Bedouin: the Original Ultralight Backpackers

Shay Rabineau and a few others from the API team spent ten days exploring route possibilities in the South Sinai back in November. While he’s always considered himself to be a skilled outdoorsman, there’s nothing like spending a week or so trying to keep up with Bedouin to show how much you could still stand to learn. Just look at the difference between what Shay feels he needs to carry for a few days in the desert and what their Bedouin guide Musalem brings along for the same trip: 

Shay’s gear list:

• Carried on person: clothes, sandals, scarf, knife, camera, watch, sunglasses

• Other stuff we shared: GPS units, maps

• Things the camel guides carried for us: food, cooking equipment, water

• Large backpack (to load overnight gear onto camel)

• Small daypack (to carry day-hiking necessities)

• Sleeping pad

• Plastic groundsheet

• Fleece jacket

• Wind/waterproof jacket

• Change of clothing

• Extra socks and underwear

• Gloves and thick scarf

• Shoes

• Knife

• Mirror

• Toilet paper

• Cup

• Bowl

• Spoon

• Water bladder

• Small water bottle

• Headlamp

• Extra batteries

• Notebook and pen

• Snack food

• Biodegradable soap

• Hand sanitizer

• Toothbrush

• Toothpaste

• Laptop computer and charger

• Mobile phone

• Personal first aid kit

• Lighter


Musalem’s gear list:

• Carried on person: clothes, sandals, shemagh, phone, watch, cigarettes, lighter

• Dates, flour, cheese

• 2-3 liters of water

• Tea

• Light, warm blanket

• Knife


How on earth do they do it? Next week’s post will go into detail about how to survive the desert with so little.

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