Eat. Sleep. Ski. Repeat. Few experiences capture this mantra like a week-long backcountry hut trip. Waking up with the first climb just steps away from the front door is good living. And few places serve up the experience better than one of the many huts and lodges that make up the Backcountry Lodges of British Columbia Association.
When the stars align and the time arrives, how do you pack for a week-long backcountry hut trip? Well, it’s not rocket science, but like most packing endeavors it’s easy to overpack. Of course, any hut trip packing list is dependent on the hut, how it’s accessed and whether you’re on a catered or non-catered trip. Let’s assume you’re flying in and that the bedding is provided as it is with most of the private lodges in British Columbia. And since this is a ski blog, I’ll leave the food up to you or the caterer. That leaves us with gear and clothing for the week.
Below is the hut trip packing list that I work from when packing for a week-long heli-accessed trip. You might think, “Ooh helicopter, I can bring tons of stuff.” Think again. Space and weight are limited. It’s best to pack light and bring only the stuff you really need.
- Ski Pack – 1x – 30-40 liters read about ski packs we’ve tested. I typiclly pack ski-day related gear in here – shovel, probe, skins, goggles, hat, beacon, camera, gloves, puffy jacket, thermos, etc.
- Duffel Bag – 1x – 40-50 liters – the Patagonia Black Hole is a great option – holds everything that does not go in your ski pack or get worn.
Ski Clothing List
Dress for skiing on the flight, this saves lots of packing space.
- Socks – 5x Read about our favorite ski socks
- Soft Shell Pants – 1x Read about our favorite softshell ski pants and the OR Trailbreaker pants too
- Long Underwear Top – 4x shirts – I try to get two days per shirt – read about our favorite layers here
- Long Underwear Bottom – 2x bottoms – read about our favorite layers here
- Boxer briefs / Underwear – 4x underwear – synthetic underwear
- Midweight Top – 1x midweight top – A light fleece or wool top lke the Patagonia R1
- Warm Insulated Jacket – 1x Synthetic or Down jacket. Read about insulated jackets we’ve tested
- Lightweight Insulated Jacket – 1x a lightweight synthetic or down jacket – more of a sweater-like layer like the Arc’teryx Proton LT or Patagonia Nano-Puff
- Shell Jacket – 1x lightweight waterproof, breathable shell with hood – read about shell jackets we’ve tested
- Gloves – 2x – A warm pair for cold days and backup use. A light pair for uphill wear. Read about gloves
- Warm Hat – 2x wool hats
- Ball Cap – 1x ball cap
- Vest – 1x lightly insulated vest like the the Patagonia Nano Air Vest or the Arc’teryx Atom LT Vest
- Buff – 1x neck gaiter
Ski Gear List
- Boots – 1 pair – Wear on flight in/out
- Skis (or Splitboard) – 1 Pair – Make a heli-bundle with poles using voile straps for flying
- Poles – 1 pair adjustable poles
- Voile Straps – 3-4x straps
- Climbing skins – 1 pair
- Avalanche Beacon – 1x – Use fresh batteries
- Shovel – 1x
- Probe – 1x
- Headlamp – 1x
- Water Bottle – 1x – I like the platypus bottles because they take up less room
- Thermos – 1x – I use a 500ml thermos like this one
- Sunscreen, Lib Balm
- First Aid Supplies – Athletic tape, second skin, Advil, a few band aids, cold medication
- Repair Kit – Most huts have a bench and tool area, so keep it basic. A few binding-specifc screws, a multi-tool, some duct tape, steel wool, skin wax, ski scraper – Read our Backcountry Repair Kit Article
- Camera – the Canon G7X is my point and shoot of choice
- GPS – Try the Garmin GPSMAP 64sxfor a fully-featured model or the Garmin E-trex 22x for a lightweight unit
- Two-way radio – Some huts provide radios for guests – read more about BC Link radios
Hut Clothes and Gear
- Street pants – 1x – One pair of pants is all you need
- T-shirt – 2x – A couple soft cotton tees for après ski lounging
- Hoodie or flannel – 1x – One warmer layer for the hut
- Socks – 1x – One pair of sock for wearing in the hut
- Hut shoes – 1x – Many huts offer crocs or similar hut shoes for use at lodge – so check before packing yours
- Book – 1x – It’s good to bring a book or tablet for down time
- Personal Stuff – toothbrush, comb, toothpaste, travel-size shampoo, razor, travel-shave cream
- Towel – 1x – Some huts have towels, so be sure to check before packing yours; they can take up a lot of space