Essential: last load - Wolf Lake    What do you need, really, to live for a few days away from it all? Less than what you see here, no doubt. But here, in this section of the gallery, is our inventory of the 'essential' gear that we are accustomed to using. Last load - Canisbay Lake    We've been packing it in and out with two canoe loads. What's most necessary coming in isn't necessarily the same as what you need to the end, especially if you separate the trips by some time, or even by one night, as we like to do. Press F1 anytime for this aid to gallery navigation.  And consider using the interactive access features (Facebook and Comments) at the bottom of each page. Tent    Our beautiful TrailHead4 tent from The North Face Tent    The TrailHead4 is the best tent we've ever had. Tall enough for me to get dressed standing up. Tent    This is  no pup tent, so sometimes it's hard to find a spot big enough for it. We forgot our landscape cloth groundsheet this time so had to make do with a tarp.
Therm-a-rests    When you've camped with just thin foam pads to sleep on, this seems luxurious, even though its only two inches thick, fully inflated. We're careful only to roll them up for transit and they have never given us any trouble. Therm-a-rest    Two of these, linked together with special straps, serve as our sleeping mattress. Sleeping bags    For many years we have shared the warmth of a matching pair of these rectangular sleeping bags zipped together. The usual differences in temperature requirements can be accomodated by spooning, unzipping a side, and of course by adding clothing. I'll let you guess who's needs what. Sheet-sleeping bags    Ages ago, we simply sewed two flannel sheets together into a bag just slightly smaller than our sleeping bags. This inner sheet keeps our sleeping bags clean, adds warmth, and is a nice light cover when it's too hot to be fully insulated. Pillows    We actually forget these one year and didn't like the alternatives (stuff sacks). Comfort is critical. Propane stove    This Coleman stove is our second (the first was a Primus). It gives high heat and adjusts easily to simmer. With two burners it does real meals well and rarely uses up more than the five pounds of propane in our tank on one trip.
Hose and regulator for propane stove    Doesn't pack nicely with the stove. Wouldn't want to forget this one. Propane    A five pound tank (good for ~ a week of cooking) and disposables for the lantern, fire-torch and for backup Butane stove    This recent purchase would  be good for travelling light, though we would miss having two burners, and we'd need close to one butane cylinder every day, and some kind of shield would be necessary on windy days. Nested cooking pots and pans    This set of three aluminum pots and pans  is still good after 32 years. Nested cooking pots and pans    Six in one Frying pan and table cloth    These get used all year round so need to be added each trip.
Plates, bowls and cups #1    Flexible and lightweight plastic Plates, bowls and cups #2    Hard plastic and Corelle Ware for a classier setting Cutlery    We could easily halve this by taking turns to eat. Cooking utensils    Pick and choose according to what's cooking for the trip. Storage containers    Rubbermaid storage containers with lids to store cooking utensils that might have odours. Foldable dish pan    If we were really going light we'd leave the Rubbermaid dishpans behind and take this . . .
Folded-up dishpan    . . . because it's so compact and light. Collapsable water container    When we carry in our drinking water (by the gallon) we'll take  this (empty) to scoop up lake water for washing. Collapsed water container Cloth and wicker    Hand towels, tea towels, j-cloths, oven mitts, trivets Water bottles and insulated mugs    The taller water bottles with the straws are best for in the tent because they leak very little when knocked over. Theyr'e not so good as the others for gettting a good gulp. Paper and wipes    This takes care of the nitty gritty issues. The box and wipes stay in the tent. A part roll of paper is small enough to get sandwiched (in a baggie) under the lid of the privy.
Accessories    Miscellaneous stuff, including the proverbial roll of  duct tape. Toaster, roasting sticks and mosquito coils are definitely optional. Fly swatter not. Bags and clips    Garbage bags, ziplok bags, foil, clothes pins, and a mesh bag to hang fruit and vegetables for airing. Flashlights    The old fashioned, heavy black flashlight is on its way out. All the others are LED, including one wind-up for when all batteries fail and one headlamp to keep the  hands free. Don't forget extra batteries. Hatchet    We're not big on campfires and tend to take firewood with us, so this gets used mostly for just driving and pulling stakes. But you never know. Folding shovel    Used mostly for prying out stones and levelling a spot for our tent. We've never had to dig a privy yet. Canoe safety kit    Water tight bailer, whistles, bow and stern painters (rope). This stays in the canoe.
Canoe carry kit    Tie down straps, end tie down ropes, car rooftop pads and  pipe grips (to slip over rope handles). When used to carry the canoe on a roof, hooks are needed to attach ropes to the front vehicle  frame - left and right sides Canoe carry kit stowed and ready to go Stakes    When the tents retire, the stakes keep going. Plastic stakes are good for setting up in sandy soil. Hardware supplies    Miscellaneous hardware, straps, repair kits, mantels all stored in a lunch bag Long ropes    Quarter inch braided ropes for shelter construction and food hoisting. The best quality rope I have is the one I bought 35 years ago. Short ropes    Miscellaneous ropes for guy lines and lashing. This is only part of my collection.
Ground sheet    This ~ 6'x8' piece of landscape cloth goes between our tent bottom and the abrasive Canadian Shield. Won't trap water between itself and the tent like a tarp would. Vinyl fly    Lightweight vinyl fly, with lots of grommets and ties, for covering in the canoe and on the campsite Vinyl fly    Our 32 year old vinyl fly - not so good anymore, but we're reluctant to put it out to pasture Tent fly    The fly from a discarded tent - good backup value for its weight Tarps    Cheap polyethylene tarps for general use: ground sheets when packing,  mats outside the tent and under the hoisted food, gear covers when raining Dry bag packs    Two enormous dry bag packs, used in transit and to hoist food into the air
Dry bags    Used during transport to safeguard the more precious cargo against the canoe tipping (which hasn't happened in 32 years)