The (Back)Packers Dilemma

I travel semi-frequently.  I travel mostly domestically, but occasionally internationally.  I travel mostly for work.  I travel mostly to well-populated areas.  Therefore my packing philosophy is often “I just need my license/passport and a credit card.  If I forgot anything else, I’ll buy a new one”.  This allows me to pack fairly light and not stress too much about packing.

However, I’m packing for my first overnight backpacking trip. I’m hiking in the White Mountains where numerous signs warn you just how dangerous it can be.  I just read my third article this month on hikers needing rescue in the Whites.  There are two opposing tenets of packing for a hiking trip.  1) pack the “10 essentials” because they may save your life.  2) pack as little as possible because you’re carrying it all around all day.

My packing philosophy goes right out the window when hiking since there is no Target at the top of a mountain.  Also, since I don’t want to die, I end up PACKING ALL THE THINGS.  Carrying a 400 pound pack significantly decreases my enjoyment of the trip. Not to mention the stress of not having that ONE thing that would have made a difference.

Add in the fact that I’m hiking with my 12-year-old and while he can carry some of his own stuff, I really don’t want to overload him to the point where he hates hiking.  If I can get him to love it, then hopefully he’ll keep hiking with me even when he’s much taller/strong and I can make HIM carry most of the load. 🙂

This is not a plea for advice, I know I can buy lighter weight items, combination items, etc.  I know WHAT I need to pack, I’ve hiked before.  I’ve car camped before.  This will just be my first backpacking trip.  I’ve done my research.  This is simply to state that I AM FREAKING OUT and if you see a woman with the world’s largest backpack and every item available in REI inside of it, that’s just me.

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