One way to lighten up on the trail is to make sure you are getting the most out of everything you carry. Why pack two things if you can get away with one? Each of these three items should perform at least double duty.
1. Base layer, sun shirt, and pajamas. My choice for all three is a Patagonia Capilene 2 long-sleeved tee. I like hiking the JMT at the end of the season, so a long sleeved shirt is comfortable even in the middle of the day while climbing a pass. It also gives me 20-UPF sun protection. It’s comfortable against the skin as a base layer that I can wear under either a light rain jacket or something more robust while relaxing in camp if I get cold. At night I pair it with a set of silk-weight long underwear, which means I can carry a higher temperature-rated sleeping bag. My personal experience with Capilene is that it doesn’t absorb body odor and it has a very long life span. I’ve worn these shirts for years.
2. Trekking poles. This may be the year that I go with tent that is more like a tarp. I’m particularly impressed with this (or at least with the photos). Regardless, with all the choices out there today it doesn’t make sense carrying trekking poles AND tent poles. (Here’s another that comes in under two pounds.)
3. Phone, trail guide, GPS, and camera. During may last JMT thru-hike I carried four electronic devices: a phone, a GPS, a camera, and a SPOT. Combined they were well over twelve pounds. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think I can shave just a bit off that weight. I’ll still carry a paper map (I describe the reasons why, here), but the GPS, trail guide and phone will all be in one device. And, although I don’t own a phone with a good enough camera, now, there is no doubt that some phones have cameras that are plenty sufficient for most JMT hikers.
From the beginning, ultralight enthusiasts have not only recommended carrying light stuff, they have also been proponents of multi-use items. These three are a great place to start.
Good hiking, Ray