The biggest benefit of lightweight backpacking gear is that you can add a few luxury items back in without having to worry so much about the extra weight. So, after you’ve cut your toothbrush in half and removed all of the tags from your clothing, here are some lightweight items you can bring along to make your trip more enjoyable.
1. Hip Flask
There’s nothing quite like sipping a little whiskey or bourbon after a hard day’s hiking or passing a flask around the campfire to new friends and old. Weighing 7.7 ounces, the stainless steel GSI Outdoors Glacier Hip Flask ($29.95) with a tethered cap, slips discretely into your back pocket.
2. A Book Reader
Many backpackers love to lie in their sleeping bags and catch up on a little reading with a good book. But many also bring a Kindle along because having 1000 books is so much better than just one! Weighing just 6.7 ounces, a 6″ Kindle Book Reader ($59.99) is easy to pack, holds a 10 hour charge, and weighs less than many paperbacks!
3. Camp Chair Kit
If you already carry an inflatable sleeping pad, why not upgrade your in-camp comfort with an ultralight chair kit that only weighs 6 ounces more? The Big Agnes Cyclone SL chair kit ($64.95) is compatible with all 20″ wide inflatable sleeping pads (including Therm-a-Rest NeoAir pads) and works with pads that are 60″, 66″, 72″, or 78″ in length.
4. Extra-wide 30″ Sleeping Pad
There’s nothing like a 30″ wide sleeping bag to add a little luxury to a backpacking trip. If you’re sick of having your arms slip off the sides of your pad at night, you know what I mean. Kymit’s 26.5 ounce Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad ($99.95) is a full 30 inches wide for extra rolling room that crams down to a tiny pack size with minimum weight.
5. Cushy Pillow
Put an end to restless nights of backpacking and camping and upgrade your sleep system with a cushy pillow. Covered with velvety soft microfiber, the NEMO Fillo Backpacking Pillow ($39.95) combines a baffled 3 in. air bladder with 1 in. of luxury foam on top, allowing you to dial in the perfect amount of comfort. Weighing 10.8 ounces, this pillow is worth its weight in gold!
6. Fresh Coffee
Fresh coffee is all that separates humans from wild beasts. Grind yourself a fresh batch each morning with the 9.3 ounce GSI Javamill ($29.95), a compact nesting hand crank coffee grind with a foldable handle and nesting design that helps to conserve pack space. Pair it with the 4.3 ounce collapsible, fold-flat Java Drip Coffee Maker ($12.95) to make yourself a fresh brew.
7. Candle Lantern
There’s nothing like the glow of candlelight when you need to hang out in your tent during stormy weather or in winter when the sun goes down early. Plus candle lanterns can add a little warmth in your tent and keep condensation or frost from forming on the walls in cold weather. Weighing just 3.5 ounces, w/ one candle, the UCO Mini Tealight Lantern ($14.45) has a 4 hour burn time.
If you head out to the wilderness to view wildlife, get yourself or your friend a pair of binoculars to see more of it, even if it’s far away. The rugged new Terra ED Pocket 8×25 ($299) from Zeiss delivers stunning optical performance that betrays its small, compact design. With 8x magnification, precise focusing and just 10.9 ounces, the Terra ED Pocket stows away easily in your pack without adding undue weight or bulk.
9. Musical Instrument
Making music in the wilderness is a great way to pass some quality alone time, make friends, and keep the bears away from camp. One of the world’s most recognizable harmonicas, made famous by players from Little Walter to John Lennon, Paul Butterfield to Bruce Springsteen, and known for its full tone and wood comb, the Hohner Marine Band Harmonica ($43.00) weighs just 3.2 ounces and may be the most portable and beloved musical instrument ever played by explorers and adventurers.
10. Fast Charging Battery Pack
Power. Recharge your book reader, tablet, phone, mp3 player, and LED camp lights with the latest generation of fast charging battery packs. The RAVPower 20100 mAh External Battery Pack ($69.00) weighs just 13.4 ounces and has plenty of juice for you and your friends to top off your gadgets. Featuring Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology, the RAVPower charges devices 75% faster and can charges an iPhone 6S & 6 almost 7 times, a Galaxy S6 almost 5 times or an iPad Air more than once.