Jesus didn’t take a daypack

I recently completed the four-day Jesus Trail walk from Nazareth to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee. The motto given to the hike is “Jesus didn’t take the bus”. As I looked at the recommended packing list, I figured that Jesus didn’t take a daypack either.

I’ve always been a fan of travelling light. Via a pointer from Tim Ferriss, I came across Rolf Pott’s No Bag Challenge. The idea of stuffing my pockets and heading off certainly held appeal. My current pack is under 12kg (including hiking shoes and my MacBook Air) but the idea of ditching it for a few days was certainly appealing.

Hat in pocket, water bottle and scarf hanging from belt

Hat in pocket, water bottle and scarf hanging from belt

Here was my final packing list for my trek:

  • Lowa waterproof hiking shoes
  • Hiking socks
  • North Face travel pants
  • Krama scarf from Cambodia (trusty travel companion for over a decade)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Two pairs of underwear (wear one, one in back pocket)
  • Thigh pocket:
    • Hand sanitiser
    • Tissues
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip balm
    • Toothbrush
  • Thigh pocket:
    • Hiking the Jesus Trail guide book
    • Map
    • iPhone (camera, GPS, map, compass, torch, podcast device)
    • Plastic bag (rain protection for all the above)
  • Zip pocket
    • iPhone mini charging cable
    • Money
    • Passport&visa photocopy
    • Notebook & pencil
  • Belt and bungie-cord hook
    • I used this to hang a 1.5 litre water bottle to my waist

No bags and the pants had sufficient pockets so that they didn’t feel overfull.

So what did I miss out on?

The limited underwear supplies meant that I had to wash one pair every evening – not a huge hassle. I did wash the shirt once and it did manage to dry for the morning. This was due to appropriate fabrics and a warm climate.

Despite the optimistic weather forecast, I did find myself caught in the rain. A plastic poncho might have been a good addition.

I wish I had brought a small tube of toothpaste. Despite the advice of “borrowing toothpaste is a great way to meet people!” – it turned out to be more hassle than it was worth.

The 1.5 litre water bottle was sufficient, but I did have to carefully hit every water spot along the hike. Attaching it by bungee hook to my belt worked well. I’d like to productise a dedicated device for this purpose.

Overall, bag-less travel was a liberating experience. As well as being light, it was lovely avoiding the sweaty spine one gets from a backpack. While I was glad to return to my full backpack and have a fresh change of clothes I’ll certainly grab the next opportunity to ditch the backpack