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Appalachian Trail Weight

If you aren’t familiar with hiking and camping it can seem bizarre how much attention is paid to weight. Seemingly innocuous comforts like sunscreen, deodorant, an extra mug for your coffee, are superfluous (well, depending on where you’re going you can make a case for sunscreen) and they can harm you more than they help just with the few extra ounces that they add. All of these ounces turn into pounds and then pounds then bcome ten or twenty or thirty or forty pounds that you’re carrying on your back. (My typical weight is between 30 and 40, which I think is heavy but I’ve seen a lot heavier). When you first put it on your back it might not feel heavy, it might not be that difficult to start. But it will weigh on you over miles, and tens of miles, and hundreds, and thousands of miles that extra weight will drag you down and drain your energy and your moral and increase the wear and tear on your body.

As an aspiring ascetic, I find the process enjoyable (sometimes). You judge every item in your pack in terms of the benefit it will bring, versus its cost in weight. Some are obvious--tent, sleeping bag, rain gear shelter you and keep you dry and warm. And some items are there for comfort and moral, keeping your sanity in the middle of the woods, with ten miles ahead before the next rest. Candy, a nice hat, notebooks, books, keyboards. All weighed. All judged worthy. And sometimes abandonned.

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