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Luxury Backpacking Supplies to Bring

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Why am I writing about luxury backpacking supplies on a site that is all about keeping that pack weight down? Two reasons. First, there are some items that can add a lot of comfort and pleasure to a trip without adding much to your pack weight. Second, I go light not to prove anything, but to enjoy myself more, and reducing the weight of other items allows us to add back a little weight in luxuries.

Recently (summer 2009) I was exploring some mountains here in Colorado on an overnight trip. My total pack weight was under twelve pounds (and under ten pounds once the food was eaten). But even at that light weight I still had two "luxuries" with me. One was a GoLite "Nest," a screen tent to pitch under my tarp. With mosquitoes out that night I really appreciated that. I usually just sleep on a piece of plastic under my tarp, but this weighs only 17 ounces and worked well.

Also, because I stayed many hours in the tent to avoid the bugs, I really enjoyed having my MP3 player along. It is something I never brought before, but it only weighs about an ounce or two. I listened to hours of audio books and seminars before going to sleep. If you bring an MP3 player, be sure to load a lot of music or books and bring an extra battery.

Another really light item that can add a lot of comfort to t trip is a piece of closed-cell foam sleeping pad cut to about 12 by 16 inches. Mine weighs around an ounce, and fits in the pack nicely for extra padding against my back. What it's really good for, though, is to provide a cushioned and dry place to sit so you don't have to sit directly on cold rocks or wet tree stumps.

Heavier Backpacking Supplies

You don't have to limit your comfort and pleasure and fun items to ultra-light items. In fact, after that last trip I finally bought a fifteen-ounce two-inch-thick Big Agnes sleeping pad to replace the four-ounce foam pad I normally use. I need to sleep better next time, and I think I can afford the extra eleven ounces.

Think of it this way: If you can comfortably carry 17 pounds in your frame-less ultralight backpack, and you cut the total pack weight down to 12 pounds for a weekend trip, you can add back up to five pounds of luxuries and still be going relatively light. That's leaves a lot of options open. here are some luxury backpacking supplies you might consider:

Pillow

Coffee maker (press type)

Bag of wine (bottles break)

Folding chair (the frame-less kind)

DVD player and couple movies

A full sized towel

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Hand-held video game

Kite and string

Small laptop (one of the 3-pound ones)

Now I know that some who read this will say that many of these items have nothing to do with backpacking and detract from the experience. After all, we have all probably seen teenagers hiking past ignoring every bit of nature as they listen to their music. But a movie would be nice if you have to wait out a blizzard in a tent, and there is nothing wrong with a comfortable seat or cup of wine. In any case, isn't it presumptuous to think we know what other people's backpacking experiences should consist of?

My own luxury backpacking supplies include a three-ounce chess board and pieces that I sometimes bring, and occasionally some heavy plant identification books. Okay, I am still mostly a minimalist. But I might bring an Amazon Kindle with me once I buy one. A whole library of hundreds of books for less than twelve ounces! Not a typical item on my list of backpacking supplies, but it sure would be nice on long rainy days under the tarp.



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The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Luxury Backpacking Supplies