Our favorite non-essentials
You know how it goes. Ounces turn to pounds, and those pounds are what you have to carry when you’re hiking, backpacking, or climbing. We are constantly looking to shave the weight: balancing need and want, safety and convenience. While we are big proponents of lightening the load, there are some items, luxuries if you will, that we like to have with us if possible.
A little extra weight? Meet our favorite non-essential items
There is an abundance of yummy recipes and pre-made foods for backcountry cooking. A little sauce can make the food legendary. If you find yourself in a backcountry environment with different groups of people, different hot sauces - like the ubiquitous Huy Fong’s Sriracha, Tapatio, Cholula, etc – turn in to an alpine currency You’re the envy of others. Meals are better. (Naturally, we advocate feeling what sauces work with your digestion track. Safe travels)
A shameless plug here, but it is true! Down booties are the bee’s knees for camp environments. Get out of the stinking boots (and let them dry) as your feet bask in lightweight down warmth. A year-round winner. Super bonus awesome in the snow.
Books are a great companion, especially on longer trips. Soak up the down-time with pages from your favorite series or author. The drawback? Books are bulky and can be heavy. While there is nothing that can replace the sounds and feel of the page, an e-reader (the e-ink type) is a fantastic alternative because of their low-profile size, battery life, and capacity to hold many, many books. Never find yourself with nothing to read.
Flask (and the contents that go in it)
Well researched and publicized, drinking (especially when it’s cold) isn’t always the best idea. That certainly applies if you’re in an emergency. However, longer outings get a little boost from spirited friends. It also works well for social bonding.
While many of us will put our gear, like down jackets, to use as a makeshift pillow, having a dedicated pillow that is… actually a pillow can be nice. We spend so much of our time at home using a pillow, only to abandon them on the trail. Taking up a little space and tacking on a tiny bit of weight goes a long way for the many nights in the sleeping bag.
We had a bit of a debate here at Feathered Friends. While most of us agree that music is a non-essential, the way the media is stored makes it nearly seamless to piggyback it to an essential. What do we mean? A lot of us here use our phones as GPS devices (they are some nifty apps that are quite solid) and to connect to two-way satellite communicators (such as Spot or InReach). This doesn't add any weight. The only issue is combating battery life.
Get out there!