There are a few things I never leave at home when I’m going on a backpacking trip (besides the obvious gear like a tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag). These are definitely not necessities, more like backpacking luxuries…
1. P Thing. Girls, this handy little device is amazing! Think about this: you’re hiking on a trail with your 30lb pack on your back and you have to pee. You take your pack off and accidentally set it down in mud, then go find a semi-secluded spot off the trail and pop a squat, but you’re on a hill and soak your boots. Dammit! With this girly-tool, you can leave your pack on, and pee standing up. So freaking convenient. There’s a bit of a learning curve with this, so I recommend practicing in the shower before breaking it out on the trail.
2. Thermarest compressible pillow. I’m a side-sleeper and need a substantial pillow to get a decent night’s sleep. This pillow is SO worth the space it takes up in my pack. I’ve tried out other pillows that fold up into nothing, and I just can’t do it. During my trip to White Sands, I forgot this pillow. I used my backpack as a pillow and that was ok in a pinch.
3. Silicone coffee drip. A necessity for this coffee-addict.Having camp-coffee in the morning is a sacred ritual for me. It could taste like dirt water and I would happily gulp it down for the sole reason of being out in the morning wilderness with a cuppa.
4. A book. Once the day is done and the sun has gone to sleep, I love to get cozy in my tiny tent, rest my head on my super comfy Thermarest pillow, and read. It’s my perfect wind-down before drifting off to sleep
5. Battery pack. Mine also serves as a light. When I was backpacking at 11,500 feet elevation, my battery life on my phone was non-existent. Higher altitude can drain your battery quickly. I went from 80% to dead in about an hour. I use my phone to take pictures of my experiences, so having battery life to do so is essential to me, along with safety reasons for carrying a working cell phone as well (although I do have a Beacon).
Ultralight backpackers would probably hang their head in shame after reading this, but these few “luxury” items are worth the extra weight for me.