It’s been unseasonably warm here in Utah this winter, and it’s got us dreaming of backpacking weather already. We’re also three months out from our April 2021 Simply Wild women’s backpacking retreat, and getting ready for that is giving us even worse spring fever.
Whether you’re looking to get into backpacking this year or if you’re wanting to upgrade your gear, here are some items we use for our retreats that we recommend.
Gregory Mountain Products
For our Simply Wild backpacking retreats, we head into the backcountry of Canyonlands National Park where we have to carry all of our water for the weekend, which weighs upward of 17 lbs. That’s not including everything else we need for the weekend!
When carrying that much weight, it’s important to have a comfortable, adjustable backpack. And that’s just one reason we love our Gregory backpacks. With packs specifically designed to fit women’s bodies, Gregory packs are fitted to hug all the right places so that there’s no rubbing and no need to make constant adjustments. From lumbar support, to hip pads and ventilated padding, Gregory packs help lighten the load.
It can be hard to get good sleep in the backcountry. Some lightweight sleep systems are soooo noisy. Every toss and turn can sound like you’re in a tent filled with balloons. Sorry, tent-mate!
Klymit sleeping pads are both lightweight AND quiet. And, they have several sleeping pad options, depending on what nighttime temps you’re expecting.
For our first Simply Wild retreat in October 2019, a freak cold front moved in the day before we headed into the backcountry. To make sure our women were warm at night, we used Klymit’s Static V Ultralight pad for a higher R-value (insulation rating). This past October, nighttime temps were in the 50s, so we opted for the Static V with a lower R-value.
Klymit also makes a lightweight pillow for added comfort without tipping the scale.
Boundary Life Gear
While it might seem like a luxury item to ultralight backpackers, we highly recommend getting a backpacking chair, like the one we use from Boundary Life Gear.
Nothing feels better after a long day on the trail than taking off your heavy pack, slipping off your hiking boots, and relaxing in your backpacking chair. Sure, some backpackers will say they’ll find a rock or a log to sit on, but after all that work on the trail, you deserve to kick back in a lightweight chair.
We love the side pockets on the Boundary Life Gear chair (no more dropping your backpacking fork in the dirt!), as well as the adjustable legs.
We love these lightweight Luminaid solar lanterns! They collapse flat when you don’t need them, and when you’re ready to use them, just simply give them a few puffs of air. They’re perfect for hanging around camp or in your tent at night.
Since we can’t have a fire in Canyonlands, these Luminaid solar lanterns become the thing we gather around for storytime, where we laugh and cry together.
Ladies, this item here is life-changing. That’s not an exaggeration, either! You’re probably wondering what the heck you’re looking at. Well, it’s a reusable, anti-microbial pee cloth called a Kula Cloth!
Rather than dripping dry (which never gets you dry) or packing in toilet paper (which you have to pack out used), you can pat dry with a Kula Cloth. While the outside is fun and decorative, the inside is made of black antimicrobial, odor-resistant material. After you use it, you just snap it closed for privacy.
And, it doesn’t get gross, even after using it in the backcountry for a few days! When you get home, you just throw it in the wash! The Kula Cloth is perfect for day hikes too.
Bonus Item: Hugger Mugger
While a yoga mat isn’t something you traditionally take into the backcountry, it’s a necessity for our Simply Wild backpacking retreats. If you’re looking for a travel yoga mat, this travel mat from Hugger Mugger is what you need! Not only is it lightweight, which is necessary with everything else we carry into the backcountry with us, but it’s also super durable. I take this travel mat with me everywhere, whether that’s in my carry-on to Hawaii or in my backpack to Canyonlands.
Now, who’s ready to hit the trail? If you’re interested in learning more about the healing experience of Simply Wild, read the recap of our 2020 retreats here.