After sorting out food, figuring out how to pack our backpacking packs was the second most challenging part of planning the West Coast Trail.

This post shares what went into each of our backpacks on our 10 day family backcountry trip. This could easily be used and tweaked for shorter 2-3 backpacking trips.

Looking for a list of what we pack? Download our full gear guide here.

Backcountry gear for families

Thinking about hiking the West Coast Trail? Check out our Guide to Hiking the West Coast Trail.

Kids hiking Backpacks

What Goes into our backpacking packs

Skip Ahead

6 and 8 year old’s backpack

Annika’s (aka mom’s) backpack and Cameron’s (aka Dad’s) backpack

6 and 8 year old’s backpack

Kids should only carry 10-20% of their weight.

After factoring in the weight of the backpack, well a 35 to 45 pound kid cannot carry very much.

If your planning on doing a hard trail like the West Coast Trail, well then you have to consider going on the lower end and trying for only 10-15% of their weight.

Looking for a kid’s backpack? Check out these hiking backpacks for kids! Options for toddlers and big kids!

A Look into our 6 year old’s backpack:

Total Weight: between 4 and 6 pounds

A look into our 8 year old’s backpack:

Total Weight: Between 5 and 7 pounds.

What Goes into our backpacking packs

The most challenging part is always figuring out how to pack all the food since our two kids were too little to carry a ton of weight.

On the West Coast Trail this challenge increased 10 fold.

To help you out, we compiled a complete list of our backcountry food on the West Coast Trail. Download it here (coming soon)

If you are planning to do the West Coast Trail note that most people recommend adults only carry 35 to 40 pounds worth of weight. This is because you will be going up and down ladders, over boulders, and across slippery terrain. The terrain also has many many many routes that love to twist ankles.

Heavier packs increase the chance of injury especially on the WCT.

Cam and I definitely carried more than that. I don’t recommend it but there was no other way for us to hike that trail with young kids any other way.

A look into my backpack:

  • Used Cam’s 64 Litre Gregory Backpack for WCT usually I use a smaller one
  • 1.5 Litre plastic waterbottle
  • All dinners
  • 1 snack bag for family for the day
  • 1 lunch bag for the family for the day
  • My clothing and kid’s clothing
  • My sleeping bag
  • 6 year old’s sleeping bag
  • two mattresses
  • occasionally my 8 year old’s sleeping bag
  • Tent poles
  • All toiletries (toothbrushes, small hair brush, creams, etc)
  • bear spray
  • The Game Uno

Total weight: 48 pounds before we attached water and a few other items to the outside.

*I should have weighed it again but I just didn’t want to know lol. I knew the recommended weight was 35 pounds and I knew that wasn’t going to happy. Weight went down by the 7th day but then back up when we restocked at the food drop.

A look into Cam’s Backpack:

Kids hiking Backpacks
  • Borrowed a 75 liter backpack
  • 1.5 plastic waterbottle
  • All lunches (except for the day’s lunch bag)
  • All snacks (except for the day’s snack bag)
  • His Sleeping Bag
  • His Clothes
  • Tent
  • two mattresses
  • water filter
  • Inreach
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cooking equipment
  • Fuel
  • frisbee

Total weight: 62 pounds before we attached water and a few other small items like the satellite communicator.

*Before the food drop his pack was going to be 72 pounds without water and mine was going to be 60 without water. That was a stressful night trying to figure out how we would make it work.

Thinking about hiking the West Coast Trail? Check out our Guide to the West Coast Trail.

Want to our gear list for backpacking? Download our Backcountry Packing List.

Backcountry gear for families

Download our Food list here which includes calorie count per member of our family here!

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