B est Packers Ever!

Imagine a medium-sized carpetbag that looks much like a regular handbag being plunked down on a table, and then the owner reaching her hands inside and pulling out… a coatrack, a large wall mirror, a tall plant, and a bedroom lamp! You’d be gaping and wondering what exactly is going on. What kind of super powers does she have? Or does she just know the art of compact packing to a major extreme?

Can you guess who I’m talking about?

Someone supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, of course! Yes, Mary Poppins, British nanny extraordinaire. In fact, her young charge does look under the table, but can’t understand how she manages to carry so many super-large items in her bag. The secret answer: a bottomless bag… with mirrors under the table to help the optical illusion along, and to block the bigger things from view.

Her frum counterpart, Savta Simcha, is famous for her amazing Shabbos bag, and carries around many big items like her giant samovar and even her pet birds.

Although Mary Poppins and Savta Simcha are fictional, people just love them, particularly for making packing (so stressful for so many of us) into something amazing, fun, and miraculous.

Who Needs to Know the Art of Packing?

The answer is everyone, unless you plan to spend your life never leaving your house. But what and how to pack depends on how you’re getting there (do you really want to pay $100 for oversized baggage to an airline?!), where you’re going (big difference between going to your aunt, where there’s a grocery store and Target around the corner, and hiking through unexplored wilderness in South Africa), and how long you’re staying. Backpackers might be exploring for months at a time, living out of a tent, with no washing machine nearby — but since they’ll be carrying everything on their backs, they don’t want it to be too heavy.

Lighten Up!

This is where ultralight backpacking comes in. It means carrying the lightest, simplest gear possible for a backpacking trip. The term “base pack weight” means the weight of the backpack itself, including whatever’s inside it and outside it. It doesn’t include food, water, or fuel.

So, how light is light, and how light is ultralight?

“Light” sometimes is used for backpacks and gear below 20 pounds (9.1 kg), while “ultralight” refers to backpacks and gear under 10 pounds (4.5 kg). But there are no hard-and-fast rules.

How do those weights compare to “traditional” packs? Traditionally, backpackers carry more than 30 pounds (14 kg), and sometimes up to 60 pounds (27 kg).

The Big Three Made Smaller

Reduce overall backpack weight by reducing the weight of your backpack, tent/shelter, and sleep system (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and ground cloth).

One adventure/hiking site recommends:

-Take a backpack weighing less than 2 pounds

-Take a tent/shelter weighing less than 2 pounds

-Take a sleeping bag weighing less than 1.5 pounds

These three rules will save most hikers between 10 and 12 pounds right off the bat. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 674)