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#115398 - 05/03/09 03:52 PM Is this newbie ready?
Chattaben Offline
member

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 15
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
OK, so I've been reading ALOT of information on getting started into this new hobby (Books, websites, forums, etc) I have also been buying, borrowing, and inheriting gear in preparation for my first multi-day trip. I would like a little input as to what else you all might suggest in regards to my gear list and whatever else. Granted, I am trying to do this as cheap as possible at first and work my way toward lightweight

Pack: I bought a REI Flash 65 UL pack...it was the last thing I purchased like most ppl suggested and it was on sale and pretty inexpensive. (I went to an outfitter first had my torso measured/fitted etc.)

Bag : Lafuma Extreme 800 +40 degree bag...only 1.75 lbs and right at the temperature I need for summer in the South (which is better than the 4.5 lb Slumberjack +5 degree hand me down I had)

Stove: a hand me down Coleman Peak 1 mixed butane backpacking stove...it works so I can't complain.

Cookware: I have no clue

Shelter: A Kelty Clark tent that was never used, still in the box for only $10 at a yard sale. It weights a tad over 3 lbs. I took it out, set it up, sealed the seams, and hosed it down in the front yard. It stayed dry inside. Do I need to get/make a footprint?

I don't know what to do about water treatment...I don't want to have to boil everything but I also don't wanna spend another $75-100 on a filter, yet.

I need to get some synthetic clothes, namely pants and a shirt. As far as hiking in the summer in the TN (Cherokee NF and the GSMNP), how should I layer. Do I need long underwear? I already have rain gear and a fleece for the outer, just unsure about the base layers.

I have some boots that I broke in but I have an issue with them. When I was fitted for them, they were snug and felt great. Now they are broken in and I can feel my foot slide a bit in both. How can I remedy that other than buying a new expensive pair? Oh, I have one pair of Smartwool socks.

I have also been "training" by doing some day hikes as well as hiking a 2 mile trail almost daily behind my house. I've been on overnights but my first 3 day 2 night loop in the GSMNP is at the end of May. We are going to be doing about 6 miles per day. With the first day being 3000 ft going up in 4.5 miles and the rest of the trip is downhill. Is this too ambitious? Or am I being a fool by over-preparing/over-thinking this whole thing?

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!

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#115399 - 05/03/09 04:02 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Sounds to me like you are pretty well set. As far as cookware, an inexpensive cook kit will do. Mirro, GSI and others make small aluminum kits with a pot, lid that doubles as a skillet, and plates. Lexan utensils are stronger than cheap plastic, but either will work. A small folding knife, like a Swiss Army knife with a few tools on it will work. I'd also have an insulated cup, like one from REI, plus a water bottle of some type.

Look at the list of "ten essentials" which covers the basics such as a small first aid kit. Bring some Band-Aids and a couple of feet of tape in case your boots cause blisters.

You can use Pure Aqua or Aqua Mira tablets to purify water instead of a filter.

Not sure what to suggest about the boots. You may wind up taking them back if possible or wearing heavier socks.

Bearpaw lives in your area, I believe. He may have some ideas on clothes.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#115400 - 05/03/09 04:18 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 656
Loc: Upstate NY
If you are looking for cheap... head to your local thrift shop for clothing and cookware. You can often find great pans that can be used on the trail. For clothes, you might be able to find some wool or silk shirts on the cheap.
_________________________
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#115401 - 05/03/09 05:10 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
Folkalist Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 374
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
Chattaben, good job! It is so rewarding to all of us when a newbie reads and researches before asking their questions. Then they are asking the questions that they REALLY need answers for.

My sister lives in Tennesse. It is generally milder there than here in Virginia, but you can get your share of late season damp and cold, too. Go to Goodwill as suggested and get some synthetics and maybe a light wool sweater. You don't need a whole wardrobe. WD or Lori, I think, once mentioned that your entire complement of clothing both on you and in your pack should be no more than what you would wear all at one time in the worst conditions you anticipate. Not a bad rule of thumb to start with.

Don't know about the tent footprint. I'm a hammocker (long live Endor!). But it sounds like you got a great deal.

Also, as mentioned, try a second hand store for a cheap aluminum cook set.

My shoes are looser now than they were when I first got them, too. My problem really was just sliding into the toebox going downhill. I put gel insoles in them (slightly thicker than what they came with) and I changed from thinner synthetic blend socks to wool ones (I just use the REI brand). No problems now.

