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10 ways to really enjoy your next back-country adventure

We often head out into the back country to relax and recharge, whether it’s that week long trip or a day hike around Canmore, so it shouldn’t be a suffer fest (unless that’s what you’re after). Having the basics is what makes us comfortable and safe – but having a few specific ‘luxury’ items can change a long walk into a memory.

Here are a few of our suggestions to make your next adventure a bit more comfortable:

1. Everything’s better with coffee

Start your day off right by enjoying a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Whether that’s finding an instant mix you enjoy, or choosing to bring what you need to brew a fresh cup of coffee (there are plenty of French Press options available) – the extra few grams may be worth it every morning.

2. Extra Comfy Sleeping

A good night’s sleep on the trail means that every pound on your back feels lighter, and every kilometer feels shorter. A pillow and a comfortable air mattress (maybe an extra large one for that extra feeling of luxury) can make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep, and a sleeping bag (or quilt) that is roomy enough to toss and turn might make the difference between a fun day in the mountains and an exhausting one.

3. Stay Fresh

We all know we can smell a little funky after a day in the mountains. Taking the time to clean up a bit can make a world of a difference to your comfort, and the comfort of your tent mates. Whether that’s a jump in a lake to freshen up and cool down or a quick wipe down after a long day, feeling clean during a trip can be like a breath of fresh air – literally!

4. Social Gatherings

Some of our favourite backcountry memories include sitting around in the evenings sharing stories and telling jokes. A place (such as under a tarp) where friends can gather even in the rain, means that bad weather won’t put an end to the festivities when everyone ducks for cover. If a campfire isn’t available, a diffusing ‘lamp’ cover for your headlamp can add ambiance and allow you to play cards late into the night.

5. Everyone Loves To Be Warm

There is nothing that ruins a trip more quickly than being cold. Whether it’s an extra warm sleeping bag, a toque, buff and gloves, or instant use hand warmers - it’s always wise to prepare for those nights where the temperature dips unexpectedly or when the wind roars across the ridge.

6. Happy Evenings

Who doesn’t look forward to a glass of something special after a long day? Or maybe a bit of a boost for your hot chocolate or coffee? But this can be hard to justify for many because of weight (especially since no-one wants to carry a glass bottle in and out). Skip the heavy bottles by using a soft flask, and suddenly the decision to bring something along seems downright clever.

7. Couple Up

Bringing that special someone on a backpacking trip always makes it that much sweeter. Enjoy some of the comforts from home by using one of the new ultralight two person Duo mats or a light comforter style sleeping bag, so you can cuddle up under the stars – even better, there’s no gap between the pads for someone to fall into overnight.

8. Better Cooking

One of the things most people crave after a weekend in the mountains is a home cooked meal. It’s amazing the difference a handful of seasonings will make to even the blandest of dehydrated meals. If you want to really scale it up - from night one steaks, to night 3 stir-fry’s with fresh veggies - you don’t have to eat instant noodles or packet meals if you don’t want to. Add some spices, chilli, soy sauce, dehydrated protein, or simple salt and pepper and you won’t need to complain about the food on your next trip.

9. Have a Hot Lunch

There is no better way to have a perfect mountain day than with a hot lunch. Whether that means digging out the camp stove for a quick cup of tea, a warm bowl of soup, or by bringing a good quality thermos or food flask so you can prep in the morning and keep lunch warm all day long.

10. Comfy Campsites

Sure, a log or a flat rock will do. But isn’t something a little more cushioned or a real chair (with a back) a whole lot more comfortable? Relax in style with a lightweight backpacking chair, or a small rollup camp seat to keep you warm and off the cool, wet ground without risking your sleeping mat.