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!



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