Stuff I Don't Bring Backpacking (anymore)

I understand the urge to pack ALL THE THINGS, but backpacking is way more fun when your backpack is lighter. Here's a list of things I used to carry but don't anymore. Learn from my mistakes! 

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Cute and absorbent, but solves a very temporary problem. Now, when I do my mini-shower at camp I just towel off with a spare layer or wait to air-dry. There's usually no need to use that much water anyway.

Camp Towel

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No matter how many days or weeks your trip is, you only need one base layer shirt. It helps if that shirt is merino wool, which is very breathable and naturally stink-resistant.  

Extra Shirts

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Gross? Not really. You can get clean enough without soap and it's more Leave No Trace friendly, plus one less thing to carry. (Tip: Use hand sanitizer after going to the bathroom.)


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Let's be clear: it's important to bury our poop (and pack out used TP). But you don't usually need a trowel to do it. Rocks, shoes, and hiking poles all work, unless the ground is super hard and rocky.

Potty Trowel

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Unless needed for water crossings, I've stopped carrying camp sandals while backpacking. I wear lightweight trail running shoes which are comfy and breathable, so I rarely feel a need to take them off at camp. 

Camp Shoes

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For more items to consider cutting from your packing list on your next backpacking trip, swipe up to read the full post at Exploring Wild.

This interactive trip planning guide is packed with checklists, key questions, and recommendations to take the worry out of planning your first or biggest backpacking trip.