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Camping Equipment

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Salt Lake City, Utah
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Camping Equipment

Hey Everyone! I'm traveling to Denali National Park for a few months to waste a summer working between semesters at school. I haven't been to Alaska in a few years, and when I was there I didn't do any full on camping.

I have a bit of camping experience in the high desert, but nothing in the cold and wet and mosquito infested north. Anyone have any suggestions on gear to take? I'll be backpacking everything in, so weight and volume are major limitations.

Anywhere I should be sure to see? I remember going to Mirror Lake when I was a kid, but that was many moons ago. I'll have plenty of time and I'm sure to spend quite a bit of time in the park... preferably off the beaten path.

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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1. Re: Camping Equipment

Welcome to TA.

The mosquitos at Denali are only bad through about mid August and only near Wonder Lake. I camp at Wonder Lake and bring a headnet, DEET and an Off Power Pad lamp (a small votive candle with some sort of strip that must be soaked with mosquito-repellent and is activated by the heat from the candle). But the Off thing is a bit bulky since there is a frame to the contraption. But it is extremely effective.

If you will be there for "a few months" you will have to camp outside the park most of the time. There is a limit to the number of nights you can stay inside the park each year. I believe it is 14 nights but you can double check at www.nps.gov/dena.

If you don't stay in campgrounds, you will need to check a bear-resistant food container out from the WAC, which is also where you receive your backcountry permit and watch the mandatory backcountry video.

There are two types of bus passes that will interest you - the 3 for 2 shuttle bus passes - buy two consecutive days and get the third day free. And the camper bus - purchase one for $29.25 and you have unlimited access to all the camper and shuttle buses for your entire stay inside the park as long as you remain west of mile marker 20 (i.e. do not head back to the entrance).

John

Harrisburg...
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2. Re: Camping Equipment

Q. How long can I stay out in the backcountry?

A. Any visitor to the park can spend as many as 30 days in the backcountry. These days may be in one continuous trip, or may be dispersed over an entire season. You can stay as long as 7 days continuously in a single unit, but when doing so must move your campsite at least every two days so as to minimize the impact created by your site.

Lots of stuff you need to know on the Camping FAQs site for Denali.

Hope you have a wonderful time.

Anchorage, Alaska
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3. Re: Camping Equipment

Welcome to TA nmap,

I am envious and hope you enjoy your trips into the backcountry of Denali. I have spent the last summers exploring the backcountry and have a couple of lists I use to pack, the must haves and the nice to have. I usually spend 5-7 night per trip in the backcountry and you can trim down these items to match the length of your trips.

Here is a list I consider must haves for backpacking in the Denali:

1. Good rain gear - top and pants

2. Waterproof gaiters - keeps feet drier

3. Bearproof Food Canister (required) - the park loans them but for your long term needs I would buy my own ($70)

4. Water Filter - I recommend the Hiker model

5. Binoculars - at least 8x36 or 8x42

6. Camera

7. Hiking Boots - Waterproof (GoreTex) and mid-weight

8. Mosquito protection - Headnet, 3M Ultralon, ThermoCell Repelent (lighter/smaller than lamp), long pants & long sleeves

9. Extra wool socks - foot care is VERY important

10. Beanie hat & ball cap

Here is a list og nice to haves:

1.

Anchorage, Alaska
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4. Re: Camping Equipment

Welcome to TA nmap,

I am envious and hope you enjoy your trips into the backcountry of Denali over the summer. I have spent the last summers exploring the backcountry and have a couple of lists I use to pack, the must haves and the nice to haves. I usually spend 5-7 night per trip in the backcountry and you can trim down these items to match the length of your trips.

Here is a list I consider must haves for backpacking in the Denali:

1. Good rain gear - parka and pants, not the cheap stuff

2. Waterproof gaiters - keeps feet drier

3. Bear Resistant Food Canister (BRFC's required) - the park loans them but for your long term needs I would buy my own ($70)

4. Water Filter - I recommend the Hiker model

5. Binoculars - at least 8x36 or 8x42

6. Camera

7. Hiking Boots - Waterproof (GoreTex) and mid-weight

8. Mosquito protection - Headnet, 3M Ultralon, ThermoCell Repelent (lighter/smaller than lamp), long pants & long sleeves

9. Extra wool socks - foot care is VERY important

10. Beanie hat & ball cap

11. 20 degree sleeping bag

12. Compass & maps

13. Toilet paper & trowel

14. 3 season tent - preferably with rainfly

15. First aid kit & emergency gear - knife or leather man & signaling device

16. Stove & fuel - also small pot for boiling water

17. 2 liter hydration bag - and maybe a lightweight extra for meals

Here is a list of very nice to haves:

1. Sleeping pad

2. Neoprene water socks - for river crossings

3. Large plastic bags - keeps things dry in your pack

4. Fleece - after hike warmth

5. Bear spray - I always carry it but have never needed it

6. Sunglasses

7. Trekking poles(2) - great for keeping balance off trail

8. Day pak - medium size for day trips

9. Water crossing shoes

This is a pretty good list of things I take with me on my trips both for my safety and comfort. I know this looks like a lot of stuff, but my pack (w/o camera gear) for 7 days only weighs about 55 pounds with tent and BRFC w/food and most of this stuff is pretty light.

