1. Ask whether you actually need to travel super-light at all. If shedding a few pounds is going to cost a lot of pounds I usually prefer just to have a slightly heavier pack and regard it as extra-training!
2. Having said that, it certainly is nice to travel light. A great way to do this on a long trip is to imagine you are going away just for a weekend. Because you do not actually need a lot more gear for a year-long journey than an over-nighter.
3. From ‘Three Men in a Boat’ I learned that I must not take the things I could do with, but only the things I could not do without. Don’t try to cover every possible contingency.
4. Take a good book. I always deem a book worth its weight anyway, but they also double as toilet paper. Always read absorbing books.
5. Don’t bother with a towel – use your socks or just get dressed wet.
6. Decide what ratio of comfort:misery you are willing to tolerate. I now deem a 3/4 length Therm-a-Rest to be essential rather than luxury. I have also suffered too often from planning a trip from the comfort of a nice warm house and making decisions like “oh, I won’t bother with any food or warm clothes. I’mll just suffer a bit.” Easier said than done!
7. Don’t automatically choose a lightweight backpack. On a recent trip I saved about 1kg by using a very light pack. My shoulders and hips rubbed raw and I cursed the lack of padding.
8. I don’t care about being smelly, but I do care about being cold or hungry. This determines my selection of kit as much as anything. In other words, leave the spare pants behind, pack another bar of chocolate.
9. A bit of discomfort is a small price to pay for bringing simplicity, minimalism, and a lightweight ethos to your trip.
10. Any fool can be uncomfortable.