Day 1,688 – Thankful for Pre-Packing and Elimination to Essentialism

Sometimes I get a little bit of a one track mind. Of course I’m also focused in on the other important aspects of life, but I can get a bit fixated on something when I have moments of quiet. You know, the little spots when my mind is free to wander and isn’t focused on a specific task. As you can probably guess this focus has been on backpacking and hiking recently.

When left to my own devices I tend to plan for every crazy possible scenario. This leads to packing twice as much as I’ll need. You know the feeling? Pack for a week long vacation, go on vacation, get home, unpack, and realize that only half your clothes were worn. I prepped for everything and then had more than enough, but at the cost of extra weight, extra baggage, and a somewhat messy and unfocused mind.

When we first went to Hawaii I made it my mission to pack an entire week’s worth of clothes and stuff into a single backpack. Thanks to the little bit of extra room in Becky’s suitcase I was able to make it work 😉 In all seriousness, I ended up packing almost the bare minimum needed for a pleasant vacation. There was very little left unused during the trip.

To make this happen I started packing well before the trip. I stated with what I thought I would need and had it separated out. Over the course of a little over a week I’d slowly start eliminating the extra and unessential. My mind would continue to work through the possibilities and realize that there were ways to go without, or, better yet, find ways to multipurpose one item for two things. By the time I left I had everything honed down and was left with almost only the essential.

Since then I remember the sensation of a very focused trip. I’d thought through the trip in advance and prepped for what could happen. I then adjusted for what would most likely happen. I felt very focused on knowing I was both 100% prepared and not carrying extra just for the sake of carrying extra just in case.

As we prep for our backpacking trip it’s been a very similar process. I started with a big list of what I needed. Then I added to it and added to it. Now I’ve started to cull the herd. What do I really need? Do I really need three different ferro rods, four different knives and two compasses for a three day / two night backpacking trip of 20 miles or so on a heavily traveled trail in a park in which we’re never more than 8 miles away from our car? Nope! But the process of over preparing has been beneficial as it forces me to think through all the possibilities. Then once I start to narrow it down to the probabilities I’m able to shrink down the pile of gear. Eventually I get down to the essential which allows me to enjoy the confidence of knowing I have everything I need while also leaving me carrying only what is needed.

So while we’re still just under a couple of weeks away I’m thankful for pre-packing and eliminating the non-essential. My mind is already feeing better knowing I’ve considered almost all possible scenarios and I’ve got everything I would need to stay safe while also carrying as little as possible to allow me to more perfectly enjoy the serenity of the woods.


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