Fontanillitis Lake, Desolation Wilderness, CA

Backpacking Suggestions

Fontanillis Lake

Suggestions for a More Enjoyable Backpacking Trip


  1. Leave a detailed itinerary of your trip with someone at home who knows when to contact authorities if you don't return on time.
  2. Carry a safety device such as a Spot GPS Messenger that sends preprogrammed messages indicating that you are OK or in need of help.
  3. Carry detailed maps of the greater area and become familiar with using them.


  1. Plan early starts in the cool of the morning.
  2. Take care of possible blister problems as soon as you sense something is not right. Duct tape can do wonders to protect hot spots on your feet.
  3. If members of your party hike at different speeds, plan regular rendevous spots along the trail.

Comfort in Camp

  1. Select a tent site that is not in the path of potential hillside drainage or in a shallow depression that could fill with water in case of a sudden downpour.
  2. Carry a Sleeping Pad that provides both comfort and insulation.
  3. Do as much preparation of meals, e.g. measuring and mixing, at home before your trip as you can to reduce effort and time in camp.


  1. Bear Canisters are a convenience as well as the best way to keep food safe. If you need something from your commissary, it's right there, not dangling from a rope in a tree.
  2. Rattlesnakes are most often seen while hiking off trail, but hikers should always be vigalent.
  3. Mosquitoes are usually at their peak from mid-June to mid-August. Cooler temperatures mean fewer mosquitoes. Windy locations are a good way to avoid the worst of the pests.

How to Pack

  1. Plan to supplement the warmth of your sleeping bag with clothing such as a down parka in case of cold weather, rather than always carrying an especially heavy sleeping bag that might be too warm for most situations.
  2. Be prepared for emergencies, e.g. small first aid kit; but don't overload your pack preparing for every unlikely contingency.
  3. Use a packing checklist to be sure you don't overlook something important such as matches, medications, toilet paper, or glasses.