How many times have you looked out the window at gloomy skies and decided to take an umbrella, not because you might need it, but because if you don’t bring it you feel you’re tempting the rain? That’s Murphy’s rule of packing having its wacky effect on your life — and your packing decisions:
If you don’t pack it, you’ll need it; and if you pack it, you won’t need it.
Any time you pack for a trip, you have to balance bringing what you think you might need and bringing the minimum necessary to make the travel easier. When it comes to packing for a solo camping or hiking, however, this balance is trickier — you want to have the equipment you’ll need to deal with problems that arise, but you don’t want to have to lug around too much.
Which brings us to Rule Number 4:
Pack the right equipment.
The right equipment will be the most efficient equipment for your intended journey. Just like you wouldn’t pack flip-flops and shorts for a ski trip, you don’t need a camp stove for a short hike.
Keep in mind the purpose of your trip when you’re considering equipment. When car camping, if I’m going for more than a couple of nights, I might bring a camp stove and cooking equipment. Most of the time, however, I pack food that can be prepared without the rest of the equipment, to limit what I need to take.
The equipment checklist can help you think through what you might need. There are some things I never leave behind:
- First Aid Kit
- Cell Phone
On longer hikes, I also always bring an extra layer of clothing.
Just keep asking yourself what your intended trip will be like, and when in doubt, particularly in regards to safety items, food and water, it’s best to err on the side of inclusion.
Within reason, of course. You probably won’t need that evening gown or…sorry…the Louboutins.
What equipment can’t you live without?