Chugach Perfect Pack


We love being able to pop out of our house year-round for a quick (or long) jaunt in the mountains. But fall might be our favorite time to get out in the range that gave us our name. Here’s what we pack for a day trip in the Chugach:

  1. 20-24 Liter Pack (Osprey Talon 22 shown)

  2. Layers

    1. Light Puffy Layer (Arc’teryx Atom LT)

    2. Rain shell & pants (Arc'teryx Beta AR)

    3. Lightweight windshell (Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody)

  3. Wind-Resistant Fleece Gloves (First Ascent)

  4. Beanie Hat

  5. Buff

  6. 70-100 oz. Water Bladder (Camelbak)

  7. Calories (Probar, PB&J, Fire Island Scone, homemade trail bars)

  8. Chocolate (obviously) For #SummitCelebrations (Chugach Chocolates)

  9. Camera/GPS/Cell phone/Emergency Candy Crush device

  10. Headlamp (Black Diamond Spot)

  11. Bear Spray (Counter Assault)

  12. Assorted Contingency Goodies/Emergency Kit: Bug dope, headnet, SPF Chapstick, Waterproof Matches, Lighter, Water Purification Tabs, Small pocket knife, Emergency tarp/bivy, Small First Aid Kit (doubles as emergency tinder)

  13. Navigation: Map & Compass

  14. Polarized Sunglasses

  15. Blueberry bags

Perfect Pack.jpg

Putting it in Systems

To make sure we’ve got everything we need for a given trip, we find it’s helpful to think in terms of systems, rather than a couple dozen random items. Here’s some easy groupings that make our packing easier.

Essentials & Contingency Kit:

  • Bear Spray

  • Headlamp (Black Diamond Spot)

  • Navigation: Map & Compass, sometimes printouts from a guidebook or beta from online

  • Camera/GPS/Cell phone/Emergency Candy Crush device

  • Contingency kit—Bug dope; SPF Chapstick; Waterproof Matches; Lighter; Water Purification Tabs; Small pocket knife; Emergency tarp/bivy; Small First Aid Kit (doubles as emergency tinder)

Food & water:

  • Calories—(Probar, PB&J, Fire Island Scone, homemade trail bars)

  • Chocolate For #SummitCelebrations (Chugach Chocolates)

  • Hydration—Waterbag/bottle/bladder; Sawyer filter

It may be summer, but it’s still Alaska, right? If we’re really lucky, all the layers will stay in our pack. But let’s be honest—they probably won’t. Our general picks are: 

  • Lightweight merino wool base layer (you’ll be wearing this, obvi.)

  • Lightweight hooded “midlayer”

  • Windbreaker

  • Light Puffy

  • Rain shell

For your extremities: 

  • Hat

  • Buff

  • Fleece gloves

  • Lite overmitts (We’ve been caught on a couple trips when our minds were still on summer but the mountains were thinking winter. Since then, we almost always carry lightweight wind & waterproof gloves or mittens for the cold rain/snow/sleet/hail that the mountains are more likely to serve up in the shoulder seasons)

Anything we forgot or that you like to include? Let us know!

Pairing: Mat-Su Valley Potato Chip & Double Shovel Dry Hopped Cider

Looking for a good compliment to the Chugach Chocolate you love? We always are, so we turned to the party people at Toast of the Town for their insight on potential BFFs for our chocolate. Take it away, gals!:
"Nothing goes with potato chips like a good beer! Unless you're eating Chugach Chocolates Mat-Su Valley Potato Chip chocolate, in which case Double Shovel's Forget-Me-Hopped cider is the way to go! The smooth, sweet, slightly crunchy chocolate is a great compliment to the hoppy crispness of the cider. Be the Toast of the Town and bring this fun pairing to your next friend gathering :)"

Chugach Chocolates & Double Shovel 2.jpg
Chugach Chocolates & Double Shovel.jpg

Underrated on-the-go Adventure Foods

PB&J, Choco & Fritos.jpg

Sure, we all love gourmet camp food. But for burning-the-candle-at-both-ends Alaska summers, sometimes you just have to grab and go. Here’s our list of Hit The Store On The Way Out Foods that are underrated in the store, but great on an adventure.

Jiffy Pop. Salty, buttery and fun. What’s not to love? Pull out one of these after a long day and watch people get excited! Kids (and adults) are blown away by the expanding silver orb of goodness. Secure the wire handle to a long sturdy stick to cook it over the campfire (without cooking your hand, too).

Instant Miso Soup. For all those times out on an adventure when you’re tired, wet and cold, there’s miso soup. It’s saved us on long days in the White Mountains, on Adak and a lot of places in between. Just add it to hot water for a warm, hydrating and instantaneous mood lifter. 

Fritos. Say what? Yes, the classic, oddly shaped corn chip makes our list. For a few simple reasons: They're made of just 3 ingredients: corn, oil, salt (though we can’t vouch for their quality) and pack some serious calories. At 160 per ounce, Fritos surpass our minimum criteria for weight conscious expedition planning. They're a great compliment to other camp foods too—crumble and sprinkle on top of bland camp meals to add some extra flavor and crunch.

Chocolate. Bet you didn’t see this coming. While this superfood isn’t actually underrated by many serious outdoor athletes (it’s a go-to for mountaineers and thru-hikers) some adventurists don’t immediately think of it as a trail food. But it’s calorie rich, imminently edible, and uh, chocolate. So be sure you take some on your next adventure (and tag us if it’s part of your #summitcelebration)

PB&J. Protein, carbs, and sugars in one efficient, tasty package! For best results use high-quality nut butter and homemade jam/jelly or honey. The best part? They’re still really good no matter how (inevitably) squished they get. The real question is: triangles or squares?