Kelly Kitchens, founder of MacLife, was the guest speaker at my college backpacking class recently, and brought us up to date with the state of the art when it comes to ultralight backpacking. Kelly Kitchen and other proponents of ultralight backpacking get their pack down to 12 or even 8 for an overnight trip, including food. This is in contrast to the usual backpack weighing in at more like 30 pounds. The secret: don't take anything you can do without.
I thought I was already practicing that rule, but too often my pack felt like my partner's pack (pictured in the photo) when we did the Ptarmigan Traverse many years ago.
Some ways to achieve the 12 pound packweight: a 10 oz backpack, a tarp instead of a tent, a tiny MSR water treatment pen instead of a water filter, a super light sleeping pad, a pop can alcohol stove (similar to a Trangia) instead of something like a Snow Peak or an MSR stove, a tiny headlamp like the Petzl Zipka, and a super light down sleeping bag.
Places to see some real ultralight gear: