Here's how we carried everything:
|Four packs, a cart, a purse, plus three fabric shopping bags of food (not shown, since we'd already eaten their contents)|
The two large travel packs are from MEC, bought before our first trip to Europe together in 2005, including one of the daypacks that zips onto the outside. In our packs were the sleeping bags, our clothes, & tent, with the sleeping pads strapped to the outside on the way there. Linny's Deuter Junior pack (containing both kids' clothing) is also from MEC, it's the one he's used for school for the past year. Bronte carried Linny's old SkipHop mini daypack (all her diapers & wipes were in here) that he used for two years of preschool. I also brought a small purse to just keep bus fare, my phone, & my book handy while in transit. We carried all our food & some other supplies on a small wheeled cart that came with our cooler, with a milk crate bungeed onto it. We also brought a few cloth grocery bags which we used to walk the last things we bought in Nanaimo a few blocks from the store to the little ferry, then to the camp site.
On our way home, we were a little more streamlined, with two sleeping pads inside one pack, the rest in the milk crate & the dishes, etc, in the cooler where the now eaten food had been.
I packed fairly light in terms of clothing--we wore nearly every item twice. It was easy to pack since the forecast was for dry, sunny weather, so we didn't bring any rain gear & only wore sandals. I brought fleece jackets & pants for the kids, but the pants weren't really necessary, as it just wasn't that cool at night.
In terms of sleeping gear, we brought our MEC Camper 4 tent, two thermarests, two blue foam mats, four MEC Creekside sleeping bags. The weather was perfect--between 21-28c in the afternoons, down to maybe 13c at night. The tent stayed warm, but didn't get any condensation & there was no dampness between the mattresses & floor as we've had on past trips in cooler weather.
Since we were carrying everything on transit, we decided to leave the folding camp chairs at home. I was able to use the milk crate as a stool at the campfire--we may bring a second crate next time so two can sit near the fire. The other 'furniture' we brought was our hammock. It's one we bought at Costco, not particularly light, but it packs down to smaller than a loaf of bread, so it's compact & having it was totally worthwhile to relax in or for the kids to play on.
|All MEC, all the time: tent, sleeping bags, & sleep pads from there|
For dishes we used the kids' plastic Ikea plates, bowls, cups, & cutlery. They are probably bulkier & maybe a few grams heavier than technical backpacking ones, but they stack fairly well, are just big enough for adults to eat on, & are fairly light. Durability was also a major factor, as the kids have managed to snap every double ended light spoon/fork in half. We decided not to bring the big plastic folding water jug with the spigot & didn't need it--it was only a short walk to get water, which we carried back to the site in a large water bottle, our two travel mugs & our two pots as needed. I also strapped a couple of extensible roasting sticks to the cart, which were handy for roasting hot dogs the first night, & marshmallows every night.
|Home sweet home for three nights on Newcastle Island|
Speaking of bugs, there were very few & we literally only saw one mosquito the entire trip. I had a tiny bottle of bug spray that got used twice. The sunscreen came out daily, & we used our basic toiletries kit of toothbrushes, mini toothpaste, plus my contact lenses, solution, & case. I took along qutie a lot of ibuprofen & tylenol in case my hip got really sore, but I took very little of it. I used my Nordic poles whenever I walked farther than a few minutes, which seemed to take enough weight off my joint so I wasn't that sore at all.
We decided not to bring any toys for the kids (we discovered a tiny Ikea stuffed skunk in Bronte's bag on our way there, however) just a handful of miniature story books. They were quite happy playing with sticks, shells, rocks, the hammock, & running around with other children they met.
|Making oatmeal on the Primus stove with the Ikea dishes|
I brought my Urban Poling Nordic poles & used them daily whenever we walked any distance. They collapse to about half their length & strapped onto the back of my pack, which occasionally got in the way, but wasn't too bad. We also brought our Beco carrier for when Bronte got tired on our 8km hike. I think next year she'll be able to walk a lot farther, so a dual purpose item like a wrap that would be used as a carrier & a blanket might work better.
Overall, I think we packed quite well. Most of the things we didn't use were due to good luck, & not things we could have omitted: first aid kit, tarp & one of two lengths of rope, the kids' fleece pants, Bronte's socks, Linny's blue asthma inhaler. Next time I think I might bring a small potty for Bronte, plus I'd like to get a nicer set of nesting pots with a proper lid, & a sarong that can be used as a child carrying wrap & a beach blanket. I think we could probably pack almost the exact same things for a trip in slightly cooler weather too.
If you'd like to read about how we planned our food for this trip, check out #CarFreeCamping: Food for Four (+8 Tips).
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