I’m heading to Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island’s Cumberland Peninsula at the end of June. Auyuittuq is an Inuktitut word meaning land that never melts.
Normally I don’t do adventure tours anymore figuring I have enough experience to do it on my own. But when a trip is remote and logistics are tough I am happy to leave the planning – especially meal planning to an outfit.
As we’re backpacking and carrying everything we”ll be eating as well as fuel on our backs, pack weight is really everything. If ones’s pack is too heavy it totally takes away from the enjoyment of the trip.
Here’s what a packing list looks like for a remote two week trip – where it’s more likely to be cold and windy than hot.
- One good quality pack with rain cover – 70+ liters for men, 60+ liters for women
- A sleeping bag rated to -5 C or colder, down or synthetic
- A sleeping pad.
- Hiking poles; I rarely use these but we will have rivers to ford and they will come in handy for balance
- One – 1 litre water bottle
- Insect repellent and bug jacket
- Toiletries including sunscreen as it will be nearly 24 hour sunlight, lip salve, biodegradable soap, matches, blister care kit
- Pack towel
- Camera. I have a Pentax K 5 -II (and the body is waterproof). I’ve decided to bring two lenses – an 18-270 mm and a 10-20 mm, plus two spare batteries and several extra cards.
- Binoculars and a bird book; my husband will carry these
- Small foam bum pad for sitting
- Pen, paper, journal
- Kindle, book(s)
- Swiss Army knife
- Two dry bags for clothes and sleeping bag
Layering is key to hiking in the Arctic – especially when the winds are blowing – which from what I’ve read is pretty constant at 10-20 km/hour. At least it will keep the bugs away. Snow can happen at any time and generally we can expect cool temperatures.
- One pair of mid-weight hiking boots
- One pair of neoprene socks
- One pair of lightweight (think Crocs) camp shoes
- Two pairs of thicker socks
- One pair of warm gloves
- One baseball cap AND a warm hat
- A hood on a raincoat or a rain hat
- Sunglasses with a strap
- One light weight synthetic undershirt
- One mid-weight synthetic longsleeve crewneck shirt
- One expedition weight zip neck top
- One lightweight fleece vest (I’m bringing a down vest)
- One down jacket or sweater in stuff sack
- One wind jacket – breathable and light
- One Gore-Tex jacket or waterproof jacket
- A few pairs of underwear
- One pair synthetic mid-weight long underwear
- One pair expedition weight long underwear
- One pair stretch ski tights
- One pair of Gore-tex pants
- One pair of gaiters
- One fleece neck tube
- One pair of orthotics
- One pair of synthetic shorts or short stretch tights
So by the time you read this I’m hoping I’m still walking – and that my shoulders haven’t caved in from the weight of my pack. I had a little taste of backpacking just a short time ago and it makes me realize how soft I really am.
I’ll update this list after the trip if I think there are things that are useful or happen to not be worth taking.
UPDATE: I took an inflatable seat that took up almost no room. I highly recommend that as it keeps your butt warm and dry – and it’s far more comfortable than sitting on a rock.
I think only a high quality Gore-Tex jacket is all you need. I didn’t bring a wind jacket and I didn’t miss it. I brought wind pants but my Gore-Tex pants were just fine – so I would save weight and volume and nix the wind pants too.
Anything you’d add to the list for a two week backpacking trip?