It’s in the nature of backpackers, campers, and trekkers of all kinds to enjoy the experience of “roughing it.” There is joy to be found in disconnecting from the hectic nature of modern life, with its 24-hour connectivity and ceaseless electronic noise. A pristine evening beneath a billion bright stars, a sweltering day beside a cold mountain lake, or the simple pleasure of a well-traveled forest trail.
That said, there are many small luxuries that can be carried in even the most spartan of backpacking kits. Allowing yourself one or two is unlikely to affect your pack weight unduly, and can bring a touch of welcome comfort to an otherwise austere campsite.
Flip Flops. Not for wearing while hiking, mind you, but for putting on once you’ve set up camp. Safer than going barefoot, more comfortable than keeping your sweaty boots on, and waterproof, so dipping your footsies into a refreshing creek is a nice option. You can even find some high-quality sandals with a bottle opener in the sole, for cracking open that single craft beer you packed.
Pillow Bag. Otherwise known as a “stuff sack,” a pillow bag is basically a fleece-lined sack that can be turned inside out and stuffed with clothes to make a pillow. Turn it outside-out and carry your unorganizables.
Wet Wipes. A variety of wet-wipes can be found to cater to the avid outdoorsfolk, typically containing a water-based cleansing agent (instead of drying alcohol). When you’re miles from a shower, with 20 miles of sweat, dirt and dead bugs on your skin, a quick rub-down with one of these showers-in-a-packet can feel like a blast from the garden hose at your childhood home. Be sure and dispose of the used towelettes properly.
Camp chair. To some trekkers, carrying a camp chair through a mountainous trail with plenty of fallen logs seems absurd, but if your back gets tired and weak after making the hike, you’ll be glad to have a lightweight (some examples weigh barely a pound) camp chair to lean your back against. You’ll avoid getting covered in pine sap, and you’ll be better rested for the next day’s exertions.
Consider splurging on a lightweight bit of luxury for your next hike. You may find that the weight isn’t nearly as noticeable as the improvement in the quality of your relaxation.