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Topic: Backpack size. New to backpacking.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 6:21 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi everyone. Just looking for some advice. I've always loved camping and embarrassingly it's only been car camping till now. I'm looking to get into backpacking. I'm really scratching my head to what size pack I should get. I want to be able to do extended stay trips which are 80L+ from what Ive read, but also not too big for weekend trips. I also don't want to get a pack too big for what I need. Currently I'm looking at the Kelty falcon 66. 4000 cu in pack. And here's the gear I plan to carry. Any advice if its too small and should get a larger pack?

Eureka amari 3 tent
Usgi 4pc modular sleep system (will break it up depending on weather)
Sawyer squeeze water filter
Preon P2 flashlight
Princeton headlamp
USGI Poncho
Microfiber Towel
Texasport scouter
Gerber axe saw combo
Fire starter
Pack grill
Orikasa solo
Signal mirror
Solar shower
Trowel
Denatured alcohol
Cat food can stove
Trip wire (snares/cordage)
Trekking poles
Boots
6 Merino wool socks
6 underwear
2 Pants
2-3 Shirts
Hygiene bag
Leatherman
Cold steel recon scout blade
Daiwa mini fishing kit
3 Yoyo reels
Bank line
Pack stool
Medic bag M3 military style.

Now I won't be carrying all of these things. Most of the time. Eg only using parts of the sleep system. Also I will leave out the fishing gear if there is no fishing to be done. But I want to know if the Kelty pack would fit everything or should I start looking at a bigger pack?
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 6:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thoughts: that's way too much clothing, IMHO. My standard kit is 2-3 pair of underwear and 2-3 pair of sock. (3 if there is a high likelihood of soaking rain, 2 otherwise.) You're generally packing heavy in other ways, too: axe/saw, pack stool, etc.

If you're really intent on traveling that heavy, yeah, you probably will need an 80L pack. I'd consider paring it down.

Also, the size pack you need depends largely on the size of your gear. If your tent, sleeping bag, and pad pack small, then you can carry a smaller pack. If they are bulky, then you'll need a larger pack.

Try taking your major gear items with you to a shop and see how they fit in different packs. Even if you have to drive a long way to an REI or something, it's worth it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 7:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ Aug. 28 2013, 3:42 pm)
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Thoughts: that's way too much clothing, IMHO. My standard kit is 2-3 pair of underwear and 2-3 pair of sock. (3 if there is a high likelihood of soaking rain, 2 otherwise.) You're generally packing heavy in other ways, too: axe/saw, pack stool, etc.

If you're really intent on traveling that heavy, yeah, you probably will need an 80L pack. I'd consider paring it down.

Also, the size pack you need depends largely on the size of your gear. If your tent, sleeping bag, and pad pack small, then you can carry a smaller pack. If they are bulky, then you'll need a larger pack.

Try taking your major gear items with you to a shop and see how they fit in different packs. Even if you have to drive a long way to an REI or something, it's worth it.

+1

I don't even bring spare undies...I wash and rinse the one pair I wear.

I pretty much always bring three pair of socks - even for extended trips. I rinse and dry out the day pair inside my sleeping bag overnight.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 7:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks Ill definitely change my clothing options. Downsize my axe/saw to just a compact folding saw. I guess Ill have to start searching for a bigger bag.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 8:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I do trips with 40 or 50 liters depending on where, when and who I'm going with.

Gear first - pack last.

I have not ever - EVER - needed a saw or an axe.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 9:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Do you already have all of that gear?  The tent could be worse but you could save 2-3 lbs with something lighter.  Likewise with your sleeping system.  How about a down bag and self inflating sleeping pad?  These can weigh under 2lb combined.  If you really want to carry all that, HYOH, but you can skip a lot of it.
-trip wire
-stool
-solar shower
-saw
-pack grill
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 9:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Aug. 28 2013, 8:37 pm)
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I have not ever - EVER - needed a saw or an axe.

Yeah, but you're probably not a serial killer.   :laugh:
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 10:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(HikeClimbBike @ Aug. 28 2013, 9:02 pm)
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Do you already have all of that gear?  The tent could be worse but you could save 2-3 lbs with something lighter.  Likewise with your sleeping system.  How about a down bag and self inflating sleeping pad?  These can weigh under 2lb combined.  If you really want to carry all that, HYOH, but you can skip a lot of it.
-trip wire
-stool
-solar shower
-saw
-pack grill

Yeah Ive been very lucky at garage sales. Besides the big items I found most at garage sales and have spent less than 75 bucks on the majority of the gear. I wont always bring everything. For example for short trips I would leave the shower, most of the cordage, and parts of the sleep system. The patrol bag only weighs 2-3 lbs and my pad weights a pound. I bought this particular sleep system because I got an amazing deal at $60. The pack grill doesn't sound as bad as it seems. Its just a wire mesh with two stands that swing out and only weights a couple ounces. (on trips I would only carry the wire mesh grill or the alcohol can stove). Also a camp saw only weights about 3 oz. Im not an ultralightist. Im not too worried about a couple pounds.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 10:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
Im not an ultralightist. Im not too worried about a couple pounds.

