by Joseph Shaw September 18, 2015

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A Newbies First Backpacking Adventure!

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog

The wife of CloudLine co-founder, Jennifer, shares much of her husband's love for nature. But for one reason or another, she had never got around to accompanying him on one of his overnight backpacking trips. She loves hiking and camping, but the thought of carrying 30+ pounds of gear on her back up a mountain had, like it did for many veterans of the activity, caused her to feel a bit nervous or intimidated. That pattern was finally broken over Labor Day weekend when Jennifer joined Joe on a trip into The Enchantments in the North Cascades of Washington state.

If you are new to backpacking, or maybe want to start but are feeling a bit nervous, overwhelmed, or like you don't know where to begin, well, you will want to read on! What follows is a trip report of our hike, what Jennifer packed, what we ate, and how it turned out!

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog

Here's Jen all geared up and checking out the scenery before we set off on the hike. We got lucky and were able to score a pass into one area of The Enchantments. The Forest Service only allows a few overnight campers into The Enchantments every night, which makes this area highly coveted among backpackers. There is so much demand to enter this area that overnight permits are distributed on a lottery system every winter. Because it was fairly late in the year, we were able to buy a permit only 5 days before our trip. We were granted access to the Lake Caroline/Eightmile Lake area within The Enchantments. This was perfect, as it is a moderate hike and elevation gain to Eightmile lake, which is where we planned to camp. 3.5 miles and 1300 feet of elevation, to be exact.

Packing List

  • Food (dinner, breakfast, snacks)
  • Tent (2 person, the lighter the better)
  • Sleeping bag (ours are rated to 30 degrees. Wished we had warmer ones for this trip)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Rain Jacket
  • 1 full change of clothing. Think layers that can be added or removed if needed.
  • Headlamp
  • Camp stove and fuel (we use the Jetboil Flash)
  • Water filter (we use the Katadyn Hiker). We also packed in about 4 liters total of water in our backpack bladders
  • Pocket knife
  • twine
  • small first aid kit
  • Spork
  • Camera
  • Toiletries
  • Don't forget your merino wool socks!

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog

Much of the hike is through an area burned by wildfire a few years ago. The young forest growing back among the blackened trunks made for a very interesting and beautiful hike.

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog

Fantastic views of a Mt Stuart disappearing into the clouds. 

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog

Made it to the lake and set up camp around 4pm. We had planned to continue up to Lake Caroline without our packs, but we got a late start so decided against it this time. Time for dinner!

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog

For dinner, we shared 2 dehydrated meals, a Thai Curry made by Good To-Go, and the Rice & Burrito Bowl made by Alpine Aire. Both were quite tasty. For dessert we made some backcountry popcorn. After dinner we put all of the food in a bag and hung it from a tree about 100 feet from our tent to prevent hungry critters (big and small) from coming into our camp at night.

The clouds cleared off before dark so we were able to lay out and watch the stars come out. Saw several shooting stars, satellites, and the milky way. It was a cold night for us, but we managed to get some sleep. We will probably invest in some better sleeping bags soon.

In the morning, we went and explored around the lake for a while before breakfast. For breakfast we had oatmeal with dehydrated blueberries, hard boiled eggs, and tea/coffee. The Starbucks instant coffee is great to take camping or backpacking.

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog

After breakfast we broke down our camp and started back down the trail, making sure to pack out everything we had packed in. It was a great trip and first experience overnight backpacking for Jen. 

Jennifer's First Overnight Backpacking Trip - The CloudLine Blog


Before you set out on your first backpacking adventure, read our guide to avoiding blister when hiking


Joseph Shaw
Joseph Shaw

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