Packing for Algonquin: 4 Day Portage Trip
Hey guys! I’m back, with an exciting af post. My friend Kathryn and I will be doing a 3 night-4 day portage trip to the Algonquin Provincial Park Interior this long weekend, and we’re STOKED!
As you may or may not know, I work in the Camping section of an Outdoor Store. I interact with avid campers, climbers, skiers, all types of outdoorsy people on the daily. Not to mention that some of my co workers have done some amazing things, like living out of a Canoe for a month. My experience there has been nothing short of amazing, and although I’ll be moving for school and must leave for the winter, I will be back next summer for more adventures!
For those of you interested, I have complied a list you would need to go BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING in the ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK INTERIOR for a weekend. As women, we have my own needs that are different from men. I have geared my list to be handy for my fellow outdoorsy females. I will be highlighting items to speak about them in more detail (quick tips). Here goes!
50-60 L Pack Personal locator beacon GPS, Map, Compass Itinerary of route Lightweight tent or hammock Sleeping bag Sleeping pad Water filtration system/tablets/drops Rope/paracord Food barrel or dry bag Knife/multitool Head lamp First Aid Kit Pack Stove Compact cook set (plate, pot, pan, cups, bowls, etc.) Fuel (Pack Stove compatible) Biodegradable Soap portable kitchen sink (optional) portable lightweight mini table (optional) fire starter Bug spray/repellent Pack axe/saw Lighters and stormproof matches Toilet paper Poop shovel Lantern Personal Items:
waterproof breathable jacket insulated midlayer (hoodie, fleece jacket, etc.) merino wool socks lightweight toiletry bag t-shirts, long pants, shorts, sweatpants underwear water bottle sunglasses hiking shoes sunscreen wet wipes (optional) quick dry towel bug hat (optional) water shoes (optional) swimsuit (optional) waste bags Specific Items:
tampons/pads (if applicable) birth control pills (if applicable) contact lens case and solution (if applicable) extra contact lenses (if applicable) epipen (if applicable) medication (if applicable) Highlighted Items
GPS, Compass, Map: If it is your first time in backcountry, for safety reasons, please make sure you are able to read a map and a compass. It may sound like it is extremely simple to interpret where north is with a map and a compass, but you would be surprised how many people come into my work not knowing how to read a map, not knowing that the campsite they booked was along violent rapids, not knowing what True North is. If you yourself are not familiar with that last term, you may need to refresh your map reading skills as well.
Food Barrel/Dry bag: Keep in mind that backcountry camping includes risks with wild animal encounters. It is ESSENTIAL to bring a food barrel or a dry bag in order to store your food and tie it up in a tree at night. It is recommended that you tie your food up in a tree with rope or paracord away from where you will be sleeping. This way, if any animals do come to find the food (such as a bear or a raccoon), they will be over there, and you here.
Bug Spray/Repellent: The bugs in the backcountry are NOT like the bugs in the city, or the ones that you may find on a family campsite. There are all types of bugs that will be flying into your face during the day and at night, especially if you are portaging. It is important to bring bug spray even if you don’t mind the bites (I don’t), because the bugs in your face while you’re trying to eat or relax, get annoying. I highlighted this to suggest a widely used and inexpensive method that my colleagues and I recommend to those who are trying to keep bugs away. Citronella candles are amazing. Place 3 or 4 of them around your tent/fire every night and the bugs will likely minimize.
Poop Shovel: Yup, it’s as gross as it sounds. Make sure to pack it with a baggie. It is important that you follow park rules and regulations, along with environmental laws and regulations. If you must go number 1 or number 2, you should dig a hole (with said poop shovel) at least 100 feet away from a water body for obvious reasons. After doing your business, you gotta pack the dirt back into the hole and mix it together. Keep our waters clean, we drink from there!!
Merino Wool Socks (sorry vegans) : I used to work in the clothing department of the outdoor store. I would recommend merino wool and customers would stare at me like I had 3 heads. The merino sheep can be found in New Zealand, and it grows amazing wool that can be used in clothing to regulate body temperature, wick away moisture, and resist odor! You can literally wear the same merino wool socks, shirt, pants, for 30 days straight and they will not stink. We have heard of employees at other stores putting it to the test, and it works. Also – it most definitely does NOT itch. If you love the outdoors and don’t know about merino wool, give it a shot!
Waste Bags: Always, when performing any outdoor activity, please keep in mind the LEAVE NO TRACE rule. Bring waste bags to store your garbage and do not leave anything on the campsite that was not there before you came. Be sure to bring more than one, because you probably don’t want your butt tissues stored with the rest of your stuff.
As always, make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings, aware of your travel route, aware of what is on your map, aware of the dangers and aware of the environment. Send your itinerary and location to family and friends so they know where you’ll be staying. Do not contaminate the water because you drink from it! Revise park rules and recognize it is illegal in Canadian Parks to disrupt wildlife.