How to Pack for the Most Epic Adventure Ever
For many, Havasupai is one of those once-in-a-lifetime destinations, so when you go, you really want to make the most of it. It's a twenty-mile roundtrip hike, and most people choose to camp out for several nights. Not only was I trying to pack warm (overnight lows were in the 30s), but I had a whopping 18 pounds of camera gear. So…how do I stuff everything I need into a 65L backpacking bag? Here are some of my secrets...
1. Lay everything out
This should always be the first step. Nothing looks more terrifying than seeing the entire floor of your living room plastered with camera equipment, camp gear and clothes, so this helps make the process of removing certain items a no brainer. While we’re on the subject of clothes, try to pick synthetic pieces that dry quickly. Whether you’ve gone swimming or you found a spot to hand wash your pitted-out shirts, this can allow you to easily cut your “wardrobe” in half.
2. Pick items that can serve multiple purposes
Lightweight dry bags are essential for wet and wild adventures, but they also make great storage bags if you’re planning on hanging your food. And if you’re backpacking, forget inflatable pillows — I always fold up my Big Agnes Shovelhead puffy and use a clean shirt as a pillowcase. I have a pair of synthetic Lululemon pants that I can wear as pajama bottoms — or layer over a pair of leggings if I get cold. A rain cover plus a bag of dirty laundry can work as a cushion, so if you’re looking to cut down your weight, simple techniques like these are key to packing light.
3. And then…remove 1/3 of everything you’ve initially packed
I asked around on social media, and one man suggested this. It seemed like a scary number, especially if you’re like me and you get cold and hangry easily. However, he was right! When you get back and see how much stuff you didn’t use (on this trip, it was a pair of leggings, a tee, a tank, half of my toiletries, a snack bar, a bag of dried fruit and my 20,000 mAh portable power pack), you’ll realize this isn’t so much of a stretch.
4. Invest in the right gear
Whether it’s an anti-gravity backpacking bag or the lightest, sturdiest tripod on the market (I brought my MeFOTO GlobeTrotter Air on this trip), doing your research and picking the best gear for your adventures will always pay off. When every ounce and inch counts, you don’t want to be dealing with a heavy tripod, so I chose the Air because it’s 3.2 pounds and 12.2 inches long, and I could stick it anywhere in (or on) my bag. I could set up my Canon 5DMIII and 24-70mm f2.8 lens on rocky cliffs and fire off long exposures, and it handled just as well as my carbon fiber RoadTrip Classic, which is the same weight but a few inches longer. I did use a two-second timer when shooting LEs, but I usually do that anyway — especially if there is wind or wobbly ground involved.
5. Budget some room for a splurge item
If you’ve really removed one third of what you were planning on bringing, this is where you’re allowed to throw an item back into the mix. My splurge item on this trip was a three-pound day pack that would accommodate a tripod, a liter of water, snacks, extra layers and all my camera gear. I knew I didn’t want to lug my 65L bag around during day hikes, and while I wasn’t stoked about the extra weight at first, it ended up being the best decision of the trip.