Its your burden

Everyone has something to say about packing, but I have to say I got to where I am today the hard way. Thirty something years ago I was an aspiring hitch hiker. I was heading to Europe to spend 3 months on the road without a car.
So I did a trial run; I hitchhiked from my home in Sussex to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Loch Long and back. It was a 7 day trip, and I was staying in Youth Hostels, so no tent, no sleeping bag, no cooking equipment. I would need all of those in Europe, but not for this trip.
So 7 days packing:
• 7 Shirts
• 7 pairs underpants
• 7 Pairs of socks
• 2 warm sweaters
• 4 pairs of trousers
• Bath towel
• Hand towel
• New tube of toothpaste
• New bottle of shampoo
• ½ pound bar of soap
• Etc.
You get the picture, 7 days with a 45 pound pack. Well it was a trial run and I learned that I carried a lot of stuff I didn’t need. The good news was that I already had everything I needed for my Europe trip, and more.
This time I packed for 3 months. I had a “Boy scout” 2 person tent, it was the lightest I could afford back then, a well used coffin shaped down bag, 3 pots, aluminum Knife fork and spoon, Camping gaz stove with a spare cylinder. And less clothing for 3 months than I previously packed for 1 week. I was down to 40 pounds.
Well long story short, I actually carried that burden for 5 months, through Amsterdam, Berlin (the wall was still up then), Czechoslovakia, Italy, Spain, Oktoberfest, and when I got home I was still carrying every pound, although I had lost a few pounds of body fat.
One year later, 1978, I walked the Pennine way, 272 miles, 16 days, 6 pound bag. Yes that’s not a typo, six pounds.
I can’t tell you what you need and what you don’t need, it’s your choice and your burden, but in the next couple of weeks I will give you my version of packing light.

Happy Hiking


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