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Topic: Backpacking 101, Basic info on getting your gear together< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 31
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2010, 5:25 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Keep weight down.    Most beginners underestimate the cumulative effect of taking things along that they "might need".    

Big three items that add weight:

Tent/Shelter
Sleeping System
Backpack

Once you buy them.... you are committed.   It is worth making a serious attempt to keep weight down.   You don't need the newest wiz-bang gear but don't cheap-out on these major items when it buys you something.

For solo camping I wouldn't even look at a tent >3.5 lbs (3-season under tree line camping).   Buy something simple like a hoop tent and they provide all the shelter you need, weight very little and withstand wind better than a larger tent.    You can buy one for solo work for <$100.

A down bag is more expensive than a synthetic one at the cash register but it will gain you about a pound difference in pack weight.   Oh.... and you will be replacing the synthetic one every three years as it looses loft.    A down bag is far cheaper when you consider it's usable lifetime and it isn't that hard to keep them dry enough to function.   I hike and camp in a rain forest and still use down.

Backpack.... weight matters here too.    I like one compartment that I shove everything into.   Compartments are mainly wasted space and added weight.   I don't even use the top on a pack.   Just cinch it up at the top and go.    I shove everything into one large space.   You can use stuff-sacks to separate things but I tend to go without them when possible.   I only carry one for the down sleeping bag, and clothing.    The tent goes in the bottom and if the fly is wet I strap it on the outside to dry in the morning.     Food goes in a bear canister (only because where I hike we are required to use one).    Carry some extra zip lock bags for garbage, toilet paper, lighters, suntan lotion, bug juice etc....     Carry one fairly thick full-size garbage bag for emergency (vapor barrier) or protecting the sleeping bag from other moisture in the pack.     I never use a pack cover.    I never use a ground cover for the tent.    

Emergency items.... I may catch some heat on this one but the best things you can carry are the right clothing, extra food, duct tape, and maybe a whistle or flare (although I don't carry them).    Most people die in the backcountry from ignorance and exposure.    Most people make a series of mistakes to get themselves in trouble.   Keep your head about you and don't hike yourself to exhaustion.    Exhaustion = hypothermia if you have the right conditions.   You will also make poor choices when you are exhausted.   Don't overestimate your abilities, be aware of seasons where weather can change suddenly (you cannot hike far in 3 feet of new snow) and keep family and friends aware of your schedule.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 15 2011, 1:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One other thing is don't just take one person's advice on gear, no matter how much of an expert they are. Go online and read all the reviews of a particular product. Maybe in similar conditions as you'll be backpacking this product just doesn't hold up. Maybe most of the time it works great, but there's a batch of defectives out there you need to watch out for. I bought a NeoAir and most of the reviews were great, with a few people saying it deflated a bit during the night. (Which is usually just changes in the air temp.) But then after I received it I started reading many, many reviews about punctures, actual air leaks, baffles blowing out, etc. It seemed so hit or miss, so I returned it without ever using it and went for something cheaper, but much more reliable. It just doesnt make sense to save a few ounces at the risk of sleeping on the cold hard ground. Just read and research as much as possible before buying expensive gear.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 23 2011, 1:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Interesting PDF on sleeping bag ratings

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 Post Number: 34
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 23 2011, 2:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(eggs @ Feb. 23 2011, 10:44 am)
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Thanks, that is a great pile of info and particularly bears-out the goodness and importance of the EN-rating. Wiggy's head just exploded.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2011, 2:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Jul. 30 2010, 1:18 am)
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Personally, I think that color IS important. I buy my gear with colors specifically designed to stand out in snow, on the forest floor, and as a backup emergency signaling device.

Not that that is wrong buy any means. But I do the exact opposite and try to blend in. You go to much tougher places than I do though.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2011, 9:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(eyebp @ Feb. 26 2011, 2:23 am)
QUOTE

(Tigger @ Jul. 30 2010, 1:18 am)
QUOTE
Personally, I think that color IS important. I buy my gear with colors specifically designed to stand out in snow, on the forest floor, and as a backup emergency signaling device.

Not that that is wrong buy any means. But I do the exact opposite and try to blend in. You go to much tougher places than I do though.

Did I really say Buy any means?????

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2011, 10:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

 

Obviously the Goal is to keep your weight down, however you dont want to skimp based upon the climate you'll be hiking in.  So a heavy sleeping bag maybe required to cope with the cold climate, which adds weight but this is unavoidable.   Also you shouldn't forget a compass and a map.  I once went hiking in Scotland and got caught up in a blizzard on Ben Nevis, could not see 10 feet in front of me also could not see my footprints.  The compass  and map really helped me to get back on track.  I guess this is where modern tech is at it's best.  I know a chap who uploads the ordinance  survey maps on his smartphone that is GPS enabled whenever he goes hiking.  He testified that this device has got him out of a few hairy situations.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 15 2011, 1:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just get out and do it.  You'll figure it out along the way.  Don't try anything too hard or complicated your first few trips.  Ease into it, just like anything else.  You wouldn't teach someone baseball by having them hit balls against a major league pitcher, nor would you try to through-hike the AT on your first trip.  Go slow, go small, but most importantly, just go.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 04 2011, 5:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Onoku @ Sep. 29 2010, 11:59 pm)
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Best advice I have is to keep it simple and prepare for the worst. Fancy gadgets are more expensive and less effective than their primitive counterparts 99% of the time. Instead of the $80 super wind resistant, jet engine lighter, get a swedish firesteel. Learn how to use a map and compass in case your fancy GPS fails. Buy a knife that can take a beating. Remember, humans have been living on this planet for thousands of years without all the high tech stuff we have today. Learn a little bit, and you'll be able to survive too (and carry around less necessary crap)

