Suggestions for carrying ashes in a backpack

pixie1339

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I realize as I ask that this is an unusual question, but I need a little help. I recently lost my dad, and a year and a half later, my only brother. My dad was a backpacker and loved the Uintas. From time to time when we were kids, he would take us on backpacking trips with him. While I never went to Ryder Lake with my dad as a child, my brother did, and both of them felt that Ryder Lake was special to them. I hiked there myself a few years ago, and could understand why. My dad always said he wanted his ashes spread at Ryder Lake. My brother and I had planned to make the trip together. As it turns out, he will be joining me on this trip, just not the way I'd planned. In conversation after dad died, Jason said that he wanted half of his ashes spread at Ryder Lake and half at Bear Lake. So here I am, with two sets of ashes to pack in to Ryder Lake this weekend. Luckily my dear friend Natalie will be joining me, so I don't have to do this alone, but now that the trip is so close, I have a couple logistical issues I'm dealing with. My question is, how do I safely transport the ashes in a backpack without carrying a ton of extra weight? I need to find something to put them in that won't open or leak, but is lightweight. I'm open to suggestions, including those that are outside of the box, since it's a unique circumstance. I did try Google first, and there was a lot of info on air travel with ashes, but nothing on backpacking with ashes.
 

Nick

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Sorry about your loss, Lisa. I had a similar thought this past weekend in Glen Canyon when thinking about what to do with Nikita. I'm not sure what the volume is like, but maybe something like a large aluminum bottle or a nalgene or something along those lines? There are lots of big stainless insulated bottles out there like the RTIC 64 oz that have a wide nalgene style mouth. Not sure if you can get an uninsulated version to cut down on weight.
 

Outdoor_Fool

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I too am sorry to hear of your loss. I've been keeping my old dog's ashes for years (16 years now) and depositing a small amount of them when I am in a spot that we once roamed. I use a ziploc bag and a small nylon sack for hauling around. No leaks yet.

Now if they were my dad's ashes, of course I would carry them in something nicer (a Crown Royal bag, he drank Crown Royal) and haul them in something like an Otter box.
 

pixie1339

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Sorry about your loss, Lisa. I had a similar thought this past weekend in Glen Canyon when thinking about what to do with Nikita. I'm not sure what the volume is like, but maybe something like a large aluminum bottle or a nalgene or something along those lines? There are lots of big stainless insulated bottles out there like the RTIC 64 oz that have a wide nalgene style mouth. Not sure if you can get an uninsulated version to cut down on weight.

Thanks Nick. Sorry about Nikita, too. She was a great dog. A Nalgene type bottle is a pretty good idea. Another friend suggested that I go the Lebowski route and use a coffee container, but I don't think I trust the lid to stay on.
 

pixie1339

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I too am sorry to hear of your loss. I've been keeping my old dog's ashes for years (16 years now) and depositing a small amount of them when I am in a spot that we once roamed. I use a ziploc bag and a small nylon sack for hauling around. No leaks yet.

Now if they were my dad's ashes, of course I would carry them in something nicer (a Crown Royal bag, he drank Crown Royal) and haul them in something like an Otter box.

Thank you so much. I appreciate your insight as someone who's done this before. My dad was also a Crown Royal guy, so a Crown Royal Bag would be very fitting for him. :)
 

Rockskipper

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So sorry for your loss, that's a double whammy. My mom's ashes are spread beneath her favorite peak, Mt. Sneffels. I carried them in a double plastic bag to reduce the weight. I took my dad's ashes to the same spot a few years later. They were both easy-going kind people and I don't think the thought of their ashes trasnported in plastic would have bothered either of them one bit. It was the final destination that mattered.
 

regehr

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Nalgene seems a bit wasteful since you'll likely not want to use it for drinking out of afterwards. I bet double-bagging in the heavier ziplock freezer bags would be pretty safe if you can squeeze out any extra air. The Lebowski method definitely sounds like a bad idea.
 

