I promised a friend I will give him my Yellowstone packing list. So making a blog post out of it. I searched for this information and didnt find what I was looking for. The pro backpackers can get by with way less. They are the ones with the books and packing advice on the internet. This is what I needed to get by for 10 days. We didn’t know what to expect and what we really needed. We didn’t have the experience to pull off a long trip while cooking on the go. We didn’t know how to cook when it rained hard. Boxes of cookies and other junk food was consumed. We took ALL the cold weather gear we had. And ended up needing only half of it. I want to go to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks in the next one year. I hope this list serves us better for the next trip.
We packed a backpack that we could leave at the camp ground on most days with food and clothing. When we moved campgrounds, it was easy to displace all the ‘stuff’ with us.
Clothing : sweat wicking shirts ( 5 ), good insulation jacket (1), pants ( 2 ), sleep tent clothes : yoga pants ( 1 )+ hoodie ( 1) , Sports bras ( 5 ), underwear ( 7 ), Camp socks (3), Gloves and a beanie. I love how good lululemon clothes are, for this purpose. They are light, dry fast and have excellent sweat wicking properties. I didnt need special camping/workout clothing. Most of my everyday clothes did great. I wore Madewell and Citizens of Humanity stretchy jeans for hiking. And J Crew linen shirts for tops. Socks were the only indulgences before the trip.
Food : I need to work on this area for the future. I ate so much junk food that its disgusting. Dehydrated “healthy’ food from Backpackers Pantry. Shin bowls from Asian stores. Anything that said pour water and heat from Trader Joes : polenta, beans, potato soup mix, spanish rice, chilli, etc. We also ate large amount of chocolate and cookies when tired. Longer the stay, harder it gets to eat fresh.
Our third bag consisted of camp essentials – Tent , sleeping bag, camp light, camp stove, fire starter, a book and a few utensils.
A day bag is essential for going away all day from the campground and for sustenance on hikes. It is tempting to pack for every emergency but it comes at the cost of fatigue per kilo per hour. Bear spray, hydration pack, rain jacket, snack, wallet, phone, memory card, battery, sunscreen, Camera, compass, maps, gloves, shades, torch light and a good multi purpose knife.
Backpacking is a lifestyle. It’s not something you do on a trip and go back to your usual self. I have noticed my favourite backpackers forego the 20$ meals and expensive shampoos all year long to be able to afford full time travel. They wear the free t shirts, live off of PBJ’s if they have to while living in 8 by 5 feet spaces, forego pursuit of the non essential to do what they want to do. It is not a choice of suitcase/luggage while travelling. Its the thought of having one more thing than the essential == will break the back and make it harder to travel. And in turn, travel changes you to fit into this lifestyle. It took me a long time to learn this. I am in perpetual conflict between my nomadic tendencies and pleasures of having a well stocked nest. I don’t see it ending any time soon.