You may change your mind a few miles onto the trail. I would definitely try packing around your neighborhood loaded up, with water, before you head out onto the trail.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 10:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

everything together weighs ~35 lbs (assuming an average weight 4lb bag, and including what I would be wearing wearing). So if I don't include the items that wouldn't be necessary depending on the trip I could get it down to 25.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 10:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(treelinebackpacker @ Aug. 28 2013, 10:21 pm)
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QUOTE
Im not an ultralightist. Im not too worried about a couple pounds.

You may change your mind a few miles onto the trail. I would definitely try packing around your neighborhood loaded up, with water, before you head out onto the trail.

Oh yes, definitely. I always build up endurance before I go on a trip. Usually its snowboarding, but same thing applies. Build endurance so you don't get wiped out after a couple of hours on the mountain.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 10:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Wswei001 @ Aug. 28 2013, 10:01 pm)
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Yeah Ive been very lucky at garage sales. Besides the big items I found most at garage sales and have spent less than 75 bucks on the majority of the gear.

You've purchased an entire kit for less than I spent on carbon fiber and aluminum tent stakes.  I'm afraid I won't be much help with your style of gear.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 7:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Wswei001 @ Aug. 28 2013, 10:25 pm)
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everything together weighs ~35 lbs (assuming an average weight 4lb bag, and including what I would be wearing wearing). So if I don't include the items that wouldn't be necessary depending on the trip I could get it down to 25.

If your 25lb estimate is correct and assuming it still includes your worn clothing, you're base weight is going to be around 22lb.

You'll have the additional weight of your consumables: water (2lb per quart), food (1-2lb per day if dehydrated/freeze-dried foods), plus cooking fuel and, unless it's what your "hygiene bag" is, toiletries, toilet paper, etc.

You'll also have miscellaneous add-ons, like car keys, phone, maps, camera, etc.  On a 3-4 day trip, don't be surprised if all this and your consumables add another 15lb to your pack weight.  So, now looking at a total pack weight around 37lb.

40lb packs aren't unusual when starting out.  Make sure you get a pack with a suspension that can handle that much.  I think you're going to want to find that you want to trim that down very soon.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 9:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Have you tested all the gear in the yard?

It's a really really good idea to test tents from yard sales. Thoroughly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 10:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah toiletries, toilet paper, toothbrush, etc is all in my hygiene bag. I can carry 40lbs no problem but I definitely want to shoot for a lower weight if I can. Im looking at the REI Mars 80, affordable and looks like a sturdy pack.

I have tested all my gear many times car camping already. The tent is one of the pieces of gear I bought new. The reason I like the eureka tent is because its under 5 lbs and it has a pretty small pack size. That's really hard to find for a 3 (aka 2) person tent. Mainly my tent and sleeping bag are from the store. Its mostly the little things that I got at garage sales. Like my headlamp. Retails for 60, got it for 8 at a garage sale, but it works great.

Again I really appreciate all the advice
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 10:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Most of the time if I am carrying a 40 lb pack its because a kid is coming with me, or its an extended trip (9 + days) without resupply.  Long trips main weight adder is food, with a kid its extra gear or larger gear, so I need the bigger tent, double food, usually their sleeping bag...  (you get the picture right?)

Otherwise a trail weight for me is usually around 25-30lbs depending upon how much water/food and fishing gear I am carrying.  I'm no ultra lighter either, and that weight includes luxury items.

Not saying you need to cut all the weight, but if you want your trip to be more enjoyable rather than a forced march, it helps.

On clothing, I wear one pair of pants, bring a spare (the wear pair is usually BDUs 65/35 poly/cotton blend the spare convertible nylons).
I wear one shirt, bring a spare, (both are usually "River" shirts nylon or poly sleeves roll up, vented, sun treated etc).
If expecting cold weather I bring a wool/poly blend base layer.
I do bring 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks on longer trips (week or more) as it means I can almost always have a clean pair on, and I don't spend much time doing laundry.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 10:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Personally, I'm impressed. That many luxuries and still under 40 lbs is great in my book. I remember loving luxuries...back when they weighed 120 lbs.



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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 11:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If I REALLY cut down I could get my gear to 15-18lbs. Thats leaving out my tent and a few other things. My sleep system comes with the bivy bag. That plus a tarp can really drop my weight. I will definitely cut down on clothing. 1-2 pants, 1-2 shirt, 2-3 socks, 2-3 underwear (heavy and light of each). Id feel unprepared bringing just one pair of anything. I like a little redundancy for those "Oh s**t" situations.
Great picture btw tigger!

