhich offers greater tarp protection and an insulated floor. Of course, you can also find very light traditional tents on the market. If you prefer a little more comfort, that too remains a possibility not to be ruled out a priori.

SLEEPING BAG.

Here it is the quality that makes the difference, because the classic duvet has the best weight-warmth ratio, a small bulk, offers excellent sleeping comfort and greater resistance than models made of synthetic fibres. And it weighs even less, not quite half, but almost. Today, however, there is also another possibility: the so-called “top bag“Or a duvet. This type of bag has no insulating material on the back but an inside pocket on which the mattress can be fixed, and we weigh less than one kilogram.

INSULATING MATTRESS.

The traditional self-inflating mattress weighs about one kilogram. But there are also slightly shorter versions on the market, a ¾, which save a little weight without compromising comfort. In these cases, the head will rest on another type of “pillow”, such as a backpack or a jacket. The legs can be placed on a short and very light foam mat. Lately, strong from the experience of ultra trails, I short and solid foam mat kitlight and thin, which allow you to always stay under 500 g of weight.

The Rossignol Spring Summer 2022 Collectionavailable in all Rossignol Pro-Shops offers theoutdoor clothing in technical fabrics iideal for those who need to gear up for ultralight trekking. For example, shoes from the SKPR Light line offer comfort and resistance in an extremely low weight.

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