Some time after this hiking incident, I came by chance across the phrase "ultralight backpacking." I do not remember what the link was, but I do know it was life changing with respect to reducing the weight of my backpack and increasing my mileage. I am not going to present myself as an EXPERT in ultralight backpacking, since there are many equipment companies now specializing in ultralight backpacking gear, and many books, articles, and forums with information on the topic. I do, however, want to emphasize the contributions of a man named Ray Jardine. His book, "Beyond Backpacking," has probably done more than any single source to influence my thinking and practice in ultralight backpacking. The book is now out-of-print, but has recently been updated, upgraded, and re-released as "Trail Life."
Jardine's system of home made gear, presents a departure from the heavy gear of traditional backpacking. He advocates increasing mileage while decreasing the load one is carrying. (End of commercial).
As I read and learned more about the ultralight philosophy, I began to see how I could incorporate ideas into my own collection of hiking gear. The easiest changes to make with the greatest weight reduction were to be found in what is called "The Big Three" : backpack, sleeping bag, and shelter.
The first piece of gear I changed was the backpack, and it is the backpack that I want to make the topic of my next post.