Non-Essentials for Backpacking

Non-Essentials for BackpackingYou'll find countless guides on what items are necessary for backpacking and surviving in the wilderness, but there are many items that will add enjoyment to your trip that may not make these lists. Though you could live without many of these non-essentials if you had to, they will make your time in the backcountry much more pleasurable and efficient.

Camera and Journal

Documenting your trip is not only fun to do during the trip but allows you to look back on it and enjoy reflecting on your outdoor experiences. Some prefer to use only a small digital camera, but a weather-resistant journal such as those made by Write in the Rain is excellent to have in camp.


Camp Shoes

If you are on a long backpacking trip, don't begrudge the extra pound or so that a pair of sandals or light sneakers weighs. Changing into shoes that are more flexible and open than your heavy hiking boots will give your feet a chance to air out and relax.

Crazy Creek Chair

If you are on a long trip with several of your buddies, the time spent around the camp kitchen will be much more pleasurable when you have one of these chairs. They are flexible and soft and can double as a short sleeping pad if you are looking to combine comfort and necessity on a summer trip.

Reading Material

Bring a book to read for a few minutes in your sleeping bag each night if you are on a trip that is 2 weeks or longer. Compact paperbacks are recommended, unless you really want to trudge along with your 600-page "Collected Works of William Shakespeare."


Many explorers and trekkers have made it through expeditions without such things as an altimeter, but it can be fun to know what elevation you are at. Many altimeters have multiple functions, including detection of a high- or low-pressure air system moving through, which can give you a heads-up if there is a storm coming your way.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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