I did a test pack of my backpack the other night and it weighed only sixteen pounds! Add in water and a couple of items I forgot to throw in, and it will still only weigh twenty pounds. That’s ultralight backpacking! Woohoo!

To fully understand my enthusiasm about this, you have to first know that when I flew to Ireland in 2005, I had a backpack, a large carry-on, and a duffel bag that I could have slept in. So managing an ultralight backpack is truly an accomplishment.

And there’s always the obvious: I’m going to be carrying the dang thing on my back for months.

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