Hajian Family Chilkoot Guide
You need to have enough food; and you should have some extra.... but don't over do it! After a while, that extra food becomes a burden. You should always plan to be self sufficient on the trail, but if you did run into an emergency; there are other people around too - so don't pack enough for 5 days of emergency.
Breakfast: In previous hikes, our breakfast consisted of instant oatmeal. We threw in some of the raisins from our trail mix to make it go down a bit easier, since we didn’t buy the sugary instant oatmeal. In our 2012 hike we brought organic Quick Oats. I have to say, the Quick Oats (took about 5 minutes to cook) tasted a whole lot better than the instant oatmeal. We cut up some dehydrated fruit into the oats as they were cooking. Extremely delicious!
Our lunch was fairly consistent. One piece of pita bread, a thick chunk of cheese and a foot long dry pepperoni stick. The “dry” pepperoni doesn’t need to be refrigerated. In our 2012 hike, instead of taking chunks of cheese, we brought a small package of cream cheese. We enjoyed the cream cheese and Pita better. We also brought pepperoni sticks again. Extra pepperoni sticks could be cut up and tossed into your dinner. It is not really recommended to have a lunch that you have to cook – takes too much time and on the “summit” day, there really is no good place to cook anything.
Our dinner was either pasta or instant rice. For pasta, in the past we used macaroni and cheese, but we prefer "sidekicks". If you are hungry, you can eat a whole package of sidekicks by yourself. On a couple meals, we put some tuna in with the pasta. I used small (85g) cans of flavored tuna (Tomato Basil) with our pasta dish. As for the rice, there is always something you can throw into the rice to make it tastier. It was all very good!
Snacks: Heather packaged a large zip lock bag for each of us. In it was a smaller zip lock bag of home made trail mix (various nuts, raisins, dry cranberries, mini chocolate chips, etc), two chocolate bars, about a half dozen granola bars, a few fruit leather snacks, and some chewy fruit candy type thing. It was perfect.
As you can tell, we did not have gourmet food on the trail... but I'll tell you, after hiking all day (sometimes in less than favorable conditions) the basic (and hot) meal was absolutely marvelous.
Do not use a two-person tent for two people. You will need room inside so that you are not pressed up against the tent. If your sleeping bag is against the side of the tent and rain comes down... your sleeping bag will be wet. As much as you want to keep the weight down, scrimping on a tent is not a good idea. If you do use a two person tent for two people, make sure the rain fly is the type that goes all the way down to the ground.
Another good idea is to use silicone spray tent sealant a couple days before you go hiking. This will restore the water-resistance of your tent. But nothing beats a good "all the way down to the ground" fly. Either way, you must stay dry inside or you will be miserable at night. Trust me on this. Been there.
Food we packed for a 5 day hike for 2 people
Snacks (total 2.15 kg)
Breakfast (total .45 kg)
Dinner (total 1740g)
Lunch (2.1 kg)
Specialty Hiking Food (most of these you just add boiling water and let it sit in the pouch it comes in). Ratings out of 5. These reviews are from other hikers we med (Corinne and Amanda).
Do not, I repeat, “do not” bring jeans or anything that resembles them. You will regret it. Do not bring cotton shirts either. You want to bring nylon or polyester – something that will dry quickly.
No matter what you wear, whether it rains or not, your clothes will be wet at the end of the day – so be prepared for that. You will either get rained on or you will sweat in your clothes. There’s no avoiding it. The trick is to have extra dry clothes. Make sure you keep a set of clothes dry to sleep in at night – even if it means putting on wet clothes in the morning. You must have dry clothes at night. Do not compromise by letting your "dry night clothes" get wet during the day.
For socks go buy yourself several new pairs of socks – ones that are fairly thick and preferably with as little cotton as possible. If you wear worn down, thread bare socks, you will regret it. New thick socks are great. Bring one pair of socks for each day you will be hiking. If you get rained on, you will also appreciate dry underwear. Don't short change yourself on these items as they are very light to start with.
To go with those socks, you will need a good pair of hiking boots. But don’t bring new hiking boots – make sure they are well worn in. If you don’t have hiking boots, then a good pair of running shoes will do as well. But they have to be comfortable. I have to admit that on my 10th hike, I wore good quality hiking boots and they made a world of difference. My feet were not sore at all. No blisters. No sore spots. On other trips, I came home barely able to stand on my feet.
Also bring some sandals. These can be helpful if you have to walk into the water (which usually happens, but on my last two trips, I didn't have to wade through watert). Sandals are also great at the end of the day when you are at camp. If you don't have sandals, another alternative (which might be even better) are crocs. These things are super light and very comfortable. I picked up a pair at Canadian Tire for $8 for my 10th hike and they worked great.
What to Bring (Necessities)
How to Hike:
Planning Your Trip.
The Chilkoot will generally take 3 to 5 days. Here is a link to Chilkoot Trail Campgrounds. There are three sections.
These will vary greatly, depending on your physical ability, the weather conditions, and who else is hiking with you. I would consider the times below an "average" for the "not specially trained but reasonably capable" hiker.
Dyea to Sheep Camp: 7.5 hours (9 hours with breaks)
Sheep Camp to Happy Camp: 7 - 9 hours (approx. 8 - 10 hours with break at the summit)
Happy Camp to Bennett: 7 1/4 hours (upto 10 hours with breaks)