As my remedial “Backpacking 101” class approaches, I’m struck by the audacity of the desire to temporarily volunteer to be homeless for the weekend. Essentially that is what camping and backpacking are. For a few days (or six months if you thru-hike the AT) you cast off the modern conveniences of life, and instead take your entire world with you into some place where you wind up having to poop in a hole in the ground. What kind of craziness causes this? I’m not sure, but it’s fun. The nice thing is at the end of it all, provided your significant other hasn’t changed the locks, you can get back into the real world and take a shower. Of all the modern conveniences of life, mobile phones, the internet, microwaves… after a camping trip the hot shower seems like the best invention ever.
So, Here are some of the things I will be taking with me on my temporarily-homeless experiment. The Blue Beast is ready to go. I packed my food last week, does that show how much I’m looking forward to it? Most of these things are packed into their associated labeled bags, so I can pull out a bag and be ready to go for water filtration, sudden rainstorm, an emergency, etc.
Water Stuff: Camelbak reservoir, water filter, coffee filters for turgid water, and my dirty water bag for the filter. Also a little hand/pocket sized water bottle for the night hike.
Food: The Cat-Food-Can stove, windscreen cone, titanium spork, fuel bottle, squishy mug, titanium cup, plastic storage cup for everything, and lid.
Shelter: Hennessy Hammock Tent, Tree Straps, Rainfly tarp, Underquilt, sleeping bag, pillow and attachment ropes with two carabiners.
Hygiene bag: Toothbrush, baking soda, Poo Trowel, TP, Hand sanitizer, soap, wet wipes.
Bugs, Drugs and F*ckups: First aid kit, benadryl, ibuprofen, tums, matches, bug spray, eye drops, floss, fire cubes, space blanket.
Misc Stuff: Trekking poles, GPS, Knife, Head Lamp, Headphones for night, ear plugs,
Spare clothes: Socks, rain jacket, night shirt, hat and rain pants.
Of course, after a hike, it is always nice to change into a clean shirt and socks, so I’m bringing those to leave in the car.
It’s amazing to me how “clean” backpacking is. While people may get dirty, nasty and smelly, typically the whole experience is clean. In other words, there’s no clutter left about. Unless you have “staff” in your house picking up after you and dusting and cooking, everyone has some clutter around. Bits of school projects waiting completion on the counter, pots in the drain, that jumbled bookshelf…
In backpacking there’s none of that. You cook using your three little pots, then you put it up. You sleep, then pack away your bed stuff. Nothing is left out for later. When you walk away, that’s it. It’s all gone. No one should ever know you were there.
Like I said, clean. And simple too.
I’m glad to see Fall finally here. With cooler weather comes long sleeved shirts, jeans, comfy coats, fires in the fireplace, and our annual Angie’s Apple Adventure, scheduled for next month. Sky Top Orchards is a great place to go apple-picking, but that’s another post entirely.