I'm not a huge backpacker. So, why should you trust me? I backpack for reasons such as: getting somewhere remote to go for a bigger run, climb a multi-pitch wall or occasionally to just get out a little bit further.
Trust or don't trust it's up to you.
I had backpacked only once before I met my boyfriend. He seems to have this shit dialed. The first time we set out together he took one look at what I was squeezing into my pack and laughed. "Do you really think you need 3 sports bras for 3 days?"
Now I go backpacking with friends and find myself scoffing when they ask who wants to carry the wine. (I of course never regret having it).
Here are a few ways I have slowly whittled down my packing list for longer backcountry trips...
Bring one type of each layer and that's it. This means one pair of shorts, one pair of pants, one shirt and one sports bra (please bring multiple pairs of underwear if that's what ails you, I tend to bring one pair and then go commando, yeeehaw).
Freeze Dried Food
Yeah, it's great you want to cook cous cous and rice and have a master plan. Don't cook in your Jetboil or quick boiler or whatever you have (I use a MSR Reactor). You don't want to clean that shit, you're backpacking. Buy some freeze dried food, it's light, you have no dishes and it is actually pretty delicious. Mountain House is my go to... try the Chicken & White Bean Chili and the Breakfast Skillet
Get a Light Weight Tent & Sleeping Bag
Yes, these things can be pricey.. but we aren't car camping here people. Get a tent and sleeping bag that will take up minimal space in your backpack and is functional for what you're doing. A single wall tent is great because rain or shine, you're good to go. A packable 15-30 degree sleeping bag are perfect for spring/summer/fall and winter if you are on the warm side.
I'm OBSESSED with SteriPen's. First, make sure there is water where you will be camping/backpacking/walking. When you realize there will in fact be water, forget about your dromedary and just bring one Nalgene bottle. With a SteriPen you can drink as you go so you don't have to ever carry more than one liter of water. True bliss.