Hello and welcome to the Packing List and Gear Review page.
Here I give you my real thoughts and opinions on the some of the items I’ve purchased and used including clothing, climbing gear, backpacks and anything else I’ve found either highly useful or a waste of money and why. Click the photo on the right to go directly to Gear Reviews.
This is also where you’ll find my packing lists for various adventures such as backpacking trips, multi pitch rock climbing days, ice climbing, back country skiing and scrambles. Scroll down for my Packing Lists.
NOTE: I do not get anything for free or any discounts on any of the items I choose to pack or review. I do not earn any commission or any other kind of payment or discount if you choose to buy the stuff I use. I pay the same price as you so my reviews are not biased and reflect my true experiences.
Here's what I packed for my 3 day trip
What I ate on my 3 day solo trip
My good old Gregory 70 litre expedition pack will be called into action for this trip. It might be a little bit too big but I would rather have plenty of space for all my stuff than have to cram stuff in and attach stuff to the outside.
I will also bring the water proof pack cover designed by Gregory to go with this backpack and I'll slip it on when it starts to rain to keep everything dry.
I'll be using a 2 person tent by Nemo. We've already spent a lot of nights in it. Love this tent for being lightweight but still spacious and dry.
Trying out the Feathered Friends down sleeping bag for the first time this trip.
UDPATE: It did pretty well on the trip. I had to sleep with long johns and pants, a t-shirt, sweater and puffy down jacket with the hood up over a toque to be warm enough to sleep in it. But hey, this is Canada. Nights are chilly.
Using the Big Agnes Q Core SLX. Its been really great since I bought it 7 years ago. Lighttweight but keeps me warm at night.
This is my first time using an Ursack. It's bear proof and critter proof food storage. It's a bit heavier and a lot more robust than a regular nylon stuff sack but if it stops animals from getting at my food, it's well worth it. Also, Parks Canada made the use of bear proof food storage mandatory for people staying in Random Camping areas this year. We'll need it for our long trip in July & August. Might as well try it out now.
Stove - Using the good old JetBoil
Pot - the JETBOIL pot and pot attachment. Use to boil water, to cook suppers and as a dish for breakfast and supper.
2 fuel cannisters - I'll probably only need one but uel is something I hate to run out of or even run low on.
Mug - lightweight and insulated, made for backpacking
Spoon/fork - one plastic utensil with a spoon on one side and a fork on the other
Petzl Knife - designed for climbing so it's lightweight and simple.
Sample size hand cream, tooth paste and dental floss. Tooth brush with handle cut down. Bug spray, sunscreen. Spare hair elasitc & comb, lip balm. Toilet paper & ziploc baggies to pack out used paper. Leave no trace!
Notebook & pen - to list things I wish I had brought and things I could have done without and to capture inspired thoughts.
Book - I think I'll like to read when I'm alone at camp in the evening.
Bandaids & Ibupforen - that's it for first aid. I've used duct tape to cover blisters on my feet and ankles. It works well becuase it is low profile and doesn't slide off inside socks.
Duct tape - in addtion to covering blisters, it can be used to repair gear.
In Reach GPS signalling device - Can send an SOS to initiate emergency extraction. I can also use it to text my husband. No cell service so satellite is required.
Lighters and fire starter - fire can make you a whole lot more comfortable and cheerful if things get rough. Also, on this trip there are fire rings and fire wood available at both campsites.
Bear horn - I'll keep it handy in a pocket on the outside of my pack.
Phone - for taking pictures and for the FATMAP map of the trail.
Fitbit - works as a watch. Also it will be fun to see how many steps I take each day!
Charger cables - for the above and for the In Reach
Solar charging battery pack - collects energy from the sun and charges electonics.
Headlamp & spare batteries - for navigating to the bathroom at night and any other time I need to move around outside after dark.
