We've been gearing up--literally--for our first family backpacking trip
Over the past few months, I've been amassing backpacks (new lightweight ones, all around; I could not bear the thought of shouldering my old, heavy, cordura internal frame pack ever again) and sleeping mats and titanium bowls and bamboo spoons and miscellaneous pieces of long underwear and rain gear.
Last week, I loaded up on macaroni and cheese, crackers, loaves of bread the size and density of bricks, trail mix, freeze dried berries, fig bars, chocolate and sun butter.
And then Sunday morning, the kids all away at friends' houses, I sat down at my sewing machine and fired off a dozen or so stuff sacks out of super lightweight silicon-impregnated nylon, and then spent the rest of the day (happily it was a rather dreary, rainy one, so I didn't miss much outside) sorting, stuffing, arranging, loading, squeezing and strapping.
Here are our packs, fully loaded (almost, except for a few last-minute items) and ready to go:
This will be our first overnight hiking trip in thirteen years (the last being when M was four months old!!). Coincidentally, this story and this response about "The Death of Backpacking" just came out in the last week, about young people no longer backpacking. One factor neither author seems to have considered for why it seems (based on anecdotal evidence, no less) few people under the age of 50 backpack anymore is--kids. Perhaps there are plenty of people in their 20s out there backpacking, but then a lull among those in their 30s and 40s because all those people are busy with little kids and don't have it in them to haul both the kids and all the extra gear kids entail into the backcountry. This is the first year that we have felt like the kids are ready to handle their own packs and that we're ready--mentally--to handle the kids seven miles from the nearest road.
In any case, I'm ridiculously excited for this trip. I didn't realize how much I missed travelling on my own two feet into the woods. But I'm under no illusion that it will be easy. I've loaded the first aid kit with ibuprofen and muscle rub (to keep me happy ) and stocked up on cards, comic books, little treats and lollipops (to keep the kids happy). Wish us luck!