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How Becoming a Minimalist Changed My Hiking Experience Forever

After years of hiking and travelling mainly by foot from state to state, and after I got a painful back condition, I finally did a major revision of the things I carried in my travel bag along with me at all times. It turns out, that a lot of the stuff I have literally been carrying on my shoulders for thousands and thousands of miles has been completely useless in the majority of the time.

  1. Reduce

First of all, reconsider the number of knives, multi-tools and tools you carry in your pockets, on your belt and in your backpack at all times. Also, get rid of the duplicated things, and all that gear which you have always thought could come in handy, but never actually does. Consider keeping a good, small pocket knife, and a good quality multi-tool in your pockets, especially if you are carrying a full sized knife and multi-tool in your bag. Carry a lighter, your wallet and just essential stuff.

  1. Revise

Revise the contents of your wallet as well. Take out all old, invalid cards, business cards, etc. which you will not be needing. Carry one or more bandanas with you – they are light and yet can serve so many purposes while on the road.

  1. Barebones

Keep a good quality, strong, pocket knife with a locking blade, a medium and super small screwdriver, a toothpick and the option for attaching a lanyard. It is best that the pocket knife comfortable fits into the watch pocket of your pants. One option which fits this description is either an 84 or 85mm Swiss army knife with only two layers.

  1. Remove the bulky items

Also, revise your personal safety kit and remove all unnecessary bulky things, just a small signal mirror, a whistle, a mini photon type light, a piece of pencil, a compass and just some other essential stuff.

With the small pocket knife in your watch pocket, you should only carry folded bandanas in your back pockets. Bandanas are soft and can serve multiple purposes when you are on the road.

  1. Remove/reduce the non-essentials

Make sure that you remove any unnecessary keys and stuff from your keychain as well. Leave your ID tag, a small light, a mini capsule with critical medication, a mini light, glow ring and a small lighter.

It may not seem so crucial if you just go outdoors and hike for several hours, but for people like me, who spend their life on the road and on foot, every single ounce counts. So, do some self-observation next time you are spending time hiking, and watch for the things you carry and the things you actually use. Decluttering will make one hell of a difference for your legs and back, I promise!