I can’t make it through a day on the trail without reading and/or writing something, so these 3.5 ounces are essential to me. Even more important is having a map and any necessary trail notes. I like a physical map and compass (not dependent on battery life). I like writing on paper rather than trying to text into a phone. The physical notes from some of my trips have become little treasures that I revisit from time to time.
Water-proof notebook, pen, and pencil
Pages for reading
I like visiting bookstores that sell used books, ideally in terrible shape. Paperback books with brittle bindings are the best. It’s easy to tear out a chapter and place it in your “library” for the trail.
On rare occasions, I’ll take my old Kindle if I’m not covering many miles and expect to have lots of time under my tarp. It comes in at a whopping 5.5 ounces, a definite luxury item! The paper pages from a typical chapter of text might weigh as little as .3 ounces, that’s less than one half of one ounce. As an added bonus, pages read sometimes become fire-starter.