Lately I've been toying with idea of going light......well a little lighter at least. With all the great blog's showcasing the latest Cuban fibre skirts, titanium toothpicks and 850 loft down sweatbands, I figured I'd balance things out a little with some heavyweight hiking tips.
For years I thought going light meant cutting the tags off your undies, handles off cups and taking an 80 litre pack instead of an 110 litre monster. It always left me feeling a little under prepared, especially if it meant leaving that extra piece of gear behind.
Whats so abnormal about smoked oysters, fresh strawberries and brewing up Japanese tea in your favorite expensive and very fragile ceramic teapot while in the backcountry. On a recent trip, a group of ten or so suddenly went quiet and were passing concerned glances around like Chinese whispers when I pulled out a 4 serve Plum pudding and cream complete with the biggest can opener they had seen. Jealousy hung thick in the air as they licked and slurped their lightweight sporks long after finishing some very bland looking 2 minute noodles.
"Oh that's just too heavy to justify....it would slow you down....you'll be feeling it on the trail tomorrow"
Funny thing was, we had all left the trail head at the same time or even after in some cases and had been setup for an hour or two before the first tired souls came drifting in to camp and collapsed before finding the energy to setup the tents.
I buy light gear so I can take more for longer. I don't want to race through a two day walk in one, and miss out on the joy of struggling under an immense load while trying to take in the scenery.
Doesn't anybody else feel a surge of competitiveness when you watch a 16 year old sherpa pick up 50Kg's using a strap over his head and proceed to carry it at twice the speed of everyone else and their puny daypacks? No?
Well here's a few tips and tricks of mine which should assist you in reversing that soft mentality and hopefully return the sheen to your new found hardened exterior.
Have your existing large capacity pack modified and extended to fit another 20-30 litres of gear in....and fill it to the brim.
Take large bottles of grog instead of the tiny hip flask that just leaves you craving more and possibly exacerbates your alcoholic tendencies.
Travel through steep and overgrown terrain content with the knowledge that you will have enough to drink upon arrival at your destination.
Buy your wife an AT setup, load her up with gear then teach her how to ski in the backcountry. Her first time on skis needs to be done with a pack so she can build up an understanding of balance whilst touring.
Keep the alchohol away from your wife.
Teach your mates Heavyweight hiking techniques and make them practice....and practice some more.
Make sure when bikerafting that you take an all mountain setup weighing at least 17Kg's.
So with these Heavyweight skills you should be able to attack your local hills with a new mindset that leaves your Cuban mates shaking their lightweight handbags in your wake.
Keep it Funky.....