Saturday, June 06, 2015

Bags, Bags, Bags....

Backcountry canoe camping is all about the bags, 'bout the bags, no trouble......sorry, couldn't help myself there.

We each carry a large MEC backpack.  In those packs are dry bags, stuff sacs, compression bags, bags for the stoves, bags for the clothes, bags for the food, bags for the garbage.  Bags inside of bags.

In the early spring of 2014 we both got new backpacks at MEC.  I had previously used my son's, but he headed off to Australia for a year and took his big backpack with him.  The nerve!  I now have the MEC Aurora 75 and I'm very happy with it.

A couple of the features I really like about my bag is the swivel hip belt and the ability to open it like a duffle bag with a zipper, not just through the top. It holds a lot and distributes the weight well making it easier to carry.  We got LT a new pack too.  It was his birthday present, but it arrived a bit early.

His 'n Hers Packs - Guess which one is mine?
Inside my backpack I have a huge 35 litre drybag.  If I had the chance to make the decision to buy that big of a drybag again, I probably wouldn't. It is a bit more limiting than several smaller bags.  But I get a lot of comfort knowing most of my stuff is in a drybag in case my pack ever ends up in the lake. Preparing for these things happening is almost a guarantee that they won't. Almost!  

LT saw a bag that goes under the canoe seat that someone had made.  He described it to me and I attempted to recreate a bag that would give him access to a few items while seated in the canoe.  Trying to get an item out of our carefully packed huge backpacks in the canoe is a recipe to end up in the drink!  In his under-the-seat bag he carries his Nalgene water bottle, sunscreen, and bug spray.  When he's portaging and carrying the canoe on his shoulders, he does not remove this bag from the seat it's attached to.

Supplies - I used upholstery fabric
Final Product

His map goes in a totally different bag.  He has an Osprey water resistant clear plastic map case that he Velcros onto the stern thwart (yeah, I had to Google that) and it sits on top of the backpack lying in the bottom of the canoe, a built-in table!

Speaking of homemade "bags", I sewed pot cozies for each of the pots in my T-fal camping pot set.  I found some potholder fabric at Fabricland and made sure I put the fireproof side in to hold the heat as best possible.  This concept allows me to rehydrate food without having to cook it.  I can put the dried food in the pot with the boiled water and just let it sit all cozied up.
Let me just tuck you in....
I could not believe when I bought my sleeping bag how small it is when stuffed into the compression bag it comes with.  I kept walking around Bushtukah with it in my right hand poised to throw it for a touchdown - it's exactly the size of an American football.  

This is one of my favourite bags we carry, just because it's very functional. I'm working up to using it as a shower on one of our warmer trips this summer. I think I need to get it some sort of a black plastic sheath to lay it out in the sun to warm up.
Fill me up with lakewater....
Of course the key is to make sure you NEVER leave a bag behind anywhere! We learned that the hard way on one trip.  

Shhhhhhhh - they're sleeping!
What kind of bags do you carry?

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