Have you considered Craig's List for any remaining gear you need? I just purchased something there for the first time ($300 Sony Digital Reader for $150, brand new) and had really good experience.

You'll tell when you're ready to launch on your next hike, won't you!
_________________________
Why am I online instead of hiking?

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#115402 - 05/03/09 05:39 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
gorge_medic Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 131
Loc: Kentucky
I wouldn't worry about a footprint in the immediate term. Footprints are mainly desgined to protect the tent floor from abrasion on rocky or otherwise abrasive surfaces, but that shouldn't be a big issue for a short trip. If the area is rocky, you might consider bringing along a small tarp to use as a groundcloth.

Depending on what kind of cooking you plan to do ("gourmet" vs. freezer bag or no-cooking), you might be able to get along with an aluminum or titanium cup and a spork instead of mess kit. Again, a thrift store would be a good place to scout out.

For layering, depending on when you're going I'd look at some sort of lightweight baselayer for campsite/sleeping. It's been fairly chilly here in the evenings of late (a few hours away from GSMNP, but relatively close!). Beyond that, I've been comfortable in short sleeves and long pants, although of course YMMV.

Have fun, and don't forget to post a trip report when you get back!


Edited by gorge_medic (05/03/09 05:40 PM)

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#115403 - 05/03/09 05:43 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Folkalist]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Plan for some "shakedown cruises" to learn to use your gear and learn some skills (like keeping dry in the rain) before heading out into the hills. The backyard (yours or a friend's) or a nearby campground would be good. Then try for short trips just a mile or two from the trailhead. It's a lot safer to learn skills when you can bail out when things go wrong!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#115412 - 05/03/09 07:10 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: TomD]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
The GSI Pinnacle Soloist, at about $40, is the slickest thing I've seen in a while. It has an anodized aluminum pot (about a quart capacity), a plastic bowl with measuring marks, a hard plastic lid that fits both (upside down on the bowl to make a sippy mug) and a spork (they call it a foon) that has a collapsible handle so it will store inside the kit. The bowl has a neoprene cozy to keep food/beverage warm. This all stores in a coated nylon stuff sack that doubles as a water bucket or sink. (I used mine to carry water from the creek back to a log, where I could sit comfortably to filter it.)

It makes simple cooking a snap: tote a stuff sack of water from the creek, boil a pot of water, add some to your freeze-dried food (or instant oatmeal, or ramen noodles, etc.) in the bowl; put the lid on the bowl to hold the heat in. While it rehydrates, put on another pot of water for your beverage, and drink it from the pot.

It weighs 10 ounces, but it doesn't sound like weight is a top priority for you (within reason.) Cheap, functional, and reasonably light - a real bargain at the price.

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#115424 - 05/03/09 09:29 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
ramkitten Offline
member

Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 19
Loc: Flagstaff, Arizona
I definitely don't think it's all that big of deal what brands and models of gear you use--that can always be updated later on, and, to a great extent, we can all make do with less than ideal gear and just learn as we go. But there are a few things I didn't see in your list:

Lighting--I think it's good to have two sources, one headlamp and either a second headlamp or a handheld flashlight as back-up (with extra batteries)

Navigation--map, compass and, as a backup, a GPS (but the map and the compass for sure ... and knowing how to use both)

Also, a lighter, matches, and I always carry firestarter candles, too. Oh, and a multi-tool of some sort or pocket knife.

And I do think it's a good idea to bring thermal underwear, no matter the area or the time of year.

_________________________
Deb's Search & Rescue Stories

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#115431 - 05/03/09 11:45 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
I would recommend a ground cloth. If it rains you have a better chance of staying dry from underneath.

$40 dollars is a lot of money to drop on a cook set for a sport your not sure you will enjoy. I would stick to a cheap cook set and upgrade if you decide to stick around.

I also bring thermal underwear no mater what. Especially when I'm up here in Maine it can be pretty warm in the day, but get chilly at night (summer). Or in your case, higher elevation.

I have been backpacking/camping/hiking for a while and still do not own a water filter. I always boil it if I take water from somewhere else than a tap. I would go that route if you don't want to drop 75 bucks on one just yet. Idk spending 75 dollars on a water filter seems a bit too much.

Can your boot stop swinging if you wear two pairs of socks? I hike in Teva sandals because they are extremely light weight, and can get wet and dry quickly. I just bring an extra pair of socks for when I bunker down at night.


