Preparing a 162,4 mile (261 km) hike, I am critical about what to carry on the trail. Although I am not an ultra light hiker, I do keep a spreadsheet to keep track of the weight of all my gear. Trying to carry a base weight (full backpack without food & water) below 18 pounds (9 kg), I still bring stuff that I do not really need on the trail.
1. A Big Knife
I always carry the smallest of knives in the pocket of my pants. Not only on the trail, but everyday. I use the five features of this swiss army knife all the time: to open a plastic wrapper, to cut loose threads from clothing , tending to my nails or cleaning my teeth. It’s the Victorinox mini of 21 grams (0,7 oz).
On the trail I will not need a knife for preparing my food. All I will eat is freeze dried meals that only require a long spoon, or burrito’s which only require my bare hands. My small Victorinox will be used for all the above things: just a little cutting and clipping.
So why would would I bring my big foldable knife, the Böker Skellig of 82 grams (2.9 oz)? I gives me a good feeling to know that I could cut thick branches of wood into thin pieces of tinder and make a fire. I could cut stakes for my tent, just in case I loose the lightweight aluminum ones. It’s a safe feeling to have a weapon for defense against a bear gone crazy (or maybe a human gone crazy, but I doubt I will meet any danger like that). It feels good to cut that burrito in half with this knife. And well, just because it’s fun just flicking it open and close it with one hand, a little trick that took some training to achieve. I like this knife.
2. A Swiss Watch
Of course, I carry my iPhone – mainly to make photographs. And I can use it as a watch. It’s impossible not to notice the time every time you look at it, isn’t it? Still, I will take my Mondaine Swiss watch on the trail. Just like the Victorinox, I wear it everyday ever since I bought it 15 years ago.