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The Isle Royale trip report is up, so let’s talk about gear next! This post covers my 5 day packing list, weights (according to my scale) and some of the conditions I prepared for on this trip. Be sure to also check out the accompanying gear video I shot on our last night of the trek, where I unpack everything that I carried! There are a few items I would probably leave at home next time, but I feel good about what I brought on this shoulder season adventure. I was downright comfy, even in variable temperatures that come with spending time on Lake Superior.

Im not an ultralight backpacker and every time I pack…I feel like I have too much stuff. But I work to balance comfort with keeping things on the lighter and simpler side, making it easier on my body and mind (less to carry and keep track of). If you are just starting out, use what you have, bring what you want, borrow gear and then upgrade as you go. Here’s a post I wrote on ways I’ve lightened my pack over the years and 5 hacks to lighten up without breaking the bank.

Comfort Light

I brought along some new critical gear, including my pack, tent, pants, shoes and water treatment. A few comfort items came along too, including a lightweight stool, twinkle lights and a DIY field watercolor kit. Most of these items performed as they should but I will keep testing and report back. Except for my art kit, of course…that was wonderful to have along, requires no further testing and has its own dedicated post you can read here!

Here we go: Let’s unpack that gear!


LENGTH 47.6 trail miles (according to GPS, including spurs to campsites)
Temperature range from approx. 30-65 degrees inland and coastal. Chance of rain
May 27-June 1, 2021
Carried 1-2 days more food, 1 more L of water and warmer layers due to length of trip, water access and variable weather conditions.

Learn more:  Trip Report + Gear Video


Clothing WornItemoz.
TopSherpa Quick Dry Tee2.00
TopCraft Sun Sleeves1.00
BraREI Bralette2.00
Light layerJoy Lab windbreaker3.40
UnderwearLong briefs2.40
PantsKuhl Klash Pants18.30
Sock 1Wright Socks – Cool mesh tab1.00
Compression SlevesZensah Compression Sleeves2.00
ShoesAltra Timps 21.90
GaitersAltra Gaiters1.00
Sun GlovesOutdoor Research Sungloves0.60
HatWandering Pine Trucker Hat2.5
Trekking polesLeki Micro Vario Poles 14.90

Other ClothingItemoz.
Rain jacketREI Rain Jacket9.70
Rain Pants3F Rain Skirt2.90
Rain Gloveslatex gloves0.40
Light Mittensmis match fleece gloves1.60
UnderwearLong briefs2.40
Insulating layerMelanzana Fleece Hoodie9.50
Insulating layerEnlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket7.90
Insulating LayerEnlightened Equipment Snow Skirt/small blanket5.20
Baselayer/Sleep topSmartwool PhD Merino top4.70
Baselayer/Sleep bottomTerramar Fleece bottoms5.60
Sock 2Wright Socks – Cool mesh tab1.00
Sock 3 (warm!)Darn Tough Wool Socks3.10
Socks/sleepAcorn Fleece2.40
Camp ShoesHacked walmart shoes6.20
Warm HatEnlightened Equipment hooligan0.85
Bandana/BuffIsle Royale Buff1.10

Backpack Crown 60 Women’s40.00
Pack linerCompactor Bag x 24.30
Stuff sack-clothesEnlightened Equipment stuff sack0.70
Food StorageOpsack – scentproof food bag1.60

Sleeping & ShelterItemoz.
ShelterNemo Hornet 230.00
PadBig Agnes Two Track winter pad27.30
PillowNemo Fillo Elite Pillow3.50
Sleeping quiltEnlightened Equipment Revelation 10 degree Wide + Bag28.90

Hydration & CookingItemoz.
Water storageCNOC 2L Vecto2.60
Water BagMesh bag0.50
PurificationSawyer Squeeze 2.30
WaterNylon pre filter0.20
Chemical PurificationAqua Mira Water drops3.60
Cup/potSnowpeak cup w hot lips & lid3.00
StoveSnow Peak Giga2.40
CozyMetallic mailing envelope/cozy/seat2.40
UtensilBlue spoon0.40
Ignitionmini bic lighter0.40

PhotoiPhone 7 w/ case7.30
Battery PackAnker w/ cord7.90
Battery PackAnker w/ cord7.90
CameraGoPro w/bracket + bag7.50
DelormeInReach Mini4.00
LightsTwinkle lights3.10
GlassesPresc w/ case2.10
Trash Bag(2) bread bags0.60
Art Bag/Hip PackGranite Gear Hip Wing2.30
Water color kitSm Altoid Kit+ Pencil, pen, eraser, brush in GG Bag4.8
JournalWatercolor Molskien4.10
StoolBig Agnes skyline UL19.50

ToothbrushTravel Toothbrush + cover0.40
SoapDr Bronners in dropper0.50
#1Kula Cloth0.40
#2Culo Clean portable bidet0.70
Fem HyDiva Cup 0.70
Fem HyBack up tampons and pads0.80
Massage BallRawlogy Cork Massage ball1.70
BathViva paper towels/10 squares0.50
BalmHike Goo Foot balm – Small 1.20
ChapstickLip Balm0.20
TrowelLarge aluminum stake/trowel0.80
HeadnetSea to Summit Headnet1.00
Pepper SprayPepper Spray1.00

