Backpacking has a way of weeding out what is unnecessary. It makes you understand why there were so many discarded items along the Oregon Trail. If you have to carry it on your back for any length of time, whatever it is had better be pretty important. We’ve left fat books in cafes and hostels (or ripped out the parts we needed). “Take that and that because it’s the last time you’re going to jab me in the back.” I’m guessing other backpackers do the same thing. I’ve picked up ‘donated’ books in hostels only to find the ending missing.
Sometimes I think I would like to invest in an upscale backpack – the kind that practically carries itself and has the built-in sippy cup. The one I use is actually a very large Eddie Bauer book bag from college days. It is indestructible. All the zippers and straps still look pristine. Just for the fun of it, I weighed three college textbooks I used to carry. Thirteen pounds. Books plus whatever else I needed for the day probably weighed as much as what I now pack for a two week’s trip. I’ve learned a thing or two about packing light on everything but lots of the best socks I can afford.
If I bought a new backpack, my faithful pack of many excellent adventures would probably be shouting through the keyhole, “Take me too; take me too.” Also, the old pack fits under the smallest airplane seat with no problems – no hassles.
Maybe we’ve always been a bit of the minimalist bent. Not too long ago my sister and I were talking about liking to live with fewer things. We discovered that as children we both thought we would like to live on the ceiling because it was an empty space. If we’re nuts, at least we’re nuts together. After a lengthy backpacking trip we come back to our respective tidy homes and still say “What is with all the stuff”. It feels like we traded lightness for a too heavy bag.