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#101686 - 09/04/08 07:24 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: phat]
bigfoot2 Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Eugene , Oregon
Phat,
That's only because you use the metric system up there <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

BF <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.

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#101687 - 09/05/08 06:57 AM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: phat]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:

Hey mine is lighter than yours :-P


But mine is smaller.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Enjoy your next trip...

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#101688 - 09/06/08 10:12 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: wandering_daisy]
longhair29 Offline
member

Registered: 06/11/03
Posts: 1328
Loc: Floridad
I've seen the UL thing practiced more on dayhikes verses Backpacking here in Washington state PNW. As in alot of Golite frameless Packs.

Which brings up an observation last month coming out of Necklace Valley we saw two older Lesbian Backpackers (hurray for them) who were wearing Golite's biggest internal frame (light weight) Packs and they were struggling with getting 'em on. Apparently the best I could figure was either A. they bought their Packs at REI and the sale rep didn't show them how to properly put their Pack on or B. they bought their Packs via mail order and well................... Their method was to sit down on the ground and slide into the shoulder harness and then precariously stand up while bent over, gosh it looked aweful.

I wanted to trot over and show them but I was busy getting my gear back inside my Pack.

Of course the proper way to put a fully loaded Backpack on is the put the Pack on your thigh when your knee is bent, put one arm through the shoulder harness, then other and so on. Your leg takes all the weight, but only temporarly. Friggin' REI employees.

Oh well, speaking of REI they are carrying more lighter weight Packs these days besides just their own and I've seen more and more people being fitted with Nimbus, Gregory and TNF Packs in the 3,800+ cube volume range.

I myself did that 4-day trip with a 3,750" Pack and believe I can now do maybe 6-days in my Zero Sarc changing out my Hubba for my Sil Tarp 2 + my single pole Bivy and/or maybe splurging for the 5' x 8' Sil Tarp with bivy for reduced Pack space = more food and fuel.

On that trip, my buddy and his GF both had 6-ft long Montbell inflatable pads WITH the inflatable pillows that clip on. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> I teased him to no end about his 2.3-oz. pillow. They were sleeping in his Thunderdome Montbell 4-Lb freestanding Tent. I wondered why his GF needed a six foot pad when she is only 5-ft, 3-inches? Humm........... Seems a 150 pad would have saved a little more weight. She also had a paper back book of the Lewis & Clark journey which was full size 10" x 14" x 3" thick holy cow! BUT here total Pack weight with food, fuel water and necessities was still only 34-Lbs so go figure that one.

They also had the 5-ft x 8-ft Sil Tarp (which I recommended they get for a cook shelter) and that thing was a chore to setup due to it's tiny size. For the three of us it was a squeeze sitting under it we deployed one stove each just under the side edges but otherwise almost in the rain while 80% of out bodies were under cover except for our rain panted legs. What made the day was my traditional Evazote pad 50" x 20" x 1/2" thick which I used exclusively as my sleep pad came in handy for the three of us to sit on insulated from the cold wet ground under the Tarp with no worries about punctures from all the rocks.

My Evazote Pad was quite nice and comfortable to lay on propped up against a log we dragged down from the slopes while we tended our satelite bon fire and ate dinner. Something I could never have entrusted to any inflatable pad. But in hindsight I wished for my MaxLite 3/4 inflatable Pad and a short 20" x 20" chunk of 3/8" Evazote sit-pad.

I embrace light weight clothing, WP/B shell gear and lighter weight stoves, Packs and shelters in my gear choices but still emphasize comfort in camp because I've never been a fast hiker and never will be a fast hiker period.

I can walk all day, just not fast. For me it's all about just being OUT in wilderness, enjoying the sights sounds and my thoughts and nature............................ not speeding through it to the next campsite.

Instead of criticizing other Backpackers on the trail for what they decide to carry and/or for not living up to your personal gear standards you need to just thank yourself for the simple reality they are outside in the wilderness Backpacking!

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#101689 - 09/07/08 06:43 AM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: longhair29]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:
BUT here total Pack weight with food, fuel water and necessities was still only 34-Lbs so go figure that one.


The 10lb book was food for her mind, maybe she didn't need much else. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
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#101690 - 09/08/08 02:23 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: chaz]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Quote:


But mine is smaller.... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />


I was going to say something, but this is a family site. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#101691 - 09/20/08 03:19 AM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: wandering_daisy]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
The original post was in the context of heavy packs on the backs of southbound JMT hikers. I thru-hiked the PCT this year, and got started into the Sierras on June 7th, averaged about 18 miles per day on full hiking days in that portion, 4 - 5 miles per day less than my average overall. Snow melted on the early side this year, as it did last year, but of course there was still a lot of snow on the passes in June, lots of big snow patches lower down, melting snow streams, mud, and of course the usual stream crossings.