10 Essentials/RepairItemoz.
First Aid KitSolo First Aid kit 4 days6.40
Personal Blister KitFoot care kit3.90
Essential stuffsackEssential stuffsack0.30
Safety/Signalling/MultiSafety Bandana1.20
Emergency water(4) Micropur Tabs0.10
Emergency warmthSOL Survival blanket orange/mylar 2 person3.40
Multi toolSwiss army yellow knife0.70
Flash lightUCO Headlamp3.10
MapsKeith Myrmel Map1.90
ThermometerKey chain thermometer0.20
Fire starting kitFire starting kit1.20
Repair KitRepair Kit0.40
WarmerBody Warmer1.70
WarmerHand Warmer3.10
Emergency Shelterpocket rain poncho1.50
PenSharpie w/ duct tape0.60
Rope25 ft Amsteel rope1.40
BugSmall bottle Picardin2.20
Duct tape10ft duct tape-on hiking pole 

StickersWP Stickers x 120.40

Water1L Smart water36.00
Water1L Smart water36.00
Food5 days @ 2,200 cal av.101.90
Fuel Iso Pro Canister7.10
TOTALoz. 181.00
minus worn gear


Purple Rain Adventure Skirt


Love this skirt!

A few more notes:


I had to quickly buy a tent a few days before the trip because last year’s repair on my UL shelter was not holding up and I didn’t want to take any chances on being wet or cold on the Isle. I scored a Nemo Hornet 2 during the REI anniversary sale and will test it further this summer before reviewing. It performed well and served as a warm, lightweight shelter with plenty of room for me AND my gear.


File under: stuff doesn’t last forever…

After writing my foot care post, I checked out the shoes I was planning on wearing for the trip and they needed replacing. Im a big fan of Altra 1.5 Timps, but the 3.0’s have already started to delaminate after putting less than 60 miles on them. I may be looking for new shoes while my knee is healing.

I scored a pair of Kuhl Klash pants from Hiking Dude and loved the fit and durability so much that I brought them on the trip. They performed well and I think they will serve me best in cold, damp temps — probably too heavy for summer, but we’ll see! Thanks for the heavy duty fancy pants, Hiking Dude!

My Purple Rain Adventure skirt was a great, lightweight addition to a trip with fluctuating temps. I love the comfy yoga waistband that doesn’t bunch up under my hip belt, the generous pockets that hold my phone, snacks and even a map…and supporting a woman owned cottage gear business! The increased mobility of hiking in a skirt is great and its my new summer go-to on and off the trail.

Hello Summer!

Have you been to Isle Royale? Got any good packing tips or favorite gear picks to share? Hope you have a wonderful summer full of adventure and you found this post helpful. Shoot me a hello in the comments or join the Wandering Pine FB or IG to continue the conversation!

And don’t forget to check back or subscribe to the Wandering Pine Youtube channel….I just posted my first gear video, and it was kind of fun to tie my go pro up in a tree and film it in one take at camp. Let me know if you want to see more videos like this one and I’ll see what I can do… I’m editing our day by day trip video next and its going to be a fun one!

Happy Trails!



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4 thoughts on “Whats In My Pack? 5 Day Comfort Light Gear List!

  1. Nice write! I have a trip coming up, and I may do this. I’m sure the seven people who follow my blog are curious about what I carry. 😉

    For running, I’ve switched to Carsons* unless the run is longer than eight miles. I love Altras, but since North Face bought the company it seems everyone I know has had problems with durability and it seems the issue with inconsistent sizing still exists.

    I’ve also shifted to a lot of cottage brands. My pack was built by Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear, my bum pack by ThruPack, I carry a White Box alcohol stove. The customer service from these tiny businesses has been amazing.

    The watercolor imbedded in this post is lovely.

    * Carson Footwear – made in Oregon of US-made materials, and the price is comparable to the retail price of other running shoes. The shoes have almost no cushioning, but the sole is made with a proprietary material. We have trails here with chunky basalt, and I’ve run on those trails in my Carsons without problems. (It’s more comfortable with their optional rock plate, but still doable without it.) I prefer more cushioning for long runs because I weigh about 170 pounds and that’s a little much for my feet to bear. (I’m carrying an extra 30 pounds of fuel.) On the plus side, I doubt I’m capable of running more than a 5K right now, so I don’t need to worry about my shoes.

  2. Hello! I just discovered your blog a couple of days ago! I am a fellow Minnesotan but was transplanted here from a warmer climate too just like you! Grew up in Texas and moved to the Twin Cities area at 14 years old. Anyway..thanks for posting your gear list. I plan to add a Nemo Pillow to my gear! I am doing my second section hike of the SHT this August with my husband and another couple. We did 22 miles last summer (we’re in our 40s and 50s with some knee issues so we are sloth hikers) and it was my first multi day backpacking trip (something I have dreamed of doing for years) so we borrowed a lot of gear. Now that we’re hooked and plan to section hike the whole SHT (and Isle Royale someday) we invested in our own tent (Big Agnes Copper Spur UV HL 3) this year. Now we’re researching sleeping pads. We used inflatable pads from Cabela’s last year that we borrowed but aren’t sure if maybe the accordian style closed cell would be better? I definitely would like to find a more comfortable pillow to bring as I find that a good night’s sleep (and a good cup of coffee in the morning) makes a big difference in my energy levels and mood on the trail the next day. I look forward to digging in and exploring your site more in depth! I love reading about women getting out there on the trails! Have a great day!

    1. Hi Kim!
      Thanks for reading and Im glad to hear you are getting out there and having fun! I hear ya on the good sleep and good coffee!

      As far as sleeping pads go, I carry a little heavier one for comfort. Its worth it to me to get good sleep. Our kids use foam pads, but my hips appreciate a self inflating foam pad best.

      Enjoy your upcoming adventures and be sure to report back! Happy trails! -wp

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