Okay, so you have the usual suspects – a good hiking pack, some comfy boots, a warm sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, a head torch etc….. You can’t leave home without these items full stop. But sometimes, it’s nice to have a little bit of ‘luxury’ when you go hiking, something that makes you really appreciate the little things in life. That’s one of the best things about going bushwalking – learning that you really can live simply out of what you can carry on your back!
I’ve been a keen bushwalker about 8 years now and, as you go along you learn what you need and what you really don’t need out there. There are the essential items, and then there’s a bunch of things that aren’t… but almost should be, if only to make you happier at the end of the day.
Here are some things I like to bring along to make my bushwalks just that little bit more enjoyable:
· - A good pillow! Nothing is more important than getting an amazing nights sleep after a big day on the trail. I have tried and tested so many different ‘pillow’ options in my time. From using a spare stuff sack and packing it with clothes, to super small blow up pillows. I now have what I consider the most amazing pillow ever! I have the Exped Mega Pillow, it weighs 170g, has a fleece liner and you just blow it up. It was a serious game changer in my hiking life. But hey, what’s right for one may not be right for another – but I do recommend, take the time to find the perfect pillow for you.
· - Some sort of lightweight chair..... the ability to get up off the ground and have some back support is so amazing, especially if it's wet and muddy. I am often copping curious looks from other hikers who don’t have a chair, yes it weighs about 700grams but for the sake of my back (and my bum not getting wet) it is so worth it! Have a look at Helinox for some good lightweight options
· - A book to read, to write, to draw, to colour etc. Don’t be that person who gets into camp, sets up, eats dinner and goes to bed as soon as its dark because there’s nothing better to do. Nowadays everyone hikes with their phones to take photos – download a book onto your phone, or find a nice lightweight one to carry with you. Even just having a notepad to write down a little journal of the day, or if you’re artistic draw a picture! If nothing else it could be a conversation starter with other people in the campsite.
· - I like to take something that I love to snack on.... lets face it, hiking food can be fairly un-inspiring, give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day, when you get to the top of that hill or once you cross that river. Everyone needs a little bit of motivation sometimes. My favorites to take are macadamia nuts, passion fruit, dried mango and peach….. a hip flask of port..
· Last, but definitely not least… a thermos! I fill it up in the morning so I can enjoy a cuppa at lunch without having to dig out my stove!
You can have all the essentials to keep you warm, dry and safe out there…. But don’t forget, sometimes it’s nice to have something to keep your spirits up after a hard days slog!