Trion Light on the West Coast Trail | Team Mammut

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trion Light on the West Coast Trail



The West Coast Trail is a world class hike on the far side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This scenic journey is a wonderland of thick coastal forests, sweeping beaches and rugged headlands riddled with caves and sea stacks. Wildlife is abundant, and sightings of bears, cougars and whales are very common. A few thousand visitors challenge themselves on the 75-km trail each year and the varied surface and weather conditions provide a challenge when it comes to selecting gear. Upon returning from a five-day trek along the trail, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on gearing up.







Weight is the biggest issue for most. Simply put, the more you carry the faster you fatigue, which limits the distance you can travel each day and your overall enjoyment. Having multiple packs to choose from, I settled on the 55-liter Mammut Trion Light. While this model is designed as an "alpine" pack, it fit my needs perfectly due to its ultra light weight and comfortable "butterfly" carrying system. Using the extendable lid, I was able to fit all my gear inside the pack, the system I most prefer. However, it also features multiple compression straps so attaching a sleeping pad to the outside is straightforward.






Parks Canada recommends a pack weight of between 1/3 and 1/4 your body weight. Mine weighed 25 lbs without food or water, and more like 35 lbs with. I weigh 160 lbs so this was a very reasonable weight and I never felt overly fatigued by my load. To keep weight down, I selected compact, lightweight items. Examples from my pack include the Mammut UL Sphere sleeping bag (spring) and Segnas jacket, both super light, high functioning and compressible. Rain gear is mandatory for this hike, even with a bomber forecast, as is a light, waterproof shelter.






Finally, a note on footwear. The trail in the forest can be very muddy and is riddled with old boardwalks, some tilted at oblique angles. Combine this with walks across loose sand beaches and seaweed-covered rock shelves and you've got a very diverse need from your boots. Best seems to be a high-top hiking shoe with a Gore-tex liner and a grippy rubber sole. The prime examples in the Mammut line are the T Aenergy GTX and the T Advanced GTX. A traditional, stiff-soled hiking boot will not grip the slimy boardwalks well or conform to the uneven surface of boulders and rock slabs. Be assured your boots will get wet on the West Coast Trail, so having a good, waterproof membrane inside and an effective pair of hiking gaiters is key.







The West Coast Trail is an amazing journey, but put lots of thought and consideration into your gear to ensure the safest, most enjoyable experience possible.

Marc Bourdon - Squamish, BC


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Marc,
Please could you confirm that the weight of the bag indicated by Mammut (1090 gr) is really exact?
Thanks in advance,
Julie

Anonymous said...

Hi Marc,
Please could you confirm that the weight of the bag indicated by Mammut (1090 gr) is really exact?
Thanks in advance,
Julie