Lightweight and off track.

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, Lightweight and off track.

How did it all end up so heavy?

It all starts innocently enough. Wanting to get out into the great wilderness to take some photos. Of course, I wanted a decent camera and well, several lenses and of course, I needed to take a tripod with me and a timer and a flash for in-fill.

Well, that’s a lot of gear, so I am going to need a decent pack to carry it in. Something that can take that extra weight.

Oh, heavy pack, I should really get some decent boots to ensure I have adequate ankle support. The heavier the pack, the heavier the boots, so they say.

Then. The hills.

I didn’t really intend to end up carry large amounts of weight. But what happens when you develop your system around a heavy set of items, like a full size SLR and lenses, your equipment tend to match that weight and you end up being a bit of a pack mule.

, Lightweight and off track.

Compound that with the fact that I believe in having backups, and backups to the backups, and I quickly started carrying enough gear to sustain me for a couple of days in the bush, on day hikes.

It gets to the point where you go, hang on. Lets try something a little different. So this series of articles is going to be about exactly that – reducing weight while still maintaining the capacity to wander off track safely and still take some awesome photos.

It’s not all bad though

I realised early on, that if I was going to start carrying around the camera rig and all it’s trimmings – I was going to have to save weight somewhere, so I had already started down the path of reducing weight. Shelter had already been started on – thought at the moment, I think my alternative system now weights the same as a lightweight tent anyhow.

, Lightweight and off track.

Regardless, I enjoy sleeping in a hammock now – but I will be exploring lighter tarp systems, as well as an alternative tarp and bivy bag option for when I am not 100% certain I will have suitable trees to set up in.

, Lightweight and off track.

The current bivy bag I have is an ex military gore-tex option. It’s heavy and doesn’t pack down. So I am keen to explore options there. In the above photo I am using just the fly out of an Exped Vela UL Tent.

I have also worked quite a bit on my cooking system already as well – I tend to either ‘boil in the bag’ or ‘just add water’ and a combination of a dehydrator at home, a vacuum sealer and a pile of titanium has already reduced the weight a lot. I am not really looking at going down the alcohol cooker router – I still want something nice and easy to use. Also, given some of the trips I do – it’s hard to count the exact number of boil’s I will need.

, Lightweight and off track.

They say the heavier the pack, the heavier the boots – and I know for a fact one area I am going to be looking at saving some weight is my boots – I have been wearing the Skellerup Ashleys lately – and they work well – so interested in also looking at a lightweight tramping boot that is going to be up to bush bashing.

, Lightweight and off track.

The main thing I am going to be keeping in the back of my mind for this series is the fact I still want to be able to go off track, and potentially be carrying a rifle with me. So really, it’s going to be about lightweight hunting as much as tramping. Shedding the weight, but still maintaining a level of safety and functionality beyond what your average tramper might expect. Expect lots of spreadsheets… 😉

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