Packing for winter weekends at Meany Lodge

Suggestions for first-timers packing to come to a Meany Lodge Winter Weekend.

While tenured Meanyites know how to pack for a weekend of fun in about 3 minutes flat (hint: after unpacking, do laundry & re-pack immediately), we often see first time visitors struggle. Here’s some rules of thumb & a few specific pointers:

ASSUME YOU’RE PACKING FOR A 3 MILE HIKE AND A WEEKEND CAMPING TRIP. YOU’LL WANT:

  • Sleeping bag – a summer-weight bag is fine - the dorms are typically 50degF or warmer. No need to worry about mattresses or pillows, both are provided.  I like to bring my own pillow case.
  • Clothing – be realistic, you don’t need a new outfit every day. An extra piece of each should be plenty for the weekend, even for kids – sink laundry is always an option for those prone to getting muddy.  You will be outside in the winter, so we recommend avoiding cotton clothes.  Fleece, wool, polyester or nylon clothing is best.  Meany has a drying area that will warm and dry even rain-soaked ski pants within a few hours.
  • Footwear - Boots that will keep your feet warm in the snow are highly recommended.  Many people do fine with just their ski boots, but some prefer a separate pair of snow boots for walking around.   All boots stay on the basement floor, so many people bring slippers or "crocs" to wear in the living areas.  Meany has "spa" style slippers for loan. 
  • Flashlights or headlamps - Lights go out in the dorms early for people that want to sleep.  Having a flashlight or headlamp will help you get to and from your bunk without tripping.  Even better if the light is red.  Reading in bed is discouraged as it wakes others and there are lots of great chairs to cozy up and read in on the main floor.
  • Toiletries – go minimal. Toothbrushes for all are good. Still running out of space? Share a single quick dry towel with your significant other, leaving both the hair dryer & monogramed Egyptian cotton bath towels home.
  • Food & Drinks – Meals & Snacks are provided, but you’re on your own for that special beverage. Parents – we encourage you to take the opportunity to teach kids to be flexible with food. We’ve never had a kid starve yet, and we are multiple generations in.
  • Books & Toys – Skis & sleds make a lot of sense, as do board/party games and that favorite book.  Meany recommends bringing helmets for all skiers, and anyone sledding is required to bring and wear a helmet.  Meany has small library and collection of games, cards, etc. available.

WHAT NOT TO BRING:

  • Movies, electronic games, tablets, laptops or portable video players – Most look to Meany as a way to escape technology. You, or your kid, watching that favorite show can be very intrusive, and we ask that you leave even educational electronics at home.  If you must bring them, please use headphones.
  • Internet-dependent devices - We have no Internet connection or WiFi at Meany.  Even the cellphone service is very spotty.  Meany is a chance to unplug and socialize with others.

What to pack your stuff in:

In general, the amount of gear you have should easily fit into a reasonably sized backpack, with a simple duffel bag for loose odds & ends.

Your bags will be transported to the Lodge on the top of the TomCat or in a sled pulled behind a snowmobile, so they will be exposed to the elements.  (It may be raining - trust me, the skiing is often excellent even when it's raining.)  I personally favor packing into dry-bags that have backpack straps.  However, there's no need to go buy new gear if you don't already have them.  It works just as well to place your dry clothes and sleeping bag into a garbage bag and then put the garbage bag into your pack or duffle.  Trash compactor bags or contractor/yard waste bags are thicker than normal trash bags and work great.  Put the trash bag inside your pack, NOT the other way round – this way straps remain usable (in case of walking) and your gear identifiable.

WHY DOES YOUR PACKING MATTER?  

We try our best to keep TomCat running (our snow cat), but there are the occasional breakdowns én route. We have back-up snowmobiles with sleds, but these are prioritized for the youngest children, their parents, and those with trouble walking.  So should you have to walk, the last thing you want to be carrying for three miles backcountry on snow are suitcases, paper/plastic bags or crates.

TomCat loaded with bags on the roof.The TomCat loaded up with people inside and gear on the roof.  Note the mix of items that would be easy to carry, and those that would be hard to carry.

Main floor of Meany Lodge showing comfortable chairs with adults and kids enjoying themselves.The main floor of Meany Lodge with comfortable reading chairs  and places to relax or talk with friends.

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John Liu
John Liu says:
Fri, Dec 7, 2018 10:33 AM

Are there ski rentals? I have a friend that would like to ski but does not own his own skis. Also, Can we bring inner tube for tubing?