I have compiled some suggestions and recommendations on Camping and Hiking on San Miguel Island, Channel Island National Park.
Before The Trip
- Don’t pack what you don’t need. I brought with me almost 70lb and had a hard time getting up to the campsite.
- Reduce as much weight as possible as the climb up that hill to the campsite will sweat you out.
- Get some Sanitation or Bath wipes from REI were great as there are no showers onsite.
- The outhouse actually comes with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
- Get some Garbage Liner to keep your clothes and stuffs dry in your backpack. I am sorry but the rain cover for the bag won’t cut it as your bag will be soaked in the pool of saltwater on the skiff.
- Don’t forget what you bring to the island, you will need to bring out with you. so a little garbage bag to hold all the used items.
- One gallon of water per day per person. I brought two gallons and another liter of water for about 2 days since I don’t get to the island till Saturday @1 pm and we left on Monday around 12 noon.
- Be advised that one of the campers brought the single 2.3-gallon water and it leaked. So if you can, get 2 x 1-gallon water instead of 1 x 2.3-gallon water.
- Note that the hike to Point Bennett and back, I drank pretty much half a gallon.
- Pack for Cold and Windy. Some days, the wind was like 20 mph.
- I wore my Columbia Rain Jacket during the trip and it kept me dry and sheltered me from the wind.
- Longjohns, it does get very cold at night especially when the wind is blowing hard.
- I pretty much wore the same shirts and pants from my Safari Trip to Africa.
Shoe and Sandal
- Make sure to bring a decent hiking boot which has some waterproof feature on it. I wore the Columbia Men’s Redmond Waterproof Low Hiking Shoe which worked out great for me.
- Don’t forget to bring some sort of sandal for getting off and on the skiff as your feet will get soaked during the transfer between the Island Packers catamaran and the beach. I used the Teva Mens M Hurricane XLT2 Sport Sandal which was strong enough to let me hike up the hill to the campground.
- Note that some days, the wind was like 15-20 mph and can be loud.
- So bring some earplugs as the loud noise from the wind will wake you up.
- Tent, I would recommend getting low profile tents and ones that can withstand the wind. I had one night the wind was blowing so hard, I thought the tent was going to blow away. Make sure to deploy all your pegs and tile them down well.
- I got my tent from Nature Hike and I was very happy with it. It weighs about under 4 lbs and I believe the exact weight was like 3lb 10oz. It’s not the lightest tent but it was good enough for me.
Sleeping Bag, Pillow and Mat
- Sleeping bag, I used the AEGISMAX Outdoor Ultra-Light Goose Down Sleeping Bag for Three-Season. It weighs in like around 1lb 3oz (528g). I slept comfortable in it and I ordered the Large as I am 5 feet and 11 inches.
- Blowup mat, you will definitely need them as the ground is quite uneven. I got the POWERLIX Sleeping Pad which weighs in about 1.32 lb (600g). I slept great on it and I weigh about 175 lb.
- As for the pillow, I brought my own pillowcase and stuffed my clothing in it.
- Cooking utensils including burner and fuel. I was able to use 1 x 3.9 oz (110g) fuel which I got from Big 5 sporting goods for 2 nights and 1-morning cooking. I believe I still got about another night and maybe breakfast left of gas.
- The Mokoala Camping Cookware Mess Kit with Mini Stove comes with a Lightweight Pot Tank Bracket Knife Fork Spoon and Stainless Steel Cup. The stove burner looked decently built and it burns very efficiently with its only built-in ignitor. Weighs about 1lb.
- Don’t forget to bring some paper towels and tin foil. I used the tin foil to shade the cooker top from the win.
- Spoon and Fork. I got the humangear GoBites Uno Sporks from REI as they alternate between a spoon and fork.
- I brought this GSI Outdoors Santoku Knife Set and it comes with its own bag.
- Food, it depends on how hungry you are, but I was exhausted most of the time, and I ate a lot of fruits and nuts.
- I got a lot of freeze-dried food from REI, and they have a good selection of them.
- I went to Costco and Trader’s Joe to get a bunch of nuts and dried fruits. Then, I made my own mixture of trail mix.
- I got snacks, protein bars, and some perishable items from Trader’s Joe. One of the campers brought along a cooler, and he carried 500 feet up with it.
- Don’t forget to bring lots of hot chocolate! You will need it for the cold night.
- You will be storing all your food in the food locker.
- Be aware that they are ants on the island, and it got into one of my food items, which I didn’t seal all the way.
Getting on and off San Miguel Island
- If you watch the video, our primary mode of getting on and off the Island Packers to the San Miguel island is via a skiff.
- We were lucky the first day we arrived, it was sparkling blue water and a very calm sea with no wind. However, on our return trip, we encountered white caps water and it totally soaked all of us on the skiff.
- So wear clothes which dry easily or put a spare change of clothes in your carryon bag.
- if you carry a small backpack, it might be good to have one that comes with a rain cover as you will get slash with saltwater while wearing it on your back.
- Bring sandals or Teva on top of your hiking shoes. You will get wet on the skiff.
On the Trails
- I would recommend wearing a decent hiking shoe when climbing up the Niveder Canyon from the beach to the campsite.
- Be prepared for the Point Bennett Trail as it will be a full day hike and you will need as much water as possible depending on the temperature of the day.
- Recommend at least 1/2 gallon of water or more depends on the temperature.
More information on San Miguel Island
- Books on San Miguel Island
- Where to Book your boat to the Island?
- Where to reserve your campsite on San Miguel Island?
- San Miguel Photo Gallery
- San Miguel Island, Channel Island National Park