Monday, February 14, 2011

Overview: Minimalist Backpacking Pack

DISCLAIMER: This setup has not been fielded yet; it was taken on a hike to accesses weight, comfort, and maneuverability. Contents are susceptive to change and suggestions are very much appreciated.

I’d like to start by saying I have not done any minimalist backpacking, however when the weather becomes warmer I do plan on beginning it. With that intention I setout to create a pack that has the essentials, equipment with multiple purposes, and is light. The idea is to “rough it” to a degree that doesn’t surpass my skill level to the point that I’m in danger while still pushing me out of my comfort zone.

I started at the core of backpacking: the pack. I chose a Medium ALICE Pack because of their durability and the fact that with limited space I won’t pack unnecessary gear. Despite what many say, the pack is very comfortable for me.

On the outside I have two 1-quart canteens and a backpackers trowel behind the middle cargo compartment hollow.

Let’s go through the compartments.

 In the top storm flap I have a poncho, 100ft. of rope, and a baggy with 5 sections of nylon cord measuring two and half feet long and 4 stakes.

The poncho would double as raingear and a shelter system when used with the ropes and stakes to construct a lean to or A-frame style shelter.

In the left most external cargo compartment there is my General Preparedness Kit and my Becker BK11.

My General Preparedness Kit is packed in a dry bag and has everything from tools incase of emergency to basic gear used to carry out camp chores.

Found in the middle external cargo compartment is my medical kit and primary water filtration system.

And in the right external cargo compartment I have extra socks and toilet paper, both packed in dry bags.

Toilet paper  in dry bag and trowel
Moving on to the internal compartment I have my food and pocket stove at the top in a stuff sack with an extra pair of hiking pants and a thermal top and bottom packed in a dry bag bellow.

Clothing items in dry bags
Beneath I have a USGI wool blanket that would be my sleep system coupled with debris from the forest floor that I would use to make an insulator between myself and the ground.

Altogether without food the pack weighs 23 pounds which is heavy for a minimalist pack. When hiking with it I was very happy with the weight and thought it was much less but I guess that’s because the ALICE pack handles the weight so well. I figure with around three days of food it would weight in at around 27 or 28 pounds which is a weight I’d like to decrease.

I would love to see suggestions in the comments that can help me choose gear and decrease pack weight. Thanks for reading! 


  1. I think you have a good set up there,I use a poncho to and have used it for both rain protection and a shelter.

    Any thing that is dual use is good.

    What about fire lighting,do you carry a ferro rod ?.
    go for three fire lighting methods,could be strike anywhere matches dipped in wax to water proof them,lighter and a ferro rod,keep one in your pack,one on your person and one in a shoulder bag if you carry one,if not keep two on your person.

    Happy trails.

  2. in my GPK I have water proof matches, a magnesium block, and a lighter. I think I'm going to take out the mag block and put in a ferro rod. To be honest the mag block I bought was really not quality hahaha. But hey, only four bucks!