Packing for Banff (Our Uber driver is going to hate us)

Last week, Annika (a fellow sea ice lover and future blog contributor) and I packed our bags for a 9-day adventure in Banff, Canada. We were attending a 3-day conference hosted by our theses funders and decided to take advantage of being in the mountains and extended our trip. Our planned activities included winter camping, hiking, and snowboarding in the mountains. I find packing hard enough but coming from Ottawa, we needed to pack for 3 completely different activities. Here is why our uber driver most likely hated us:

Winter Camping:

Camping in the summer requires a decent amount of gear. Camping in the winter requires even more gear to ensure our little bodies don’t freeze overnight. We were camping for 2 nights at Tunnel Mountain Village 2 – the only campground that remained open throughout the winter in Banff National Park. My pack consisted of:

  1. a -10degC sleeping bag
  2. a +7degC sleeping bag (didn’t use it, a thermal insert would have been better)
  3. a sleeping mattress
  4. a basecamp pillow (luxury)
  5. tarp
  6. first aid kit
  7. a nice little pot and pan set (Primus Litech Trek Kettle Pot from MEC)
  8. a spork, hunting knife, water bottle, thermos, and can opener
  9. a handy dandy homemade pop-can stove
  10. a couple garbage bags, duct tape, paper towel
  11. lint (for fire starting), matches, lighter
  12. headlamp
  13. hatchet, blue-tooth speaker (again, luxury – courtesy of my fabulous Aunt and Uncle)
  14. kindling, news paper, travel blanket
  15. A lot of chilli, soup, hot dogs, cliff bars, and tea
  16. FIREBALL (most importantly)
  17. Clothing – lots and lots of layers

Annika brought a world of other things including the tent. The best/most useful things we brought: the hatchet and fireball.


We went from wearing full outdoor hiking gear including snow pants and winter hiking boots to black pants and blazers. Our conference gear consisted of mainly nicer clothes that didn’t take up a ton of room but still added some weight to the pack. Not to mention my fairly old-school MacBook Pro was weighing down my Osprey daypack. A change of shoes was the best addition since my insulated winter hiking boots would have cause some majorly sweaty conference feet!


After the conference we stayed in a hostel in downtown Banff and went snowboarding at both Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. We decided to bring our boarding gear, which created bag number 3. My snowboard bag consisted of:

  1. My snowboard
  2. Snowboard boots
  3. Helmet
  4. Goggles
  5. Snow pants
  6. Gloves
  7. Anything else that wouldn’t fit in my pack

Needless to say, both Annika and I had 3 bags each for 3 different activities. Photos below for proof!



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