What is the lightest, cheapest hiking gear? No gear at all! A life with less stuff is a life with more room for beautiful thoughts and experiences. In that spirit, here is a list of gear we don’t plan to bring on our hike:

  • Camp shoes/sandals: no need, as we’ll spend most of our time hiking, not in camp.
  • Bowls and plates: we’ll eat straight from our pot.
  • Cooking utensils and silverware: bring only a spoon.
  • Extra clothes: one of each item suffices.
  • Pack lid: we won’t need the extra space.
  • Towel, pot holder, water pre-filter: use a bandana.
  • Pillow: a puffy jacket feels great.
  • Notebook/diary, GPS unit, watch/alarm: our phones replace these.
  • Whistle: our pack buckles and headlamps have these built in.
  • Shovel: use a stick, rock, or tent stake instead.
  • Car: we’re walking!

Backpacking is a great exercise in being temporarily homeless and self-reliant. You learn what you really need to survive — not much! Returning to civilization after a good hike, it’s informative to consider each of your possessions in light of this. Sometimes giving something away, or not buying something, removes stress and makes you happier.


  1. I found having a “proper” trowel really gratifying, especially if I were intending to follow LNT principles. Sometimes the ground is just plain tough. This is the one I carried (the small size) on my thru, and it was AWESOME. I cannot recommend it enough. It was worth it’s weight in gold (even after the rubberized coating peeled off). And hand made in the USA!



    1. Cool, it’s lightweight and made in the USA. I like that. If we decide mid-trip that we’re sick of digging with rocks and tent stakes, we’ll spring for this trowel. Thanks for sharing.


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