You will oft read me say that “such and such” is an important skill, but Cross Packing is one that stands out as being incredibly important every time you Hike. Whether you are hiking for a day, or going on a multi-day hiking trip, if you have two or more people you should actively cross pack.
What is Cross packing? The concept is one that you will no doubt be familiar with if you have done some hiking in the past, even if you have never called it by name. Often there are large or heavy items that can be shared between multiple people on a trip together. These include things like hiking stoves, tents, food, even things like a first-aid kit. These big-ticket items are quite heavy or cumbersome in terms of size, but between Liz and I for example we only need one tent and one first-aid kit. Why would be both carry things like this when we can share? We wouldn’t.
There are more complex strategies to cross packing though. For example, while I carry the tent, I make sure that Liz is always carrying a tarp and rope. This means that should we for any reason get seprated, we will both have a form of shelter. We both carry a stove each, I usually carry the MSR and food that can be cooked on the MSR and Liz will carry the Trangia and food that can be cooked on it. While this sounds like we have over-thought the situation, by cross packing intelligently, should we ever get lost, we can both survive quite comfortably without each other.
Next time you hike try packing with a buddy and sharing some of the items that you dont really need to take two of. This can help you shed some weight that you could carry for an entire trip without using, and also make you a safer hiker.
Not sure on what to pack? Check out this Hiking Check-list.