Getting ready for moose and bears in Canada

In less than a week, we are off to another beyond adventure, this time diving into the wild and untamed beauty around Western Canada. We’ve been planning our six-weeks road trip for some months, and it’s hard to believe that the time has now almost arrived to get on that airport bus and board our plane at Brisbane Airport.

After some initial shocks as to how HUGE Canada is and the dawning realisation that we just cannot drive all over the west coast AND make it across to the east coast within six weeks, we’ve mapped out a road trip that will begin and end in Vancouver.

Seeing how much we loved our campervan Siegfried on our road trip across Southern Germany last year, we’ve opted to rinse and repeat and are renting a pop-top VW Transporter (known as Eurovan in North America) from Westy BC.

Hoping that reality will indeed look something like this. Image credit: WestyBC

ROAD TRIP: ROUGH PLAN

We’ll be leaving on Sunday, 21 August, and after a couple of days in Vancouver getting over jetlag, we’ll head across to Vancouver Island via a 2-hour ferry trip. The ferry trip will present the first test for all the natural seasickness remedies I’ve been researching for weeks. We’ll travel some 500 km across the island, and then it’s up the Inside Passage for three days via more car ferries to Haines, Alaska.

From there, things are a lot less defined but we roughly aim to follow the Alaska Highway across the Yukon Territory, hopefully give the Top of the World Highway (Alaska) a go and then take the Klondike Highway back across the Yukon.

From there, we’ll make our way across British Columbia, either via the Stewart-Cassier Highway or the Alaska Highway, to Jasper in the Rocky Mountains. The plan is to spend about 10-14 days in various spots across the Rockies and then head back to Vancouver via Whistler. And voilá, that’s how six weeks will go by (rather quickly, I’m sure).

We’ve really only got the first 10 days organised due to ferry bookings and Vancouver Island apparently being a very popular holiday spot for Canadians but I’ve estimated that we’ll cover something like 7,000-8,000 km over the six weeks.

SOME THOUGHTS ON TRAVELLING LIGHT(ER)

I almost always travel with too much luggage so for this trip I’ve worked hard to keep things light but as usual, I feel like I’m taking way too much “stuff”. I bought the Patagonia 60L Black Hole duffel bag because it also functions as a backpack, has super durable fabric and should provide enough storage space for six weeks (or so went my thinking when I ordered it).

A lot of people rave about these Patagonias so hopefully I’ll soon be one of them. It’s not huge but I’ve managed to squeeze an awful lot into this bag. It’s actually a really nice size, and you could easily squeeze it in as carry-on if you don’t stuff it full. My bag is pretty chockas but if we weren’t going to a cold(er) climate, I’d probably be able to fit even more in.

Patagonia 60L Black Hole duffel. Image credit: Patagonia.

Since the temperatures may easily drop to below 0°C in the Yukon and Alaska, I’ve done a fair bit of research to work out what clothing to take and ended up buying a few things. Most of the money has been spent on Icebreaker clothing, including thermals, pants, shorts and socks, all merino wool-based, light, quick to dry and all bought on sale – important, given the Icebreaker price tag! 🙂 I’m planning on putting the new stuff to the test in Northern Canada and also the Rockies, and seriously hoping it’ll stand up well. I expect the Icebreaker stuff will last for years and come in handy for other trips to cold climates.

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What I’ve packed in my 60L duffel bag (minus a few items that didn’t fit into the duffel, that will go into hand luggage or that I’ll actually wear on the plane).

All of my clothing (except the rain jacket, down jacket, polar fleece jumper and underwear/socks) has fitted snugly into a large packing cell – pretty happy! Apart from all the cold weather gear, I also packed my bathers as I’m hoping to be able to jump into one of the hot springs in the Rockies! We’ll see… 🙂 In any case, they take up next to no room.

As I travel with quite a few supplements and natural remedies, there are a few items just didn’t make it into my bag no matter how hard I tried. Among them are the down sleeping bag, the car charger and the pink electronics packing cell (all travelling happily in the husband’s duffel instead). I’ve tried to pair the whole gadgets thing back but I’m still stuck with a laptop, camera, phone, iPod and Kindle, plus cables and chargers… … So much for going off the grid!

I’ve ummed and ahhed about taking the Kindle and cutting my gadgets down that way but since the 30 odd books on it take up virtually no room, I’m going to give it a go on this trip. Most of the actual gadgets will live in my carry-on super light 32L Osprey backpack.

I’m hoping I’ll manage posting (semi-)regular updates from on the road, and whilst we don’t plan on staying in wifi-equipped commercial campgrounds much, I’m sure I’ll be able to scrounge some wifi here and there.

So… Goodbye Australia, and hello Canada!

Incredible autumn in Canada: My favourite places
5 lessons how not to do a Vancouver Island road trip
From the road: Vancouver to Prince Rupert (DAY 1-8)
From the road: Prince Rupert to Haines (DAY 9-12)
Exploring Canada: Going North (Part 1)
Exploring Canada: Going South (Part 2)

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