I recently took a camping trip with my wife to Zion National Park. With a goal of seeing as many of the sights there and in neighboring Bryce Canyon, we set out on our adventure with car camping as our method of lodging, rather than backpacking.

Having never taken a car camping trip where I was flying most of the distance, packing had to nearly mirror everything we would typically take for a standard weekend backpack trip. We wanted to make sure we were comfortable for any leisure time around camp, but also needed to stay as compact and light as possible for checking bags and toting luggage to, from, and through the airport.

To make the trip comfortable and light enough to only have to pay the standard checked bag fee, here is a list of the Exped gear we took and stuffed in to the gear swallowing Tempest Duffle 100.

  • Dreamwalker 450 Sleeping Bag
  • Dreamwalker 650 Sleeping Bag
  • Chair Kit M
  • Chair Kit LW
  • DownMat UL 7 M
  • SynMat UL 7 M
  • Gemini II Tent
  • Air Pillow UL M (2)
  • Duo Travel Hammock (suspension kit and drip clips not pictured)
  • Alpine 140 Trekking Poles

In addition to the Exped gear above, we also were able to each fit our hiking shoes, backpacking stove with cook set, kitchen ware (bowls, mugs, plates, utensils) and a variety of other small and lightweight items that we didn’t need or want to have in our checked bags.

For carrying the bulk of our personal clothing, we each took a day pack as well to carry on our flights. I used the new Torrent 20 while my wife packed the Core 25. Both packs are perfect for carry on pieces and even stowed well under the seats in front of  us as a “personal items". Once we arrived in Zion National Park, we easily emptied them of all excess clothing and filled them with our day hiking essentials when we hit the trail each day of our trip.


- Nick