What to bring backcountry camping
Know before you go: Jameson and de Montigny both say planning is critical when it comes to backcountry camping. And since you can’t pack everything, you need a plan for every part of your trip. You also need to be extremely conscientious of water and how you’re gonna get it. Too much (it’s heavy!) or too little of it (you’re dead!) can ruin a trip.
What you’ll need: Lightweight stove, lightweight tent, gas, water treatment system. Jameson says iodine tablets tend to leave a taste. To filter water, he prefers a gravity filter (which you can hang to a tree and have the water filter down), a pump filter, or even UV filters that can clean cloudy water by infusing it with bright light.
Damn-glad-I-brought-it item: A satellite phone or split devices that allow you both to text or call friends, and send an emergency signal to a call center that then routes your location to the nearest emergency service provider. For hygiene and cleaning, Jameson recommends baby wipes and a small bottle of liquid soap -- Dr. Bronner’s is great all-purpose soap.
Key tip: Jameson recommends a mini stove burner that attaches to a gas cartridge that you can fold out and put your pot on for small meals like pasta, fried eggs, or pancakes. The handiest foods are compact and ready-to-eat: salami, for instance, or power bars. He also says that packaged, dehydrated ready-made meals have gotten a lot better lately.
Trip-saving advice: De Montigny says people “bring way too much stuff” on typical trips. For a four to five day trip, one change of clothes will suffice. You also need a better-quality tent because “if it breaks, you can’t crawl into your car.” He recommends tents between 5 to 8 pounds versus the unwieldy 25-pound tents some people break out for car camping.
The payoff: “You’re often going to areas that are completely new to you,” says de Montigny. “You’re connecting with the outdoors, not sitting by your car on your cell phone.”