Backpacker Tip: Keeping the Weight Down

A tip from the backpacker Scott Fici.

I have done a few 1 and 2 month backpacking excursions where when it comes to packing water to stay hydrated, I don’t. I carry a simple filtration tube called a Lifestraw that eliminates 99% of waterborne disease that are carried in creeks, rivers or lakes, where animals cross or bathe, like the beaver who place dams across rivers and creeks. You either boil your water, or use pill purifiers or buy a Lifestraw which will purify something like 100 liters.

My fire starter kit is cotton balls that I will swipe each with vaseline, and pack 10 count wrapped in clear plastic wrap. The petroleum in vaseline will keep the cotton ball burning long enough to add tinder (Editor’s Note: Check another Backpacker Tip with more information about homemade fire starters).

I use 3 green logs, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, as a 3 pole triangle that is forked above fire, where I hang a light weight chain with hook to hold my aluminum coffee pot, that I also use as my cooking pot.

My food is dried beef jerky and tea, and I fish for my protein. If I want meat, I will screw a rat trap into a pine tree to catch squirrels or rodents, and I have done quite well. My trap bait is a pill bottle full of peanut butter.

For shelter I use two military ponchos snapped together longways, that I put over military paracord, a small tarp as my ground clothe, and I sleep in a 3 layer snap and zippered military bag. Outer shell is camo waterproof.

I do pack a break down 410 pump shotgun with trigger lock and 25 rounds. It has lightweight quantum reel with a two piece berkley lightening rod.

My entire pack weighs in around 40 lbs, with 1 warm hoodie, 1 warm pair sweat pants extra socks, and lightweight med & hygiene kit. I weigh 180 pounds and that’s perfect for me.