The Going Lighter Guide 2020


Tarp camping

As I write in June 2020 it looks very much as if holidays patterns will vary significantly from the norm, at least for two or maybe three years. More and more people are looking to holiday at home in the UK. Camp site bookings seem to be up significantly and it is a fair bet that this means more people out walking in the countryside and the hill. More people on the hills suggests that an increasing number of people will be interested in lightweight/ultralight hiking and backpacking.

Lightweight hiking has a lot going for it. Put simply hiking or backpacking with a heavy load is not fun. Hiking or backpacking with a lighter load is, simply, more enjoyable.

Over the fifteen years or so that this blog has operated I have set out to both explore and champion lightweight backpacking and hiking. This guide will set out to discuss sensible approaches to lighten your load rather than  simply follow fashion. Two things should be declared right upfront.

Firstly, lightweight and ultra lightweight backpacking and hiking is not just something for young people, those who like playing at the extremes. In many ways there is a good argument for saying that lightweight techniques and gear become more important as you get older, as the knees loose their ability to act as shock absorbers and as other problems with body parts become more prevalent!

Secondly, hiking should be a reasonably low cost activity. You don’t have to spend a fortune to lower your hiking and pack weight. Of course, if you are a place to fashion — and you have the ready cash to hand — please feel free. But there is no great necessity to break the bank or to give your credit card a cardiac arrest.

Lightweight hiking is as much a philosophy as it is leisure retail. Lowering your pack weight requires a strategy that is employed over time one which builds an awareness of what is realistic and what is not, what is safe and what is not, and where it is sensible to start and where it is not!

So, welcome to the Going Lighter Guide 2020. Feel free to enter the debate, to ask for advice and to offer it freely if you are an experienced lightweight hiker. 

When I started out on my quest lightweight hiking was quite a specialised activity. Over the following years lightweight hiking has become more mainstream with some niche companies developing into significant, mainstream players, and existing mainstream players sensibly realising they had to refocus their longer term business plans.

All of this means that it has never been easier to embrace lightweight hiking. To follow the series be sure to subscribe to this blog — use the link on the sidebar to the right.


  1. John hee says

    A clever ruse Andy….all those old posts to update and republished.

    Only joking

    • Well, yes and no. Thingshave moved on a lot, not least when it comes to gear. To be honest, it is a ruse to help me remember what hill walking is 🙂

  2. John hee says

    I thought these dort of reminiscences where what we do in old age.
    Heaven preserve us…. we are our parents

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