There is no disputing that backpacking gear has gotten a LOT better in the past couple of decades. Almost everything weighs less, and – unlike the early light gear – it even holds up pretty well in difficult conditions. Backpacks have gotten more features and bear canisters have saved countless trips that would have otherwise ended prematurely (and bears that would have otherwise been relocated or killed). We all live pretty darn well in the woods these days.
But I want more! Here are a few inventions that should be doable without a Manhattan Project level of effort.
- Give me a set of light, inexpensive, box-like bear canisters of multiple sizes. I refuse to believe that this could not be done with current technology; the materials must be out there somewhere. My perfect set would start with one big enough for lunch and a snack, and then scale up in size until you could pack ten days of victuals. The box shape would allow easy packing without wasting space. You could even carry two! The large one would stay in the proper spot of your backpack while the smaller one would slide into an outside pocket of the pack for easy access.
- Add to that a backpack that takes advantage of the new bear canisters. One of the issues with current bear canisters is that they are the heaviest item in your pack on day one, and the lightest on the day before your resupply. How about a backpack with three compartments? The middle and bottom compartment would be the same size, and be dimensioned to hold the appropriate canister. Then, you could start with the can in the middle and transition it to the bottom when it gets lighter.
- Lastly, I want a small battery, weighing less than a pound, that will keep my smartphone charged for seven-to-ten days, while I am using all of its features. We are almost there; I’ve found batteries which will last a week, if you keep your phone in airplane mode for most of the time. But I want it all. Give me the ability to use the breadcrumbs feature of my navigation app, take photos, constantly search for cell coverage, etc.
That’s what I would like to see. How about you?
Good hiking, Ray