Edited by GDeadphans (05/04/09 12:00 AM)
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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#115433 - 05/04/09 12:33 AM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I collect tents smile
I do not own even one "footprint" crazy
I would never ever use a ground cloth of nonporous "non- cloth" material. sleepThink about this - You put your tent on a ground cloth - it rains, all of the water is now on the ground cloth and under your tent - this is not a good thing.

As fas as "cook kits", all you need, depending of course, besides your stove, is a pan, cup and spoon. Aluminm is the most cost effective cheapest and as light as titanium. Any old aluminum pan to heat water and cook in will do. grin I generally only take 2 pans with 2 people. Sometimes I use a tiny (.6liter) Titanium pan as my pan/cup/bowl - it weighs 4.1 oz with the lid wink. And do yourself a favor and tke a lexan fork and spoon. Your knife is generally going to be used to spread butter or cut up dinner. A small pair of scissors, or a knife with a short folding blade and folding scissors will do.

Knowing Tenn, I'd suggest investing in light weight rain gear.
YMMV
Jim crazy
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#115446 - 05/04/09 08:07 AM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
kbennett Offline
member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 820
Loc: north carolina
Clothes: I would definitely bring some light synthetic long underwear -- top and bottom. Your sleeping bag is on the edge for May in the Smokies, and you'll likely need the long johns to sleep in. I would bring a pair of wool sleeping socks, too, and keep all my sleeping gear *dry*. (I keep my sleep clothes in a gallon ziploc bag inside my sleeping bag stuff sack, which is a roll-top dry-bag type silnylon bag. Double protection for the clothes.)

For hiking, a pair of Columbia nylon shorts with a mesh liner will be fine, especially if you already have rain pants that you can wear in camp over your long johns. You can get nice synthetic t-shirts at Target in the men's athletic department, both short and long sleeve, for pretty cheap. I'd buy a short sleeve to hike in and a long sleeve as my camp/sleeping/backup shirt. (If you want to hike in pants, you can get Columbia zip-off pants on sale in many sporting goods stores. You'll need synthetic underwear to go with them, or go commando. REI also has some nice zip-offs made of very light nylon.) You'll want a second pair of the Smartwool socks.

Boots: take them back to the outfitter and see if a pair of Superfeet insoles helps with the fit.

Cookware: the K-Mart Grease Pot is a good cheap option. Also, you can get some great cookware from www.antigravitygear.com. You'll need a Lexan spoon, and a small folding knife.

Shelter: the tent is great. You don't need a footprint.

Water Treatment: I use Aqua Mira. It's easy to use and pretty cheap (about $13 for a set.) Follow the directions on the bottle, and make sure you drink enough.

The Hike: Do NOT discount that 3000 foot climb on the first day. That is a significant climb for a first hike. I don't think it's too ambitious, though, unless you are driving all day and hope to knock out that climb after a 3pm start. Just take it very easy on the climb, take a 10-15 minute break every hour (or more as needed), and make sure you drink enough water. Dehydration will sap your energy before you can react.
_________________________
--Ken B

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#115455 - 05/04/09 09:18 AM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Sounds like you are well on your way to evolving to a gear list that works for you. smile

For discounted clothing, Sierra Trading Post. I recently bought $300 worth of clothing for $100. They have discontinued items and seconds, but all very servicable. My suggestion is to pick up a synthetic base layer from there or Walmart or a thrift store. You'll need at least one other pair of socks so you can switch off while the other one is drying, either after a wash or a creek crossing. You can use any synthetic athletic pants and shirt to hike in. I generally have a tee, a fleece, a windshirt and a poncho. All can be worn at once, or if it's just chilly the windshirt and the tee, or if it's drizzling rain and warm I throw on the poncho over everything. As long as it's not a wind driven storm this keeps me dry. The base layer is my pajamas. My pants are nylon zipoffs I got off the clearance rack at REI. Hiking in a rain shell meant I was soaking wet from my own sweat; the poncho is a better solution for me when I'm not in a wild storm. Anything more than a windless rain and I'm setting up camp to ride it out.

There's a simple aluminum pot at REI for thirteen bucks - a lid, a bail handle, and wide enough to be stable. An IMUSA grease pot from Walmart or the Kmart grease pot would be about five bucks.

If the insole in the boots looks flattened or worn, you could get a pair of Superfeet in the appropriate color to augment or replace them. They aren't cheap but they are more durable than the stock insoles. It seems boot makers expect you to replace the insoles.... Talk to someone at the store where you got the boots.

