I’ve been hiking and canoeing with my wife for 18 years now ( since we were married ). Our longest backpacking trips to date have been only six days, but we have evolved a system that works for us.
Note that none of the following gear is ultralight by any means, but it is what we had and used at the time.
I used an old Karrimor jaguar 75 liter internal frame pack, and my wife mostly used an REI Morningstar internal frame pack.
I’d carry our shelter which consisted of a heavy but roomy and bomb-proof Eureka Timberline 2 tent, an MSR Wisperlight stove with fuel bottle, our cooking gear and all our food, ( up to 15 pounds or so for a six day trip), my own clothing ‘n stuff, a sidearm, and water.
My wife would carry all our sleeping gear which consisted of; two thermarest sleeping pads, the joiner sheet, and a single synthetic sleeping bag for the top cover ( this was the old Therma-Nest sleep system ), two small pillows, ( laugh if you want! It’s comfortable ) and her own clothing ‘n stuff, plus a few snacks and water.
We’d mostly carry two one-quart water bottles in the side pockets of our packs, but sometimes we’d carry just one of the one-quart bottles each, and each carry a G.I. two quart canteen ( minus the cover and sling, of course ) in the top of our packs so we could load up on water for the dry spells.
With regards to most other gear we were are usually minimalist about it, and don’t bother with to much extras.
So anyway, I intentionally kept my wife’s load bulky ( so it would fill her pack ) yet lightweight ( so it wouldn’t burden her to much ).
Her load stayed constant through a trip, mine would start out heavy but by the end wouldn’t be to bad at all.
And we had a good system worked out. We’d select a campsite together and set up the tent. She would go inside and set up our bed as I cooked dinner.
The Timberline is easily big enough that I could sit in the doorway and cook during nasty weather and my wife could sit up inside, put out bed together, change out of wet clothing or what-not. This was important to us because we often camped in nasty wet / cold weather.
In the morning I’d cook breakfast as she broke down the bed, and the tent was so easy to throw up that we often did so during the day if we felt like a nap. That way we had no worries about bugs or possible rain.
But these days, we’re in transition because as I age ( I turned 50 this year ) I just don’t want that heavy 35 pound pack anymore!
Before I married my wife I was a confirmed tarp-ster, and never bothered with a tent. I didn’t own much fancy gear, but that was OK because I never carried much of it. But traveling with the wife seems to demand a certain level of comfort.
We’ve started trying the UL thing this summer, got new Go Lite Jam backpacks and everything, but so far my wife isn’t impressed with the UL tarp we’ve used.
And I find I agree, if we can’t comfortably sit inside the shelter and cook in miserable weather, and have room to move at least a bit and not hit condensation-soaked walls or be constantly tormented by mosquitoes, we’re not going to be happy. So my gear list is in transition as I seek the comfort of our Old Ways with something of the lightness of the New Ways.
We have next summer to iron out the details, because we’re planning on a thru-hike of the AT in 2014!
So I look forward to working up a new “couples gear list” myself, and am interested as well in seeing how other couples manage things as well.