I hiked mostly alone in the Sierras, and the few northbound hikers I encountered were other thru's or the occasional JMT'er that I'd pass, while most or all of the southbounders were doing just the JMT. The difference was striking. It just seemed (not just to me, but various other thru-hikers commented) that all the JMT hikers had huge packs, seemingly equipped as if for the Arctic or something, while most of us had mailed our ice axes home fairly early when we realized we wouldn't need 'em, along with other stuff. Everyone has a bear can on the JMT these days, which is somewhat of a leveler, and another levelling factor is that thru-hikers eat something like twice as much food and thus have more food weight per day. Offsetting that is more distance done per day, though that definitely goes down in the Sierras per above.

Sorry to be so long winded here; I guess my points are that:

(a) JMT'ers (at least in June) might be carrying heavier packs because the Sierras are considered by many to be a somewhat more severe, difficult environment, but that

(b) a person nevertheless doesn't necessarily have to have a super heavy pack. I felt safe and a lot more comfortable with less weight on my back, and sufficiently comfortable in camp; I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be loaded down with more gear.

Note that I'm not an ultra-lighter; my base weight was normally something like 17 - 18 pounds these last few months, 5 pounds or so heavier than that at the start of the Sierras, but I lightened back up when I mailed stuff home from two different places in that section. I'm not advocating an extreme ultra-light approach for everyone, everywhere, but my sense from the JMT portion in particular is that folks sometimes overcompensate for what sounds like a more scary and dangerous trip than it might in fact be.

And/or, of course, they carry more general crap that they just don't need ... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#101692 - 09/26/08 09:39 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: dkramalc]
HikerMatt Offline
member

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Michigan
I agree with most here...it comes down to personal preference. Myself, my pack itself is 5.5 pounds, which I know is on the heavier side, but with all of my gear (minus food and clothes) I have it at a maximum of 14 pounds, 17 if I carry a full Camelbak) With food and clothes I am still under 25. To me, when I go out, I am not looking to have luxury...a tarp over me while I sleep and some sort of food in my belly is all I ask, but to some, they want to carry everything but the kitchen sink, and that's fine. My philosophy on those types of people is that it's not me carrying it, so I don't care. *shrug*

As far as ultralight gear goes, I would love to own more, but my wife only allows me so much budget for gear so I work with what I can get my hands on. Such as adjusting my gear for the heaver pack that I carry...
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http://m-harrison.com

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#101693 - 09/27/08 03:08 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: BrianLe]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2752
Loc: California
I met several PCT hikers early this summer. Maybe I met you on the trail!

I think PCT hikers are a lot more experienced, thus are better at going light. Again, as you say, you HAVE TO be light to do the required mileage.

JMT hikers seem to be mostly the type who like their creature comforts, too. To each his own!

Did you complete the PCT? Congratulations!

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#101694 - 12/04/08 09:19 AM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: wandering_daisy]
hikerFedEx Offline


Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 19
Loc: United States
ya, that's certainly my experience in the Northeast. On the AT, the LT, the Whites, Adirondacks, Green Mtns of VT, all New England hiking. Very few overnite or multiday hikers are traveling lite or UL, never mind SUL. It's a long slow effort to convert friends, too. I try to plant seeds with nearly every hiker I chat with, without seemingly like a know it all or too pushy.

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#108342 - 12/26/08 09:06 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: hikerFedEx]
Ulhiker Offline
member

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 65
Loc: Arkansas
I've enjoyed reading the posts on this topic and agree with most here that it comes down to creature comforts and what we feel like we want to have as "luxuries". Myself, I tend to go UL, with a total pack weight of 11.25 lbs, including 3 days food, that I took on a recent 3-day hike in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas in October. To me, I had all the comforts that I wanted. I was warm at night, well-fed, and had a great time. I carried a poncho, which I slept under the first night, had a tarp that I used the second night, because of a chance of rain, and even carried a 11-oz filter. Please do not take any of this the wrong way, I just thought I'd share one of my recent experiences.
Oz
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#108458 - 12/29/08 04:31 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: Ulhiker]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I think the most overloaded party I've ever met was a little over two years ago in SW Washington's Indian Heaven Wilderness. Three men had enormous backpacks, must have been 50-60 lbs. Two women were carrying day packs, and there was one child. They also had three pack horses, well-loaded. One horse was probably carrying horse stuff (feed, hobbles, ropes, etc.), but the other two pack horses would have been carrying 150-175 lbs. apiece of human gear. Doing the math, they had at least 450 lbs. of gear for 6 people--for a 3-day weekend!