I hope the REI Flash works out for you. The straps and belt did not seem to me to have much padding. Keeping the load as light as possible will help.

You can get 2mm painters cloth and cut the plastic to fit the floor of the tent, then trim it just a bit smaller. If the edges do not extend beyond the tent it will not become a water trap like jimshaw thinks. Site selection is much, much more important in a tent than in a hammock, so look for flat spots that aren't going to collect water if a rainstorm blows in.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#115463 - 05/04/09 10:30 AM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: lori]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Like others have mentioned, take a trip to the local thrift store first. Look for clothing and cooking. You might find stuff for cooking, but mostly you will find clothes. After that, go to the other stores for the other stuff.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#115471 - 05/04/09 01:31 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: lori]
frenchie Offline
member

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 461
Loc: Lyon, France
A 3x5 lightweight plastic sheet can be used as a small footprint as lori said, or a dry place to sit on at lunch/rest time...
If you feel really good in those shoes, a thin extra insole could do the trick.
You can invest in a couple of waterproof stuffsacks (with roll-up closure), for you critical gear.

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#115487 - 05/04/09 04:57 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: frenchie]
Chattaben Offline
member

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 15
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
Wow, thanks for all the help. You all are very helpful.

Grease pot? hmmm Guess, I'll go to Walmart and look for it. I saw in in the camping section of Walmart that they had an aluminum mess kit for $5.88. It had a pot, a skillet, a plastic cup, and something else. Is that what you all are talking about?

Most of the suggestions for clothes in the other threads have focused on nylon or nylon blends. I saw some athletic shirts made of polyester at Walmart and Target. Is that a good backpacking fabric? My guess would be that it is too warm but idk.

All I have right now are the standard cotton long underwear. Guess I'll have to look for another pair. I did find some convertible nylon pants and Sportsman's Warehouse for $25, so I'm set there.

Again, thanks for the help. I hope it keeps coming.

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#115491 - 05/04/09 07:27 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 656
Loc: Upstate NY
The IMUSA Aluminum Grease Dispenser is what was referred to: http://www.imusausa.com/catalogo/aluminum_cookware.php

This is available at Walmart and likely Target as well. Nearby you might see the aluminum mugs, some use these instead of the grease pot. Either way, both are really only good for heating water for freezerbag or freeze-dried meals. Real cooking will still need a sauce pan of some sorts.

Do NOT get that Walmart mess kit from the camping section.
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#115527 - 05/05/09 01:44 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: DTape]
thecook Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
Definately don't take the cotton long underwear. You need either wool or synthetic. Target, Walmart and most sporting goods stores sell something that will work. Target's brand of sythetic clothing is Champion and is often labled DuoDry.

Look into new insoles for your boots like superfeet or possibly using an arch support like Tacco. I have wide toes, narrow heels and a low volume foot so adding an arch support helps my shoes to fit. You can also go to a good backpacking store with your boots and ask to be taught the different lacing methods to 'lock' your foot in place.

Hav Fun goodjob
_________________________
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?

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#116712 - 05/29/09 11:02 AM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
jehan Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 21
Loc: texas, usa
my (almost) favorite piece of cookware is the "sierra cup" here's one that's a decent price ($6, though s&h might double that- check out a local academy sports or something):

http://www.safetycentral.com/sierracup.html

my only complaint is that there's no lid, so you lose a lot of heat while boiling water, and you also can't make popcorn on the trail!

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#116721 - 05/29/09 12:29 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
Originally Posted By Chattaben
OK, so I've been reading ALOT of information on getting started into this new hobby (Books, websites, forums, etc)

Let me first applaud you in the you are probably the first newb I have seen that took the time to research things and post specific questions.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
Cookware: I have no clue

As others have suggested getting something at Wally World will work fine. You could also consider one of the inexpensive stainless steel pots at REI (like MSR makes). Note that they're gonna be heavier than aluminum though.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
Do I need to get/make a footprint?

I personally like using a ground cover primarily just to keep the dirt off my tent. 2 mil plastic (also called painters drop cloth) from your local Lowes or Home Depot cut slightly smaller than the floor of the tent works fine. Also, make sure not to set up your tent up on wash out areas (areas where water runs through in heavy rains) or areas where water pools when you are out. The wash out areas are usually easy to see as there will be debris sitting in a pattern that looks like it "washed up" there. Areas where water pools usually look like shallow dirty depressions.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
I don't know what to do about water treatment...?

