The Things I Carry   7 comments

Old and New backpack

Old backpack, new backpack

Old Backpack, New Backpack



I weighed my backpack about a week ago and it weighed 56 pounds.  It is a North Face backpack.  My friends bought it for me at a garage sale in Jackson, Wyoming in October of 2006; they paid 50 bucks.  It has a lot of duct tape and gorilla tape on it.  In 2009 I voted gorilla tape my Most Valuable Player.

This is what I carry in my backpack:

1 summer sleeping bag
1 Coleman winter sleeping bag (rated at 10 degrees F)
1 two-man tent
1 Muleskins winter coat
1 Cabelas hooded sweat shirt
1 pair Billabong shorts
1 insulated flannel shirt
An extra baseball cap
1 compact pillow
1 roll toilet paper
1 package Bic shavers
2 stocking caps (1 full mask)
1 pair winter gloves

1 Duracell flashlight/radio.  (This is one of the best things ever given to me on the road.  You don’t need batteries; there is a handle you use to wind it up and recharge it.  This Canadian Army veteran of Afghanistan picked me up outside of Lolo, Montana and gave me a ride to Lolo Pass.  He said the flashlight was brand new.  He was from Alberta, Canada.)

2 water bottles (1 liter each)
1 can opener
1 pair reading glasses
1 watch
Shaving kit
2 Bic lighters
Ear warmers
Leatherman all-purpose tool
Various articles of clothing (socks, underwear, etc.)
1 compact King James Bible

A Mead folder that holds:

A road atlas
A pocket-sized daily planner/calendar for 2010
3 pens
A 100-page notebook
A folder that holds some photocopies (11 pages) of Milton and the English Revolution by Christopher Hill
A copy of my seven-year contract with PublishAmerica

1 spoon

[Originally published by]

My Backpack

[The title of this post is a play on the title of a book written by Tim O’Brien:  The Things They Carried, a novel about the Vietnam War.  We studied Tim O’Brien’s book in an English Literature class at Iowa State University; Dr. Neil Nakadate was the professor.]

The Things They Carried


Hitchhiker and backpack in western Wyoming, 2011

7 responses to “The Things I Carry

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  1. I have wondered what you carry in your pack. That seems to be quite a heavy load though.

  2. I think my backpack averages around 55 pounds–I may have carried 60-pound loads several times. I have heard of people carrying 80-pound loads. After a while you get used to it–but I don’t want to carry things that I don’t need. I am no longer carrying my two-man tent.

  3. Excellent, I will take note for my first hitchhiking adventure in one months time. 1000 miles to Budapest from London.

  4. mdbcollectives: Here is another article you may want to read:

    “Backpacker’s Checklist”

  5. I also carry photocopies of ideas I need. I have a few pages of Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art,” and Thomas Merton’s “Seven Storey Mountian.” Thanks for sharing your link on my blog today!

  6. Pingback: Hitchhiking Stories from Digihitch | The Road

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