Wayfaring Writer

Driven by a violent desire to write.

3 Things I’ve Learned Packing for a Long Trip

Hacker Packing

As some of you may know I am preparing to go on a long trip backpacking and camping in the forests and mountains of China. Much of my time these days seems to be spent going through the things I already own and trying to figure out what I need and don’t need. Through all this I’m come to draw some correlating ideas between preparing for my long trip and going through life in general. Here are 3 things I learned packing for a long trip.


Wants and Needs are Different Things

Look at the picture above. That is the BioLite Camp Stove. Using only wood it creates a smokeless campfire that can boil water in minutes and produces enough spare energy that you can charge your electronic devices via a USB chord at the same time. It is just about one of the coolest things I have ever seen and even though it’s $130 I want it so bad.


Do you know what else uses wood for fuel and can boil water in a few minutes? Just a regular campfire. Which costs me significantly less money and I don’t have to carry as much in my pack. Despite the fact that the Biolite Stove is a really cool piece of technology I don’t really need to own it. Purchasing this would set me back financially and cause some space and weight issues in my backpack.

I have the same problem in my day-to-day life as well. Do I want the newest gaming system for the low price of $500?

Yes, I really do want it. But I do not need it. There are plenty of games I can play on the system I have right now. I’m leaving the country anyway and there’s no need to buy it right now. I can be patient and maybe get it once I have a stable job and some disposable income.


Do I want to get a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and lots of fries on the side?

Absolutely. But I’m about to backpack in high elevations for many days on end. I’m already out of shape and I don’t really need to be exacerbating that problem by throwing excess calories into the problems. Maybe a treat every now and then but not making it a regular thing, no matter how delicious.

Veggies just aren't the same.

Veggies just aren’t the same.

It’s important for us all to remember the difference between wanting something and needing something and why we need to put boundaries on the things we buy. If the thing you’re purchasing isn’t a necessity and is putting a financial strain on your budget you may want to reconsider. If you don’t have any more room in your home for the object in question take a moment to ask yourself if you really need it.


More Stuff = More Problems

Last year I went on an 11 month, 11 country mission trip that spanned the world. I had never been out of the country before so I packed everything I thought I would need. I mean everything. When I was finished I had one big backpack that weighed about 70 pounds and another, smaller pack weighing in around 30 pounds. Sitting among all my clothes, toiletries, supplies, and everything else stressed me out so much. Couple that with carrying around 100 pounds of weight made me unsure if this was a sustainable lifestyle. Over the course of the 11 months I gave away, sold, left behind, or lost much of my necessary and unnecessary gear. When I finally came home I had about 40 pounds of total gear instead of the 100 pound monstrosity I had before I left.

Much easier on the spine.

Much easier on the spine.

As I pack for this next trip my gear weighs about 40 pounds and I think I have most of what I need. After living a very minimalist lifestyle I came home realizing how much being surrounded my stuff messes with my head. Right now the majority of my possessions fit into six containers and I think that might be too much. My tolerance for stuff being in my life has reached an all time low.

Just looking at this pictures causing involuntary twitches.

Just looking at this picture causes involuntary twitches.

While most people think I’m a bit extreme in my minimalist lifestyle I think we could all do with a little less stuff in our lives. Sometimes we get wrapped up in a very material world and it tends to take away the color from the simpler things in life. I still struggle with habits of collecting things but I’m working on keeping my travel and home life as simple as possible.

Maybe one too many chairs in this room for my taste.

Maybe one too many chairs in this room for my taste.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention


Sometimes I find myself lacking the right tools to do certain jobs. This sucks. But on the bright side it has forced me to find creative solutions to solve issues. No clothesline? Take some extra shoelaces and tie them together. Sure it’s not the ideal way to go about it, but it works for now. Sometimes coming up with creative (if temporary) solutions to the problems life throws at us can give us great stories. As a writer I’m always looking for great stories.

Maybe you should break down and fix your shower. Just saying.

Maybe you should break down and fix your shower. Just saying.

We can never have all the things we are ever going to need. At some point in time we will find ourselves lacking but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Finding creative fixes will stretch our brains, get us to think outside the box, and give us awesome life experiences. It’s all about looking at life from a different angle.

Too many angles.

Too many angles.

It’s not just about the physical things either

So when you’re looking at your life do you feel overloaded, overburdened, and over-stressed? Maybe it’s time to weed out some of the unnecessary stuff in our lives and find a balance that keeps us on a happier path. What things can you get rid of to relieve your burdens? Let me know in the comments below.

To find out more about my trip to China click here!

About Luke Geldmacher

I grew living on an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Currently, I live in a 40 acre farm in Cookville, TX. I sometime write about life issues, but my passion is sci-fi and fantasy storytelling.

2 Replies

  1. Very useful post! There is nothing more helpful than sharing your personal experience about packing. Thanks a lot for the great tips!

    1. My pleasure, thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply