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9 Luxury Items to Consider Bringing on Your Thru-Hike

A luxury item can make a huge difference on your thru-hike. Yes, it’s still important to watch your pack weight, but sometimes a luxury item can actually save a hike by bringing some much needed comfort to you or your hiking partner. Here are some items you may want to consider bringing with you on your next thru-hike or backpacking trip.

Paul Bodnar       Educational       02/18/2021
Paul Bodnar
Educational
2/18/2021
A hand holding a kindle.

1. Waterproof Kindle (E-reader)

The waterproof Kindle reader (6.8 ounces or 191 grams) weighs less than a typical paperback book. This is a popular choice on trail because you can read an almost unlimited number of books with ease.

A woman reading a book in a tent.

2. Paperback Book

If you are worried about electronics failing then carrying a good paperback book might be the best solution. Packing it in a plastic sealable bag will keep it safe from the elements. A typical small paperback book weighs around 10 ounces or 283 grams, but weight can vary.

A DSLR camera on a rock outside.

3. Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera

Most people use their smartphone to capture all their pictures nowadays, but carrying a digital or mirrorless camera (with the knowledge on how to properly use it) will give you the chance to take some really nice photos that your smartphone might not be able to measure up to. A lightweight mirrorless camera can weigh around 12 ounces or 340 grams. A lightweight DSLR camera can weigh around 16 ounces or 454 grams. Although you could find ones that are lighter, most DSLRs you find will probably be heavier.

A green zip up jacket folded on a wooden background.

4. Town Shirt

A lightweight town shirt can bring a bit of needed separation from your “hikertrash life” on trail. It might feel so nice to change into a town shirt while you wash your smelly hiking/trail shirt at the local laundromat or in your hotel bathroom sink. The weight of a town shirt will vary depending on the fabric and size, but you can expect a town shirt to typically weigh between 4 to 6 ounces or 113 to 170 grams.

A person wearing socks with a view of mountains and a lake in the background.

5. Extra Socks

An extra pair of clean socks can make a world of difference. You can deem them your “sleep socks” and wear them at night while you sleep, or you may just want to change into them on a day when you can no longer take your smelly trail socks that you’ve been hiking in for nine days straight. A typical pair of lightweight hiking socks can weigh about 2.3 ounces or 65 grams.

A GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip coffee maker.

6. Coffee Maker

With a little planning it is possible to have a great tasting cup of coffee outdoors. If you’re a coffee addict like me, then you know you won’t be able to go a day without having that morning cup of joe first thing when you wake up. Bringing a lightweight, outdoor coffee maker might just be worth the extra weight. My favorite coffee maker is the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip and it only weighs 11 grams and costs $9.

8 Ways to Make Coffee While Thru-hiking
A man holding a yellow frisbee.

7. Flying Disc or Frisbee

A flying disk or Frisbee can bring a lot of fun to a boring day at camp. It can also be a fun activity to do with other hikers in town while you’re waiting for your clothes to dry or a store to open. Weights will vary depending on the size and material, but a lightweight flying disc can typically weigh around 4.3 ounces or 122 grams.

A man massaging his leg with a cork massage ball.
Photo credit: Rawlogy

8. Massage Ball

A massage ball can relieve soreness, discomfort and tightness which a lot of hikers experience every day on trail. Carrying a small massage ball with you may just be your saving grace when you get into camp and can’t take the pain in your foot or shoulder. Massage balls can weigh less than 0.7 ounces or 20 grams.

A pair of purple crocs shoes.

9. Camp Shoes

When most people get to camp after a long day of hiking, the first thing they want to do is take their backpack off and then their shoes. Having a pair of camp shoes, like Crocs or flip flops, to wear after taking your hiking shoes off can feel so nice. Although Crocs aren’t the most lightweight camp shoe, weighing around 12 ounces or 340 grams, they are waterproof and will be less likely to break than flip flops a few months into your hike.

My Luxury Item Top Pick:

My favorite luxury item is my GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip coffee maker (11 grams). It doesn’t always make it into my pack but when it does I enjoy sharing a good morning coffee with friends.


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About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.