I like how you think. Tis my experience that a seasoned backpacker is known by the fitness and simplicity of their equipment. The young and the restless, my how they latch on to the latest kickshaw and doodad, thinking it will heighten their outdoor experience. We take to the woods, in large part, and for a while, to live a simpler life. Dare to leave a few things at home, and learn some more bush craft instead. Life is complicated enough, we don't need to take it to the woods with us too.

Less is truly more. I wish I would have coined that. Aw well.

-GJ
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 07 2012, 8:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(StephanCal @ Jul. 30 2010, 9:47 am)
QUOTE

(Tigger @ Jul. 29 2010, 10:18 pm)
QUOTE
Personally, I think that color IS important. I buy my gear with colors specifically designed to stand out in snow, on the forest floor, and as a backup emergency signaling device.

I color coordinate my gear, too. Easier to find in a pack.

On that note, I try to buy the brightest colors for almost all my gear except for my shelter (dont want to ruin other peoples wilderness experience with a bright yellow blob!). Making yourself highly visible in the outdoors is NEVER a bad thing, unless you are breaking any laws of course. It obviously makes it easier for people to see you, whether they be in your hiking party, for roadside hiking, in hunting season, or in a potential rescue situation (whether you are the rescuer or rescuee? is that a word?), and it makes it easier for you to identify gear inside your pack.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2012, 8:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Most incidents are from a chain reaction of a series of events, all of which can cause a fun day in the woods into a survival situation.

One thing I never leave behind is a small CD for signalling aircraft. I have it in a small kit stuffed inside a Pelican 1010 case. It has fire, knife, chap stik, basic first aid items, duct tape, emergency blanket, tweezers and cotton balls.

Keep your list simple, but bring redundant fire and enough water to last more than the trip length. Most everything else can be crafted in the bush, found on trails as trash and "re-purposed". (A coffee can as cookpot etc.)

Keep everything in the same pocket, pouch, strap. Organization is key, especially in those emergency situations.  Even in a non-emergency situation, it pays to know what you have buried deep within the innards of your pack, mainly to avoid having to head back to the jeep over a mile away for no reason. Build a list, stick to it and update it when you add to your pack. Print it, stuff it in a pocket and keep it accessable when you get lost. It may come in handy. Being aware of your situation as well as what you have available is crucial.

And a white t-shirt is a must for when someone IS looking for you.

Just my .02

Shnick


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2012, 11:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Jul. 30 2010, 1:18 am)
QUOTE
Personally, I think that color IS important. I buy my gear with colors specifically designed to stand out in snow, on the forest floor, and as a backup emergency signaling device.

In any event, avoid buying gear that has a drab color or is camouflaged. A camo flashlight? Really? The one thing you want to be able to find in a low-light situation being designed to be difficult to find. There's a reason why expedition tents are made with garish colors -- so they can be seen, either by you, a ground search party, or the guys in the helicopter.

Or, your GPS goes wonky and despite the fact you're a hundred yards from your tent you can't find it because it's brown.

I know, I know, there's the school of thought about creating a more color neutral environment when enjoying the outdoors. But there's not much joy in laying there in your pine green tent in that perfect pine stand with a broken leg, and that frikkin' chopper has passed overhead five times.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2012, 9:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey everybody,

I'm new to the forum, and also to backpacking.  Based on info from various sources, I've put together a list of essential gear and clothing needed for a five day (max.) mountain hike in temperate North Carolina.  I just wanted to put it out there and I would appreciate it if I could get some feedback as to improvements I could make to the list, either additions or deletions.  Thanks for your input!

Backpack
Tent (2 person)
Sleeping Bag
cookwear (pot for boiling water)
food containers
water containers
fire starting equipment
knives
rope
cutlery
toiletries
trowel
map and compass
light source (headlamps)
sleeping pads
first aid kit
rain cover
Clothing
Synthetic pants, shirts, underwear, socks, shorts
hat
windbreaker
long johns

That's a preliminary checklist.  Please comment with revisions and any changes you guys deem appropriate.  Thanks for helping out a guy who wants to get out there!  Also, if you have any suggestions about gear that you recommend, or that you know is of good quality and of good price, please add that as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 15 2012, 1:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

bigsilk just posted a great gear list he acquired... for about $500 for the whole kaput, when he was just getting started.  I thought it was a great example for folks wanting to acquire gear at a minimal expense.  You don't have to spend thousands of dollars or carry complete crap just to get out and go camping.