My pack for the 3-day Labor Day weekend was 19 lbs., and I was very comfortable.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#108466 - 12/29/08 08:14 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: OregonMouse]
Eric Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 294
Loc: The State of Jefferson
Mouse, I think that's result of the same consumerist mindset that convinces people that 2 people need a 5000 square foot house loaded to the rafters with stuff to be happy. One of the things I love about backpacking is that it gets you back to basics. After a week out in the woods I always get home and start thinking about all the things I have that I could live better without.

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#108614 - 01/01/09 08:07 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: Eric]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Eric
Mouse, I think that's result of the same consumerist mindset that convinces people that 2 people need a 5000 square foot house loaded to the rafters with stuff to be happy. One of the things I love about backpacking is that it gets you back to basics. After a week out in the woods I always get home and start thinking about all the things I have that I could live better without.


Nothing like being out for a week with 20 pounds of gear on your back to teach you it's about wanting what you've got as opposed to having what you want smile

Nothing beats turning on a tap after being out a while though. forget computers. for me plumbing is the ultimiate in civilizing technology smile
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#108638 - 01/02/09 12:34 AM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: phat]
Eric Offline
member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 294
Loc: The State of Jefferson
I'll second the plumbing thing.
My wife and I lived in a tent for 6 months while we were building our house. When it came time to put in the finish plumbing we had a choice to hook up the toilet or the kitchen sink first. We chose the sink.

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#108710 - 01/03/09 02:29 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: Eric]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Once you've had the lightweight gear epiphany, it can still be difficult sometimes finding a new optimal or near optimal in terms of clothing and gear weight and safety, especially for different places and different times of the year.

In terms of safety, too much gear weight can be just as dangerous as too little, though for most people on most trips there is a fairly wide margin between the two. Still it can be helpful when deciding on how much clothing and gear and food to bring along to consider going half way between how much you know is too little, and how much you know is too much. It's hard to know exactly how much is too little, for you on that trip, and how much is too much, but if you go half way between the the two, its usually a pretty good approximation of what is right. Aristotle offers us some other suggestions, such as leaning towards the lesser of two evils, and away from your natural tendency or that which tends to give you pleasure. In other words, if your tend to get a thrill from going light, you need to err more towards caution, and if you are a glutton for punishment, you need to lighten up a bit.

Here is Mr. Aristotle...

Book 2, Chapter 9
That moral virtue is a mean, then, and in what sense it is so, and that it is a mean between two vices, the one involving excess, the other deficiency, and that it is such because its character is to aim at what is intermediate in passions and in actions, has been sufficiently stated. Hence also it is no easy task to be good. For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle, e.g. to find the middle of a circle is not for every one but for him who knows; so, too, any one can get angry -- that is easy -- or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble.

Hence he who aims at the intermediate must first depart from what is the more contrary to it, as Calypso advises --

Hold the ship out beyond that surf and spray.

For of the extremes one is more erroneous, one less so; therefore, since to hit the mean is hard in the extreme, we must as a second best, as people say, take the least of the evils; and this will be done best in the way we describe. But we must consider the things towards which we ourselves also are easily carried away; for some of us tend to one thing, some to another; and this will be recognizable from the pleasure and the pain we feel. We must drag ourselves away to the contrary extreme; for we shall get into the intermediate state by drawing well away from error, as people do in straightening sticks that are bent.

Now in everything the pleasant or pleasure is most to be guarded against; for we do not judge it impartially. We ought, then, to feel towards pleasure as the elders of the people felt towards Helen, and in all circumstances repeat their saying; for if we dismiss pleasure thus we are less likely to go astray. It is by doing this, then, (to sum the matter up) that we shall best be able to hit the mean.

But this is no doubt difficult, and especially in individual cases; for or is not easy to determine both how and with whom and on what provocation and how long one should be angry; for we too sometimes praise those who fall short and call them good-tempered, but sometimes we praise those who get angry and call them manly. The man, however, who deviates little from goodness is not blamed, whether he do so in the direction of the more or of the less, but only the man who deviates more widely; for he does not fail to be noticed. But up to what point and to what extent a man must deviate before he becomes blameworthy it is not easy to determine by reasoning, any more than anything else that is perceived by the senses; such things depend on particular facts, and the decision rests with perception. So much, then, is plain, that the intermediate state is in all things to be praised, but that we must incline sometimes towards the excess, sometimes towards the deficiency; for so shall we most easily hit the mean and what is right.

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#108711 - 01/03/09 02:38 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
I would imagine some mountaineering or polar expeditions it might be very difficult to judge the optimal between too much gear and food and clothing, and too little, as the more extreme the expedition, the narrower the difference between the two. Also, the less fit you are, the narrower the difference. In theory, when too much gear is also too little, we need to stay home. wink

For most of us on most of our trips, the margin is very wide, so it is more a matter of finding a personal preference still within the bounds of safety. Even in such circumstances there are risks, as we often put ourselves in harms way by pushing one extreme, or some extreme, or another, either in the clothing, or gear, or perhaps the distance we travel or the decisions we make along the way. So it might still be useful from time to time, to consider in our judgement, something half way in between what we think is too much and too little, rather than push one extreme or the other.

