What to Pack for a Canadian Adventure-Gear Load-Out for Banff, Jasper, and Yoho National Parks
One of my favorite aspects of any adventure is the preparation. The route planning, researching local attractions and trails, and packing enough gear to survive and enjoy ourselves, but not so much that we can’t comfortably move in and out of airports, campsites, and local establishments. By the time this post goes live, the Okienomads will be married and on their way to Calgary, AB for a road trip through the Canadian Rockies in areas including Jasper, Banff, and Yoho National Parks. But what do you bring for an adventure in the Canadian Rockies when you plan on living out of an RV and hiking some of the most beautiful trails in North America?
Needless to say, we will need to dress warm. We plan on hiking and exploring nearly every day while in “The Great White North”, so warm, synthetic layers are a must. We have a trail race when we get back stateside, so we will need to get in a couple of runs in Calgary and when we travel further North, so we will need a couple of pairs of shorts and the running shoes.
For the colder nights in the RV, tights, gloves, and the down jacket will be huge if we run out of propane or if temps drop below freezing for too long. We opt for wool socks for obvious reasons to keep warm and stay dry.
I am not going to lie, I could wear my Patagonia hiking pants every day of the year and be happy as can be. I am packing a pair of jeans and a decent shirt in case we go out to eat or out on the town for the evening, historically, the jeans will stay in the bag for most of the trip.
Swimsuit is in the bag for the Air BnB in Calgary and the hot springs along the way.
We couldn’t possibly travel to one of the most beautiful parts of the world and not take my camera and some gear to capture these amazing sights. I wanted to avoid taking a laptop as we would be leaving the RV unattended during most days in some very remote areas of Alberta and BC. Instead I am bringing the bulk of my CF memory cards for the 5d to avoid uploading until we get back. I think over 100 GB should be enough even with video files. The GoPro will tag along for time-lapse and hazardous condition shots and video with around 100 GB of memory as well. If you can’t tell, I don’t like running out of storage space while in the backcountry.
The Dolica tripod is a new addition to the gear list and I hope it works out better than the cheap tripods that I have used in the past. The tripod weighs 4 pounds and folds down to a 2ft length so it will make carrying on the airplane and on hikes a breeze. Reviews are excellent and the price can’t be beat at $50. With the chance of a Grizzly mauling or it falling into a freezing, glacier fed stream, I didn’t want to chance losing a several hundred dollar tripod. I will post an in depth review when we get back, but initial impressions are good!
The Circular Polarizing Filter is needed to cut down snow and water reflections as well as maintain blue skies and clouds. The Neutral Density Filter will be used for waterfalls and other exposures needing long shutters.
I opted to leave the drone at home for a couple of reasons. First, we are traveling on our honeymoon, I don’t want to spend a romantic trip with my new wife flying a hive of angry bees over scenic Banff. That doesn’t sound like fun to me. Second, because of the size. I love my drone. The 3DR Solo is great for the type of work that I use it for. However, it is huge! It would be a carry-on by itself. If I had something like a DJI Spark or Mavic that folds down small and can still record quality video and stills, I might consider lugging it around.
Other Miscellaneous Gear
Just when I thought we had everything that we needed for an expedition to Canada, my bride surprised me by picking up a pair of YakTrax for both of us. These simple devices improve traction on snow and ice and will be perfect for post-holing snow packed trails and scurrying across glaciers. There are a million reasons that I love this woman, and spontaneous & surprise gear purchases rank in the top 100 reasons for sure.
We are both packing winter sleeping bags as I am not confident in the insulation of a rental RV in the Canadian Rockies in October. I will also pack a bag liner to add a little extra warmth to the sleeping arrangement. Travel pillows will more than likely fly in the carry-on and be used heavily in our Houston layover.
In order to get all of this gear on an airplane and across the continent we need some luggage. My clothing will be packed in an old REI duffel that has been on many adventures. My carry-on is a Patagonia Refugio 28L day pack. This day-pack has been my go-to since my 2nd year of college and carries my camera bag in the bottom, jackets on top, maps, chargers, and a book/journal, and passports in several well-designed pockets and a tripod in one side pocket with a Nalgene in the other side pocket.
Rachael uses a NorthFace Base Camp Duffel as her checked bag and an Osprey 35L backpacking pack as her carry-on. If I know her at all, her checked bag will have plenty of clothing and shoes for any adventure that we might find and her carry-on will have her e-reader, plenty of snacks, and warm layers for her to stay warm in the freezing airport, plane, or public transport.
What gear do you use when you travel? Comment on the blog or reach out to us on Instagram and YouTube as @okienomads. We love hearing from others traveling and trying to make things work in this lifestyle.