Thread here:
http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....&st=0&&

- Mike


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(iansharadplorp @ May 07 2012, 9:58 pm)
QUOTE
Hey everybody,

I'm new to the forum, and also to backpacking.  Based on info from various sources, I've put together a list of essential gear and clothing needed for a five day (max.) mountain hike in temperate North Carolina.  I just wanted to put it out there and I would appreciate it if I could get some feedback as to improvements I could make to the list, either additions or deletions.  Thanks for your input!

Backpack
Tent (2 person)
Sleeping Bag
cookwear (pot for boiling water)
food containers
water containers
fire starting equipment
knives
rope
cutlery
toiletries
trowel
map and compass
light source (headlamps)
sleeping pads
first aid kit
rain cover
Clothing
Synthetic pants, shirts, underwear, socks, shorts
hat
windbreaker
long johns

That's a preliminary checklist.  Please comment with revisions and any changes you guys deem appropriate.  Thanks for helping out a guy who wants to get out there!  Also, if you have any suggestions about gear that you recommend, or that you know is of good quality and of good price, please add that as well.

Old post, overdue for a response. Good start list, a few additional thoughts:

- Stove and fuel. Sounds like you are planning on open-fire cooking, be sure to check regs in the area(s) you are going to find out if that is permitted. Even if so, a stove and fuel are a good idea (what if it rains?).

- Food, which I'm sure you've thought of, but I don't see it on your list so...

- Water filtration/purification. Water is heavy (about 2lb/liter), you don't want to be carrying days' worth on your back. Sawyer squeeze system works great and packs small. Before heading out on the trail, be sure to check on likely water sources -- not just on your map but ask local park rangers, post on forums like this, etc.

- Signaling, such as loud whistle, mirror (both actually). Also something in a bright color that will stand out against the environment you will be in -- could be part of your equip already or bring something like a bright bandana. Generally a good idea for you to search the internet for "10 essentials."

- Extra batteries for your light. In fact, a redundant light ain't a bad idea.

- Sun protection. May already be part of what you are thinking, but be sure to consider bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.

- Duct tape. Wind a few yards around something you will be carrying anyway (trekking pole works well), it always seems to come in handy.

- Other repair kits, patches, etc. What if a tent pole snaps? Sleeping pad leaks? It's easy to get carried away in this dept, but pack a few choice items to get you through the most likely scenarios.

- 3 layers. Think of clothing as a 3-layer system - base layer against your skin to wick moisture away and keep you dry, potentially also to add some warmth, an insulation layer like a fleece or down jacket, and then a shell against rain and wind. Not sure from your list if you are including this approach or not.

- Animal protection. How will you keep bears, racoons, mice, etc out of your food? Is this what you meant by "food containers", or were you just thinking of things like tupperware and ziploc bags? Learn how to properly hang a bag, or cave in and get a bear canister.

Hope that helps.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 11 2013, 9:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MississippiRob @ Jul. 31 2010, 7:12 am)
QUOTE
[/quote]
No it doesnt. Next year they come out with something that is so "new and improved" that it is really what you wanted in the first place, but it wasnt around when you bought.  It is an addiction that never, ever stops. Then you wind up with a bedroom in your house that has more sleeping bags, packs and tents than most of  your local independent gear shops carry.

They aught to have a patch for this, but until they do, we have to rely on sponsors we can call when we have the urge to buy more gear we don't need.  Also can we post "gear for sale", sell some of our obsolete (to us) stuff and recycle the funds?  So, where I live, I can't offer help with rides from the airport and gear to load, (although i have enough to outfit a crew of four)(who would fly into  South Bend to hike?) I can offer to listen to you when you are clutched by the need to buy some new gear!

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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2013, 10:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

ok I can't find it any where else so I thought that this is more of a 101 type of question.

What type of TP do you take with you and how much when you go hiking?
What type of underwear do you use and why?
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PostIcon Posted on: May 22 2013, 10:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just grab the stuff that's in the bathroom.  Volume depends on length of trip planned.

I avoid boxers after having had a bad experience.


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(no_granola @ May 22 2013, 7:40 pm)
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I avoid boxers after having had a bad experience.

So do you use tighty whities aka nut huggers or do you go more with the boxer briefs?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 02 2013, 8:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

16 squares per day, from the bathroom.  
Compression shorts, by UA right now.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 02 2013, 10:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am trying to prevent chaffing and that puts a downer on any type of hiking for sure.
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(GaryP4321 @ Jun. 02 2013, 10:17 pm)
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I am trying to prevent chaffing and that puts a downer on any type of hiking for sure.

If you're gonna let a little chafing keep you from backpacking...

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 07 2013, 12:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

As for TP. . . I take the "purse sized" packets of Kleenex.  It's thicker and tougher than actual TP, so less likely to tear.  Typically a half tissue .(they tear neatly in one direction) will do the job, but you always have the option of the full sheet.

I'm assuming you're a guy.  If female, hunt for discussions of "pee-rags" in the women's forum.


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