What really eats up most of my weight is my first aid kit. Its definitely heavy, about 5 lbs. I wouldn't feel comfortable without it. I've been in situations where its saved a life. All the other items are just a couple ounces each. They add up but don't really kill as far as weight is concerned.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 11:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

40lbs may be a conservative estimate.


(Wswei001 @ Aug. 28 2013, 5:21 pm)
QUOTE
But I want to know if the Kelty pack would fit everything or should I start looking at a bigger pack?

No. Not all that.
The main pieces of gear are something you can work on over time if you become involved in backpacking, but I realize you just bought it, and are not trying to replace everything with megabuck UL gear.
A lot of the stuff you're talking about carrying is a total waste, though, and simply not carrying it will cut a lot of weight and bulk from your load.

-I doubt most of these people know what a M3 medic bag is, but..scratch that! A 1qt freezer bag is more than enough for a much more comprehensive first aid kit than most people carry.
-Cold Steel Recon Scout, Gerber Axe/saw combo, Leatherman tool...that's over 4lbs in bladed tools that you'll probably have zero use for.
-Trip wire for snares?
This is the kind of stuff that people who post on the survival forums talk about-people who actually spend very little time in the woods. When they do go there, they typically set up camp, sit in one place, and practice "skills" for the wilderness survival fantasy where they are magically transported into some wild place with all their favorite tools. They seem less concerned with enjoying nature than seeing how much of it they can hack up and burn. Backpacking is more about paring down your gear to essentials that realistically address the conditions you will be in, because you are carrying this stuff over distance. The two activities bear little resemblance.
-Way too much clothing. Underwear and socks are worth carrying a spare or two of, but even most synthetics can be worn for a few days, then rinsed out to be worn some more. Shirts and pants, one each-worn. Clothing is heavy, and bulky.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 11:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Wswei001 @ Aug. 29 2013, 11:28 am)
QUOTE
What really eats up most of my weight is my first aid kit. Its definitely heavy, about 5 lbs. I wouldn't feel comfortable without it. I've been in situations where its saved a life. All the other items are just a couple ounces each. They add up but don't really kill as far as weight is concerned.

I'm curious about the situations when your 5lb first aid kit has saved lives (that was plural, right?)

FWIW, my FAK is in the 3-4oz realm (that's for two people for up to 10 days.)

While a "couple of ounces" are obviously not a big deal, you gather eight of those 2oz items and you have a whole pound.  It does, in fact, add up quickly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 11:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Owen571 @ Aug. 29 2013, 9:33 am)
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40lbs may be a conservative estimate.

That's what I was thinking too.  With a 5.6# tent, 1.7# poncho, 3-4# sleeping bag, 5# first aid kit, multiple hefty blades, a pack still yet to get, etc., it's not difficult when it's all finally put together to be pushing 50-60 lbs very quickly.  I think that 40 lb estimate is somewhat wishful thinking.  Have you actually put that entire list above on a scale yet, all at once?  You might be surprised.

If you're comfortable carrying it, Wswei, no sweat.  HYOH (Hike Your Own Hike) and all, but keep in mind that all those pounds add up quickly, and I think the mental calculations of all those "just a few ounces that don't really add much" items are likely to give you a pack far heavier than you thought it'd be.  Take it from folks who've been doing it a long time, that stuff all adds up quickly.

I don't mean to sound argumentative here, I really don't, and I hope you don't take it that way.  I just see you (as Owen pointed out) carrying an awful lot of unnecessary stuff.  To carry it all you'll need to get a very hefty pack, and if you get into this more and decide finally to pare that list down, you're likely to want a lighter pack (for your lighter load) sooner than later.  It's a fairly typical progression among folks getting started.

BUT, all that said, I think getting out there and trying it is far more useful than listening to folks online talk about it.  If you ever get a chance, maybe meet up with some other experienced backpackers and go out with them on a short trip.  You might be surprised how little you actually need for a standard weekend.

In the meantime, have a great trip!

- Mike


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 11:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah I know a some of the gear is more "bugout/survival" gear, eg trip wire, yoyo reels. Ill definitely cut those out. Especially the axe. Its not all things I picked up because I thought it was necessary to put in a pack, but because it was cheap and thought it was pretty cool. Appreciate the advice.
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(treelinebackpacker @ Aug. 28 2013, 8:21 pm)
QUOTE
QUOTE
Im not an ultralightist. Im not too worried about a couple pounds.

You may change your mind a few miles onto the trail. I would definitely try packing around your neighborhood loaded up, with water, before you head out onto the trail.

I'd suggest this.  Get your stuff (and your pack), load it up entirely, food & water and all, and walk around with it a bit sometime before your first trip.


