My Íslendingasögur: Practice Runs With Pack

The trend today is ultralight everything, measuring every gram. Some people drill holes in their toothbrush handles. Ten years ago, it was not yet all the rage, so when the Canadian chain Hikers Haven closed down and sold its stock for pennies on the dollar, I bought three fancy German Deuter backpacks, then almost unavailable in North America. They were built for comfort rather than lightness.


They have an unusual suspension that keeps the pack away from your back, which ventilates to keep you cool and comfortable, not exactly a priority in Iceland. They are also infinitely adjustable, which is. But this all comes at a cost: It weighs in at 2.2 kilograms, or 4.8 pounds. An ultralight pack with the same capacity can weigh as little as 800 grams, or 1.76 pounds; that’s a big difference. Ultralights are cheap, too; there isn’t much to them, as they dispense with complicated frames. Theoretically, if you are not carrying the weight you don’t need these bells and whistles.

Then I took the Deuter for a spin today, twice up and down the Dorset Tower Trail, total of 5.2 Km. It was lightly loaded, with only a sleeping bag and a change of clothes, weighing in total about 12 pounds, a little less than half of my target total weight. I had to stop and adjust it a few times to get it right (there are so many adjustments to play with!) but really, I barely noticed I was wearing it.

It’s a bird in the hand, I own this thing of beauty (they retail for close to $200 so I might as well use it) and it’s comfortable as can be. It is, I think, a kilo worth carrying.

view from tower

And today, on my third try, I made it up to the mid level of the Dorset Fire Tower!

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