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  1. #1
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Default Backpacking Gear and Techniques

    Backpacking (as in wilderness trekking away from civilization) is one of my main interests. I thought it would be fun to create a thread where general backpacking gear and techniques could be discussed. There are a few threads which do this already, but they're focused mostly on specific locations or trips.

    As a start, here's a good example of how to go backpacking and not come back alive. Can you identify some of the mistakes made?

    [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKwEQVc_Kb4"].[/YOUTUBE]

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    Typing while watching so maybe I'll have comments later.

    I wan't to get a hiking backpack. I know the whole, go to a store, try it on with some weight. I'm leaning to internal frame, with lots of straps for lashing but also side loading and sleeping bag compartment. Oh and lastly I'm kinda cheap and figure I can get more selection and better prices shopping online. How can I be pleased?

    Comments:
    Why risk the jump across the river? Why not build a bridge? You guys brought rope right? Why go in flooding season? I'm at 4:26... /facepalm.... you guys have rope! I saw that tarp. :O the axe wasn't yours? Looks like you had fun.

  3. #3
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mavericknm View Post
    Typing while watching so maybe I'll have comments later.

    I wan't to get a hiking backpack. I know the whole, go to a store, try it on with some weight. I'm leaning to internal frame, with lots of straps for lashing but also side loading and sleeping bag compartment. Oh and lastly I'm kinda cheap and figure I can get more selection and better prices shopping online. How can I be pleased?
    That sounds like it would be a heavy pack to carry quite a load of heavy gear. I'd consider undergoing this process before buying a new pack:

    making a list of all gear for a typical trip
    weighing it on a digital scale in ounces or grams (spreadsheet is ideal for recording/totaling)
    eliminate anything non-essential
    see if you can find lighter alternatives for each piece of gear

    Here is one person's approach, although keep in mind this is a company trying to sell gear:
    http://gossamergear.com/wp/support/videos

    Once you've lightened things to the point that your gear weighs around 15 pounds or less (not including food and water and fuel), consider packs with some type of internal frame support from these companies:
    Mountain Laurel Designs
    ULA
    Gossamer Gear


    Quote Originally Posted by mavericknm View Post
    Comments:
    Why risk the jump across the river? Why not build a bridge? You guys brought rope right? Why go in flooding season? I'm at 4:26... /facepalm.... you guys have rope! I saw that tarp. :O the axe wasn't yours? Looks like you had fun.
    Not my video, just thought it illustrated dangerous mistakes well. I doubt their tarp cordage could've supported a person. Typical load limit is around 150-200 lbs for tarp guylines. They "found" the axe at someone's unoccupied campsite.

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    Yeah I was looking for something pretty hefty. Maybe a 2 day trip out in woods/winter area. I generally favor really durable stuff. I'm really mean to my equipment.

    For the rope I think it would be possible to connect two people together making a loop between them. Additional loops for higher load limit as necessary to make sure people don't go floating away. However, I don't know the length. Otherwise, just having a rope act as a guy wire would help with balance.

  5. #5
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Ballpark how much do lightweight sleeping bags and (1-2 person) tents cost? I have a sleeping bag and a tent but they are bulky and I don't think I'd want to haul them around.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  6. #6
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mavericknm View Post
    Yeah I was looking for something pretty hefty. Maybe a 2 day trip out in woods/winter area. I generally favor really durable stuff. I'm really mean to my equipment.
    Then your equipment will be mean back to you.

    For me, I don't see a need for durable gear unless there is combat, climbing, or heavy loads, or heavy bushwhacking involved. It's also possible to lighten up some by just not taking some things, but that depends on the what you take already and the goals of the trip. The best thing to do is to go into a store with as wide of a selection as possible and try on all of the packs with a load, preferably all of your actual gear. If you try to narrow it down based on someone else's idea of comfort, you might not investigate some good options. If you can find them cheaper online, buy them there, but preferably from a place like REI or EMS with a liberal return policy who might accept returns on obviously used gear. This is probably the only way you can be sure of fit without wasting money. I'd be straightforward and make a point to the salesperson that you likely won't buy there so that they don't waste their time. I returned a pair of 1 year old snowshoes I had tested out in the backyard several times for a full refund.

    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Ballpark how much do lightweight sleeping bags and (1-2 person) tents cost? I have a sleeping bag and a tent but they are bulky and I don't think I'd want to haul them around.
    For bags, look for an "EN" rating. That's the only rating which has been empirically verified. Generally, due to metabolic rate differences, females need a bag rated 10-15 degrees F colder than men to be comfortable. A typical EN-rated 30F bag might only keep you comfortable down to 45F. To be comfortable down to freezing, you might need a 15F-rated bag. Here's an EN rating tag for a 25F bag which indicates the comfort limit is 36F for women:


    (Source: http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...ckpacking.html)

    Down will be lighter, more compressible, and more expensive, but needs to be kept dry at all costs. A 15F or 0F down bag is about $240-$350, while synthetics can be found for around $100 sometimes. A synthetic bag this warm will take up lots of pack space though. Consider the down "fill power" also, which is the quality of the down. A 600 fp 0F down bag will be heavier and bulkier than a 800 fp 0F down bag, but cheaper. For example, my winter bag is a 0F Marmot Never Summer which is 650 down. It weighs 4 lbs, and I paid around $250 for it on sale. You may not need a bag that warm if you don't mind wearing all of your clothing to bed, including a coat, hat, and gloves.

    Another option is to sew your own synthetic quilt. They're around 2 pounds and $100 for a kit. I did that and still use it sometimes. It's a little too drafty below 40F though.

    The cheapest and lightest shelter is a tarp, around $100 and 1 pound. If you need bug or wind protection of a real tent, those run around $150-$280. Look at the options at www.tarptent.com for some examples, although there are plenty of other great manufacturers too. Another option is a Big Agnes Fly Creek 1, 2, or 3 person tent. Not much headroom though. I have an 8x10 foot silnylon tarp, and a few Tarptents, some of them for use with the whole family.

  7. #7
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    That movie hurts my feelings.

    Fucking destroyers.

    Also, bright colors? Why are they hiking, not to see any wildlife obviously .:P

    I went hikng for a week with nothing but a tiny tent and some military food supplies together with my dad when I was 8ish. There's something awesome about sitting in a camoflaged tent on a mountain side at 5am in the morning, during a misty sunrise and having a group of ~200 red deer trekking slowly past/around you.

    I also found my smallest ever antler that week and I always carry it with me since, like a sort of luk charm. (It's a 3cm long antler with a diameter of 8 milimeter, the first antler of a roe deer. Very rare find in the wilds. )

    Anyhow, to me, rule number 1 is respect the nature or stay the hell away. :P
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    ^ I agree, and neat story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffywolf View Post
    Anyhow, to me, rule number 1 is respect the nature or stay the hell away. :P
    Good advice!

  9. #9
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    There's an informative video on this page on ultralight gear and how to pack it. Remember that this is a gear manufacturer though. You don't really need all of that fancy, expensive feather-weight gear to carry a much lighter pack. Just by taking only the essential gear, it's fairly easy to get your base pack weight (all gear and pack, but no food, water, or fuel) down to around 15 pounds.

    http://gossamergear.com/wp/support/videos

  10. #10
    You're fired. Lol. Antimony's Avatar
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    How to die: leave food out in Badger/Wolverine Country
    Excuse me, but does this smell like chloroform to you?

    Always reserve the right to become smarter at a future point in time, for only a fool limits themselves to all they knew in the past. -Alex

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