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(TigerFan @ Aug. 29 2013, 11:51 am)
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I'm curious about the situations when your 5lb first aid kit has saved lives (that was plural, right?)

There were 2 major instances. First we were dirtbiking in the canyons. One of my friends took a pretty nasty tumble (went over a hole and the back tire hit the edge). My friend had a pretty big splinter of wood pierce his neck (thickness of my thumb 5-6 inches long, about 1-2 inches penetration).

Second instance. We were at a campground and some dolt was chopping wood (even though it said it wasn't allowed). First off the guy was wearing sandals. He was angling his cuts. He was supporting the log by putting one foot on it. The axe glanced off and went into his foot.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 12:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

yowza!  there's this one state park here in TN that -- i swear -- every time i stay at their backcountry site there's some jackass who spends all evening splitting wood... so much for peace and quiet. thankfully, no axed toes so far.

not sure what the 5 pounds worth of first aid consists of but i bet, if you go through it piece by piece, you could narrow that down significantly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 12:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Give yourself some credit. Your 5lb kit didn't save anyone-knowing what to do with what you had did.
I took Combat Lifesaver(20+ years ago), and know how much first aid gear it's possible to carry, and just how little good a lot of that stuff would do most people.
That 1qt freezer bag I mentioned...mine includes ACE bandages, athletic tape, gauze, etc, and can treat those injuries you described, along with stabilizing a broken or sprained limb. I'm not out there starting IVs on people, or treating bullet wounds.
Just for perspective, I've also got two ACE knee supports, an ankle support, a roll of gauze in addition to 2x2 and 3x3 pads, tube of anti-chafing gel, individual packs of antibiotic ointment, a couple of anti-diarrheals, spare tube of chapstick, a few bandaids, and half a dozen MicroPur water purifier tablets, and it's all ~9oz. Most backpackers would consider my kit overkill, but my knees and ankles are a longtime concern, so I consider the extras prudent.

btw, "practice hiking" with your gear is great advice. Testing your backpacking gear around home, or car camping and the like affords you the opportunity to find shortcomings in your gear that you may only discover through suffering if you just head out on the trail!
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(Wswei001 @ Aug. 29 2013, 12:08 pm)
QUOTE

(TigerFan @ Aug. 29 2013, 11:51 am)
QUOTE
I'm curious about the situations when your 5lb first aid kit has saved lives (that was plural, right?)

There were 2 major instances. First we were dirtbiking in the canyons. One of my friends took a pretty nasty tumble (went over a hole and the back tire hit the edge). My friend had a pretty big splinter of wood pierce his neck (thickness of my thumb 5-6 inches long, about 1-2 inches penetration).

Second instance. We were at a campground and some dolt was chopping wood (even though it said it wasn't allowed). First off the guy was wearing sandals. He was angling his cuts. He was supporting the log by putting one foot on it. The axe glanced off and went into his foot.

OK, but that doesn't explain how these lives were saved by the 5lb FAK.  Think back to what you actually used to help those people.

There's also a context issue here.  We're talking about backpacking -- that's hiking, not dirt-biking or being responsible for other campers with axes in campgrounds.

I carry a FAK so that I can stabilize someone until we get to help or help arrives.  The expectation (for me) isn't that I'd be doing any field surgery.  I broke my ankle in the Grand Canyon this past spring, and with my 4oz kit, I was able to tape the ankle, splint it (with duct tape and my camp shoes), and pop a few ibuprofin.


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Duct tape is like the Force.  It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 1:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Owen571 @ Aug. 29 2013, 12:32 pm)
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btw, "practice hiking" with your gear is great advice. Testing your backpacking gear around home, or car camping and the like affords you the opportunity to find shortcomings in your gear that you may only discover through suffering if you just head out on the trail!

This!

also remember, there's a HUGE difference between 10 miles on level pavement walking sidewalks, and 10 miles of switchback, ridge hopping, on a trail, and even more of a difference bushwhacking

Don't get any of us wrong either, some cordage is generally considered essential.  most of us opt for para-cord, masons line, or something similar

And if you dont agree with what we're saying, hey, we're not the guys going on YOUR trip now are we  :)

do your thing, we all just want to help, although we can come off pretty negative sometimes
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 1:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Aug. 29 2013, 10:56 am)
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Personally, I'm impressed. That many luxuries and still under 40 lbs is great in my book. I remember loving luxuries...back when they weighed 120 lbs.


At least you don't have to carry that Gust anymore.  :D

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"Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again...They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave."
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 29 2013, 2:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah I think I could definitely cut down on my FAK then. As far as context goes I think its necessary to be prepared whether you're hiking, backpacking, dirt biking, etc. Anything can happen. Oh no don't get me wrong. I wouldn't post here if I couldn't take constructive criticism. I welcome it, how else will I get better at anything I do if I don't listen to those who are more experienced then I am.
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