If you have any queations, especially on the items and why I use them please ask.

Travel safe,

- Kery

ps....I will add hiking spots in the next post.

Harrisburg...
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5. Re: Camping Equipment

Also, if you do purchase a Bear Resistant Food Container, here is Denali's approved list:

Backpacker's Cache by Garcia Machine (this is the brand issued to permitted backpackers free of charge by the Backcountry Information Center)

BearKing by Counter Assault

Bearikade by Wild Ideas

BearVault models BV250 Solo, BV300, BV350 Solo and BV400

The following brands of BRFCs are NOT PERMITTED for backcountry use in Denali:

BearVault models BV110B and BV200

Ursack or ANY OTHER Kevlar, fabric or fabric-aluminum hybrid bear-resistant bag

Harrisburg...
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6. Re: Camping Equipment

That's a great list. Kery, hopefully you don't mind if I add four items that I feel are necessary:

1.) Plastic bag to carry out used toilet paper. (Denali requirement. It is not to go into the hole).

2.) Signaling devise in case of emergency: whistle or signaling mirror or both.

3.) Small first aid kit.

4.) Knife

Anchorage, Alaska
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7. Re: Camping Equipment

Hello again,

As far a places to see in the park, I need to get an idea of how long you might have for your trips? I suspect that 2-3 nights will be typical so I will suggest a few and offer a couple that go longer if you get the chance. Make sure you visit the park web site for the backcountry nps.gov/archive/…index.html which has much information and the guidelines for getting permits.

I would also pick up a copy of Ike Waits book "Guide to Hiking, Photography, and Camping in Denali" which is almost a bible for those interested in backpacking in Denali. I highly recommend this book which not only speaks to where to go but difficulty, distance & time, terrain and sights.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1. The Polychrome area (unit 8), south of the pass - great valley views, side trips to the finger glaciers

2. Catherdral Mt. - great wildlife (Dall sheep)amazing views

3. East and West Branch of the Toklat river (units 9 & 10) - large glacial river valleys with lots of wildlife and views of the Alaska Range, large glaciers

4. Highway Pass (unit 11) - High alpine tunra awesome wildlife, easier hiking

5. Sunrise/Sunset Glacier (unit 12) - deep valley with Scott Mt at top of valley

6. Mount Eielson (unit 13) - the foot of Muldrow Glacier, climb Mt. Eielson, great views of Alaska Range

7. Mt. Galen & Stoney Hill (units 33 & 34) - north of the park road, mostly dry tundra, great views N & S, and more wildlife

There are many more areas to explore plus several options in each of those I mentioned as well. Most importantly go with an open mind and some idea of what type of hike you are looking for when planning each trip.

Now keep in mind that this is alomst all off trail hiking so be prepared for covering less miles each day and you should have pretty good navagation skills. You can the Trails Illustrated Map for Denali which give a very detailed overview but I would also pickup the topo's at the Backcountry office before heading out. Also check out gogle Earth and get an idea of the topography before going up there to get familiar with it. I also carry my GPS but I use it to track my trips and get time, elevation, and distance records.

I hope this help a bit, let me know if I can answer any questions.

Enjoy your trip,

- Kery

USA
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8. Re: Camping Equipment

Hi I Want to Go!

Can you send me the link to where you got Denali's bear canister approval list?

Denali NP only sent me the Bear Vault Solo & Garcia as the approved. They must have added more.

I have the Bear Vault Solo, but other people go with me. So I would like to reference DNP's official approval list.

Thanks!

USA
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9. Re: Camping Equipment

nmap... are you working in Denali between semisters?

I was confused as to that.

If you are, employees get a lot of time in the park! Lucky you!

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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10. Re: Camping Equipment

Such a wealth of information has been provided for you - great! I just wanted to add that if you don't have all the gear, there is a small mountaineering shop in the Denali Park area that has just about everything - Denali Mountain Works. You can purchase as well as rent gear if need be. Good luck and have a great summer working in Denali. :)