Packing Philosophy

Living on the road requires us to be comfortable enough to keep going but not so comfortable that our comforts are a burden. We came a long way to find the balance between comfort and lightweight when it comes to packing.

Something New, Something Used and Most things Tried and True

Ever since we met we have been packing for this trip. On our first 5-day hiking trip to the Appalachians, we carried a 4-man Coleman tent and enough weight in our poorly fitted bags that we both had bruised hips. This painful memory led us down the road of lightweight camping, to the point of measuring out our cooking fuel as to not have more than a few extra drops on the final day. We have cramped ourselves in a tiny tent with one wet wall and we have gone hungry on more trips than less. We have now decided that instead of making brief jaunts here and there, we want to live a life on the road. However, we don’t want to tow a portable toilet nor a shower either. Our packing philosophy is therefore somewhere in between.

For this trip we have a Big Agnes Copper Spur tent which we can sit up and change in with two doors. We also went with cushy 3.5 inch sleeping pads. We brought hammocks for those hot and humid nights or when road weary we just want to throw something up and get some z’s. We will bring a tarp for long term camping or to cover the trikes for extended stays. We also have a small frying pan for eggs or multi-dish meals. These are luxuries if you’re backpacking lightweight in the woods, but they’ll also allow us to be self-reliant and not be tempted too much by restaurants and hotels.

Since we will be self-reliant, we will not rely on others to mail us clothes.  We will carry clothes for every season. We are also bringing more than one set of clothing for laundry purpose. Having clean clothes is essential to keep us comfortable, and even to morale on the road. Many of the clothes we bring can be worn separately in warm climates, or layered for warmth in cold climates. There is the temptation to buy the latest, warmest, lightest and most waterproof products that have come out since we started assembling our gear 5 years ago. However, what we have works and the less money spent on gear, the longer we can adventure.

Not only are new things expensive, they are also a burden when living on the road. Anyone who has traveled has seen “that guy” and thought, I’m not even a criminal and I want to rob him. Decked out in brand new shiny hiking pants, shirt, hat, boots, and bag, “that guy” wanders around in a modern city somewhere in Asia or South America whereas his regular old clothes would have done. With this in mind we have repaired many old things. We made our own panniers out of old bags instead of buying them new. A new small laptop would be great but a Bluetooth keyboard will do for our even smaller tablet. GoPro’s are ubiquitous and tempting but we both have very nice cameras. In short, we didn’t want to make ourselves a target nor could we rationalize the cost of buying new things when we have old ones working perfectly.

With these in mind we have tried to strike a balance in order to live on the road. Hopefully we won’t be slogging up a hill cursing any of our choices, but if we do we can always give them away.

For climbing gear, we decided on the longer rope after long debates. One of the advantages of a longer rope is if you cut off the worn ends you still have a useable length of rope. We also bought the Hoodwire Quickdraws for this trip, which are 50% lighter than the assorted draws we inherited… and they’re shiny!

If you want to see a detailed list on the things we are bringing, please click here.