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How To Survive Backpacking & Camping As A Couple

by Tony · 7 comments

camping gear list Yellowstone in 2009.

The Poconos in 2011.

These were our only experiences camping as a couple and both were great, but they were car camping trips and we obviously didn’t do them very often.

But ever since we moved to Portland, OR last year, one of the main goals has been to explore more of the outdoors that so closely surrounds the city. I also want to go on record as saying that there is nothing wrong with car camping – in fact we love how easy it makes bringing awesome food & drinks :)

BUT… we had always wanted to try overnight backpacking, but never got the courage – until our friends who do it all the time invited us to tag along.

We were fairly prepared with supplies, as we had registered at REI when we got married and had some nice backpacking gear (although it was sorely underused). However, we were missing some essentials like a water purifier and missing some “almost” essentials like a camping stove.

Technically we could survive a backpacking trip on Cliff bars, but that’s no fun. Luckily our friendly backpacking experts took care of us on the missing essentials. Keep on reading for our camping gear list!

For our first ever overnight backpacking trip, we took the Cathedral Ridge trail on Mt. Hood. This was ridiculously pretty, but pretty strenuous for our first time hiking with 35+ lbs bags on our backs.

Backpacking gear

It was about a 5 mile, 3,000 foot climb up to a beautiful camp site where we left most of our backpacking gear only to hike another mile up to a lookout point where we stayed and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Dinner was back at the campsite where the stove really came in handy as we slurped down some ramen with a side of Krave Beef Jerky (we might be obsessed).

backpacking gear - campsite


The night finished with our group walking a few hundreds from our campsite to a lookout that had a great view of the sunset where we smoked cigars, drank wine, and passed around some Rum we had brought for just such an occasion.

While there are car camping sites that might have just as beautiful views, I doubt it. Plus, because how difficult it was to access the camp site, we had a ton of privacy and the hard work made the great views feel like a true reward.

camping gear list

And if you know us AT ALL, you know we wouldn’t be satisfied with just bringing Ramen to eat for our meals. We also loaded up our bags with cold snacks: gourmet cheeses, cured meats, fruits, and one of my all-time faves… Dorito’s Munchies.

Now, that type of food wasn’t a necessity, but it sure made the backpacking trip way more fun. And if you’re camping as a couple, keeping it fun is the ultimate priority.

Besides being fun though, we also made our trip as comfortable as possible by having (mostly) the right backpacking gear. So if you want to try backpacking, here’s a camping gear list of what we used and would recommend for your own camping experience:

Your Turn

Have you ever been overnight backpacking before? What is your #1 must have piece of backpacking gear on the trail and what’s the biggest luxury you always carry with you (mine was the rum)?

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

Cyra August 20, 2015 at 1:54 pm

So exciting! People get too caught up in the touristy parts of the city. The best bit of Portland is that it’s not super urban.

Meredith {MarthaChartreuse} August 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm

These are great tips! I am going to Crater Lake next weekend and spent so much time researching and Googling to prepare. This is a great post on everything that is needed.

Erin @ Platings and Pairings August 20, 2015 at 2:31 pm

I have never been overnight backpacking and definitely do not have the gear for it, but I’ve always wanted to go! This is a great list of things to get my collection building!

Dawne August 20, 2015 at 2:43 pm

As far as I am concerned Oregon has some of the best opportunities to camp, hike and explore the outdoors and being an original Portlander I know for a fact that we do it rain snow or shine….that means RAIN GEAR is crucial. Would love to see you test out some of those products later in the fall and get your thoughts.


Rachel Lloyd August 21, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Oregon is SO beautiful and SO fun to explore. Looks like you had a blast!! I love this list. I will have to check out all the items.

Ian August 22, 2015 at 12:09 am

Tony, this is a kickass list! Seems pretty comprehensive for me. Now, how can I convince my girlfriend to go with me 😉

Also, great pictures!

Maggie Rogers August 24, 2015 at 10:13 am

I am also planning on going backpacking soon for my first time and have been doing research. I plan on trying this out for a stove: http://indefinitelywild.gizmodo.com/can-a-1-cat-food-can-beat-a-140-backpacking-stove-1576734381.

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