In the context of backpacking, the concepts of ultralight and minimalism crop up regularly. Whilst generally meaning similar things I see a subtle distinction between ultralight backpacking and minimalist backpacking. To my mind minimalism implies a focus on both the reduction of the number and the weight of items carried even though this may have implications for the overall functionality of the ensemble of equipment. Ultralight implies an emphasis primarily on reducing the weight of the items carried. Travelling in a genuinely minimalist fashion might mean not taking a rain jacket as the weather forecast says there is only a 25% chance of rain. If it rains the minimalist might get wet and cold or have to turn back prematurely. An ultralight backpacker might take a lightweight rain jacket even though they may not need it. In the event that it does rain, the mountain peak which is the goal of the trip may not be a safe proposition without a rain jacket. Travelling ultralight means adopting a minimalist attitude to the extent that you have reduced where feasible extraneous equipment and superfluous items and you have chosen the lightest and most functional equipment for the job without compromising your safety, the safety of others or your ambition to accomplish the goal of the trip. On this basis I’m more of an ultralight backpacker than a minimalist. I choose to retain for contingency a small number of items which make it more likely that my trip will be a safe and successful one even though there is a chance I won’t need them. Nonetheless my pack generally weighs less than 3.5kg for a long weekend trip.