2 1-litre water bottles
water treatment tablets
Typically I bring one of every layer I'll need so that I can wear everything if it gets cold and wet enough. The only spares I bring are extra socks and underwear. This trip I will bring a spare t shirt and see if it's worth the extra weight & space. I like to sleep with my face on something made of cotton so if I bring a cotton t-shirt, it can double as a pillow, stuff wtih my puffy jacket. Problem with cotton is that when it gets wet, it stays wet. I usually avoid it.
T-shirt - Black Diamond synthetic is quick drying and lightweight
Long sleeve shirt - another Black Diamond synthetic
Long sleeve button up plaid shirt - Kuhl because, ok yah, it's cool
Fleece sweater - Pataogonia's Synchilla Snap T. I love this layer when it's chilly out
Rain jacket - MEC brand. I bought it recently and it's been working so well in the afternoon showers we've been getting lately.
Puffy jacket - Patagonia Nano Puff hoody - scroll down for a description and my review
Long underwear bottoms - synthetic so they dry quickly, good for staying warm day and night
Trekking pants - by Kuhl, lightweight and synthetic for quick drying with plenty of zipper pockets for easy access to phone, snacks and kleenex
Gortex pants - Black Diamond, I use these for ice climbing and backcountry skiing too. Talk about multi purpose!
Socks - Wright double layer guaranteed no blister socks. I've worn out a few pairs of these and yah, I still get blisters while wearing them. But they are comfortable, good temperature control and the blisters aren't as bad as with other socks.
Boots - lightweight Scarpa
Hut booties - MEC, because it's nice to have a comfy pair of shoes to change into at camp
Glove, toque, buff - this is Canada, it gets cold even in July
Figuring out what kind of food to pack for a backpacking trip can be difficult. It is sometimes a trade off between lighter food that won't be too heavy in the backpack and what foods you will actually be able to eat. And then there's the challenge of figuring out how much to pack. You don't want to go hungry but you don't want to overpack and end up carrying a bunch of extra food out with you.
When planning my menu, I tried to estimate how many calories I would be burning each day. I figured roughly 3,000 calories per day. Turns out, I was a little low. After the trip, my Fitbit said I burned 2,758, 2,912, and 3,178 calories on each of the three days respectively. However, Fitbit calculations are based on just walking. It didn’t account for the heavy pack I was carrying. So the Fitbit numbers were too low. I should have probably packed for around 3,250 calories per day but I decided on less than that.
There are other factors that drive food consumption on a backpacking trip besides calories burned. I have found that in the first few days, it can be very difficult to eat much. As my body adapts to carrying a heavy pack and walking each day, it doesn’t want to take in much nutrition. On those days, I burn a lot more than I consume. That comes back on Day 4 or 5 when I start to become very hungry. Then it's much easier to eat. If I overpack food for the first few days, I just end up carrying it. It doesn't get eaten.
For this three day trip, I designed the menu with about 2,500 calories per day. I wasn’t worried too much about eating less than I was burning because I was only out for three days and I knew I could make up for it when I got home. Also, I knew my body wouldn't be ready to start eating more during those three days.
I included more fresh food than I would for a longer trip. Fresh fruits and veggies taste so good oustside, especially when you're active.
I find that at home, dinners are planned around a protein, whether it’s meat, chicken, fish or a vegetarian protein. However, on the trail, it’s really hard to consume dehydrated proteins beyond a small amount.
I plan my backpacking dinners around starches because that’s what I want to eat and what I can get in when I’m out there. I like pasta, rice, and instant mashed potatoes. I try to buy packets that are just-add-water, like the mashed potatoes, and have a short cook time like Ichiban noodles. It’s hard to cook on the Jet Boil stove for more than 10 minutes. I find it difficult to get food to simmer. I either have it at a full rolling boil or off.
Rice and pasta dishes from Lipton or Knorr, typically marketed as side dishes, make good backpacking meals. Pasta dishes such as Annie’s are pretty good. If the meal requires milk, you can pack some powdered milk to stir in or you can make it just with water. For protein, I have some sausage, such as salami, and cheese. These foods last quite a while without refrigeration in the Canadian Rockies where it gets pretty chilly at night. In warmer climates, they might not last and you might have to use dehydrated or freeze dried options.
