What We Bring on Hikes

It’s been an evolution learning how to pack the most efficient way. Each time it seems like we learn something new. It’s a fun challenge to see if we can reduce our base weights each time. But we think we have it figured out now. Our base weights range between nine and eleven pounds. Here are pictures of what we bring.


The backpacks, a Gregory Jade 50 for Patti and REI Flash 65 for Lynn. A pair of shock-absorbing trekking poles for each of us and sleeping pads. Lynn carries the REI Passage tent. Sleeping bags are inside each of our packs.


Maps are stored in Patti’s pack in the top pocket. Though we have apps, it’s good to carry a hard copy as back up. Gives us paper for leaving notes, too. Patti’s wallet, with ID, credit card and $20, car key. Reading glasses, flashlight, head lamp, travel toothbrush and paste. Tiger balm and nail file are “luxuries”  brought depending on the length of our trip.


In side/hip pockets we carry comfort and safety: Chapstick, Chomps, cellphone, whistle, pocket knife, and pepper spray.


Patti’s NorthEast Cat’s Meow sleeping bag, base layer pants and camisole. It’s unbelievable how warm enough this is. I bring gloves and hat for extra cold nights (now that I don’t need it to cover my bald head). The cinch sack I fill with my clothes and viola – a pillow. A sweater, extra tank top and yellow rain poncho if rain is expected.


Plastic bags for trash, platypus bags – these things last forever, hand sanitizer, all goes in Patti’s side pocket.


Sawyer Water Filtration System. Trowel and TP. We figured out we can use a trekking pole tip as a trowel so we likely won’t bring that again. It took a while to streamline this. The key is to double-purpose as much as you can. Bandaids can be made with a bit of TP or gauze and duct tape. The roll gauze can be used as a sling. I’m not sure why I bring the cold compress – just in case, I guess. (It’s hard to take out the nurse in me.) Safety pins, a betadine ampule, steri-strips for gashes, matches, sharpie pen, and spare batteries. On our last hike, we brought steroid/anti-itch cream because we feared we might come across poodle dog. It wasn’t needed. We will probably take out the steri-strips, too, because we can make strips with the tape.


Collapsible cup can be used as a glass or a bowl, and a spork. One each. We each keep ours in a ziploc to keep it clean and to have a ziploc bag for food storage if needed. The yellow towel is a small chamois rag that dries quickly.


If we decide to cook, we bring our Esbit stove, Alpine two-pan kit, fuel cells. Of course we need our glow sticks. Patti’s wine flask. To the left is our emergency blanket that doubles as a ground sheet.


Lynn carries this stuff: Bear vault, when we need it. Goal Zero solar charger. Wallet, buck knife, whistle, gloves for cold nights, glasses, flask for scotch, head lamp, glow stick, pedometer, chapstick, spare key to my car (I once left my key in his car which did us no good). The poncho for rainy days. The hand warmers we tried this last trip but it wasn’t worth it.


What Lynn wears



What Patti wears


5 thoughts on “What We Bring on Hikes

  1. Good stuff. I’d never thought of using an emergency blanket as a ground sheet- usually go the Tyvek route- but that seems like a good idea. Also, I hadn’t thought of using a pole tip as a trowel, but have been using tent stakes (I carry one that’s longer than the others for this purpose.) I’m sure it’s the same general idea, just stick it in the ground and spin in a circular motion to awl out the cathole. It might save some wear and tear on your trekking poles or be easier to use on hard ground, but I’m not sure having not tried the pole method… yet!


    • Hello, Josh. Thanks for your comment.Using the trekking pole tip as a way to dig the hole is a new idea that we’re trying. As you likely know, sometimes the earth is too rocky and hard to get a good start on a hole, making a good trowel a better tool. But we’re constantly looking for ways to reduce our pack weight, even if it’s just ounces as a time. Last hike, I carried about 40 pounds and I’d love to get that down to 34 or so. Makes a huge difference.Thanks again for following along.



    • Yosemite is the king of parks in our view. We have spent time in and near the park many times over the years. We are especially excited to hike the John Muir section of the PCT and on into Yosemite. We believe this will be one of the true highlights of our hiking.


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