When hitting the trails for a solo trip or with the family – my packing philosophy is always geared toward carrying as little as possible and keeping the pack as light as possible. The last thing I need on the trail is useless gear that adds weight to the weight of my pack. While it’s great to be prepared for every situation, I don’t want to carry my entire life with me on every trip.
Backpacking and hiking for me feels like a chance to get closer to nature; therefore a “less is more” approach allows my time in the great outdoors to feel more like hiking vs. hauling. One of my favorite ways to work toward this goal is to use items that double their usage. Multipurpose gear saves space, weight, and sometimes, when the stars align, a multiuse item allows me to feel like the MacGyver of the backcountry. Here are just a couple of my favorite essentials.
Poncho - Nobody wants to be wet, so it’s safe to pack a poncho even if the forecast says it’s going to be hot, dry and beautiful. Luckily, the poncho has many uses for those dry days. A simple poncho can serve as a ground cloth, a much needed shade, a tent vestibule, and I’ve recently begun using it as a photography blind when snapping wildlife pictures. I never leave for a trip without a poncho and with it’s many diverse purposes, neither should you
Trekking Poles are a solid investment if you plan on doing some steep climbs and they also come in handy for a bunch of other stuff too. A trek pole can replace a broken tent pole; scare off a snake, or even serve as a monopod to capture that perfect mirror-image mountain shot with your camera. All while helping you propel yourself forward, increasing your speed, and helping to alleviate some of the weight you are carrying.
Bandana – The bandana is truly a godsend when it comes to camping. This little guy can be a lifesaver on the trails and showcase its use in a multitude of ways. I’m a big fan of using it a neck protector on those hot days, picking up hot pots from the fire with it, and in emergency situations, it makes a great water filter.
Pack light, move fast, and dominate the trails.