I have tried the freeze dried meals that you can buy at camping and outdoor stores. I enjoyed them when I first started backpacking but I seemed to reach some sort of internal limit on one trip where I found I could no longer stomach them. I lost some weight on that trip as I couldn’t choke down the dinners. Since then, I try to pack grocery store food.
Here's the menu. Note that breakfasts, lunches, snacks and drinks are the same everyday.
snacks and desserts
drinks - same everyday
snacks and desserts
snacks and desserts
I sometimes didn’t finish breakfast or lunch food until dinner time. Sometimes some of the snacks or desserts became part of breakfast or lunch. I ate what I felt like eating and didn't get too focused on what was supposed for be for breakfast or lunch.
Of course, all of this I shared with Peaches except for the raisin cookies and the chocolate. She ate a fair amount of my food and hardly any of the dog food I packed for her. We finished off most of the food for Day 1 on Day 1. I carried forward the Kit Kat bar. I ate it on Day 2 along with everything I packed for Day 2 except the oatmeal raisin cookies. On Day 3, we only ate about half of the lunch and snacks. I was head down and hiking for home.
I bought this jacket in spring of 2023 directly from Patagonia on line. I bought it because I like to have a lighter puffy that I can use year round. I had an earlier version of the Nano Puff jacket that I bought around 2015. I liked it but it started to feel too small so I donated it.
In the summer, I plan to use it as an outer layer. For example, for early morning shady belays on multi pitch climbs, this jacket could be thrown over my climbing clothes.
In winter, I will use it as a mid layer under a gortex ski jacket or an ice climbing soft shell. I bought a size medium, which is a bit snug around my hips, so that I can wear it under a climbing harness.
This spring has been very warm so I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to use it yet but I did wear it on a hike a few days ago. It was raining and chilly out but I was very warm hiking up hill. I wore a t-shirt with a rain jacket. On the way down, I cooled off so I put on this jacket over the t-shirt and under the rain jacket. It was really nice and toasty warm without over heating.
I’m typically skeptical when a layer promises to keep you warm but also vent excess moisture (sweat). When Patagonia first introduced the Nano Puff, they marketed it as an “all day layer” that you didn’t need to take off when you were working hard because it would breathe out the moisture and you wouldn’t end up damp with sweat. Very important for winter activities in freezing temperatures because even a small amount of dampness in your clothes will give you a nasty chill when you stop working. I tried to use my first Nano Puff this way but I found I did sweat during hard work portions of my day such as skinning up a steep slope on a ski day or hiking up an approach trail for ice climbing. I prefer to add this jacket when I stop and transition to cooler activities such as ice climbing and belaying my climbing partner or skiing down.
For summer, this jacket will come along on backpacking trips to be worn around camp in the evening and first thing in the morning. Also, I will pack it in the bottom of the pack as a “just in case” item for scrambles, hikes and rock climbing. It will be handy if temperatures get chilly. The jacket packs down really small and is well worth the added weight in the pack and the space it takes up.
I don’t recommend any item of clothing until I’ve worn it quite a few times and I’ve washed it at least a couple of times. It’s awful when you buy something you love and then it changes after you wash it and it’s never quite as nice again.
I plan to update this review as I use the jacket so you can get a really good idea of my experiences with it and decide if it’s an item that would be useful for you.
I’ve bought a few items from Patagonia and they’re always high quality and very well made. You do pay for the quality though, it’s a more expensive brand and I’ve heard mountain guides refer to it as “Pata-gucci” because of the higher cost. When you buy from Patagonia, you also are supporting a company that cares about the environment and the impact its products have on the planet. I find that very satisfying and worth spending a bit more. Find out more about it at their website https://www.patagonia.ca/home/