Packing Your Fears

Over the past few years there has been a noticeable shift in the way people are exploring the wilderness. Backpackers who set out for a weekend, weeklong, month or even a multi-month adventure are adopting a new mindset. It’s called the Ultralight Revolution.

When I started hiking in 1988 my backpack alone weighted close to 7 pounds. There are many individuals hiking the Appalachian Trail right now with a total base weight of 7 pounds! (Base weight is the combined weight of all your carried equipment minus food and water) Due to such a low pack weight, these hikers can routinely travel 20 to 30 miles a day covering huge sections of trail with less stress on their bodies.

How are these individuals able to get everything they need to survive in the wilderness into a pack weight that is less than what the average student carries to school each day?

Technology surely plays a part here. There are camping stoves that weight less than an ounce and many companies are producing storm worthy tents that come in under 25 ounces. But there is more to it than gear made from space-age materials.

What you put in your pack matters. There is an understanding in the Ultralight community that simply says we tend to pack our fears. Worried about being cold? Then we take three coats instead of one. Fearful of the dark? We pack two extra flashlights so our backup has a backup. Still remember the feeling of being hungry on your last camping trip? We bring a surplus of extra food. Scared of bears? We throw that huge hunting knife into our pack for the “what if” scenarios.

Over the last few weeks I’ve thought a lot on the phase “Packing my Fears.” Don’t we tend to do this in our everyday lives? Aren’t there fears that we pick up each morning and carry with us through the day? For me there are. They needlessly weigh us down, keeping us from living the life that God wants us to experience.

When the heaviness of these worries rise up I find comfort in the words found in Philippians 4: 6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. … Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

God’s desire is for us to navigate this life with an unwavering trust in Him. When I pack my fears, I’m looking more at these distractions of worry than at the God who has a perfect plan for my life.

Let’s surrender our fears and worries to Him and trust that he has us securely in His hands. 

-Steve Prettyman