It’s Not You, It’s Me… Gear I Broke Up With On The Trail

Last week I shared my top five pieces of gear on my 2017 AT hike.  I cheated and added an extra and don’t even get me started on Fluffy and Puffy and Buffy!

I kept thinking of more and more things that would put a smile on my face when I pulled them out of my pack.

When you’re carrying so little for so far over such terrain, I think you’d better love everything.  There’s no room for meh.

Not every choice is a good one in the beginning, so this week I wanted to share a few things that I ended up sending home in a bye-bye box somewhere along the trail.  Things that didn’t live up to their promise or other people’s hype.

Next time, these are the things I won’t even bother with:

  1. Bounce box.  What a pain in the ass this was, bouncing a box from town to town up the trail so I could, theoretically, have clean town clothes to wear while doing laundry and refills on my favorite protein powder.  So not worth the time and the effort, hard to plan for and not once did I wear my town clothes. 

Not once.

I did replace a journal in New Jersey in what turned out to be a magical town run.  But mostly the bounce box was a big waste of time, effort, and money.

Who needs town clothes?

2.  Clothesline.  My hiking buddy Blue Stem carried and used his clothesline every day.  I don’t know why.  I had better luck letting my sweaty wet clothes just dry on my body rather than handing them up on a line where they festered in the humid air.

3.  Books.  I didn’t think I could go for so long without reading books, but you’d be surprised what you can learn to live without.  Don’t get me wrong… when I had a book, I loved it.  But I didn’t miss a thing when I decided to go bookless.   I did see a few tiny Kindles on the trail for the hard core bibliophiles out there.  The library in Palmerton has a pretty good selection of books for sale in its basement, too, BTW, if you insist, and I saw one tiny free library at a shelter once.

4.  AT Passport.  Another paper thing to try to keep dry that I never remembered to get stamped.  At some point I ditched it and if I did remember that stamping was a thing, I’d get my journal stamped instead.

5.  Map.  Nope.

6.  Pillow.  For all I went on about a pillow’s nonnegotiability before I embarked, it quickly went the way of the clothesline only because I found a better solution.  Puffy jacket inside Cuben fiber stuff sack swaddled in my wool Buff… ahh, heaven under my head.

There it is… things you, too, may want to do without, because it’s true what Mies van der Rohe said.  Less is more.

Less IS more when you’re trying to get through the Fat Man Squeeze.

Are you planning a hike or have you hiked already?  What piece(s) of gear are you on the fence about or did you ditch at the first opportunity?  Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.


P.S.  In case you were curious.  Puffy, Fluffy and Buffy are puffy down jacket, fluffy 20-degree down sleeping bag, and wool buff.  I’m smiling just thinking about them!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 1

  • Brandon Chase : Jan 17th

    Camp shoes! I totally understand their usefulness but hate the extra weight!


What Do You Think?