Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

Day Hiking Essentials

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

Over the past few weeks, I've had the chance to go on short hikes alone, or with friends. On a couple occasions, people have shared their surprise about the fact that I carry a backpack and a first-aid kit.

It's only natural to me, just like I wouldn't drive without my seatbelt on. But it's not always been the case. It's only after I attended a mountain safety workshop and had a couple misadventures myself that I really started writing my own backpacking checklist.

Now, whether it's only for a short walk in Portland's amazing Forest Park or for a steeper hike in the Columbia gorge, I always make sure I cover the following 10 essential aspects, for my safety, for my comfort and for the environment.

1. Navigation

I have to admit that I am totally guilty of only bringing my phone with me and a screen shot of my route. Don't be like me, and do the right thing! Get a map (and a protective case), a compass, and learn the basics of navigation.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

2. Protection

My skin hates the sun, so you'll never see me out without either long sleeves or a thick coat of sunscreen, and a hat on my head.
As for insulation, I usually wear a base layer, a hoodie, a pair of leggings, and a pair of hiking socks, and keep a waterproof jacket and a puffer jacket in my backpack.

4. Light & Sound

No matter how early I leave or how short my hike will be, there's always a headlamp in my bag. I once had to snowshoe in the dark, it won't happen to me ever again! A whistle is also a cheap and efficient way to let people know where you are should you get lost.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

5. First-aid supplies

I got my first-aid kit after a preparedness workshop. It proved to be pretty useful very quickly, even if it was just to help a friend who had a stomach ache during a short car ride.

I added an emergency blanket to my kit. They're very lightweight, cheap and efficient, so get a bunch of these and put them everywhere, in your backpack, in your car, in your home!

6. Fire

  • A lighter or matches in a waterproof container

I just learned how to start a fire. We never light fires during our camping trips because we feel it's safer to cook with a gas backpacking stove, but they can save your life in case of an emergency.

7. Tool Kit

I usually have a knife or shears for foraging, but a multi-tool could be pretty useful under unexpected circumstances.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

8. Nutrition

I like to pack my supplies in sealed pouches so that they do not spill or attract wildlife but I sometimes just put snacks in a cloth bag and wrap a sandwich in reusable food wrap.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

9. Hydration

I usually like bottles with a sport spout. But this one by Tillak (coming soon) is lightweight, insulated and easy to clean.

10. Plogging

  • Trash bag
  • Gloves

Have you ever heard of plogging? It's a Swedish trend which consists in picking up trash as you exercise outdoors.

I have increasingly gotten very mad as I kept seeing trash during my hikes, so I started packing a trash bag and a pair of gloves to pick up litter as I go. It will not save the world, but it will make me happier and make the trail nicer for the next hikers. Also, following the "broken windows theory", I want to imagine that a pristine trail will be less likely to be trashed that one that's already covered in litter.

Day Hiking Essentials by Conscious by Chloé

Most of these items never leave my backpack, which never leaves my car. That way I'm always ready to go on a short hike and I have an emergency kit with me at all times!

Women in the Outdoors

Now talking about women and the outdoors, I wanted to share a couple people and resources that have been inspiring me lately to get more outside:


You may also like...

Our Car Camping Checklist

Car Camping Checklist by Conscious by Chloé

Our Car-Camping Checklist

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Tonight, Octave and I are headed out for what will probably be our last road trip of the summer together. After a one-week trip across the State of Washington, we're headed to Eastern Oregon until the end of the week (I am FINALLY going to see the Painted Hills!).

For the past year and a half, we've been hitting the roads of most of the 13 Western States with Charlie, a 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser Octave refurbished when we first moved to Oregon.

After many car-camping adventures, I think I pretty much nailed the whole packing thing and can confidently share our checklist with you.

Some of the products mentioned are really Charlie-specific (tent, shower), but for the most part, this is a simple packing-list for a road trip, big or small (I'm actually planning a car-camping trip to the coast with my little car in 2-weeks).

I hope you'll find this packing-list useful and that it will inspire you to hit the road - no matter the size of your car (remember our trip to Iceland?).

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Bedroom

Lately, I've been bringing the pillows and duvet we have at home instead of our camping gear.

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Kitchen

We go grocery shopping the day before our trip and store everything we shop in bulk in... Ziploc bags. While this seems wasteful, it is actually the best solution for us so far. While we'd love to bring Mason Jars on trips, the roads and paths we use with the Land Cruiser can be VERY bumpy. Ziploc bags are reusable, lightweight, sealable (we've all seen the videos or bears breaking into cars).

