Packing Smart, Packing Light – On The Trail and In Life

In my first post in this blog series preparing for Hike to Help 2019, I shared “I love a good plan.” I love to try to plan for and be prepared for most things in life. Sometimes, however, that comes back to bite me a bit when preparing for a hike. I am notoriously bad at throwing in one more energy bar, one extra set of clothes, or one more thing “just in case.” 

On one of my recent hikes with Caleb, we just had to laugh when I pulled an extra item out of my pack. Back in September, we planned and prepared for our first hike of the season. Because it was early in the fall, we knew we had to be prepared for a few things we won’t deal with in January on Hike to Help; mainly heat, bugs, and overgrowth.  

With each hike, we learn to pack a bit smarter and a bit lighter. On this particular hike we planned out each ounce of water, each meal, each snack, and set of clothes. On the second night of the hike, we wearily stumbled in to the shelter at the campsite. We were hot, wet from both sweat and rain, running low on water, and just overall exhausted from one of the hardest portions of the Ouachita Trail. 

As we were preparing dinner and going over our plan for the rest of the hike, I pulled out a small camping stool out of my pack. It was a gift from my dad and is generally nice to have at the end of the day on a shorter hike. However, on a nearly 30-mile hike where every ounce in my pack mattered, particular every ounce of food and water, that camping stool was not packing smart or light. Caleb just laughed and laughed that I had carried that camping stool all that way. 

I later looked up the weight of the stool, just two pounds. 32 ounces. That’s about two extra bottles of water. On the trail, packing smart and packing light is vitally important. When you are carrying a big pack on your back, there is a big difference between 35 and 40 pounds. 

Applying this same life axiom of “packing smart, packing light” to our spiritual lives, Paul the Apostle writes “… lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..” ~ Hebrews 12:1b ASV. He infers the pace of our journey is best accomplished when we don’t pack along the weight of wrong living. 

So, as you prepare for the trail (or life), have a good plan and packing check list. If you aren’t sure, call up a friend, that’s one of the joys of camaraderie on the trail. I hope you’ll consider joining us for Hike to Help on January 12-13. And remember, pack smart and pack light.   

Chad Mustain – Life Adventurer 

PS – Hike to Help is an annual hike along some portion of the Ouachita Trail in Arkansas/Oklahoma. This year the dates are  January 12-13, 2019. This is an opportunity to set a goal of strapping on a 40 pound back pack, hiking 5 miles a day, sleeping overnight in a tent, and yes doing your business in the woods! 

I’d love to invite you to be a part of Hike to Help. It’s fun, it’s challenging, you will build some new friendships. This is a co-ed trip so everyone is welcome! The cost is $200 which funds your entire trip, backpacking gear if you need, and most of all you will help fund the mentoring initiatives of Loving Community which helps boys and young men not only dream, but have the tools they need to achieve their life goals.

For more information contact Jim Mustain at To sign up for the hike follow this link:


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