I’ve been searching the internet for information about ultralight backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags in case I ever decide to walk up the Pacific Coast. Apparently, the lightest weight for all those things combined is about five pounds. Which, since I am interested in walking rather than struggling along with heavy pack, is still too much weight considering everything else I would need to bring. I suppose it would be possible to forget the tent and just sleep under the stars, or rely on relatives of friends and online acquaintances for a place to stay, but emergency shelter is still a good idea.
But let’s forget that for now. It seems to take way more planning than the spontaneous adventure I dream of. Let’s also forget food and water, and assume that whatever I need will appear when I need it. As ridiculous as that might sound, it’s quite logical, since the first month or so of walking up the coast would be rather urban — San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara.
And let’s not talk about clothes. That too seems to take more planning and research than I want to do, at least for now, though I am thinking something gaudy. Sometimes camouflage is good, but human hunters so often choose their prey from among those who won’t be missed, and I want to make sure I would be noticed and would be missed.
So, what besides sleeping accommodations, food, and water, and clothes do I really need? Emergency supplies, I suppose, such as bandaids and water purifying tablets. A phone. Maybe extra batteries for the phone. Camera. A sun hat. Bug repellent, though supposedly there are few mosquitoes near the ocean. Toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss. Lip balm. A bit of cream or lotion to keep my skin from chapping. Handkerchief. Toilet paper. Pee rag. Flashlight. A few pieces of duct tape. Treking poles. Pen. A small notebook. A flower or something frivolous for my hat or backpack to remind me that the trip is supposed to be fun.
Sheesh. That’s a whole backpack full of stuff right there!
If you were going off on some sort of adventure, what would you absolutely need to take along?
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.