If last summer taught me anything it’s that I LOVE to hike. While I missed being able to travel, 2020 really brought me back to the basics – and that includes just simply getting outdoors and enjoying what our own province has to offer.
There’s something so special about spending a few hours in the great outdoors and enjoying all the incredible views that you just don’t get to experience any other way.
Last summer we did quite a few hikes, but nothing really holds a candle to overnight camping at Conflict Lake in Squamish, BC. It was challenging, rewarding, and just so unbelievably cool.
Overnight Camping at Conflict Lake
What You Need for an Overnight Camping Trip
What We Bought:
Hiking up to a camp spot and spending a night or two is no joke – you need a lot of equipment and it gets pretty heavy to carry it all up. Here’s a list of items we brought up:
A large backpack. My backpack carries about 70 litres. I used this pack to backpack around Europe way back in the day and it’s also been great for our hikes.
6L of water (for two people)
2-3 packs of dried food
4 protein bars
1 single-burner stove & gas canister
1 Tent (big enough for two people, if you’re sharing a tent with someone)
2 sleeping bags & mats
Headlamps & lantern
Optional: 2 cans of wine (super unnecessary but it was a nice treat to enjoy when we reached our destination)
Additional clothing: 1 pair of sweatpants, sweater, toque, extra socks.
How much weight did you have on your back?
I had about 25-30lbs of gear in my backpack. Most of the weight we carried was water, so on the way down our packs were a bit lighter.
You could cut out some of the water if you know that there will be fresh water available on the hike. You can use water purification tablets to ensure the water is safe to drink.
We, however, decided to pack in our own water just to be on the safe side.
What about Jer, how much weight did he carry?
Jeremy carried significantly more weight than I did – his pack was nearly 60lbs which is really heavy. He had some of the heavier items in his pack like our tent, pots and pans, and some of the water.
It is recommended that you do not try to carry more than a quarter of your body weight on your back for long treks, so keep this in mind when you’re packing up all your items.
How long is this hike?
The hike up to Conflict Lake is 12KM round-trip. We ended up finding that the hike to the lake was fairly comfortable so we pushed on and went to Ring Lake, but ended up having to turn back as we were nearing the destination. This added about 10km to our hike that day.
The distance from Conflict Lake to Ring Lake is about 5KM so the fact that we hiked all the way there and then had to hike all the way back added an additional 5Km we hadn’t planned on doing that day.
In total, we hiked about 16km that one day with 25 – 60 lbs on our backs.
How’s the trail up to Conflict Lake?
The trail up to Conflict Lake itself is not bad but I recommend you go after a few days of sunshine. We went after it had rained and the trail was very muddy which meant that the roots on the trail were quite slippery.
The mud had somewhat taken over parts of the trail which meant at times we were needing to go around large mud puddles by going into the forest. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s something to be aware of before heading out on this hike.
Can you wear runners on this trail?
I’m sure there are people who’ve hiked the Conflict Lake trail in runners, however, I would recommend you wear proper hiking boots – preferably ones that are high-tops.
The mud is deep and it can easily swallow up your whole foot if you don’t watch your step so you want to make sure your shoes will be able to get through the gunk and mud.
Why didn’t you go to Ring Lake?
We were nearly at Ring Lake but we had reached a part in the trail where you need to cross a river in order to get across to the last bit of trail.
Since we were carrying so much gear and since it was late in the day (and if our boots got wet, they wouldn’t dry since it was getting cooler) we decided to turn back.
The river also seemed a bit dangerous. It had just been raining for a number of days and then we had a quick burst of sunny weather so it seemed that the water was higher than it normally would’ve been. It felt like an unnecessary risk to take given we could easily go back to Conflict Lake and keep our boots as well as our gear dry.
I would like to one day hike up to Ring Lake, but I think it may be nice just as a day hike. The idea of getting my boots wet and then having to try to dry them out just doesn’t seem worth it to me. If they don’t dry then they are cold and wet all night, and then you have to hike down in wet boots the next day.
Plus, since I always get a blister or two (in literally every pair of shoes I’ve ever owned) I always try to remember that having wet or sweaty boots raises the risk of infection of those blisters. So, I’d rather keep my feet dry.