As Bend Lifestyle Editor, I spend enough time putting pen to paper and stressing over deadlines. When I leave my desk, you can find me escaping to the woods to decompress and take advantage of Central Oregon living. As a former Deschutes County Search and Rescue member, I know how to pack a pack and get myself out of precarious situations. Here are a few items that never get left at home when spending the night in the Cascade Mountains.
1. The Backpack – A few years ago, I traded in my trusty, 20-year-old Lowe Alpine backpack for an Osprey Atmos 50 AG. The Backpacker Magazine “Pack of the Year” winner may be the last pack I ever own. Comfortable and spacious for year round travel—for the weekend or a through-hike—the Osprey fills most of my carrying needs. Attached to the back are a baseball hat and my Marmot waterproof rain coat. By purchasing a little larger size rain coat, I can use it for summer or winter with a down coat underneath.
2. Sleeping – There are many good tent makers these days, but I am a lifelong fan of Sierra Designs. The Clip Flashlight is a four pound, six ounce two-person (or one and a dog), three season tent. Keeping me from the cold, hard ground is my new Klymit Static V sleeping pad—18 ounces and packs up small! Then, I snuggle up in my REI 35 degree sleeping bag. If it’s any colder, I simply wear more clothes while sleeping.
3. Food – Always remember a camping trip is not a good time to go on a diet! Your food stash translates to calories, which provides fuel for long hikes and warmth for cold nights. I am not picky when it comes to pre-packaged meals, but I am a sucker for a good dehydrated chili, cooked in my JetBoil system. Bars—chocolate or honey flavored—are tucked into most backpack crevasses.
4. H2O – For the last 5 years, I have used the Steripen for my water filtration needs. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and packs small. I carry multiple wide-mouth Nalgene “Canteen” flexible plastic water bottles. They are not very heavy and fold up small when not in use. As backup for the Steripen, I usually carry a Lifestraw and iodine tablets, because I want water and not Giardia!
5. Clothing – The time of year dictates my clothing choices, but I always toss in an extra pair of socks, a fleece hat, and gloves. I like to keep it all organized in my Gobi Gear Hobo Roll, which easily doubles as a daypack when needed.
6. First Aid – A good first-aid kit can be a lifesaver, or simply provide peace of mind. In addition to Band-Aids and Neosporin, my kit houses wraps and a Sam Splint, in case I twist an ankle or sprain a wrist. I usually toss in some latex gloves, which provide protection if I have to offer aid to someone else, or warmth if needed.
7. Incidentals – My incidentals bag changes with each passing year—usually because of a past incident—but, always includes a knife, three ways to start a fire, mini headlamp, sunscreen, and extra boot laces.