5 Things I refuse to ditch despite everyone’s advice
So in looking back at the things I dropped off in hiker boxes along the beginning of the trail, I had to take a look at the things that still remained in my pack. Most of these items make me look like the star of AT Hoarders, however here are just a few examples of things that two months in, I still think are worth the extra weight.
No I do not hike with makeup. I do however carry a roll of TP, a razor, a toothbrush and paste, lotion and Dr. B’s. I don’t get the clean mouth feeling from using Dr B’s as toothpaste and so I carry the real deal. I use lotion for everything and even though I don’t shave my legs super often, a girl’s gotta keep them pits under control!
Hiker BO is strong enough that this toiletry gets its own category. “You’re going to smell no matter what” Indeed, well despite this compelling argument, I still carry a travel size stick of deodorant with me on the trail. Why? Because. I put off smelling like a mountain troll a little longer, I smell and feel clean in towns, and because the routine of putting deo on in the mornings makes me feel a little more like a human being. While other hikers are embracing the funk of trail life to the maximum, I cling on a little bit. In the long run, I’d trade a few extra grams for that any day.
If you are planning on hiking the AT to escape the electronic world we live in, you are going to be in for a bit of a disappointment. Despite the fact that hikers are living in the woods for months, we are never really huffing it in the wilderness like our families back home imagine. We get to towns every few days for resupply, we update Facebook statuses and post photos for family and friends back home. Today’s advances in technology make it easier for even a thru hiker to stay connected even when traversing through mountains and valleys. I don’t feel like I’m cheapening my experience by bringing electronics with me, in fact I feel like I’m using them as a tool to record and document my experience. In my pack I have my iphone, my ipod, and a 7inch dell tablet. That is a LOT of electronics compared to the average hiker, but each one serves a different purpose. I keep my phone on airplane mode to conserve battery life and use it for taking photos. My ipod I seldom use, however it’s nice to listen to audiobooks and to have the occasional jam session without killing my phone battery (Seriously, I air guitar the crap out of my trekking poles when hiking alone). The tablet is definitely my luxury item and I use it as an eReader library and as my personal diary. It makes blogging and writing much easier, and we’ve even held Netflix movie nights at hostels. I can upload and store photos, diary entries, and more on the tablet and the total weight of my electronics and chargers is only around a pound. I haven’t had a problem keeping them dry and am definitely going to have a lot of materials after I’m done hiking that will let me re-live this experience.
I have a heavy swiss army knife with maybe ten or so different tools, and so far 8 have come in handy for fixing, opening or breaking stuff. Its heavy but I can open a wine bottle (or beer), sharpen a pencil and cut cheese with the same utensil.
Before I left for the AT my mom gave me a Vera Bradley wallet. I know a lot of people use little baggies made from ultralight materials and that I could easily shave several ounces off, but I like keeping my stuff organized and as I’ve already demonstrated, I like feeling pretty and girly from time to time.
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