Dayhiker4

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What I did was double bag it and then placed them in a roll top Dry Sack. A dry sack is pretty durable, at least the ones I have and weighed around an ounce empty.
 

pixie1339

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So sorry for your loss, that's a double whammy. My mom's ashes are spread beneath her favorite peak, Mt. Sneffels. I carried them in a double plastic bag to reduce the weight. I took my dad's ashes to the same spot a few years later. They were both easy-going kind people and I don't think the thought of their ashes trasnported in plastic would have bothered either of them one bit. It was the final destination that mattered.

Thank you, it has definitely been the hardest time in my life. Like your parents, I don't think my dad or my brother would be bothered by the method of transportation. As you say, it's the final destination that really matters. There probably isn't a more lightweight solution than that either. The ashes themselves are kind of heavy, so saving weight is important.
 

pixie1339

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Nalgene seems a bit wasteful since you'll likely not want to use it for drinking out of afterwards. I bet double-bagging in the heavier ziplock freezer bags would be pretty safe if you can squeeze out any extra air. The Lebowski method definitely sounds like a bad idea.

What I did was double bag it and then placed them in a roll top Dry Sack. A dry sack is pretty durable, at least the ones I have and weighed around an ounce empty.

Good point about the bottle. I'm starting to think double bagging them with freezer bags is the way to go. I also think the idea of putting them in a dry sack after double bagging them to add an extra layer of protection is a good one. Thank you both!
 

Dayhiker4

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If any thing double bag them or carry a good sealing plastic bag. I seem to remember a distinct smell from the bags their ashes were in when I went to dispose of the bags a day later. Our's, three adults had a crimped metal closure with a metal ID tag attached to seal the bag of ashes, this was in California and I was concerned that the tag would cut the bag of ashes which is why I doubled bagged. I also wasn't carrying them as far as you are.
My last two dogs I hiked them in 4 miles to spread them and I only placed their ashes in a nylon stuff sack to protect the bags.
 

pixie1339

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If any thing double bag them or carry a good sealing plastic bag. I seem to remember a distinct smell from the bags their ashes were in when I went to dispose of the bags a day later. Our's, three adults had a crimped metal closure with a metal ID tag attached to seal the bag of ashes, this was in California and I was concerned that the tag would cut the bag of ashes which is why I doubled bagged. I also wasn't carrying them as far as you are.
My last two dogs I hiked them in 4 miles to spread them and I only placed their ashes in a nylon stuff sack to protect the bags.

Thanks for the heads up about the smell. I have an ultralight dry bag that's big enough to hold both sets of ashes after they're double bagged. Hopefully that will help with the smell, too. I appreciate all of your input.
 
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Sorry for your loss, @pixie1339 . I am just seeing this thread now for the first time - hope I'm not too late. This is a beautiful thing you're doing for him/them.

Do you have access to a vacuum-sealer? We vacuum seal a lot of the food we take backpacking (pemmican, because of its smell & messiness, but also oatmeal, etc.) Seems like you could put the ashes in a ziploc bag, then place that inside a vacuum-sealed bag, which would make it doubly airtight (and compact too). Not to mention, lightweight.

I'll be Utah / Idaho / Wyoming next month to finally dispose of my younger brother's ashes. He passed last year, at this time. I'll be thinking of you too. Warmest sympathies for you on this last journey with them.
 

pixie1339

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Jan 21, 2012
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Sorry for your loss, @pixie1339 . I am just seeing this thread now for the first time - hope I'm not too late. This is a beautiful thing you're doing for him/them.

Do you have access to a vacuum-sealer? We vacuum seal a lot of the food we take backpacking (pemmican, because of its smell & messiness, but also oatmeal, etc.) Seems like you could put the ashes in a ziploc bag, then place that inside a vacuum-sealed bag, which would make it doubly airtight (and compact too). Not to mention, lightweight.

I'll be Utah / Idaho / Wyoming next month to finally dispose of my younger brother's ashes. He passed last year, at this time. I'll be thinking of you too. Warmest sympathies for you on this last journey with them.

Thank you for your comment. I made the trip over the weekend, and it went really well. The double freezer bag in a dry bag method worked perfectly. No leaks. It was very emotional trip for me obviously, but we found a beautiful spot for them, and it made me very happy knowing that they are there now, and that I was able to honor their wishes for them. My sympathies to you on the loss of your brother, as well. I wish you all the best on your trip to scatter his ashes next month.
 
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