I've heard a lot of discussions about what items you should pack when venturing out on an extended backpacking trip (Top 10 List Below!). For particularly long trips, experts know that every ounce makes a big difference, which is why they try to pack as light as possible. Meaning, do not bring anything you don't need or is considered non-essential. This may sound like logic 101 but most people will counter with "But I really like having this..." (Even though it's not something you need like first-aid supplies or a knife).
Can we make exceptions? Well, everyone is different so it mostly depends on your goals. The true minimalists will say no way and deprive themselves of anything unless it is essential. Then there are some who want to bring everything including a kitchen sink! Usually these people learn quickly that carrying 35 pounds for 100 miles is WAY harder than carrying 25 pounds for 100 miles. Most of us are somewhere in between. We like to have a fun time but also want a bit of a challenge. Sometimes I feel like more of a challenge than other times, so I have come up with a solution. I allow myself ONE luxury item. As a result, I thought for a while what this item would be for me. Not too long ago, SCS sent out a newsletter asking folks to submit us their favorite luxury items for their trips. We'll share these results with you, and at the end, I'll reveal what MY pick is!
Top 10 Luxury Items (from readers like you):
10. Deck of Playing Cards
We were informed this person has created a 2 player game that involves tossing the cards in to the fire throughout the game. Obviously, you can only play it once, but the outcome determines who gets to designate each task among the 2 of them! Which reminds me, we have a great outdoor card game that also comes available in 'mini' for the ultra light backpacker.
This was a common choice. Many famous backpackers opt for this item as well. They report often throwing pages into the fire after they have read them. What's with this 'throw everything in the fire' theme?
8. Music Playing Device
Whether it's a smart phone, MP3 player or an old cassette tape, people love their music no matter what they're doing. I guess this isn't really a surprise then.
7. Sling shot
Now the pickings are become a bit more obscure. Apparently this person says it's "just for target practice and fun".
Since when are dogs considered luxury items? I suppose there is some rationale here, maybe they meant the extra supplies that go along with bringing your trusted companion (extra food, water, leash, etc...). Although if they're anything like Kiya, she hunts her own food and has no problem finding natural water sources along the way!
This is a good tool to have. Machetes can often be extremely useful and almost a necessity in certain cases. In addition, they're fun to play with (even though we don't recommend it). I guess that's what makes it a luxury to some people.
The argument here is that this item serves multiple purposes. 1) It's a walking stick. 2) It's a sun shield. 3) It protects you from being rained on, obviously. Logical enough.
A lot of people regularly express their NEED for coffee. In that case, perhaps this item is actually more of a necessity... for some!
2. Air Mattress or Pad
Who likes sleeping on cold hard ground? Not me! I live within the Appalachian Mountain regions and it is very hard finding some flat, soft soil to pitch a tent on.
If you didn't figure it out already, this is the item that I chose. I can't stand going more than 2-3 days with no shower. The feeling of being sticky and slimy is just... YUCK! Of course cold showers are no good either, so this is the next best option for me. Unfortunately it takes up some pack space and weighs a good pound or 2, but let me tell you, I NEED this!
Hey, let's continue the discussion! Let us know (via the comment section below) what item(s) are your luxury. Everyone has different opinions, sometimes they have valid reasons and other times... let's just say it's entertaining!