13 Non-Essential Backpacking Items

Did you know we’re holding thousands of stories in the AJ archive? It’s true. All of which we’ve presented for free, all these years (Speaking of which, maybe you’d like to support our work here, or, even better, subscribe to the print journal, as a way to treat yourself?). Anyway, today, we wanted to bring back one of our favorites from the past for new readers to enjoy, and you longtimers to enjoy, again. – Ed.

So you’re going backpacking. You’ll have to leave a couple things behind. That sexy pair of high heels, a couple of your pillows, ice cubes, and no more beer than is absolutely necessary for survival. But fret not – you don’t have to give up all your creature comforts. The line between “necessary luxury” and “ridiculous” is a blurry one, and in the eye of the beholder.

1. Camp Stove Toaster
When it comes to non-essential items in the backcountry, bread is high on the list: squishes easily in a backpack, requires other perishable ingredients to make a sandwich, et cetera. But hell, if you’re taking bread, why not a six-ounce toaster?

2. Egg Holder
Fact: It’s gonna be tough to make omelettes if all the eggs break over the course of the 10-mile hike into your campsite. Explore other breakfast options, such as unbreakable packets of oatmeal, or get one of these. In two-, six-egg and 12-egg sizes.

3. Collapsible Whisk
Well, you’re going to look like kind of an amateur trying to use a mere fork to scramble those eggs you backpacked 10 miles in your above-mentioned Egg Holder, now, aren’t you?

4. Marshmallow Roasting Sticks
The name for these comes from the original piece of marshmallow roasting equipment found in nature by Boy Scouts for the past 100-plus years: sticks.

5. Grandpa’s FireFork
This stainless steel attachment fits onto a stick and pokes through a marshmallow or hot dog for roasting. Kind of a Marshmallow Roasting Stick for minimalists.

6. Pot Scraper
All those romantic hours you’ve spent sitting on a rock cleaning your cookset pot with a spork, spoon, or your finger? Gone, if you buy a .6-ounce pot scraper.

7. Stainless Steel Chopsticks
You can bring a spoon, or a spork, or a spoon and fork, or you can bring chopsticks. If you do decide to bring chopsticks to eat your backcountry mac and cheese with, don’t kid yourself and think you can just bring any pair with you.

8. Coffee Grinder
Sleep on the ground, dig a hole to poop in, drink water from streams, go days without bathing – but go without fresh-ground coffee? We’re not savages.

9. 3.7 mL bottle of Tabasco Sauce
To the extent of our knowledge, the smallest bottle of hot sauce available.

10. Nesting Wine Glasses
If you humped a box of wine all the way up the trail to your campsite, don’t go looking like some sort of rube by serving it in coffee mugs. Also not a bad idea for home if you have a tendency to knock things over after half a bottle of merlot.

11. Guyline Tighteners
Did you forget how to tie a trucker hitch? Get a pack of these.

12. Tent Fan
When you just absolutely have to get some air circulating in your tent, one D battery powers this little bad boy.

13. Whiskey
Just FYI, one six-ounce hip flask of whiskey contains about the same amount of alcohol as a six-pack of beer and weighs about four pounds less.



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