Take a realistic look at what you need.1 of 7
Before you shove all of your gear into your backpack, take an inventory of what you plan to carry. Do you really need to carry that Kindle or camping chair? Can you switch out your bulky cotton sweatshirt for a lightweight alternative? Does that entire jar of peanut butter really need to come along, or can you bring just enough in a Ziploc bag?
Water is one of the heaviest things you'll carry.2 of 7
If you're backpacking in a water-dense area, carry only the water you need in a small water bottle. Hydration packs can be unnecessarily heavy, but a lightweight water filter like the Sawyer Mini is a great alternative, and it even allows you to grab a sip of water directly from a stream. Of course, this tip only works if you're sure of the location and availability of your water sources. Otherwise, you'll want to carry enough water to make it to your next water source and a little extra for the unexpected. The last thing you want is to be in the backcountry without proper hydration.
Duct tape has many uses, but pack it properly.3 of 7
Duct tape is a backpacking essential and one of the most multi-functional backpacking hacks around. It can tape the sole of your boot back on, patch a hole in your tent, double as a heavy-duty bandage if you get a blister or help make a splint in an emergency. Duct tape should win an award for its many uses in the backcountry, but as useful as it is, don't bring the whole roll. To keep your duct tape lightweight, wrap it around your water bottle. This will ensure that you'll have it wherever you go and it will cut out the extra weight of the cardboard roll.
Resist the urge to over pack.4 of 7
Nearly everyone over packs while backpacking, but the last thing you want is to haul excess weight over mountain passes and finish your trip with clean clothes inside your pack. Aside from carrying two pairs of socks, you shouldn't have more than one of each clothing item in your pack. (Yes, even underwear. You can wash quick-drying underwear out each night and they'll be clean and dry by morning.)
It's the little things that count.5 of 7
The ounces add up to pounds, so look for places that you can trim excess weight, even if it seems minor. Many backpackers will remove the ends of their toothbrushes or cut off the extra length of strap that hangs from their backpacks. Pay attention to where you can trim, and then bust out those scissors and give them a workout.
Consider a lightweight tent.6 of 7
A tent is one of the heaviest items you'll carry while backpacking, so consider carrying an ultra light tent like the Big Agnes Scout Ultra Light 2 that uses trekking poles instead of tent poles and weighs under two pounds. Another weight-saving tip is to use rocks to stake out your tent instead of tent stakes.