Lighten Your Load
Here's an idea to help lighten your backpack on group trips: leave at home those items everyone else may have anyway. Neither of the guides on my first winter BWCA trip brought a knife, saw, or hatchet. Whenever they needed one, they simply asked, “Does anyone have a (fill in the blank)?” Within seconds they were enthusiastically presented with a dizzying assortment of knives, folding saws, and gadgets, their owners anxious to show off their great new gear! It was amazing, and fun to watch.
Email is great for planning trips. A few messages helps lighten everyone's load. When I lead a youth trip, I need to pack what we'll need. But when I trip with a larger group, I go pretty light.
And besides all that--you can get by with much less than you think! On my one solo warm-weather trip (Quetico), I brought neither a saw nor a hatchet. However, on my one solo winter trip (BWCA), I brought both.