As you mentioned a filter is pricey. Aqua Mira, Polar Pure or some other chemical treatment as mentioned by others works fine. Just make sure to follow the directions and note that some of the treatments like Aqua Mira take 4 hours to kill some of the nasties. So you'll need to plan your water consumption around that.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
I need to get some synthetic clothes, namely pants and a shirt. As far as hiking in the summer in the TN (Cherokee NF and the GSMNP), how should I layer. Do I need long underwear?

Yeah, layering is the best way to go, and using synthetic clothing is a must as it will dry out much faster than cotton. I would check the weather reports before you go on your hike and plan your clothing accordingly noting that the temps at the higher elevations are gonna be cooler than at the lower elevations (i.e. if you check the weather in Gatlinburg for example it's going to be cooler up at 5000').

Originally Posted By Chattaben
I have some boots that I broke in but I have an issue with them. When I was fitted for them, they were snug and felt great. Now they are broken in and I can feel my foot slide a bit in both. How can I remedy that other than buying a new expensive pair? Oh, I have one pair of Smartwool socks.

As mentioned by others an insole like Superfeet may help. Also, wearing liner socks under the Smartwools will add some thickness. One other thing to try is different lacing configurations where you try to get your boot snug.


Originally Posted By Chattaben
I have also been "training" by doing some day hikes as well as hiking a 2 mile trail almost daily behind my house. I've been on overnights but my first 3 day 2 night loop in the GSMNP is at the end of May. We are going to be doing about 6 miles per day. With the first day being 3000 ft going up in 4.5 miles and the rest of the trip is downhill. Is this too ambitious? Or am I being a fool by over-preparing/over-thinking this whole thing?

You sound to me like you are ready and are doing exactly what you need to do to be ready. Just note that a 3000' climb is gonna be tough, so make sure to take breaks as necessary on the way up.

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#116740 - 05/29/09 11:52 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
norcal_xb Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 8
Loc: Napa, Ca.
Great post with alot of great feedback. I'm not sure but hopefully you have put as much attention to your meals or menu for your upcoming trip. Your post reads like you are pretty level headed and a planner which is a great attribute. I always carry one more day of food than is needed for emergencies and I always bring what taste good to me. But to answer your question...... yeah, you sound ready. One last thing, have fun!

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#116776 - 05/31/09 06:14 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: norcal_xb]
Chattaben Offline
member

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 15
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
Ok, so first and foremost I would like to thank everyone that replied. All your advice made me the envy of the group when it came to hiking, eating, etc. I went on the trip this past weekend and I absolutely positively will be going back into the backcountry again! I have realized how much fun you can have by being exhausted and hungry. I made a few rookie mistakes but I lived and learned. Lessons learned:

1.) leave you backpack unzipped when you hang it on bear cables b/c the mice will eat a hole in your pack top get the food...now I have to patch it.

2.) Don't be so pre-occupied with scaring off a bear that comes into the campground that you don't get a good picture of it. I'm really kicking myself about this. It was so close and so big that I would loved to have gotten a picture.

3.) Pick your partners carefully

4.) Don't underestimate the temperature difference between 2500 ft and 5500 ft. I woke up at 4:30 am to 40 degree temps in my 40 degree bag...It was chilly but not unbearable.

5.) My left knee doesn't like going downhill.

6.) Goretex does not mean water proof.

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#116779 - 05/31/09 07:57 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
jehan Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 21
Loc: texas, usa
Originally Posted By Chattaben
Ok, so first and foremost I would like to thank everyone that replied. All your advice made me the envy of the group when it came to hiking, eating, etc. I went on the trip this past weekend and I absolutely positively will be going back into the backcountry again! I have realized how much fun you can have by being exhausted and hungry. I made a few rookie mistakes but I lived and learned. Lessons learned:

1.) leave you backpack unzipped when you hang it on bear cables b/c the mice will eat a hole in your pack top get the food...now I have to patch it.

2.) Don't be so pre-occupied with scaring off a bear that comes into the campground that you don't get a good picture of it. I'm really kicking myself about this. It was so close and so big that I would loved to have gotten a picture.

3.) Pick your partners carefully

4.) Don't underestimate the temperature difference between 2500 ft and 5500 ft. I woke up at 4:30 am to 40 degree temps in my 40 degree bag...It was chilly but not unbearable.

5.) My left knee doesn't like going downhill.

6.) Goretex does not mean water proof.


trekking poles should help with #5, and maybe a knee brace.
try an ursack for #1

glad you enjoyed yourself!

shamefully, i've never been backpacking, just car stuff. am training/conditioning for a trip in the winter (texas winter, that is). but i do enjoy car camping with a half-full pack for the time being!

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#116780 - 05/31/09 08:14 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Chattaben
Ok, so first and foremost I would like to thank everyone that replied. All your advice made me the envy of the group when it came to hiking, eating, etc. I went on the trip this past weekend and I absolutely positively will be going back into the backcountry again! I have realized how much fun you can have by being exhausted and hungry. I made a few rookie mistakes but I lived and learned.


Just think how much you'll enjoy it when you get to the point that you don't end up exhausted and hungry!

Glad you had a good trip. smile

Quote:

Lessons learned:

1.) leave you backpack unzipped when you hang it on bear cables b/c the mice will eat a hole in your pack top get the food...now I have to patch it.


Take a bear bag and hang the pack without the food in it.

Quote:
2.) Don't be so pre-occupied with scaring off a bear that comes into the campground that you don't get a good picture of it. I'm really kicking myself about this. It was so close and so big that I would loved to have gotten a picture.

3.) Pick your partners carefully


I'm sure there's a story behind the partner one. I have a few of those too.

Don't kick yourself too hard about the bear - seeing a bear up close makes for a lot of adrenalin, especially the first time. There will be other bears. smile

Quote:
4.) Don't underestimate the temperature difference between 2500 ft and 5500 ft. I woke up at 4:30 am to 40 degree temps in my 40 degree bag...It was chilly but not unbearable.


At least you took the bag. Someone who started a trip with my group at lower elevation decided it wouldn't be cold and left his bag in the car - he ended up in a mylar blanket in 30F temps.

Quote:
5.) My left knee doesn't like going downhill.


Using poles on the uphill and the downhill will do a lot to help a trick knee. My left knee has a similar issue.

Quote:
6.) Goretex does not mean water proof.


Did you perhaps sweat and get damp from inside? I have a waterproof rain shell and sweat too much to wear it while hiking.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#116790 - 06/01/09 12:46 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
ohiohiker Offline
member

Registered: 07/20/07
Posts: 127
Loc: Ohio
Glad to hear you had a fun trip.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
4.) Don't underestimate the temperature difference between 2500 ft and 5500 ft. I woke up at 4:30 am to 40 degree temps in my 40 degree bag...It was chilly but not unbearable.

What type of pad were you sleeping on? Don't hesitate to put on your long johns, wool socks, jacket, and hat as soon as you start getting cold. If I think I might need these, I sleep on top of them so that they're already warmed up when I need them. It's also great to have a warm jacket when venturing out of the sleeping bag first thing in the morning--takes some of the shock of the cold away. A bottle or two of hot water in the sleeping bag helps as a backup, but don't rely on this too much. Eating an energy/candy bar and a hot drink before bed helps.

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#116791 - 06/01/09 12:47 PM Re: Is this newbie ready? [Re: Chattaben]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
Originally Posted By Chattaben
I went on the trip this past weekend and I absolutely positively will be going back into the backcountry again!

Glad you had a good time.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
1.) leave you backpack unzipped when you hang it on bear cables b/c the mice will eat a hole in your pack top get the food...now I have to patch it.

I've heard people claim that mice can get to stuff on the bear cables, but I have yet to see it. I suspect some people's stuff is being breached in the shelter before they are hanging it on the cables. At any rate, get a nylon stuff sack or light weight dry bag. Then hang your food in that rather than your pack. Leaving the zippers open is a good idea if you are going to leave your pack out though.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
2.) Don't be so pre-occupied with scaring off a bear that comes into the campground that you don't get a good picture of it. I'm really kicking myself about this.

Man, I did the same thing. I could have gotten a picture of a mother bear and cub in the Sierras, but I was to slow on the draw. Some other dude on the trail scared them away before I got my camera out.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
5.) My left knee doesn't like going downhill.

Knee pain going down hill is pretty common...especially the older you get. Walking poles will help, and a knee brace may help if you have any of the conditions for which the braces are designed for.

Originally Posted By Chattaben
6.) Goretex does not mean water proof.

Well, usually Gore Tex is waterproof. The problem is sweating inside the garment. If you were sweating at all that is probably how you got wet. There's no easy solution for this one. In general I do the following:
-If it's warm I just get wet and dry out at camp
-If it's cool but not cold I wear a sil-nylon poncho
-I only use a jacket if it's cold (typically <50 degress)

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