Point Reyes backpacking
Wahoo! We're so pumped you're registered to backpack in Point Reyes National Seashore. You'll find most of the info you need to prepare for your trip on this page. We'll email you the week of the trip with final details about our meeting spot, carpools, and bios from the other rad ladies who'll be joining you.
Backpacking in Point Reyes is relatively plush: we'll have access to picnic tables, raccoon-proof bins for our food, trash cans, spigots with clean, potable water, and indoor pit toilets. You won't need to poop or pee outdoors...unless you want to (and we'll definitely teach you how).
All meals between arrival at Point Reyes' Bear Valley Visitor's Center and trip end will be provided. The group will share in cooking and cleanup responsibilities. Please arrive on Day 1 with breakfast and coffee already in your bellies!
For breakfast and dinner, we'll cook up tasty hot meals. No Backpacker's Pantry or Mountain House here - we believe in real food and veggies. Between meals, you'll munch on the contents of your Snack Bag. Each Maven will create her own Snack Bag at the start of the trip, with dried fruit, nuts, a sandwich, chocolate, jerky, granola bars, etc.
To keep our energy up, we’ll snack on trail throughout the day, rather than having a single lunch meal. We’ll have more than enough snacks for you - we're big believers in snacks - but if you’ve got any favorite trail treats, feel free to bring them.
Our group will pack together before setting off on the trail. In addition to your personal items, you'll carry some group gear and group food. Your leader will teach a packing lesson, and help you decide which gear to carry and whether you may have brought something extra.
Each Trail Maven should plan on bringing:
- Sleeping bag rated at 30° or colder
- Sleeping pad
- Headlamp with fresh batteries/spares
- 60L backpack (or larger) with rain fly
- Sleeping bag liner (if borrowing a Trail Mavens sleeping bag)
- Backpacking bowl, mug, and utensil (a Tupperware bowl, heat-proof cup or mug, and any fork/spoon/spork set is just fine!)
- Personal clothing (see below)
- Sturdy, broken-in walking/hiking shoes
- Lightweight shoes/sandals for hanging out at our campsite that can be worn with socks (like Crocs/Tevas/Chacos rather than flip-flops)
- Water bottles and/or hydration bladder with a minimum 2L capacity (our recommendation: a bladder and a water bottle; bladders are easier to drink from on-trail, and bottles are easier to drink at camp)
- Sunscreen/sun hat/sunglasses
- Health insurance card & ID
- Tampons/pads as needed
- Toothbrush/mini toothpaste
- Personal medications
- Glasses/contacts with solution
- A pen
- Field Notes notebook (Trail Mavens alumnae only)
- Optional: hiking poles (esp. if you have knee issues), lightweight backpacking pillow, earplugs, bandana or Buff to keep sun off your neck, small bottle hand sanitizer
Items in bold will be provided for those women who indicated they needed them during registration.
SHARED ITEMS, PROVIDED BY TRAIL MAVENS:
Tents, food, stoves, fuel, cookware, camp chairs, utensils, and basic First Aid.
WHAT TO LEAVE BEHIND:
Toiletries and personal effects other than a toothbrush, toothpaste, a small sunscreen bottle, and personal medication.
This trip is a great opportunity to practice your minimalist packing skills! In all cases, please avoid cotton (i.e. no cotton socks, no cotton sweatshirts/sweatpants). We recommend the following:
- One wool/synthetic shirt (no tanks due to shoulder chafing) [example]
- One 'relaxing at camp & sleeping' tee (the one exception to the cotton rule!)
- One synthetic long-sleeved lightweight shirt [example]
- One pair shorts or capris for hiking during the day (your choice)
- One pair long pants (or if you have zip-off hiking pants, skip the shorts)
- One pair leggings or long underwear for warmth at night (we love fleece-lined leggings or wool long underwear) [example]
- One pair warm long pants for warmth at night (we love fleece pants) [example]
- One synthetic long-sleeved wool or fleece mid-layer, ideally with hood [example]
- One down puffy jacket or similar, ideally with hood [example]
- Waterproof jacket (mandatory) [example]
- Warm hat [example]
- Lightweight gloves [example]
UNDIES & BASE LAYERS
- Two pairs socks (one pair thin wool/synthetic for hiking, one pair thick wool/synthetic for nighttime)
- One or two pairs underwear
- One or two sports bras
Depending on weather conditions (i.e. if it's unseasonably warm), you may not bring every item listed here. Not sure about something? Be sure to ask your Trail Mavens guide when the group is packing.
Weather & Conditional Packing
Click here for the Point Reyes weather forecast as we approach our trip! For those not from Northern California, note that coastal weather is notoriously fickle, and might transition from warm and breezy to cold and foggy in a matter of minutes.
Since everybody is different, it’s up to YOU to check out the weather forecast and judge your personal comfort levels, and plan accordingly! Please use your own judgement when packing: if you’re always cold, pack heavier extra layers (i.e., leggings to go under pants).
PACKING FOR RAIN
Except in the most extreme cases, we run trips rain or shine! If rain or snow is in the forecast, here's what you should be bringing in addition to the items in the packing list above:
- Waterproof rain jacket (you should bring this on every trip regardless of forecast)
- Waterproof rain pants
- Waterproof hiking boots (tennis shoes or trail runners should NOT be worn on rainy trips)
- Three pairs of wool socks (one pair on your feet, one pair that's dry and ready to change into, and one pair that might be drying off from an earlier hike)
- Rain cover for your backpack, if you have one (we'll provide trash bags for anyone who doesn't have a cover, but the real deal is always best)
- As much wool, synthetic fleece, or down layers as possible, and as little cotton as possible (cotton won't keep you dry or warm enough in rainy weather)
Leave No Trace
Trail Mavens is committed to following and teaching Leave No Trace principles. To get you started, watch this video on LNT Outdoor Ethics from the National Parks Service. We'll cover this material again on our trip!
Flora + Fauna
To brush up on the plants and animals we might encounter this weekend, check out this brief presentation. Spoiler alert: black bears haven’t been spotted in the Point Reyes area since 2010, but poison oak is alive and well in the region. Bonus points for being the first person to spot it for the group on our adventure!
Trail Mavens often enjoy wine or whiskey together around the campfire in the evenings. Participation in drinking is welcome, but of course not mandatory. We ask that Trail Mavens leave recreational drugs at home. If you’re a smoker, please be respectful and partake in a manner that doesn’t bother other group members, and adheres to Leave No Trace principles.
This is an internet-free weekend (plus, we won’t have cell service)! If you’d like to share your pics on social media, go for it, but only after we get backhome. Then, feel free to go crazy tagging @trailmavens on Instagram or Twitter.
Trail Mavens provides its adventurers with $800-1000 of fantastic backpacking gear. Read on for a couple tips on how to keep gear in fantastic condition:
Your tent is your home for the weekend, so you want to keep it clean and tidy! Keep the door zipped shut unless you’re getting in or out. Consume only water inside your tent to keep it scent-free, and store anything smelly, including toiletries, in the designated food bin. High-end tent fabric is very delicate; keep shoes and anything else dirty or sharp outside.
Set up your sleeping bag inside your tent to keep both your bag and your tent clean.
Our pads are inflatable, meaning they’re a) quite comfortable and b) can pop if they meet a sharp rock. Be sure to unpack, inflate, deflate, and pack your pad inside your tent, away from anything sharp. This will ensure a comfortable night of sleep for you and a clean tent.
Make sure to remove all food, trash, and scented items from your pack as soon as we arrive at our campsite. Raccoons in Point Reyes can be both sneaky and fearless, and will chew through your backpack or tent to get at food or toiletries you've left unattended.