For the next few nights all us Classic trekkers will be living out of bags. Everything we need from clothing to blister plasters, tent to toothbrush, will be inside a 75ltr (or less) backpack.
At first thought, this is tough. Most of us have so much stuff! We live in comfortable homes, with comfortable beds, running water, fluffy towels and fridges full of food. Spending a week out in nature without these much-loved (and totally taken for granted) things is daunting. But it’s also incredibly liberating. Not only does it show us we can, when necessary, live simply it also makes us appreciate these mundane everyday items as the little luxuries they really are.
Although in 75lts there is no space for luxury, you can actually pack everything you’ll need for a week in the great outdoors without too much strife. Clothes, tent, sleeping bag, toiletries… it all fits. There might even be a small pocket of space for an extra bag of trail mix too.
When we started packing we obviously consulted our wizened, more experienced colleagues. Carl, one of the project managers for Classic, had some great tips. He recommends packing spare clothes and your sleeping bag in a waterproof bag and using meshbags to organise your gear inside your pack. “And don’t walk too fast, especially at the beginning.” I assure him we won’t, but he pushes the point, adding:
“Take a break every 60 to 90 minutes, even if you don’t feel tired. And by a break I mean taking off your backpack, sitting down, removing your shoes and airing your feet.”
By day three, the whole airing our feet thing might need to be done alone, away from our Classic comrades. Smelly feet aren’t the best way to make new friends.
My favourite of his tips, however, was this one:
“Pack a piece of parmesan cheese. It’s super tasty of course, but it’s also a bit salty – good for when you’re sweating a lot – and it works well in most of the freeze-dried meals.”
Yum! I’m definitely adding that to my pack. Any excuse to eat cheese!
We then checked their advice off against the packing list online. And finally we asked ourselves what we really didn’t want to live without for a week. And this is what we came up with:
Nuts and chocolate. It’s one thing living without good coffee for a week. But without chocolate too! Oh and the nuts are great for energy.
My bikini. A week without a shower will be bearable with a refreshing dip in a lake or stream. There are plenty of opportunities for this on the King’s Trail.
Flip-flops. I want to give my feet a rest when we set up camp each night and flip-flops are light and can easily be clipped onto my backpack. Plus, I won’t need to bother lacing up boots in the middle of the night if nature calls.