As most of you know, I recently got back from a backpacking adventure with my husband and am getting ready for another one this weekend with my 10 year old daughter. And while chatting with some of my nearest and dearest, I got a crap ton of questions about HOW DO YOU GO A WEEK WITH ONLY A BAG!?
In this post I plan to answer that and a few other questions and share some of my favourite backpacking products (links to shop included).
Q. Where do you sleep if you can't bring a big tent?
This one is a great one! We definitely still bring a tent, but we get really cozy so it's easier to carry. For us, we have a 2.5 person tent which means one of us can easily pack it. When we did all our research we settled on the Mountain Hard Wear Optic 2.5 Person, which meant lightweight with extra leg room for my tall husband. Sets up in 5 mins and has awesome views from the 2 doors! We also roll a 6x8 tarp into it so we have extra shelter if needed.
Q. How do you Carry Everything?
So my pack is super small (only 35L) and my husbands is double that (though his pack is way cooler than mine, and I will definitely be upgrading to a larger one soon). Ideally you want to be able to carry everything in the pack in a super organized way. (We use colour coded stuff sacks to easily grab what we need.)
Dave’s Fjallraven pack is freaking amazing! It comes with a front opening option, which means no digging to the bottom, has adjustable shoulder width, torso height and a shit ton of other bells and whistles. So next year, I’ll be getting a slightly smaller version of this and Olivia will take over my 35L one (because kids have to carry their own stuff too)
Q. Where do you get your water?
The lake is a wonderful resource, and if you don't have a lake, then creeks, streams, brooks, marshes are all fine options. We are so lucky to live in Ontario, and honestly, if you die of thirst backpacking in Ontario, you probably shouldn't have been backpacking. We do make sure to bring Aquatabs and treat all our water. We ALWAYS have at least 3.5 litres of water on us, with one bottle being treated and one drinkable at all times. We don't go to bed if we only have one bottle, and if it starts getting low we are constantly looking for more. We have been lucky in that we have avoided drinking swamp water (though we have treated it in the bottle on the chance we couldn't find cleared water within a few hours of waking up)
Q. What do you Eat if you can't bring a cooler?
Cooking is sometimes my favourite part, (when there is a fire ban, not so much…) But having a reliable way to heat water, and eat warm food, especially when you can’t have a fire because it’s too wet, or too dry to do it safely. Having a backpacking burner and a can of fuel will make all the difference on what you can eat! I love our Primus Express Stove, it’s super light, easy to pop on and cleans really easily (because you will at some point drop pancake batter on it)
Having some great backpacking dishes is also helpful, though if you are going the freeze dried meal route, we just eat them right out of the package. We like either Backpacker’s Pantry or Mountain House packs are pretty decent as far as quality and calorie count go.
Tip: Your goal is to have as many calories with as little weight as possible…
Q. Where do you shower? Do Laundry? Clean Dishes?
Well my friends, let's be real. If I am gone for 6 days in the woods, I will go 6 days without a proper shower. Do we smell horrible after? Yes. But some of it is combated by bathing in the lakes, dry shampoo and campfire smoke. We also pack minimal clothing (because it quickly adds to pack weight) which means, you have your one set of snuggly clean tent clothes, and then 2 outfits and DEFINITELY STILL BRING ENOUGH CLEAN SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR FOR EVERYDAY! (Bonus for us ladies with itty bitty undies). I like to do the whole "Wash an outfit in the lake and let it dry on my pack while wearing the other one" thing. This way you're relatively clean from mud and dirt, and you don't smell like 3 day old sweat.