  • Dish soap in a GoToob + Dish sponge + Dish towel
  • Colander

Filter your washing up water with the colander and throw whatever remains in it in a cathole (more on that in the bathroom section).

  • Garbage bag

Even though we aim to produce no waste, we always carry a trash bag with us, at least to pick up the trash left by previous campers.

When we feel lazy or when we're in a rush, we'll stop by a coffee shop in town in the morning and get a caffeinated drink to go.

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Bathroom

  • Shower (or this portable shower)
  • Flip-Flops (to shower in the dirt)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste (DIY: coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil mixed together)
  • Soap
  • Solid Shampoo
  • Dry Shampoo (DIY: arrowroot and cocoa powder)
  • Microfiber towel (I personally love my microfiber robe)
  • Washcloth (for the times when it's way too cold to take a shower but you still want to feel clean)
  • Toilet paper
  • Shovel (check out this article to learn how to dig a cathole)

I also recently started using a GoToob filled with water as my travel bidet!

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Safety

Chose the right product according to the region you visit. Are you in bear country? In a humid area? Etc.

Power

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Extras

You can make your campsite as comfy and pretty as you want it to be. It just depends on how much space you have in your vehicle.

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

  • Paper Maps (always useful, you do not want to rely on electronics only)
  • Satellite Communicator (only if you travel to remote areas)
  • Washington Discover Pass
    For access to Washington state parks & other state recreation lands in Washington.
  • America the Beautiful
    For access to all National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands in the USA.
  • Northwest Forest Pass (day use)
    For access to all Forest Service operated recreation sites in Washington and Oregon where a day use fee is required (unless you already have the America the Beautiful pass).
  • Oregon State Park Permit (day-use)
    If you're camping at a state park, you don't need a day-use parking permit. Just display your current state park camping receipt on your dashboard.

I have to admit that it takes a while to process all this information. So don't forget to check a map as you plan your trip, to know which areas you'll be covering, and don't hesitate to check out the state website or stop by the first ranger station on your itinerary. We've always had the best experience there and met the most knowledgeable people about the regions we visited!

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

In conclusion

Getting all this equipment is not cheap. I'm aware of it, believe me! As Octave uses this rig for his filming business, it made sense for him to outfit it with the best gear. And this is pretty much the only way we travel now (except when we go visit our families in Europe), so it's an investment made for many, many trips to come.

After this initial investment, all our holidays cost us is food & gas. (and the occasional treat).

Spending time in nature is the best way to disconnect, recharge your batteries, get away from the daily hustle. And it's so much fun to "play house" in a different way, where your only preoccupation is to be safe and warm.

Camping on public land is free, you guys! Get a good map and hit the road.

So load up your car (or beg a motorized friend to go on an adventure with you) and hit the road, you won't regret it.

Be safe, protect your land, and report back! I want to know all about your camping adventures!


Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Leave no trace

Lake Twenty-two in the Snoqualmie National Forest WA by Conscious by Chloé

So Octave and I have this thing were we try to go sleep outside whenever we can, either because we need to slow down and disconnect or just because the opportunity arises, like a couple weeks ago, when we had to go to Seattle for an interesting partnership I'll share with you soon.

Spending time in nature is something that we love to do together: #couplegoals.

As some of you might have seen on Instagram, we car-camped in the Snoqualmie National Forest and chose to do something more before leaving, rather than just spending the night and taking off for our hike right away.

Camping in the Snoqualmie National Forest WA by Conscious by Chloé

We channeled our inner Baden-Powell and decided to clean our campsite from waste that was there before we arrived.

We usually have no use for a trash bag since we try to apply the zero-waste principle to our trips (the only waste we produced were banana peels which we put in the mason jar our soup was in to compost them back home), but I always bring one along just in case.

And I’m so glad I did. Aluminium cans, glass bottles, plastic jugs… condoms (!) were scattered all around. Don’t worry, the picture doesn’t show it but we protected our hands from all this nasty stuff.

Our bag was quickly filled up and we disposed of it in the appropriate bins at a parking area we stopped at on the way to our next hike.

Snoqualmie National Forest WA clean up by Conscious by Chloé

It’s a little thing to do, it took us less than 10-minutes, but it totally boosted our morale for the rest of the day.

Of course, we decided to focus on the positive side of our action and not the fact that careless and disrespectful people go up in the woods and throw stuff away or that more people will come and trash this place after us.

Snoqualmie National Forest WA clean up by Conscious by Chloé

The title of this article was inspired by The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics whose Seven Principles are the following:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Leave What You Find

  • Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Respect Wildlife

  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

I strongly encourage you to read them in details on the Leave No Trace website.


What’s your opinion on the matter of clean-ups? Pointless? Encouraging? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.