I’ve often wondered about lightweight backpacking in France. On the face of it much of the country has exactly the right conditions for it and yet on the trail you meet people carrying extraordinary loads. However, Nayana has written to tell me about the Association of Lightweight and Ultralight Hikers, L’Association Randonner Leger.
The Association’s website is one of the best I have seen, in quality rather than quantity of members. The site is, of course, in French but it is quite easy to pick your way through it and, of course, Google Translation works well on it. There’s a lot here on trips, gear and everything else you would expect
While the French often appear to be very chaotic to us Northerners they are fact more often than not very organised. The association has membership fees, rules and a constitution!
The Association organises regular ‘base camps’ or outings as we would know them. These are real outings which put the rest of us to shame. It looks as if they offer great hiking, wonderful food (would keep even Phil Turner happy) and lots of activity for families and children. Here are some of their photos:
Photos courtesy of L’Association Randonner Leger
It looks all good fun. I wonder if they would accept an ambassadorial visit from the UK?
I’m particular struck by the groups ‘Wiki’ which provides all kinds of base information for those wanting to explore lightweight hiking. The pieces here tend to short but informative. There are feature and reviews on lightweight gear (including some international favourites) and there seems to be a fair smattering of home made designs (or new cottage manufacturers). There are some interesting pack and shelter designs here.
The groups annual meet this year is in the High Pyrenees towards the end of July. If you are in the area keep a look out for them