How to pack for a backcountry hike in Saskatchewan
Are you looking to spend the night in the wilderness of Saskatchewan? Wondering what you need to survive? To help you out I have put together a list of things that I take into the Saskatchewan back country.
You will find that my list may not match up with yours, everyone has their own thoughts on what they should and shouldn't pack and everyone has different comfort levels in terms of gear to bring or leave at home. Use this as a guide and the more you hike the more you will find what works for you.
You should also note that I am not a brand loyal guy. This is for a couple reasons, the first, no one pays me to say their brand is better than others (unless someone wants to change that....) and secondly, I only buy what is on sale. Pretty much everything you see here was scooped up in the bargain bin. I would guess that my entire kit cost me around $1,200. You can go much cheaper or more expensive than this, but I like to make a balance between quality and price.
My total kit without food or water weighs 23 pounds.
It's not as heavy as it looks.....
What do I wear on my back to hold everything?
1) Osprey Volt 75L
2) Osprey Rain Protector (this is the difference between dry and wet gear)
Shelter and Sleeping
I like sleep, so I am willing to carry a bit more gear here.
1) Marmot 2P Carbide Tent (I have a 2 person for when my girlfriend joins me)
2) -20C Hotcore T-300 Cabela's Sleeping Bag (this may be over kill to some but I like to sleep warm and mine packs down)
3) Eagle Creek inflatable pillow
4) Thermarest inflatable mattress
You are going to want to have hot food and the utensils to eat it with
1) MSR Pocket Rocket Stove
2) MSR Fuel Canister
3) Outbound tin cup (holds 2 cups of water)
4) Sea to Summit spork
5) Gerber folding knife
6) Plastic bowl
You will need to drink water and you need to do it safely.
1) 3L Geigerrig bladder
2) 1 litre Nalgene bottle
3) MSR Water filter
4) 12 Aquatabs
These are the things you will need while in camp
1) Black Diamond headlamp
2) Extra batteries (for headlamp)
4) Fire Striker (magnesium rod)
5) Travel sized mosquito spray
6) Bug net (this is Saskatchewan, you'll want one)
7) Two carabiners
8) 50 feet of paracord rope (used to make clothes lines, make a bear hang, etc.)
9) 6" fixed blade Gerber knife (used to baton wood for campfires)
These things will keep you safe-ish. Common sense is the best tool you can bring.
1) First Aid Kit (mine contains a few band-aids, moleskin, afterbite, tweezers and tape)
2) Bear Spray (I only bring this up north)
3) Safety whistle
5) Cell Phone (turn it off, but still bring it. Put it in a ziploc bag for safe keeping)
6) Space Blanket
7) Casio G-Force Watch (knowing the time is highly important for pace and for when it's going to get dark)
8) Tylenol and Advil
Stay clean out there
2) Small travel toothpaste
3) A few feet of dental floss (I always get things caught in my teeth)
4) Toilet paper (don't bring the whole roll just enough for what you need)
5) Hand sanitizer
You don't need to bring these but they sure make life better
1) Flip-flops (wear these around camp while your boots dry by the fire)
2) Chocolate bar
3) Flask of vodka
4) Lemonade Mio (With the above item you can make a mean vodka, water lemonade)
7) GorillaPod tripod
Tips and Tricks
1) How to pack your bag
Pack your sleeping bag at the bottom of your bag. Then put as many heavy items on top. You should try and put heavy things close to your back. Then pack clothes and other light items on top. Put gear you will need to access on the trail in accessible spots such as your water filter, bug nets and mosquito spray, your toiletry bag, etc.
Leave nothing hanging loose off your bag. If you need to put your sleeping roll on the outside make sure it is tight and secure. Nothing should be swinging or loose. This will make a big difference on the comfort of your hike.
2) Put your clothes and sleeping bag in a garbage bag
Want to make sure when you get to camp your things are dry? Use a garbage bag as another layer of protection. They weigh virtually nothing and can really make the difference.
3) Keep one pair of dry socks for the second day
If your feet get wet the first day, don't change your socks too quickly. Still dry your feet out on breaks but keep a pair of sacred dry socks for the second day. This will go a long way on blister management.
4) Put your safety whistle and bear spray somewhere you can use it in a moments notice
A bear is about to attack you. Can you defend yourself? I hang my whistle on a front strap that allows me to grab and blow it immediately and my bear spray in an outside pouch where I can grab it.
5) Keep your gear organized
Don't get lazy and start tossing gear into your bag. Make a mental map of where everything is so when you need to find it you can. The best way to lose gear is being unorganized.
6) Never wear or bring anything that is cotton
Cotton is your worst enemy on the trail. Don't wear cotton socks, cotton t-shirts, cotton anything if you can help it. Once it gets wet you'll know why.
7) Learn to baton wood with a knife and leave the axe at home
An axe is dead weight, don't bring it. You can chop wood that you need using a fixed blade knife and another log. Learn this technique called batoning and you could save 5 pounds of weight.
8) Bring a watch that has a stopwatch
As soon as you get on the trail start your stopwatch. It is easy to forget as the day progresses what time you started at. This is the best way to track time and know how far you've gone. A reasonable hiking pace with little elevation is 15 minute/km.
All loaded up!
Do you think I missed anything? Do you disagree with my list or have suggestions? Let me know in the comments!