West Coast Trail Packing List
My pack is always ready to go, waiting under my bed for the next adventure. Let me know if I missed something!
For clothing, I try to keep it simple and light. I have a big problem with packing light. Every time I went on a vacation and I couldn’t decide what to bring, I just packed everything the suitcase was capable off. Just in case, you know? And then brought 3/4 of the clothes back unworn. How could I know in advance what I want to wear?!
If you have this problem, go backpacking for a week and carry all the sh** up a mountain on your back. If you don’t end up giving away your clothes while on the trip you for sure at least pack less for the next trip.
I got very angry at myself, swearing while pushing the weight up a trail with 1200 metres elevation gain over 8km. That’s how I ended up with one shirt and one leggings. If I go longer than 3 days maybe two shirts.
I have one pair of pants/shirt for the day, one for the night. I chose fabric which dries fast to always have dry clothes. If I have enough water at the camp spot and it was a sweaty day I wash my hiking shirt. But I actually don’t care too much.
More important to me is to take care of my hiking socks. If I only have two pair, I make sure I wash the dirty pair every night to not ruin my shoes. If you want to invest some money, go for the antibacterial no-stink socks. Put them in the foot part of your sleeping bag over night and they will be dry the next morning. And not stinky. Good to go 🙂
If I washed something at night and it is not dry the next morning, I attach it to my backpack to let it dry while I walk.
Many times I learned to bring enough warm camp clothes as I am always cold easily after working out all day. The body is burning energy all day and the metabolism is still boosted even if you are resting. My light down jacket is mostly enough, with a fleece first layer. If not I always bring my old down jacket as backup. If still too cold I wear my rain gear, that keeps a lot of warmth close to your body. And then there is always your sleeping bag.
A big plus at the end of a hiking day are camp shoes. Other shoes than your hiking boots – such a damn good feeling to get out of there. Crocs are nice, Flips Flops a bit tricky if it’s wet. But both are light and can make you very happy in camp.
I was very confused before my first trips. I went to MEC and found a huge amount of stoves, pots, combined stove/pot systems, pots which use the heat to charge your electronic devices, all kinds and sizes of dishes and containers, different kinds of propane, gas and what not. I had no idea how much more fancy camping became compared to when I was a kid and we went camping with the family each summer. A stove, two pots, plastic plates and cutlery and we were all set. Good old 80ies <3
I am pretty sure I don’t have the fanciest and most efficient set up right now, but for sure the simplest and it’s only a couple of things which work for pretty much everything.
I have a fist-sized stove, the “pocket rocket” which works with the normal propane cans. In a small 500ml pot I cook. Water for dehydrated meals, oatmeal or coffee. It’s also the perfect size to cook some pasta and then throw some tuna and things in there. I prepare and also eat the food right out of the pot. No dishes, it’s just another thing to carry and clean. I prepare my coffee in my mug with a cloth. Same mug is good for wine or hot chocolate at night. It all tastes the same in the end, but who cares 😉
For the WCT we had the same set up, altough we were two. We brought one other thing as the pot is not big enough to prepare a two person meal in it. So we each brought a plastic bowl with a lid. We boiled a full pot of water and then prepared our dehydrated meals in our bowls. If we had leftovers we kept it in the bowl. Some of the dehydrated meals need to soak for a bit in water do rehydrate. Easy with the bowl. Put some water into the bowl with the food, throw it back into your pack and warm it up when at camp.
If I am solo and I brought dehydrated food in a bag I don’t even bring the pot. I found out I can boil water in my waterbottle. I always make sure I boil too much water – and put the bottle in a sock and into my sleeping bag, no more cold feet 😉
Cleaning the dishes can be hard sometimes if you have only cold and not much water. So a luxury thing I bring is a sponge. That and some biodegradable soap (use for clothes and body as well!) makes it easier. If you forgot one, use some grass, works perfect for scrubbing things off.
“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life, it’s so easy to make it complex.”