My son and I are doing an overnighter tomorrow to Alder Springs, Oregon. Easy in, easy out. This is going to be my first ever test of the "want v. need" philosophy of building a gear list.
As a trad backpacker, the list always included a massive number of "just in case" items. I've never needed one of those "just in case" items, and always got tired of carrying that kitchen sink.
Besides, there is no preparing for all eventualities. Think asteroid strike.
So, yeah, this dinky pack load will be cool.
I am bringing a little notepad and pencil, and will make a page with a column called "better bring next time," and one titled, "why did I bring this"?
Now if I was some kind of mega-brain with something better than a Magic 8-Ball for prognostication, that page would come home blank.
I am cheating a bit: having cut my teeth backpacking in the dry areas in SoCal, I have a good sense of what one needs in dry and hot conditions, and that's what's predicted for this weekend for where we are going. And, amazingly (to a SoCal backpacker) there is this creek with plenty of fresh water in it right at hand.
But out of my comfort zone is the crazy and difficult to predict conditions on the eastern slopes of the Oregon Cascade Mountains that will test me later in season when they open up. So add to list: tarp.
Jeepers, come think of it, that's about all. Oh, and stakes for the tarp. Maybe a windbreaker.
I'm a three-season camper. I'd be tempted to camp in winter if (a) I could cross-country ski, but this metal knee says "no," and (b) if I had another warm body, such as a big Labrador Retriever to go with, but Mrs Elliott says "no."