Basic Backpacking Preparation…..Get Out There!

Thought I would show the items that I brought on this great overnight adventure in the Goat Rocks Wilderness a couple of summers ago. The amazing scenery keeps these adventures exciting, and bringing the right gear makes it even better!

The Milky Way dominated over a great campsite at Snowgrass Flats, in Washington State There is nothing like camping on a quiet night under the stars!

Here is the equipment I had packed for this trip:

My 65 liter Osprey pack, and my 3 liter Camelback water reservoir. This is strictly my drinking water during the hike in and out…..I also bring a liter for cooking (2 liters if there is no water source….check on it)!

If you are in the process of buying one, make sure you take the time in the sporting goods store to get fitted for your pack correctly! REI has weighted pillows to put in your pack to test out the fit.….yes its odd, but walk around the store with it first. Use a walking stick and a compass for entertainment and to annoy employees.

Bear canister, dinner and breakfast, and my cooking kit I had put together.

My cooking kit includes my Jetboil, eating utensils, extra fuel, ground coffee in the med bottle (it is medication, isn’t it?), and my coffee cup. Don’t forget your snacks in addition to this, and hot chocolate is good thing to have if you’re camping in cool temps. Mmmmmm. Beef jerky.

I carry a down jacket, rain shell (even if you dont THINK it will rain), a base wool layer, wool hat, and extra socks. I won’t get crazy like everyone and scream “COTTON KILLS!!”….but it will keep you wet and cold and possibly hypothermic. Don’t wear or bring any.

For my shelter supplies, I brought along an MSR Hubba Hubba tent, which is very light and has quite a bit of space when set up. I also bring a ground tarp as a barrier and a place to keep our shoes and gear outside the tent in the vestible. Use caution with the ground tarp if it rains, unless you want to sleep on a small lake.

Always bring a water filter and know how to use it!

Here you can see my personal item supplies, and you can see the things I bring for comfort and protection. Always bring a good filter so you can filter water, and make sure you find a camp near a good water source . I always bring a fire starting kit for both entertainment and safety (dryer lint makes great tinder).

Hiking poles…gotta love them on backpacking trips. They help a lot, especially on the descent!

I also bring my Garmin 64s GPS, love this thing. Its the same I use for SAR, so I am very comfortable with using it. I have the Garmin map set for the entire PNW, it shows me the trails and allows me to mark locations such as the parking lot, your campsite, and other points of interest you someday want to return to.

Bring a good headlamp, and don’t forget extra batteries! Also a light weight charger for your phone is a great idea, since its good to keep charged for safety reasons.

Okay, okay…you will hear me talk about ounces, pounds, bricks, etc……but one area where I break the weight and space rules is my camera equipment. I recently had the monumental achievement of cutting back to just 2 camera lenses, instead of the 3 that I had before, but I love my camera gear and won’t hike/backpack without it. I will write up a separate blog on my camera gear in the near future!

So here is my pack, including all the items I had mentioned above, and even an extra liter of water in the side pouch. Pack it over and over until it is as compact as possible, comfortable, and secure, just make note of the best places to keep your items so you can get to them easily. Be consistent once this best place is established, it makes it easy to find.

All ready to go!

This is it for now….hope this is helpful. Again, this is not meant to be a definitive list……research the 10 essentials, carry them, and also become familiar with basic navigation and map reading skills before heading out! Washington Trail Association is a great resource to check on for trail tips, directions to the trailhead, and trail reports.

Oh, and leave your cotton at home where it belongs.

This was an amazing trip, a moderate 5 mile hike to the campgrounds and the meadows. As a group hike leader, I was able to both share and learn some skills from 2 experienced backpackers in our group. As a bonus, we had a first time backpacker with us, and we had a lot of fun showing her the ropes!.

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Learn some great hiking and photography tricks, while preserving our amazing wilderness!

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