I spend a lot of time in the mountains, and usually I am trying to go fast - either because I am running an ultra marathon, or simply because speed means safety.  As such my kit needs to be functional and reliable and above all: light weight.  Yes, I am one of those mountain people that saw off the handle of their toothbrush to save space and weight; you can imagine that I pay great attention to the weight-to-value ratio of my gear, no matter if it's the caloric density of my preferred nutrition or the empty weight of my backpack.  Read on for a summary of my lightweight favorites, gear that accompanies me on just about every mountain adventure.  

  • Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z (295g / 10oz)
    I rarely ever go for a long run, big hike or heavy carry without trekking poles.  Black Diamond's excellent Distance series is not just comfortable and lightweight, but also sturdy enough to withstand some serious abuse - mine have been up and down Aconcagua, run a couple 100-Mile races with me, and kept me balanced while carrying a 70lbs pig down from the top of El Capitan. 
 22,862ft: Me and my BD poles on the summit of Aconcagua

22,862ft: Me and my BD poles on the summit of Aconcagua

  • Backpack: Hyperlite Southwest 4400 (1005g / 35.4oz)
    Hyperlite Mountain Gear has taken the market by storm, establishing itself as a leader in topnotch UL gear for extreme backcountry adventure essentially overnight.  Because who wouldn't love a near-indestructible pack that's waterproof and weighs almost nothing?  Exactly. That's probably why a recent backpackers.com review of the Southwest closes with "I might consider proposing marriage to the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400, except for the fact that I’m already taken..." - I pretty much agree, though I prefer the larger 4400 version since its size allows me to hump Himalaya-expedition-worthy loads when necessary.
 The Southwest 4400 high up on Kusum Kanguru, a rarely climbed technical peak in the Khumbu / Nepal

The Southwest 4400 high up on Kusum Kanguru, a rarely climbed technical peak in the Khumbu / Nepal

  • Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest Neo Air X Therm Max (430g / 15oz) 
    A sleeping pad with a high R rating is critical for my high altitude climbs and treks where it's not unusual for me to see temperatures near zero degrees Fahrenheit inside my tent at night.  With an R rating of 5.7, there's no better lightweight solution than Therm-a-Rest's Neo Air X Therm.  Good insulation means better chances for a good night's rest means more energy for long, hard days at altitude! 
     
  • Upper Body Attire: adidas Outdoor Terrex Skyclimb top  (192g / 6.8oz)
    I just recently got to add this top to my wardrobe - thank you adidas Outdoor! - and it has already become my new favorite piece of clothing.  In addition to being lightweight, the Skyclimb top has a super flattering design and wears like a dream - it is soft and fluffy but supremely functional, dries quickly and provides excellent temperature regulation.    
 the adidas Outdoor Terrex Skyclimb top: super versatile, super comfortable, super functional.  

the adidas Outdoor Terrex Skyclimb top: super versatile, super comfortable, super functional.  

  • Mountain Boots:  Salomon S-LAB X ALP Carbon GTX (1000g / 35oz)
    This boot is currently unbeatable in its category: it's light, crampon-compatible, waterproof, and climbs well.  I reviewed it in detail a few months ago - take a look at the original post here if you want to know more.   
     
  • Solar LightLuminAid PackLite 16 (85g / 3oz)
    I have been traveling with LuminAid's PackLite ever since getting a Cairn box that included this awesome solar light.  The PackLite provides up to 30 hours of light bright enough to read by, is waterproof, charges well, and packs up into a convenient compact format that carries on the outside of your pack as easily as a luggage tag.  
 The PackLite 16 on top of Surya Peak, Langtang National Park / Nepal 

The PackLite 16 on top of Surya Peak, Langtang National Park / Nepal 

There you have it: ~3kgs or 6.6lbs of awesome gear that covers most of the essentials; just add a pair of pants, sleeping bag, and food/water.  Speaking of - if you've got recommendations for pants / sleeping bag / other fabulous lightweight items, I'd love to hear them.  Comment or DM me on Instagram