Going Camping Without Breaking Your Back

Years ago, when my son was around 10 or 12, he was in Boy Scouts and I would often go with his troop on camping trips. These trips were always a lot of fun, but the biggest problem – aside from keeping 30 ten year old boys in line – was the equipment that the troop provided for us to use. The tents and backpacks were all 10+ years old – probably bought at an Army Surplus store – and they were heavy. When you first put them on, it wasn’t so bad that you immediately noticed anything, but after a few miles hiking through the woods, the weight began to wear on you.

These days, when I go camping, I remember those old Boy Scout trips and I make it a point to take lightweight camping gear so I can enjoy my time in the woods even more. So if you’re looking at getting some lightweight gear, where should you start?

The first item to look at is your tent. Tents can be huge, unwieldy beasts if you’re not careful to get exactly what you need. If you only go camping with two people, don’t get a tent for 4. Also, make sure to get a backpacking tent, as these tents will be designed to be especially light and compact.

Another item to look at is your camp chair or camp stool. No one wants to have to sit on the ground at the end of a long day, especially if it’s cold or wet, so a couple of good quality lightweight camping chairs are never a bad thing to bring along. Most lightweight chairs weight only a pound or so and they’re small enough to tie to your pack. You’ll probably not even notice them until you get to your campsite and want to sit down. I call that a win-win situation.