In Alaska, if you want to have fun in the summer, it means that you are probably hiking to it. Most every incredible area involves some form of a hike or backpacking trip in order to get to it. You could take off road vehicles, but even then, you generally have to hike a great deal of the way. But if you are going to do it, you have to make sure that you are doing it right or it could potentially cause you or someone else their life.
The most important thing to remember about light hiking is that if you are doing it, you aren’t meant to go a long distance. If you are planning on traveling for more than 5 hours, especially in Alaska, Montana, or other areas with a great amount of wilderness, then you are going to want to backpack. This is just in case you get stuck somewhere and have to make camp. Anything under 5 hours, then by all means, light pack it. This of course doesn’t really apply if you really know the area well and know that you can make it out for certain without a heavy pack.
The light pack is essentially going to consist of everything that you need to make it through a short trip. You want to pack for upwards of 10 hours, even if you are going for only two. You never know what is going to happen, so make sure that you pack smart and prepare for anything. There are wild animals out there, so who knows what could happen.
The most important thing that you need to do before leaving is file a travel plan with someone, preferably with a ranger station or something along those lines. Then if you don’t return by a specific time, they can send out the search parties for you. If you don’t do this, by the time they were to figure out you were missing and eventually find you, it could be several days and by then it could very well be too late, especially with only a light pack.
In your light pack you should include a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, drinking tablets, matches/lighter, a camel-back pack-pack drinking system, a large swiss army knife, compass, map, sunblock, sunglasses, walking stick, food packs, and a hatchet. You will also want to make sure that you are wearing a bear bell on everyone that is traveling in the party. NEVER TRAVEL ALONE!
It is always recommend that you bring lots of carbohydrates, so for this purpose, trail mix is a great choice. I generally pack lots of beef jerky, trail mix, and smoked salmon. Between all of that I have more than enough protein and carbs to make it through the trip with loads of leftover energy.
The key in light hiking is that you stay hydrated, so make sure that you bring a large bladder for your camel-back. As long as you stay hydrated and watch what you are doing, you should have great trip, just make sure that someone knows that you are there and when to expect you back. This will ensure that you have someone looking out for you if you were to get lost or injured and couldn’t get help yourself.