As I’ve mentioned before, I hadn’t had a good look at camping gear in decades, because it was too painful. Now that I’ve been surfing Pinterest for hiking and backpacking articles, I’ve found a lot of stuff a serious lightweight backpacker doesn’t need, but also several items and ideas I’m going to incorporate. Here they are:
Head lamp: No more need for a flash light, no trying to hold a flashlight in your mouth without drooling, and also no need for a lamp that can hang somewhere, and a tent that has that somewhere to hang it. And a head lamp can also be hung somewhere, so it serves multiple purposes, which I love.
Camera backpack straps: You can now get short, special straps to attach your camera to your backpack’s shoulder straps. I can’t wait to get those! I messed up my neck decades ago, and not having the weight of my camera around my neck will be wonderful. I’ve tried softening and spreading out the weight a bit by using one of those car safety belt covers, but that’s bulky and hot. This will be perfect!
At fifty-five, I can’t sleep on the ground anymore. My hips will not stand for it. Fortunately, inflatable sleeping pads have gotten a lot lighter and more compact in the past twenty-five years. Let’s hope they can take my weight!
Dehydrator: When I last went backpacking, you could either buy those ridiculously expensive, small, special backpacker meals that come in bulky bags, or you could put together your own minimal gas-consuming meals with the limited dried food options available in regular grocery stores. In Holland there were packets of instant stamppot, with mashed potato powder and dehydrated vegetables. After hiking all day in the mountains, these meals were heavenly, but when I had one at home the day after getting back from a vacation (I wanted to keep the vacation feeling going), it was awful. We also had nasi goreng mixes, which are a lot like the kind of dehydrated vegetable bits that come with Ramen bowls. Now I can buy my own dehydrator, so I can make my own delicious pasta sauces and soups and then dehydrate them and grind them into powder. Woohoo! We’ll be eating Nigerian peanut soup on the trail!
Dehydration is a good thing for tail food–not for trail people. I seem to need more water now than when I was younger, so apart from the tea and soup I made back then, I think I’ll add some nice cold water, sipped straight from the stream through a little filter straw. That’s going to be awesome!
Tortillas: For bread I used to pack Ryvitas, but here I can pack tortillas! You can just shove those in any which way, without having to worry about them crumbling to bits. They’re heavier, but they also pack more calories. Brilliant! Also, spelt crackers don’t crumble as easily as Ryvitas and they have more flavor and nutrients.
Protein bars: protein, calories, small, nuff said!