Ultralight Vs. Comfortable
Your pack weighs around 6 pounds. You have everything inside. Your tarp, your quilt, your clothes, your food, everything to the most minimal degree that you could find. Your miles are pushed harder, your comfort is found within walking, continuously walking, only to stop when you sleep. A beautiful way to hike, but not necessarily the only way. Your pack can be 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 40 pounds. Yes the burden upon your body will be heavier to be sure, but it may be outweighed by the lightness of your soul. To hike, is to find where you find your own personal joy. To not be mimicked, copied, compared to a certain spreadsheet of numbers. The reason you hike is to be free of burden, not just physically, but mentally as well, and that sometimes means a larger pack.
Bigger the pack, bigger the smile?
Smaller the pack, bigger the smile?
Average pack, bigger smile?
Does it matter, if it is what works for you and you are finding your smile?
Let us begin by clarifying, ultralight is a fantastic way to hike. If that is where you truly find your joy, in the grams, the scales, the gear that shaves off an extra ounce, then that is the best way for you. Yet, it is not the only way to hike, or to hike far, hike long, hike hard, hike peacefully, it is not the only way to hike.
At this point, we have been hiking for over 6 years. Accumulating somewhere above 20,000+ miles along the way. Experiencing all different types of terrain, sweltering deserts, frigid ice capped mountains, lush valleys, rainforests, exposed prairie plains, we have experienced much of what nature can provide. In ALL of these miles, we have never, ever been what would be classified as ultralight. Why? Well, we found a system that we were comfortable with and continued to hike without expectation to go lighter. We were happy, why would we need to switch out a piece of gear for one that is a few ounces lighter? In fact there are many times we chose a piece of gear solely because it is "heavier" comparatively. We will carry an extra pound, an extra two pounds, if we find comfort within the gear and know it will be durable for our entire journey.
Our first two years into hiking, our pack fluctuated between 30-50 pounds many many times. Yes, this partly comes from our own stubbornness, but also our focus was on the journey, not on our pack. One can argue that focusing on your pack is also focusing on the journey, but