This girl doesn’t pack light.
In 5 and a half weeks time I’ll be road tripping with Trek America up the American West Coast! I’ll be camping for two weeks, travelling from Los Angeles to Seattle, making stops at Santa Barbara, Big Sur/Monterey, Yosemite NP, San Francisco, Redwood NP, Portland, Mt Rainier NP and Olympic NP.
Having done a trip with Trek America last year, I’m pretty clued up on what I need to take in terms of clothes and accessories, but seeing as I’ve never camped before except for at festivals and on DofE, and let’s face it, those don’t count, I had to start from scratch. Here’s some of the most important gear I’m taking on my road trip:
Luggage Bag – North Face Duffel Bag, Large – £115
This is actually the bag that I took on my Trek America trip last year. I’m not a fan of the usual suitcase – I find packing hard shell cases difficult and they just aren’t practical for trekking – but I also didn’t want a rucksack.
This North Face duffel bag is the perfect fusion: it’s strong and sturdy and has a barrel shape that makes packing easy. The straps on the bag also mean that it can be carried the same way as a rucksack, making moving from campsite to hostel and back again a breeze. There are a couple of different sizes of this bag too, ranging from the Extra Small 33 litre to the XXL 150 litre. I settled in the middle for the Large 95 litre which holds a sleeping bag, blow-up pillow and all the clothes I need for a months travel, plus some extra room for all the bits and pieces I’ll pick up on the way.
I should also note that I didn’t buy this bag for £115; it got it on sale on Millets.com and managed to use student discount on it too so it came to about £80.
Hiking Boots – Berghaus Explorer Ridge Plus GTX, £140
Having done a lot of walking in my time, I have been through many, many pairs of hiking boots. These Berghaus Explorer Ridge Plus GTX which I bought from my local outdoor retailer are my current pair. Combining GORE-TEX® waterproof protection with an EVA midsole and OrthoLite® foot bed they are cushioned and incredibly comfortable. They’re also engineered with a TPU PLANTAR PLATE™ and an OPTI-STUD® outsole to keep my feet protected while I climb and hike through Yosemite and the other national parks I’ll be visiting.
Sleeping Bag – Snugpak Travelpak 2 with Built In Mosquito Net, £44.95
If you’re going on a camping trip, your sleeping bag is one of the most important things you’ll take with you. I got this sleeping bag from my local outdoor retailer and it has everything I need for two weeks camping on the Pacific coast. Weighing 1100g (a little over what I was aiming for, but I’ll sacrifice an extra dress for a super comfy sleeping bag), it’s a mummy-style bag with integrated pockets, a roll away mosquito net and antibacterial fabrics. The actual bag itself is electric blue – something I probably should have checked before I bought it – but thats not an issue when it guarantees to keep me comfy for two weeks for sleeping on the woodland floor.
Blow-Up Pillow – Vango Self Inflating Pillow, £8.50
You can’t sleep without a pillow. When you’re camping, having a suitable, comfortable and supportive pillow is the key to having good sleep on your trip. This pillow is the Vango Self Inflating Pillow. It’s designed to inflate just by releasing the valve and to deflate by pressing the air out. It’s really light – 300g – and comes with a handy storage sack that makes it easy to keep dry.
Travel Organiser – Marks Inc. Travel Organiser In Silver, £11
A new edition to my travel must-haves is a travel organiser. I’ve always kept my travel documents, insurance, tickets and passport just floating around in the bottom of my bag, but this time around I’m going to sort-of organised and keep everything in check with a travel organiser wallet. This one that I got from ASOS is simple but will allow me not to lose anything; it has a specific space for your debit/credit card and passport and has two other huge, zip-up sections that are for keeping your boarding passes, insurance details and any other vouchers or information that you’ll need to keep handy.
Travel Towel – Lifeventure Trek Towel, £25.99
One of the biggest weights in your pack is often your towel, so I think that a microfibre towel is always the way to go. This one is the Lifeventure Trek Towel in the Giant size. It’s a soft fibre towel that dries 8x faster than a usual towel and absorbs 9x its own weight in water. This size is 150 x 90 cm and only weighs 280g which is perfect for showering and swimming.
Head Torch – Silva
A camping necessity is the humble head torch. Useful for those “OMG WHAT IS THAT OUTSIDE MY TENT I NEED TO IF IT’S A BEAR RIGHT NOW” moments and for finding your way to the bathroom at 3am, a head torch is an essential. This one has been in my family for years and has travelled round the world with us, from Namibia to South Africa and Sri Lanka to Peru.
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