This is going to be a post for the long distance hikers in particular, but don’t feel that you have to limit yourself just because that isn’t you. One thing I have learned about long distance hikers from all of the reading I did before the AT as well as experiences during and after my hike, is that almost everyone eventually seeks to bring along some form of entertainment.
For some it is cards, for others it is a good book. Still others bring along dice or even entire board games! Given that I am a proponent of light (if not ultralight) weight backpacking and a lover of pen and paper roleplaying games, I have a suggestion that offers up a lot of options in a very light package.
A company focused on the creation of dice, known as GameScience, has created what they refer to as a D-Total. While it is larger than the average die, it is surprisingly lighter than the average die. This is of course a boon in it’s own right, but that isn’t what makes it of special interest for hiking entertainment. What makes it unique is that this 24 sided die is marked in a manner that allows you to generate the same random numbers as if you had 11 different standard types of dice. It can also be used to generate 17 numbers if one includes some odd math.
The value to this is that it works with a multitude of dice-based games. There are many simple game designs that rely on dice, but which do not have much need for paper or lengthy character sheets. Some games need no paperwork at all as long as you have a few dice to handle the game. This means for the weight of one simple die, you can handle any number of enjoyable games to play with others who are sharing your hike.
Even on shorter trips, this could be a useful tool for entertainment. Something to consider when you are going out for an extended hike. One down side is that the die does require a bit of practice to get used to. It is laid out in a manner that does help in understanding what is rolled, but that still isn’t precisely obvious when you first use it.
Of course, you could also go with a game that requires absolutely no dice. As a shameless plug, allow me to offer up The Cursed as an option. It is entirely free. I just think it is a good system. Very soon I hope to be putting out the final version of the game, but even now it is entirely usable in the beta version. Regardless, the D-Total is well worth taking a look at.