When you start sorting your backpacking gear out, if your anything like me, you sort it in categories.
With that i mean "Cooking", for example, which includes everything to do with that subject. Stove, windshield, fuel, cup, spoon, pan etc etc. Then i look at the items and see if there are any bits i can do without or change for something from my variable kit pile to lighten the load.
The internet and other blogs on the outdoors are fantastic windows into what's available and what could contribute to reducing your overall kit weight.
Some backpackers would say "Don't take a stove at all and save yourself the space and the weight". Well i can appreciate this if you live in warm climes but for me, in our climate there is nothing nicer than getting the tent up and getting that brew on whilst your lying on your sleeping bag watching the rain teem and listening to it drumming on the tent.
Well on one of these occasions i was looking at my First Aid Kit, trying not to compromise what i was taking, quite the reverse in fact but still trying to come up ideas to keep the weight down.
Looking on the internet I came across this real nice idea to do just that and so i am passing it on.
In my kit i had a tube of Savlon cream and Dettol Antiseptic cream as well as dedicated insect bite cream and more. Now these were not full tubes as i tend to take used ones from the home kit.
But when i weighed the tubes the lightest of them was 23 gr. and the heaviest was 28gr.
What you need to buy is some Jumbo drink straws.
You will need a small pair of pliers like you get on swiss army knives, a lighter, and a small pair of scissors or a knife.
Step 1. Cut the straw to around 50mm or 2" in old money or to be honest, any length that suits you.
Step 2. Squeeze the substance into the straw.
Tip, refrain from overfilling the straw, leave about 10mm from the far end. Overfilling it will reduce the amount of space available for air expansion when you come to seal the straw end.
Step 3. Clean up the fill end as best as possible by using your nail just to push excess cream further into the straw.
Step 4. Position the pliers leaving about 1mm of straw protruding from the jaws and wash the flame from the lighter along the edge of the straw until it melts and seals.
Tip, If the straw sets alight you are remaining in one place too long and you need to wash the flame faster. Let the seal cool fully before releasing the plier jaws.
Step 5. Reposition the pliers to the other end and repeat the sealing process.
Step 6. Using a indelible ink felt tip pen, write on the contents of the tube before you forget what cream was in which straw. (Yes that's what happened to me).
And there you have it.
Just a few minutes to save weight and importantly space.
Now you can make as many of these as you wish or feel necessary for your walk. You can also include other items not just creams, into these packages. Maybe something like foot talc or shampoo.
Use different coloured straws for different contents. I think the idea has potential.
But once you have used them don't forget to either burn them with your other rubbish or discard them responsibly.
When i put one package on the scales it didn't register, so four of these packages weighed 3 grams.
- Alan R
- I am 59 and live in the North West of England with my soulmate Sheila. I have been backpacking and hiking since my early teens. Those early days were mainly spent in the Peak District. Having aquired the basic skills i have since enjoyed both long backpacking trips and shorter hikes in Northern and southern Spain, Iceland, Norway, Madeira, New Zealand, Tasmania, Australia, Majorca, England, Scotland and Wales. Many people i have met along the way have remained friends to this day. It is a pleasure to have met them.