What To Leave Behind?

So you’re going on a long backpacking trip. That means, of course, that you need to pack as light as possible. Even if you’ve planned well, you may have to make some tough decisions about what to bring. But chances are there will be some items that you obviously can’t include, no matter how much you’d like to.

We each came up with a list of such things that we’d like to share with you. Maybe it will provide some inspiration about giving up things you’re attached to, and figuring out ways to substitute for them. So here are our lists:


Baritone Ukulele. He’s played it almost every day for the past few years, and he’s going to miss it – especially since you lose some of your skill if you don’t keep practicing. But it’s almost large enough to be another person (at least a child) so he’ll just have to find other musical outlets.

Speaker. Speaking of music, and audiobooks, he prefers to use a small speaker while he works out, rather than earphones that might pop out. But the speaker is the size of a shoe, and we’re already taking all of those we have room for.

Water pick. It’s great for removing food from your teeth. But it’s also the size of the other shoe. So instead he’ll have to use something else, like little brushes that clean between your teeth.

Laptop. In a perfect world, we’d each take our own computer along. Instead, we’ll have to share one.

Pillow. He’s as particular about his pillow as the princess and the pea, and for much the same reason — he doesn’t like it to form a lump, but to be just a slight, soft elevation. His own pillow may be the only one in the world that fits the bill perfectly, but he’s hoping he can use an inflatable pillow as a substitute, and get it to an acceptable level of inflation.

Crossword puzzle dictionary. (And other books). Too much bulk and weight, of course. We’ll have to go electronic instead of hauling around paper bricks.


Yoga Mat. As a yoga addict, she’s been known to unroll her mat wherever she is and and launch into a downward dog. The mat is convenient but not really necessary, since other things can substitute.

Skateboard. Yep, she’s really a pretty mean skateboarder on smooth flat surfaces, and does it every chance she gets. But since she’s not going to be entering any competitions, it’s much too large to tote along for our purposes.

Slack line. She also enjoys stretching a line between whatever trees she can find and doing her balancing act. But it fills up an entire backpack by itself, so it gets to stay behind.

Poi balls and juggling cubes. A circus performer at heart, she loves playing with these toys. But maybe she’ll be able to use someone else’s occasionally. Or substitutes.

Tap shoes. Fun, but not essential. And as big as a pair of shoes.

Tripod. The official photographer in the family, she’s going to bring along a very compact tripod, but its uses are rather limited. It would be nice if she could cart along the big one.

Trader Joe’s. Sure, we’re going to miss it. But how can you fit an entire supermarket into your luggage?


Tea. We each drink a cup of tea every morning, and we have large stashes of loose tea. (We don’t care for tea bags.) But surely there is tea available “out there”. And we can even carry along a little supply, but just not much. They don’t call it bulk tea for nothing.

Our son. We explored the whole country, as well as Japan, with Zephyr during his formative years. So we’d love to have him with us when we discover the rest of the world, and he’s certainly a fun person to travel with. But we’d be constantly arguing about whose turn it is to carry him.

Kimberly, Zephyr and Dennis Goza

And what are you going to leave behind?

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