Evelyn in Wyoming’s Wind River range.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
— John Muir
One of the Kelly Family 2019 resolutions was more time in nature. We’ve been day hiking in our local mountains, which are lovely. But when summer rolls in, the family will be rolling out on a backpacking trip in the majestic High Sierras.
Hubby Patrick has done a handful of backpacking treks. But the rest of us are newbies. So I sent out a query to a few packing-savvy friends and family members asking for their favorite gear and supplies.
Rocco climbs in Utah’s Maple Canyon.
“The two things I must have on any trip are a Crazy Creek camp chair and some biodegradable wipes,” said Evelyn. “There was one day when I was on a backpacking trip where everything seemed to be going amiss. My comrades and I were in the Wind River Range in Wyoming and we had gone off our set trail and were bushwhacking it for several hours until we finally made it to our camp. In that moment, there’s nothing better than to finally relax in your camp chair and make some hard-earned grub with your friends. And after a day like that, or any backpacking day really, pampering yourself with a wipe is the best thing ever.” Crazy Creek Camp Chair, $49.40 at Backcountry. Surviveware Biodegradable Wipes, $8.97 for a 32-pack on Amazon.
“I really like L.L. Bean and Patagonia. Both are great brands,” offered Marieke. “I’d say the most important things for any trip are wool socks, a good puffy or warm jacket, and it’s nice to have working gaiters. Bandanas are a great fashion statement and very practical as well.” L.L. Bean Women’s Darn Tough Micro-Crew Cushion Socks, $22 at LLBean.com.
“I like the Gore-Tex rain jacket from Outdoor Research,” replied Rocco. “It has a big enough hood to go over a climbing helmet and it has zippers on the side that zip all the way up and allow your body to breathe while you exercise. It was awesome to have on my recent Maple Canyon rock climbing trip in Utah.” Outdoor Research Foray Rain Jacket, $149.73 at REI Outlet.
“Out of all the puffy jackets that I have owned,” answered Marc, “Mountain Hardwear is the warmest.” StretchDown Hooded Jacket, $300 at Mountain Hardwear.
“I worked for the Forest Service for two summers,” answered Peter, “and I really liked my PrimaLoft Heater Hooded Jacket from L.L. Bean. It kept me toasty and comfortable in the Grand Tetons.” $229.00.
“I really like my Gregory backpack,” said Fran. “It’s so, so important that people find packs that fit well. Ask for professional advice if needed, because it makes the entire backpacking experience a million times better. I also love my Keen hiking boots.” Gregory Backpack, starting at $76.93 at REI. Keen Targhee II Waterproof Hiking boots, $135 at REI.
“I can’t do without my coffee on any trip,” explained Mitzi. “It’s a great way to start the morning. I really like the GSI Outdoor Java Press; it’s very convenient and it won’t break on you.” $24.96 - $44.95 at Backcountry.com.
“On my recent fishing/backpacking trip in the Wind River Range,” offered Genevieve, “I brought lime and the necessary spices to make the best backcountry fish I’ve ever had. Brook Trout. Cooking it in tons of butter is the key. The best spot for fishing was Poison Lake.”
“I always bring granola bars on trips for when I get hungry on the trail,” said Vicki. “Nature Valley and Clif Bars are both tasty.” Nature Valley Protein Bars, $5.68 for 10 bars on Amazon. Clif Bars, $11.01 for a 12-pack of 2.4 ounce bars on Amazon.