7 Luxury/Comfort Items You Will Find In Hawkeye’s Backpack

7  Luxury/Comfort Items You Will Find In Hawkeye’s Backpack

I’m known for my relaxed style of hiking, and you’ll likely pass me on the side of the trail reading a book while on a break. If you look in my pack, you’ll find these luxury/comfort items that most hikers will not carry.  Extra weight but worth it!  

Hawkeye Johnson resting on the side of the trail


  • Homemade chair bra- I’ve carried this over 20 years and thousands of miles. It converts my sleeping pad into a chair. I’ve enjoyed it at the end of every day either outside or inside my tent and look forward to relaxing in it while preparing supper, listening to music, reading, writing and camp chores. 8oz.  

Makeshift sleeve to turn a sleeping pad into a chair

Makeshift sleeve empty

Makeshift sleeve rolled up


  • Paperback book and journal- I’m never without a book to read or a small journal to write in typically during the day while on a break. I like the feel of paper and turning a page. Some hikers use electronic devices however they require additional power.  I’ll find or leave a book during town stops, usually at the laundromat or Library and sometimes I’ll even find one on the trail.  I have 23 journals from hikes over the years and in them some good trail stories including my relationship with books. Book and journal. 10 oz. 

Collection of books and journals brought on trail


  • Soft pillowcase - I will stuff this with my puffy jacket, clothing bag and other soft items to make a nice pillow for a comfortable night’s sleep. 0.85 oz. 
An empty pillowcase

    Full pillowcase


    • Fly Fishing rod- A 4 weight, 4-piece packable fishing rod with a lightweight reel, select tackle and flies for trout fishing. I like to fish streams, rivers and high alpine lakes. I typically catch and release during breaks but if I’m fishing near camp, I’ll supplement my meal with some trout particularly Brook trout. 16 oz.  

    Hawkeye fishing a creek

    Fresh trout for dinner

    Fishing rod strapped to the side of the pack

    • Bluetooth speaker- I like to listen to music when I’m in camp. Over the years I’ve experimented with a variety of ways to amplify the sound from my phone but finally settled on a small waterproof external speaker that is connected via wireless Bluetooth. I will use it when setting up camp, preparing supper and breaking down camp. It holds enough power for 12 hours and can last me up to 6 days. If needed, I can recharge it with a small power pack and while it does have a loop with carabiner, I never use it while hiking. 5.7 oz.  

    Battery Bank and Bluetooth Speaker

    Bluetooth Speaker


    • Bag balm and THC salve- When finished hiking for the day, I will let my feet air out then wipe them down with a Wet-Ones wipe. When dry I apply bag balm and put on my sleeping socks. This balm, made in Vermont, is a moisturizer for skin that is dry cracked or chafed. It is made with Lanolin which has waterproofing properties that aid in shedding water. Great for protection for your feet when walking all day in damp socks. The Tim’s Trauma Balm CBD salve is for sore muscles and joint pain. 2 oz.

    Bag Balm and CBD Cream


    • Umbrella- What started out as a luxury has become a necessity and a permanent part of my kit. I use the SMD Rain Walker SUL with the hands-free kit. Hands free protection from the elements is vital for staying comfortable. It is especially good protection from hail but requires extra attention when the wind reaches 30 mph. This summer above tree line in a hailstorm, a wind gust caught the umbrella and spun me around. I freaked out as the umbrella inverted so I spun back into the wind, and it popped back into shape with no damage. This carbon fiber beauty is rugged too! 5.5 oz.

    Hawkeye walking down the trail with the umbrella deployed

    Hawkeye walking down above tree line with the umbrella deployed

    Reading next

    Jim Sutherland's 7 Favorite Backpacking/Bikepacking Foods
    What I Learned Hiking the PCT - By Dave Stamboulis

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