weight

Lighten Your Load / Tiny jars are not just cute.

I've been looking for tiny little jars to replace my already small travel size containers because what's considered "small" in a carry-on rolling suitcase is actually quite large, heavy, and bulky when it's on your back for 50 miles. Plus, you usually don't need a whole 3oz of sunblock. It's simply too much, unless you plan on wearing a 1" thick layer on your face. 

To my absolute delight, I recently came across a few options I'm excited to try. There's one in particular I want to highlight today, simply because of how brilliant I'm feeling about the find. (Haha) Seriously. I feel like a total geek bad-ass. (We'll see how it works out on the trail, but for now, I'm very pleased!)

Tiny "sample" jar
Leak-proof (see pic below)
Weighs 0.1oz
Holds 0.23 fl oz
Perfect for: lotion, sunscreen, toothpaste/powder, etc

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What essential item would you use this container for in the wilderness?

Lighten Your Load / Why I always carry duct tape

There are thousands of ways to use duct tape, aren't there? Plenty of those include using it in the wilderness. For example, if you get a tear in your clothing, duct tape it! If a small critter eats through your tent because you accidentally left food in there, duct tape it (and don't do that again)! If your buddy breaks an arm and you're improvising a split, duct tape it! If you need to bandage someone up, but don't have medical tape, duct tape it! You get my point. Duct tape it!

I used to carry just a tiny bit of duct tape around my sharpie pen, but after taking my Wilderness-EMT course, I feel way more aware of the dangers of getting injured while out in the backcountry. Having a sufficient amount of duct tape feels more pertinent now, in case of an emergency. Don't get me wrong, duct tape probably won't save anyone's life in it of itself, but if it's going to aid me in trying my best to help someone, I'll take it. (In fact, I'll share more about my evolving attitude toward first aid kids in a later post.)

With that said, I'm still interested in minimizing weight and packing efficiently. So here's a tiny tip on duct tape: Buy a small roll, take out the inside cardboard roll and squish it. It saves me 0.2oz, flattens down nicely, and it's a good supply.

I learned this trick from my friend Trenton, who taught my WEMT class some awesome gear-related tips. I'll share more as the days go, but for now here's Trenton-tip #1.

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Do you carry duct tape? What have you used it for in the backcountry?

Lighten Your Load / Water Bottle Consideration

People use all sorts of water contraptions to carry water. I've always carried 3-liter (3L) Camelbak in the past, but it weighs 7.3oz! That's a lot of additional weight! It's also something that I find quite cumbersome to take in and out of my pack. It's so annoying that I often just say, "Ehh...it's okay, I don't need more water." That's Lazy Liz talking. No, it's not okay to be short on water or not drink enough because it's a hassle to fill. Sounds like it's time for a new solution, right?

Well my first water bottle consideration is a plastic 1L bottle. It's drawbacks include being less durable, but it's only 1.3oz. I'd carry two of these, which would make it 2.6oz. This still gets me a 4.7oz drop in pack weight. I'll even cut off the little plastic pieces since they're unnecessary and "every ounce counts" (not because I'm anal or anything). 

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Okay, the plastic ring thing doesn't weigh anything. (But everything always weight something, right?!) Well I weighed two of those plastic rings and it considered being 0.1oz for a split second before settling on 0oz. Good to know.

Stay tuned for a little trick on how to keep the cap attached to your bottle. It would suck to lose such an important aspect of your water bottle.

What do you use as your water bottle?

Lighten Your Load / Classic BIC vs. Mini BIC

My packing mantra is: Every ounce counts.

When you're packing for a trip, it's important to scrutinize every single item you're thinking about taking. Know exactly why you're taking it and make it worth the weight (i.e. is it multi-purpose?). We'll cover this topic more as the #100daysofwilderness project progresses.

For now, here's a simple way to reduce some weight and space with one kind of fire source: lighters.

Classic Bic lighter vs. Mini Bic lighter
WEIGHT COMPARISON

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Classic Bic lighter vs. Mini Bic lighter
SIZE COMPARISON

Bonus Tip: Choose bright colors so it's easy to find when you put it down. Forget camo. You want your lighter to be found.