From Scouting magazine, here is a useful link to some info on keeping your backpack (and the stuff inside it) dry while on a trek.
Our guide for our Sabattis Trek, Ian, offers the following words of wisdom to help everyone prepare for what to expect…
The best thoughts I can offer prep-wise that will work on any trip you take and be especially important on treks are relative to your campsite operations.
The crews that have the most fun in the evenings and complete their hiking goals each day are the crews that operate like a well-oiled machine. Thinking ahead is the key to everything.
- Before the crew gets into their campsite for the night stop them and ask what each person is about to do. Once they hit land they’re like ants at a picnic.
- We have some major tasks to accomplish each night of the trek. Tents/Dining Fly, Water/Firewood, Cooking/Dishes, Bear Rope/Sump Hole/Firewood.
- The hardest thing to overcome is the “rest” that everyone wants to have right away when they hit their site. Losing momentum can leave you doing the dishes in the dark. It’s way more fun to sit around the fire in the dark than be working.
- The water team should be pumping water while the dining fly team throws up a fly while the cooks and bear rope team are puffing up their tents.
- All food and cooking gear should be put under the dining fly or in that area as soon as it is established. The cooks need to have read the dinner and breakfast instructions the previous morning at breakfast before it all got put back into bags. Knowing how much water is needed to cook dinner that night and breakfast the next morning before you hit camp is key!
- Then the cooks move into cooking while the bear/sump/wood team is off doing their thing while the water and dining fly teams are putting up their tents. By that time all of that is done the meal should be ready.
- Half the crew helps with dishes and half the crew with smellables/bear bag collection. While dishes are washed with help the bear rope team hangs the bags with help. It’s all about teamwork. As everyone is doing dishes or hanging food, take your toothbrushes with you so you can get that out of the way while at the sump hole. (We don’t have to stress about toothpaste in the ADKs., the bears aren’t that hungry!)
- If it’s raining, hang the fly first, and put backpacks under it, not people. People make it wet in there. No one wants to open their backpack in the rain or sit on wet ground. One or two people at a time on the edge of the fly reaching in digging out their tent or food is key. Save the dry clothing and ground for when the tents are up and jobs complete. Unless hypothermia is looming…
In the morning reverse all of that. The key thing here is that when you leave your tent everything goes with you. All gear is out when you are out. That way the water team can break down tents while the cooking team cooks etc… Then rotate the jobs for the evening/morning reminding the next cooks to find and read the packaging before it disappears! Everyone will have a chance to do each job at least once on the trek. Lunches are more of a group affair with snacking on the go than a full meal.
I’ve found that works really well and teaches everyone the major skills of trekking and Leave No Trace. Which is a major goal of our trekking program! There’s even a scouting award for that if you can find the requirements…
Go with what works for your crew. But if anyone is standing around watching you’ll likely have late evenings and late starts in the morning.