Many years ago, inspired by Alastair Humphrey’s concept of microadventures, and to feed my insatiable desire to sleep in wild places, I started creating video journals of trips where I spent less than 24 hours in the backcountry, including:
- 24: Fall Equinox in the Hyalite Cirque
- 24: Garnet Mountain Lookout
- 24: Packrafting the Grande Ronde River
- 24: Nine Months ’til Summer
In addition, I recently published a video featuring winter skills and gear in a vlog-style format of a 24-hour winter trip I recently took in Wyoming:
But it’s been a while since I video-journaled a more conventional 24-hour trip (in a shorter-form video format like the original episodes of the 24 series) and I really wanted to share a recent trip that Stephanie and I took in the mountains of Idaho.
Over the past few years, our family has taken a couple of extended road trips across the west in our popup camper. Our usual loop travels through Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, California, and back, spending time hiking and camping in the Rockies, Wasatch, Uintas, Sawtooths, and High Sierra.
These road trips are time to regroup, visit our favorite places in the west, and enjoy some time in the wilderness.
So while spending some time in Ketchum, Idaho (where our son Chase was attending the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Music Institute) during the summer, Stephanie and I figured we could steal away on a quick “24” up in the mountains north of town while Chase was in class! Poor kid.
Watch the Video
Enjoy the video, and stick around to the end, where we answered questions submitted via social media on the topic of “couples hiking”.
Q&A: Couples Backpacking
We solicited questions about couples backpacking via our social media channels and answered them in the Q&A at the end of the video. Here are the questions:
- What happens when you are both equally convinced that you are correct about opposite navigational decisions? – andrewmarshallimages via Instagram.
- How do you cope with inclement weather and expectations of things that cannot be controlled? My partner is new to backpacking so weather can be discouraging for her. Especially because I am a magnet for bad weather it seems, but I’m used to it at this point. – Carlos via YouTube.
- Do you find yourself getting out together more now that Chase is away at college? – b_rogers_99 via Instagram
- When I think back on all the times I took girlfriends camping when I was in my 20s I can’t help but feel remorse for being such a blowhard ‘expert’ that mansplained everything and had to show off my cool gear. My way was the best way and we had to hike big miles, etc. I constantly see young men who have no self-awareness and are blind to the wants and needs of their partner like they are in Ikea, not in the woods. How do you get people to weigh their own wants and expectations to their partners? – hoagietime1 via YouTube.
- What is the best way to cope with physical and mental differences during the hike? How to keep your partner’s morale high? Especially during hard stretches – multicam_sokol via Instagram.
- Do you pack extra luxury items when you go backpacking together? – NaLona Brato via YouTube.
- What are the benefits of having “break hikes” where you hike separately but end at the same location? – jsherman51 via Instagram.
- Do you find that when you are backpacking with a romantic partner you have more or less conflict than with a non-romantic hiking buddy? How about when you and your partner are with a larger group? – TheBestBackpacker via YouTube.
Sharing: We shared some stuff – repair, first aid, water treatment, and firestarting supplies; stove, and shelter.
Sleep & Shelter System: We’ve used couples’ bags, quilts, and our own bags, and we sleep more comfortably in our own sleep systems (pads, quilts, pillows). That way, Stephanie can have her 10 deg F quilt and I can have my 40 deg F quilt and neither one of us gets too hot or cold! We used the My Trail Co. Pyramid 3 shelter with netting insert (it was the peak of bug season!). It’s weather resistance, reasonable weight, and terrific living space (including headroom) makes it one of our favorite shelters for couples.
Packs: Stephanie carried a frameless pack (My Trail Co. Backpacking Light 70L). A frameless pack is critical for her back comfort – she has a degenerative spinal condition called spondylolisthesis and most internal frame packs have not been so great for her. I carried a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter 5400, which allows me to carry the bulk of the load, and the large volume makes it really easy to pack – just throw stuff in and call it good. With a light load on short trips, less attention needs to be paid to precision packing and weight distribution!
Some other gear we used on this trip that Stephanie and I really like:
|Type||Brand/Model||Are we going to use this gear in 2019?|
|Ryan’s hiking shirt||Patagonia Sun Stretch Shirt||Yes! One of RJ’s favorite hiking shirts ever. Articulated arms, useful chest pockets, very breathable, bug-resistant. Review here.|
|Ryan’s Hiking Pants||REI Screeline||Durable and comfortable with good articulation and fit.|
|Ryan’s Trekking Poles||Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork||Pretty much the only carbon pole I trust not to break in difficult terrain. I’ve used this pole (or an earlier version) for years.|
|Ryan’s Hiking Shoes||La Sportiva Ultra Raptor||My go-to trekking shoe. In 2018, I also took some trips with the Akyra which I like even better for rough terrain (more lateral stability).|
|Stephanie’s Hiking Shoes||La Sportiva Bushido||My favorite shoe for rocky terrain (talus, scree). I brought two pair of shoes on this trip (my second pair – Altra Lone Peaks) for some side-by-side testing. I definitely prefer the Lone Peaks for trail running and backpacking on trails.|
|Stephanie’s Base Layer Top||GoLite C-Thru||Vintage! Has since been replaced by a hexagonal knit shirt that only costs $19 – which is hard to beat.|
|Ryan’s Sleeping Quilt||Katabatic Gear Chisos||My Chisos 40 is seven years old and has been my summer staple for hundreds of nights. It’s still going strong and I don’t see myself retiring it anytime soon.|
|Stephanie’s Sleeping Quilt||Enlightened Equipment Enigma||I just don’t think I can ever go back to being confined in a mummy bag again. The Enigma 10 offers an impressive loft:weight ratio if you customize it with the lightest possible materials.|
|Ryan’s Sleeping Pad||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite||I’ve since switched to the new UberLite, which is lighter and quieter. See our UberLite review here.|
|Stephanie’s Sleeping Pad||Sea to Summit Comfort Light Pad||No wobbly tubes. No slippery fabrics. No loud noise. A terrific pad that’s very comfortable and stable.|
|Ryan’s Camp Chair||Helinox Ground Chair||Now discontinued, which is too bad. It’s the most stable and comfortable chair design I’ve used. Helinox could have knocked it out of the park with a lighter fabric and pole set…|
|Stephanie’s Camp Chair||REI Flexlite Air Chair||A higher chair if you need to sit in a more upright position – one of the lightest and more comfortable chairs available.|
|Ryan’s Sunglasses||Smith Challis Photochromic||Photochromic, polarized lenses in a lightweight wrap design; lightweight glass is durable and scratchproof. A nearly perfect feature set for backpacking.|
|Our Stove||MSR Windburner||Fast, fuel efficient, and it works in direct wind without having to protect it. See our review here.|
|Our “Cooking Bowl”||AGG 4-Cup Screw-Top Bowl with Cozy||We’ve used these for years. A great addition to a two-person cook kit to supplement an integrated canister stove like the Windburner. One of us eats out of the cook pot, the other out of this bowl.|
|Our Water Treatment System||Katadyn BeFree Filter||In spite of reports of failures and slow flows, we’ve been using the BeFree since it came out a few years ago and have never had a problem with it. A fast, easy-to-use system. Read our review here.|
Thanks to the following companies who provided gear and financial support to help us put this video together:
Some (but not all) of the links in this review may be “affiliate” links, which means if you click on a link to one of our affiliate partners (usually a retailer site), and subsequently make a purchase with that retailer, we receive a small commission. This helps us fund our editorial projects, podcasts, instructional webinars, and more, and we appreciate it a lot! Thank you for supporting Backpacking Light!