Carry Only What You Need
Deciding what to carry on a trip is a fine balance between what is necessary given the expected trip conditions, being prepared for worst case scenarios, and having a few luxury items that will increase your enjoyment level. The relative importance that you assign to of each of the above factors, is what drives the weight of your pack. If wearing a clean pair of underwear every day is a necessity, there's a weight penalty associated with that. If you bring your -20 Degree winter sleeping bag on a trip in August, there's a weight penalty associated with that too. If you carry two days worth of extra food because your biggest fear is running out of food, this too, will make your pack heavier. If the effort to carry that extra pound is greater than the benefit you perceive from carrying it, then don't. By systematically laying out and examining your gear list for an upcoming trip, you can dial it in to the point that you're only carrying what is essential to you. With less stuff and a lighter pack, you can go further and do more.
Example Gear List
By systematically laying out and examining your gear list for an upcoming trip, you can dial it in to the point that you're only carrying what is essential to you. With less stuff and a lighter pack, you can go further and do more. An example from one of my previous hikes is provided below.
Every gear shakedown is different. The common theme is attempting to maximize gear efficiency while minimizing pack weight so you can explore further. This is accomplished through the pursuit of three goals:
Identification of expected trip conditions
Understanding of the merits of different types of gear
Elimination of redundant gear (multi-use is always better)
A fair and unbiased opinion. Big Box stores are always trying to sell you something and sales staff often lack the necessary experience. For $50 you get a gear shakedown that includes...
Three hours of total consult time (Phone or Skype).
Assistance in creating an electronic gear list.
Less money wasted buying gear that doesn't work for you.