Ultralight Travel

I love to travel.

Early on in my life, I’ve learned that experiences are everything to me. When I was in the service, I was in the infantry (medic) and everything I was allowed to take with me, anywhere in the world I was deployed (24 hours notice) I had two duffle bags and that’s it.

35 years later, when I go on a week trip, I take a legal carry on bag and a small daypack and that’s it. For this I have developed a minimal tenkara kit that I do not use for my tenkara, I use it for non planned trips.

But that’s not what this is about, it’s about lightweight travel.

For a week I take two pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, four shirts, a pair of sneakers, a hat, toothbrush and my medicine and that is pretty much it. Depending on the temp, I might take a minimal rain jacket or a puffy.

Everything I take must serve at least two functions.

I travel pretty light.

How do you do it?


I’ve backpacked and camped my whole life. A large part of my tenkara interest initially was because of backpacking. 25 years ago I was lucky to get away with a 40-50 lb pack. Over lots of changes and expense I’ve developed my own comfort system that is 12lb base weight system. I sacrifice some ounces for a larger, thicker exped pad for sleeping. This weight includes all clothing, two man pyramid tent, cook gear, quilt, pad, filtration.

It’s amazing what you can do without once you are honest with yourself.

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I spend almost every summer weekend hiking in Montana’s Beartooth Wilderness. Roughly 944,000 acres with 300 fishable lakes. I have an 8’x5’ wall map in the man cave and I “pin” all the lakes I’ve been to. I’m not a spring chicken anymore and I quickly learned how to adapt some of the UL ideas and gear into my backcountry fishing adventures. Now, my pack/sleeping bag/pad/tent weigh in at around 3.6 lbs…2 pounds LESS than my empty pack did just a few years ago. Makes the rugged trips at altitude much easier and more enjoyable. I use a variety of ideas and items, mostly from following Darwin on the Trail’s YouTube channel.

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@Kris.Franqui I’d love to see a picture of that map!

@TenkaraAddict New to this site, so I’m not sure if it worked or if you can see much since the map is so large.

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I used to do that when I was cross country soaring in my hang glider.

Very cool.

Interesting Kris, I’m looking at putting together a backpacking trip for next summer and have been looking at Colorado and Wyoming. May have to expand my search.

Lots of great opportunities (Wind River mountains in WY, for example), but if you search “Beartooth Wilderness” here in MT, you will get a flavor for what it’s like…MAGNIFICENT! Lots of access points, relatively few people, tons of fishing locations…I have friends that have spent 45+years hiking and exploring there, and that’s barely enough time to see it all. The “bible” for the wilderness is “Hiking the Beartooths” by Pat Marcuson and there is a downloadable pdf from MT FWP that provides all the information about the lakes needed to plan a trip. I would be happy to answer any questions.

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Zeroing in on the east side of the Sangre de Cristos. The logistics are better with our son living in Colorado Springs.

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I do that virtually with Google maps and Gaia GPS. I also scout out locations using both. Another fun way I scout out locations is using Google Earth in VR.

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I talked to my sister and she wants to go to Montana so we are headed for the “Beaten Path”.

Montana for Noah and I this summer…

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Where are you heading, Adam?

Visiting a friend, he will show us around.

We will fly into Bozeman with our tandem packraft, tenkara gear, backpacking kit and go from there. One week, haven’t set a date yet.