Such decisions are often best decided over a cup of tea. smile


Edited by JAK (01/03/09 02:42 PM)

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#108724 - 01/03/09 06:59 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: JAK]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Jak, so much info I think my head will explode. O.K., Do I add more gear or throw everything away? Geez, I just wanna hike and camp. LoL
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#108847 - 01/06/09 10:05 AM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: chaz]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Originally Posted By chaz
Jak, so much info I think my head will explode. O.K., Do I add more gear or throw everything away? Geez, I just wanna hike and camp. LoL
lol Throw it all out and start over. Do it now.
Replace it only with stuff that Aristotle had in his day.


Edited by JAK (01/06/09 10:06 AM)

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#108848 - 01/06/09 10:06 AM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: JAK]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
p.s. I'm not sure what Aristotle used for hiking, but I'm sure he hiked regularly.
Anyone?


Edited by JAK (01/06/09 10:08 AM)

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#108859 - 01/06/09 04:00 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: JAK]
thecook Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
He used the ultimate multi-purpose piece of gear, of course. A toga! Just think, it can configured as a tarp, used to cover your head, filter water, sleep in, and most of all wear grin
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If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?

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#109219 - 01/12/09 03:46 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: wandering_daisy]
MattnID Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 317
Loc: Idaho
I'd say that is what I tend to see on the trail. People with heavier packs, even than myself. I still carry in between 28-35 lbs depending on trip length and climate, but I'm young and enjoy hauling around the extra weight. I always see people carrying tents that are bigger than they need and people with half the kitchen utensils and cookware stuffed in their packs.

I think it is simply because most folks doing one or two trips a year and don't bother milling over how to make their gear lighter or altering their packing list. I don't blame them. They're just trying to get away from the city and enjoy something a little less complicated and doing what they think the activity requires of them.

I'm sure they go pick up an issue or two or "Backpacker Magazine," read through it to see what's new and what kind of new fancy stuff is out there, look at what all the advertisements have folks carrying and then look at their own stuff and think that what they've got looks about right compared.

But, as far as I'm concerned, you can carry all you want into the middle of nowhere if you want as long as you're out there to enjoy the environment you're walking through in a respectful manner.
_________________________
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle

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#109264 - 01/13/09 12:02 PM Re: Recent observation of Light backpackers [Re: MattnID]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By MattnID
I'd say that is what I tend to see on the trail. People with heavier packs, even than myself. I still carry in between 28-35 lbs depending on trip length and climate, but I'm young and enjoy hauling around the extra weight. I always see people carrying tents that are bigger than they need and people with half the kitchen utensils and cookware stuffed in their packs.

I think it is simply because most folks doing one or two trips a year and don't bother milling over how to make their gear lighter or altering their packing list. I don't blame them. They're just trying to get away from the city and enjoy something a little less complicated and doing what they think the activity requires of them.

I'm sure they go pick up an issue or two or "Backpacker Magazine," read through it to see what's new and what kind of new fancy stuff is out there, look at what all the advertisements have folks carrying and then look at their own stuff and think that what they've got looks about right compared.

But, as far as I'm concerned, you can carry all you want into the middle of nowhere if you want as long as you're out there to enjoy the environment you're walking through in a respectful manner.
Your comments are all true and that's exactly what I did after not car camping. After ditching weight though, I'm happier and find I have everything I really need. Plus it's fun building gear.
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#109874 - 01/22/09 05:03 PM Re: observation of Light backpackers TOILET???? [Re: Eric]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
TOILET? What has this site come to, I leave here for one year and when I return you people are discussing carrying a toilet or a sink around? ... or do I need need the rest of this post before commenting? Brum
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#109877 - 01/22/09 05:09 PM Re: observation of Light backpackers TOILET???? [Re: Brumfield]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1664
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Hey Brum,
Good to see you back!
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Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#110321 - 01/29/09 09:32 AM Re: observation of Light backpackers TOILET???? [Re: Brumfield]
chaz Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
How was your trip in Mexico? Yes, I guess talking about toilets in the woods has degraded. I once asked the question about bathing and that went to another level. Down.
When your alone it's not a problem. When your with other people you don't know well or with women. Sometimes you need or they need a little privacy. Maybe in the form of some kinda cover. I was thinking of using my hammock fly to construct some temporary screen. As far as a toilet. Leave the TP and trowel at camp so you know it's occupied when the necessary supplies are gone. I guess when your alone in the middle of mexico wilderness. None of that is an issue.
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