What’s in the backpack?

I know I love to learn about what to pack for a hike.  I thought I’d share what we carried on the Sunshine Coast Trail.

Maybe you have ideas on what stuff to cut out or what we were missing!?  I know I could spend endless money trying to reduce my total weight.

Iphone not shown; Canon camera left behind

I was going to carry my point and shoot but I ended up shedding that weight.  I carried only this little battery pack and cord that cost $10 at Best Buy.  I turned my Iphone onto airplane mode and rarely had it using cellular data.

Estimated weight = 800 g


I think I did a good job with our clothes.  We ended up getting rid of all the warm stuff at km 134.7.

  • Rain pants & light weight rain coat
  • Light weight long underwear (top & bottom)
  • Toque
  • 1 pair of underwear
  • 1 dry fit t-shirt
  • 1 fleece sweater
  • Flip flops (shown but not carried; another benefit of wearing sneakers)

I wore shorts and my hiking dry fit t-shirt every day (gross).  I figure I smelled less appetizing to the bears.

The green socks in the picture are cotton.  They were replaced with proper hiking socks after the picture.  Never wear cotton.  It gets wet and uncomfortable and on your feet you risk blisters.

Total weight = 3.6 lbs


I carried our food in these waterproof bags from MEC.  I learned that together they weigh ~1 lb and it’s something you could cut out but it sure was easy to hang them as opposed to a garbage bag.  Plus, our little mouse friend couldn’t penetrate the bag in the top of Golden Stanley Hut.

Total weight = 1 lb


I have a down sleeping bag from MEC.  It’s super warm but not lightweight.  I got everything on a scale before the trip and learned that it weighs 3.4 lbs.  Ouch!   My Thermarest sleeping mat weighs 1.6 lbs.  Double ouch!

Total weight = 5 lbs


Thanks Mom for contributing the book for the trip.  I loved it and I’m sure someone else is carrying it right now (left at the Confederation Hut).  The cards were an absolute must!

Total weight = 1.2 lbs


  • First Aid Kit (1 tensor bandage only; 1 ice pack; multiple band-aids)
  • Bear Spray
  • Bear Bell (not carried; we talked the whole time)
  • Personal Location Beacon
  • Whistle
  • Light

Total weight = 2.1 lbs


  • Mug for food; spoon (we each carried our spoon & eating container)
  • Stir spoon
  • Fuel (big size – I have learned now that this thing easily lasts 10 + nights)
  • Waterproof matches and flint (I would now only carry the flint)
  • MSR pocketrocket stove
  • 1 pot & handle

Total weight = 3 lbs


  • Shazam towel (not sure of the name but super absorbent & lightweight)
  • Sunblock
  • Toilet paper
  • Advil for the knees
  • Lip Balm
  • Soap (better to buy the biodegradable liquid stuff I think)
  • Toothbrushes & toothpaste (yes, I could have cut down the handles but I didn’t)

Total weight = 1.2 lbs


The shoe bag contained one giant tent fly and plastic tent pegs.  The rope..and yes it’s huge but effective.  We used it to support the fly and we thought we might have to hang our food at some point.  The emergency blankets were used as drop sheets under the fly. I saved over 3 lbs not carrying our 3 person tent.

Total weight = 3 lbs


Pack empty weight = 7.4 lbs (You big old lug!)

This picture was taken on the Juan de Fuca Trail but that’s basically the setup.  We all carried a water bladder and I use hiking poles which are an absolute must in my opinion.  There, I underlined it so it must be important!

Total Pack weight (without food & water) = 28.5 lbs

Total Water weight = 2.5 lbs (always carried 1 L)

Total Food weight = 37.8 lbs

As you can see from the weights, when you hike with children by yourself, it would not make sense not to do a food drop (68.8 lbs).   I only weigh 155 lbs.  Using the 1/3 of your body weight model I should not carry more than 52 lbs.

I estimate that my pack weighed 38.5 lbs, 49.9 lbs and 42.3 lbs for leg 1 (Manzanita to Shinglemill), leg 2 (Shinglemill to km 134.7) and leg 3 (km 134.7 to finish) respectively.

Kid’s Packs


I did not have an opportunity to weigh the kids pack, although they carried less than another adventure where their packs weighed 20 lbs (28 % body weight).

Our goal was to carry the absolute minimums.

  • Sleeping bag
  • Clothes (same model as my pack)
  • Water bladder
  • Sleeping mat
  • Hammock (daughter)

They use the Deuter Fox 40 from MEC and we are really happy with them.   They are a great size with adjustable shoulder straps that you would find on an adult pack.




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