What should I not bring backpacking?
We live in a world where we are told to be prepared for anything. This is very true when it comes to outdoor skills needed on the trail, but what about the actual physical items you need when backpacking - this can definitely be a case of 'too much' is not a good thing. It's much easier to be well prepared for anything for your home or work life, but it doesn’t translate to backpacking in the same way.
When it comes to backpacking, you’re out on the trails with everything you’re going to need for your date with nature. Because you are carrying everything on your back, it's important to pack light and bring only what you really need. You will learn through trial and error what those necessities are, but we like to give people new to the sport a leg up! Here are some things you should consider leaving behind:
It's best to leave behind any electronics that are not absolutely necessary for your trip, like your laptop or tablet. Not only do these items add weight to your backpack, but they can also be a distraction from the natural beauty around you. That’s what you’re there for after all!
Now, we’re not unreasonable, we understand that you’re going to maybe want to take photos of the trip, and that you might feel safer with a phone on you in case you run into some trouble. A cell phone is lightweight, and can fulfill both of these wants. Just note that as far as the phone goes, not all places have great reception, so that function could be shaky. If you’re planning on going to a more remote location, a GPS tracker might be a better option, and in that case, you can swap out a small GoPro camera, and leave the phone home all together!
Heavy items such as full-size toiletries or large books should be left behind. Instead, opt for travel-sized toiletries, or pack portions of these toiletries into smaller bags. If you enjoy some reading while you’re on the trail, we suggest either a small paperback, or a light e-reader device.
It is also essential that newer backpackers know that backpacking gear, and camping gear are very different from one another, even though they serve the same function. For example, a tent made for camping is going to be much bulkier and heavy than a tent made specifically for backpacking. The same goes for sleeping mats and bags, and of course… portable stoves… more on that later though.
When packing your clothing, try to only bring what you will actually wear. Leave behind items that are not necessary or that you can easily do without. It is also a good idea to choose clothing that is versatile and can be worn for multiple purposes. Now, this may strike a bit of fear into the hearts of some of you that are new to the sport, but you will only really need one outfit. We do recommend considering raingear and an additional backup layer in case the weather turns. Really, a spare pair of socks, in case your feet get wet, is all you truly need.
While it may be tempting to bring luxury items such as a pillow or a camping chair, they are generally not necessary and will only add weight to your backpack. Instead, choose lightweight and portable alternatives or make do with what you have. If you must have a pillow, most outdoor stores do have small sized (shockingly small) pillows, that weigh virtually nothing, and take up very little space. For sitting, we prefer a comfy tree stump, or rock. Nature provides!
Excess Food or Water:
It's important to have enough food and water for your trip, but bringing too much can weigh you down. Plan your meals carefully and bring only what you need, plus an extra day’s worth, for the duration of your trip. If you're unsure about water sources, bring a water filter or purification tablets instead of extra water. And even though they seem tempting, we would not recommend a metal water bottle. They are often heavy and bulky. It might seem crazy, but a used plastic water bottle will do the trick, and it will do it better. Besides, there’s no one you need to impress out in the woods!
The key to packing for a backpacking trip is to bring only what you need and to choose lightweight, multi-purpose items whenever possible. Littlbug camping stoves will help keep your pack light out on the trails! Our stoves are versatile, and built to work with either sticks and twigs or alcohol burners, so if you run out of alcohol, you can always find some fuel beneath your feet! (but those alcohol burners add on weight, so you can safely leave them behind) Our stoves are made out of durable material, and are made to last trip after trip. If you’re using nature’s fuel (sticks and twigs), we also recommend adding in a Fire Bowl that fits your Littlbug stove. This helps us Leave No Trace when exploring the backcountry.
When it comes to outdoor skills the more you bring along, the less you have to carry. Skills don't break and they're never left behind. They don’t leak, they don't tear, and they don’t get wet!