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The keys to light backpacking

16 septembre 2017
Mount Belchen – Black Forest
15 septembre 2017
Hiking as light as can be
25 septembre 2017

As I m going to India hitchhiking, I have had to think twice about the content of my backpack. It should be as light and small as possible to hike without back aches and also ease the hitchhiking. It s indeed much easier to jump into someone's car with a light bag that you can get on your legs. Many times people have fully loaded car and it makes it hard to show them you'll not take much space if your bag is as big as a house. So here are some guidelines of what the bag should have to be fully equiped.



Hammock: This is my bed, my house when I m not hosted. Pick a jungle type of hammock that includes a mosquito net. Weight: 750gr hooks and stings included

Tarp and pegs: You can never predict the rain. The tarp is essential to put on the hammock. I highly recommend getting a good and light technical product. Weight 300gr

Sleeping bag: A month ago I was in Chamrousse near Grenoble freezing my ass to death at a 1750m high. In spite of making a fire and sleeping in the hammock into the sleeping bag. I was so cold. So the decision to get a light and warm sleeping bag was vital. The comfort temperature is -4 and the extreme is -11. That might seem like a lot when you think that sometimes it ll be really warm. But what can the most can do the least. Little tip to gain space. NEVER ever fold or roll your sleeping. To get as much air out as you can you just have to shove it inside the bag and press the air out. Weight:

Bivy bag: What do you do if you have no trees to hang your hammock and if it rains. That's the purpose of the bivy bag. Which is also very useful even in the hammock in a humid environment. All summer long I ve had so many nights when I was woken up round 4 in the morning by the humidity. Weight: 500gr


Survival blanket: In case of emergency it reduces heat lost and might even help people to find you if you are lost in the mountain hiking as it flashes if there is sun, . Could also be used to insulate the bottom of the hammock if you get too cold. Cause the wind flows through and it's indeed dreadful.

Lighter: On top of being always ready to light up the cigarette of a nice looking follow stranger. Just kidding i don't like smoking anyway.

It s very handy to light up a fire camp either to grill some good veggies or meat and not to die from cold cold nights.

Beauty & Pharmacy


Bicarb: It has so many uses. I ve recently got those five-finger shoes. When I m not or can't be barefoot, the little time i wear them is enough to accumulate some sweat. So stand up and fight against the bad smells. Sprinkle some bicarb at night inside your shoes and you should be fine. Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower Handwash your tupperware. Add 2 heaping tablespoons baking soda (along with your regular dish detergent) to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots and pans. For cooked-on foods, let them soak in the baking soda and detergent with water first, then use dry baking soda on a clean damp sponge or cloth as a scratchless scouring powder.

Tiger balm: I ve always been a mosquitoe bully. No matter how many people are around. I m the FIRST target. I think my first night was when i got devoured sleeping outside into a rice Paddy in Ubud, Indonesia. I have tried essential oils with no success. And there is no way I ll use those sprays on my skin. A friend of mine once used the tiger balm as a mosquitoe reppelent. And I confirm it does work. Just rub small amounts of it on the main body parts and sleep in peacefully. I picked the white version which also offers pain relief for aches and sprains.

Nail clipper: Nobody will make you hop into their car if you look like a witch with black nails.

Vegatal oil: Important to moisturize yourself. I used almond oil. Especially since I go barefoot. I ve to take good care of my feet.

Tee tree Essential oil: Once a week a drop on your toothbrush, it is a good desinfectant. For the so many hikers with shoes, it treats the athlete foot. Straight on it twice a day. And also good on mosquitoe bites. It is better to dilute it. I put it into the vegetal oil. Around 12 drops for 30ml of vegetal oil.

Antiseptic: As a good hikers, injuries aren't uncommon. An antiseptic is always good to have.

Safety razor: To save money I do not go to the hairdresser. I just shave my head on the side and trim the top. I ve tried using a straight razor but it get a bit tricky to do the sides. The security razor is easier to manipulate and the blades do not cost much. Less than 5 euros for 10 blades which is minimum 20 shavings.

Toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss


2 tiny Mirrors: No it's not to vanish into my own image. Not it's not because I use make. It's just essential to shave. Especially if you wanna check if the back of your head has been shaved properly.

Sandalwood: On my way to southern germany, I met a nice group of travellers that gave me as a gift a piece of sandalwood. The smell is exquisite and is very relaxing. Traveling doesn't mean you should neglect yourself. Associated with a good meditation session from the top of a mountain is quite a journey. Or just during a massage session with some of the almond tea tree oil mix.



Backpacks: I ve got two backpacks. Yes two. One 40 liter to hold eveything. Then I highly recommend a 20-25 liter bagpack for your hikes. Whenever you can leave your big bagpack somewhere DO it. With your host, some business around. Or, you can even hide it as I did several times. (See the following article). It ll save you energy and back aches. So a second bag becomes really handy to fit all you need for a goood hike.

1l Bottle: prefer metal to plastic



Swim suit: Wether it is in the sea or in the pool, staying fit is essential. Swimming is a full body work out. Sweat sweat sweat...


Bandana: To protect your head when it's boiling hot or to absorb the sweat as you hike/run. It Prevents you from getting a lot of sweat in your eyes.

Thermal underwear: Mountain hiking can be really cold even during summertime and even more when you go above 2000m high.

Rain/wind shield: I got a very light rain/wind shield which so far has been precious in Austria and germany for mountain hiking where on a sunny day the rain and the wind could still burst anytime.

Rain pants

Hoody: This is my only kind of jacket. I never wear anything warmer except for the thermal underwear if need be. It is light and convenient for a mild weather or even to sleep with to add an extra layer.

Two tank tops

One t-shirt: If you still wanna have a social life every now and then. You'll need sleeves. Women have the luxury to get into social spots like bars with unveiled shoulders.

Men simply don't.

One pair of shorts

One pair of pants

Both should be as loose as possible for comfortable hiking.

No undies: Are you shocked? It's the best feeling ever and with a good hygiene it s the best way to travel lighter and worry less about the laundry.

Five finger shoes: They are really light. And I have spent a full year walking bear foot in Australia. After such an experience, you don't wanna wear shoes anymore. So this is the good compromise when you have no choice. It allows you to keep that natural foot step. And you ll get lots of benefits from walking bear foot or with these shoes.

A big woolen pair of socks: Just to sleep with in case of cold weather.

A five finger pair of socks: Just in case it's too cold to hike without any protection.

Waterproof Shoe protection: Found a cover for cycling shoes. The rain can strike any moment. And I ve experienced it many times during moutain hiking. Walking with wet feet and getting stinky shoes isn't pleasant at all. So it is a must.




Trimmer: Because my beard can sometimes scare some people when I hitchhike ;) I cannot look like a Grizzly and I have to trim it every now and then.

Tiny and light computer: I got a lenovo miix 310. It has a really good battery automony. And isn't too slow if you just want to update a blog, process pictures and use the pack office. Weight: 1,1kg

128GB USB key: To store mostly pictures from the trip.

Digital Camera: I have had to switch from analogic to digital since I couldn't develop the photos fast enough myself to share it as I travel. I opted for a compact. And I transport and protect it in a climbing chalk bag. Very convenient as you can tigh it around your waist



Wooden Chop sticks: These are lighter than silver ware and I actually enjoy a lot eating with these. Also I normally eat to fast This is a good way to eat slower

Knife: This knife is your best friend. First because you'll need it if you eat with chop sticks. Wether you go hiking, make your own food. It's a companion you'll need.

Tupperware: It is the key to save money. All summer long I ve made myself salads to avoid eating out. I still need to find a collapsable one. This way you'll save a lot of space.

Total weight of the bag is 12kg

I almost feel as light as a bird. Even though it does take a strong back and strong shoulders to carry it. But that's still a good performance when you don't sleep in hostels and need all the gearing possible. I ve not been gone long and I have used so far every single item of my bag.

Wanna get some more tips and tricks for light hiking. Check out my camouflage technique