Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Strategies for a Fast & Light Backpacking

Going outdoors! 
Connecting with nature!
These are one of the best things I want my kids to experience.
Because I know the feeling when you reach your destination goal after a long dreadful walk and view that beautiful scene or get to feel the refreshing water from the falls. 

Growing up, I was able to take a long walks from my lola's house to another lola's house. Had a chance to climb their sineguelas trees and stay on the tree eating the sineguelas while waiting for lola's angry voices. I was able to hike the hills of Malasag, CDO or swim together with the carabaos along Agusan river or had an overnight at the mountain range of Manticao, Mis. Or. 

It was fun and again I want my kids to experience it too.

The husband is hesitant towing young kids (toddlers) in this type of adventure. He worries on the possible accidents on younger kids or the possibility of getting sick. Most of all, he worries bringing all the necessities of a young kid's needs from milk formula, milk bottles, diapers, clothes, blankets, pillows and the list goes on. 

For ultimate pleasure we wait.

Until we thought we can handle it.

This coming March 5-6, 2016, we will be joining Outpax HealthCamp in Moalboal and we will be bringing with us our 9yo and 5yo kiddos. 
Photo Credits
Don't get me wrong, we travel a lot since out families live in the southern part of Philippines but this event is different. We don't have any idea what to bring or worse don't have any camping gear suited for it.

Thus this event is fitting!
Photo Credits
I decided to join and listen to Mr. Leo Glenn G. Lao's talk held at Ayala Active Zone last February 12, 2016 about Fast & Light Backpacking. The talk is about new strategies to lighten up one's load. New strategies in the sense that new techniques and technologies come hand in hand to help backpackers enjoy the trip without tiring oneself from carrying loads half the weight.

Here is the Tried and Tested Fast & Light Principles shared by Leo:

A. Eliminate "nice to have" and "not needed" items
     Do you need to bring a book? mp3/mp4 players? tablet? pillow? portable speakers? extra batteries on an overnight event? And if you are already familiar with the place, do you really need to bring a map or a compass? Assess!

B. Choose the smallest, lightest gear suited to the purpose
     Use LED headlamp instead of bigger, conventional headlamps; Use spork instead of spoon and fork; Use alcohol stove instead of multi-fuel stove; Use alkaline batteries with lithium;  Use 3/4 length sleeping bag instead of full-length model. The point is if there is much lighter gear that serves the same purpose, then it is much preferable.

C. Bring a gear that serves multiple uses to avoid redundancies
     Spork serves as spoon and fork at the same time. A pot can serve as a mug or plate. If you have a cellphone, then its no use bringing an alarm clock. A bandanna has many uses too. A garbage bag can be uses as a raincoat, pack cover, trash bag, food bag or flotation device. 

D. Modify your gear to make it lighter
     Apply heat-resistant/flameproof paint to increase the heating absorbency and lower cooking time. Shorten straps or pegs. Drill holes to make it lighter.

E. Take only the amount needed
     Don't carry a lot of food and snacks (this is difficult :D) Avoid bringing a lot of extra clothing. Minimize the amount of toilet paper, duct tape, soap, insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, toothpaste..etc 

F. Try teamwork or share gear
     Make friends. Ask for a possible sharing of gears to avoid redundancies. 

G. The more you reduce weight, the more you are able yo reduce more weight
     Self explanatory :D

H. Refine, Research and Practice
    The key is to get outside frequently and understand what does and does not work in certain situations. and discover what works best for you.

As a courtesy call: 
It is advisable to to meet local leaders in the community before you assault any mountains. This is to officially inform them of their undertaking. Local knowledge and information is very vital in the success of your climbs.

More details is available from Leo Glenn Lao's team. They have Fast & Light Backpacking pamphlet available with them as your reference.
Good thing I joined and it was a great opportunity to learn.
Thank you for the opportunity Outpax and Mr. Leo Glenn G. Lao.
And I hope we are ready :D

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