Leave No Trace!

I have the opportunity to go backpacking. My son, his girl, and their friends are allowing me to tag along and I am ecstatic. After, realizing that my camping gear is too heavy to use for backpacking I have started collecting some new ultra light gear. I have solicited opinions from many sales person, community forums, gear head websites along with hours of YouTube video’s  and have end up with some nice gear without breaking the bank.

My first order of business was to compile a list of things to consider when evaluating the gear.

  • Days out                                              5 days
  • Miles each day                                   10 – 13 miles
  • Weather                                              Possible Thunderstorms, Sunshine  71°/53° Lake Superior Surface Water Temperature: 63.9 °F
  • Topography                                       Cliffs, sandstone formations, forest, beach, streams, lakes, wetlands.
  • Amenities                                           Campsite
  • Hazards                                               Bear, Water must be filtered and boiled, Black flies, mosquitoes, and Wolverines (forget that, they will be kicking ass in South Bend).

Next I made a list of gear categories and gear I need to take.

    • Packing
      • Backpack
      • Rain Cover
      • Dry Bags
      • Bear Bag
      • Zip-lock Bags
      • Trash Bag
    • Shelter
      • Tent
      • Sleeping Pad
      • Sleeping Bag
      • Footprint
    • Clothing
      • Pants
      • Shorts
      • Swim Trunks
      • Socks
      • Camp shoes (flip flops)
      • Underwear
      • Rain Gear
      • Hiking Boots
      • Base layer
      • Shirts long sleeve
      • T-Shirts
      • Gloves
      • Bennie
      • Hat (Sun Protection)


    • Essentials
      • First Aid Kit
      • Glasses/Contacts
      • Sunglasses
      • Medicine
      • Toothbrush
      • Trowel for leave no trace…
      • Headlamp
      • Sunblock
      • Bug Cream
      • Mosquito Net
      • Whistle
      • Waterproof matches or lighter
      • Paper/Pencil
      • Knife
      • Soap
      • Toilet paper
      • Biohazard Bag for used items.
    • Food/Cooking
      • Water Filter/Purification
      • Backup Purification tablets
      • Stove/Fuel
      • Utensils
      • Meals/Snacks @2600 calories per day
      • Water Bottle
      • Water Storage Bag (camp)
      • Flask (Rum)
      • Vitamins
    • Extra’s
      • Camp chair
      • Binoculars
      • GoPro
      • Phone
      • Headphones
      • Solar Battery Charger
      • Storage Battery
      • Extra Battery Pac
      • Cards
      • Camera

This is a lot of gear, so I set a couple of rules when I considered my gear. Number one is weight so I tried to keep in the ultra-light gear lines, clothes must be wicking both with UV and odor protection and nutrition must be lightweight and easy to prepare.

I suggest you first inventory what you already have and take the time to make sure if it still is in good condition. After, I completed my inventory and had my shopping list I needed to know how much space I have to work with. So my first category to address needed to be packing.


aetheragdpk70_side_neptuneblueI used many resources while picking my backpack and I found that YouTube was a great place to start. A simple search will give you the top social active brands. It doesn’t mean that they are the best it just means that they have great marketing. That being said you can make a list and do research on gear sites and community forums. What I found helpful was to pick a destination and find pictures of the area that had hikers in them and see what gear they were sporting.

I made my brand choice pretty fast, but picking the model, took some time. Osprey is the brand I liked and I was torn between the XENITH and the AETHER AG™. I previously purchased an Osprey travel bag, and the quality is great.

The experts suggested a 60L bag would be fine for a week in the wilds. I figured my age would require a few items that a young man might not need, so I picked up the AETHER AG™ 70L bag. At 6-3, 205 lbs., I was fitted for a medium frame harness and the weight is around 5.2 pounds. I felt this pack was more comfortable and cost $90.00 less than the XENITH. The women’s model is the ARIEL AG™.

The remaining gear in this category like the trash bags and Zip-lock bags are common household items. Dry, bear and your rain cover can be purchased at most camping supply stores.  Since there are bears in the Upper Peninsula a bear bag is necessary. Look on YouTube to learn how to set up a bear bag. Some campsites have a bear locker but have one with you just in case.

Remember to always follow the 7 principles of Leave No Trace.


I am only taking 5 items in this category. All are ultra light and the total weight of these 5 items is only 6 lbs 6 oz.

  • Tent                                                40 oz
  • Sleeping Pad                                 25 oz
  • Sleeping Bag                                 30 oz
  • Footprint                                         8 oz
  • Pillow                                                3 oz


When choosing items for this category I kept in mind that space is a factor. I basically will have one change of clothes. All items will be wicking, have UV and odor protection, fast drying which will allow me to refresh them in a stream. Do not bring any items that are made from cotton. Warmth will be provided using the layering method since everything will be lightweight. Total weight for clothes will be less than 10 pounds.


When I consider essentials these are ones that I can not do without. Since we will be practicing “Leave No Trace” we will be packing out all trash including used toilet paper. It is important that you have something you can dig your cathole with. If I have room a poncho will be taken for privacy. I found a little folding shovel that weighs less than a pound. You can purchase Bio bags but a zip-lock will work just fine for this.


Guardian_PurifierI spent a lot of time doing my research for this category. Water was my major concern since every water source will need to be filtered or treated before it can be consumed. There are many options and you can find a ton of information online. The water filter research and decision was the most stressful and I will find out if the right option was made.

Water Filters vs. Water Purifiers? This was the question I needed to answer and for me it was a no brainier. Unfortunately my choice was also the most expensive. It will be a great investment … I hope…   I went with the Guardian™ Purifier

minimoMy choice for cooking is the MiniMo. I will keep it pretty basic. Coffee in the morning, MRE ( Meal, Ready-to-Eat) for lunch and freeze dried meals for dinner.

My choice for coffee is Jose Vanilla Nut bean and using the coffee press attachment for MiniMo will be the perfect way to start my morning. Lunch and dinner will be provided by Mountain House and I will surely have plenty of snacks and power bars. I figure that I may drop a few pounds which will be a good thing.

I will transport all food in my bear bag to keep away unwanted visitors.


With everything so far in the pack, I am sitting at 24 pounds and that is the pack included. I have plenty of space to bring some extra gear. Since this will be my first true backpacking trip, I anticipate needing a chair to set in at the end of the day. I found a great chair that only weighs 8 oz and it will no doubt make the trip. My last purchase to complete my gear was trekking poles. After talking to a few older hikers, I am convinced that these are necessary. Everything on this list weighs around 7 or 8 pounds so including the water I will be hauling around 47 pounds.
We will have a couple of seasoned backpackers in our group keeping us safe and showing us how to leave it how we find it…

You earned it! Enjoy It!