Since I have most of the specialized gear for the trip, I will bring most of it, and the new members will need to bring clothing, food and minor personal kit.
The following equipment will make up my kit for this coming trip - while it may seem a lot, I can probably fit all of this in or on my napsack at a weight of maybe 35 pounds at most:
A cooking pot made of aluminum and a lid will be used for cooking rice, pasta, and other foods - is lightweight and easy to clean. Instead of using detergent, I can just scrub it out using sand from the beach, and boil some water in it afterwards to disinfect it. I never clean the sooty, blackened bottom of the pot because it aids in head transfer I believe, plus, well, it is a pain to do so. The pot has a wire hanger loop on the top, so I can suspend it from a pot-hanger arranged over the fire. I could substitute the lid with a plate, but what's a pot without a lid?
A frying pan will accompany me as well, because it makes it easier to cook eggs or bacon or pancakes on it. I could do without, but it is a nice luxury - again, aluminum, folding handle, and light weight.
Bringing along a can opener is by association verboten in the backcountry, or so say the regulations... You see, you are not really allowed to bring in cans or bottles made of glass, because of certain campers abusing the wilderness and littering their sites with sharp metal and broken glass. I hate seeing beer bottles littering a site, or worse yet, broken in a firepit. I bring tuna in a can, or chili etc... but make sure I both hide it well when I get to the site (in case a ranger happens to land on shore) and of course once done, I burn the tin to clean it, and crush it, and stash it away for a proper return to a recycling depot when I come back from the trip. Glass bottles, well I generally don't bring these at all. Often I can bring a plastic bottle, or if I want to bring wine etc... I can pour it into a Nalgene bottle.
Nalgene bottle - well, this is a sturdy, shatter-proof and heat-resistent bottle which comes in handy. Also in case of a cool evening, I can pour boiling water into it (without fear of it melting), wrap it in a shirt and use it as a hot water bottle.
Stainless steel mug. This lightweight item can be used directly over flame, is easy to clean, and won't bend, break or scratch. I tie the loop of the handle to my napsack and if next to another piece of metal, can serve as a bear bell - alerting bears along a portage route by means of clanging, to keep away - HUMANS are around. Oh, and a beagle.
Zip lock bags are useful to carry small items like firesteels, keys, maps and more - seals in the items from the elements, and generally very useful for organization. It is easy to become very disorganized at camp - bags and bits and bobs everywhere, items used and not put back where they were found. You learn after a while how important it is to leave the flashlight in a trusted place, to leave the knife and axe right where they belong. The sun can drop down quickly, making it difficult to find items afterwards.
Speaking of things being difficult to find - on my way back from a trip a couple years ago, I realized I had left my nice shortwave radio and hat on the camping spot, and by the time I had realized it was too late to return in the canoe. It is a good idea when packing up to go through the same list that you bring, and check everything off. It is far too easy to leave things behind when your attention is focused on the hard slog back...
I always bring a Coghlan's interlocking stainless steel fork, spoon and knife set with me - they tuck together nicely and as such won't poke through bags and get lost in nooks and crannies in my kit containers. I recommend you save up your pennies and invest in a set - it might cost you around $3.
A cotten tea towel is invaluable for kitchen duty, washable, light weight, and in an emergency can be transformed into char-cloth to aid you in your firelighting efforts. As long, of course, as you have a tin can into which you can pack it and then cook it off on a fire.
Tucking a few paper plates into your pack is a nice touch, and weighs almost nothing. Can be used for other reasons, and of course can be burned after a meal.
I always bring a book with me - and not a 'how to survive in the wilderness' non-fiction piece, but generally a novel. It is a nice way to relax in the quiet of a camping trip.
I always bring a compass, but generally don't use it except in siting (and of course 'sighting') a camp spot - to ensure it faces south etc... However it is crucial that you learn how to use a compass, and I always have it on my person if I treck into the woods. I am still amazed how quickly a person can get lost. Even on short walks, I have found myself turned around and going in entirely the wrong direction after a minute or so. Hills, rises and rivers can throw your mental direction-finding completely off. I carry a map while in the canoe, and on portages - using Google Maps satellite view, I simply zoom in on a few regions on my trip and print out a colour image and carry them flat in a large zip-lock bag. This gives a great sense of relative distance and orientation while trekking and paddling.
A fire steel is a rod composed of an amalgam of metals - it is the tiny piece of 'flint' you find in lighters. With friction, small particles of metal are shaved off and ignite, causing sparks. With the appropriate tinder (shaved up birchbark, etc...) you can get a fire going in seconds. I don't bring matches camping with me, period. They can get wet, and you can immerse the firesteel in water, wipe it off and immmediately gets sparks going. Good for thousands of strikes, I always carry at least 2 - one on my person and another stashed away safely in my knapsack.
I will cover off the rest of the equipment in my next post, and then provide a list format of all these items, along with a set of photographs of all the gear, once I have assembled and prepared it ready for the trip...
In the meantime, here is what I will cover in the next post:
- Fishing rod, gear & license
- Garbage Bag
- SFA Axe
- Headlamp and AAA batteries
- Lantern & Mantle (filled with fuel)
- Stove & full Fuel Bottle
- Knifes - Mora & Drop-Point Hunter
- Extra Fuel
- Folding Bucksaw
- Dry Sacks
- Reflective Emergency Blanket
- Folding Chair
- Camera & 2 batteries
- Bug repellent
- Repair kit
- Sleeping Bag
- Compression Bag
- Pillow case
- Jacket, Jeans, Cap
- Socks, Underwear
- T-Shirt, Shirt, Sweater
- Toilet paper
- Camping Suds
- Insect Repellent
- Instant Mashed Potatoes
- Evaporated milk
- Lemon Drink Crystals
- Tinned meat
- Pasta side-dishes
- Pancake batter
- Chocolate bars
- Dried Sausage
- Pre-cooked bacon
- Instant oatmeal