Man, this is such a good question. Looking back at the last 8 years, I really wish I would have learned to read a Topo map early on. I also wish someone would have told me to pack light. Early on I packed a variety of misccelaneous items and was way too overprepared that at the end of the day I never used even half of what lay inside and ended up giving most of it away. My first short term trip outside the US (3 Months) my bag was stuffed to the brim, and that was BEFORE I bought additional trinkets). I was about falling over from the weight! Light and easy. Less is more. Wilderness First Aid is a major benefit as well.
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