new to back packing from cen. IL

Posted by: 1baddad

new to back packing from cen. IL - 08/13/11 03:31 PM

Hi all, Had my first back packing adventure in the Smokies and part of the AT with my twin 14 yo boys and a group of scouts. It was great!! My boys and I are now planning a trip in Nov. to Shawnee National Forest in S. IL, River to River Trail and another trip in March to the same destination. I am working on lightening my load thanks to all the helpful tips in this forum.
Posted by: TomD

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 08/14/11 01:32 AM

Welcome. If you came to the site from a link directly to the forums, be sure to go to the home page-link on the left and check out the gear lists, links to sponsors selling lightweight gear, tips and other links.

Learn to use the Search function (instructions in the General Discussion forum at the top of the posts-written by me).

Be specific with questions-those will get you the best responses-and try to post in the right forum, not everyone looks at everything, just what interests them.
Posted by: topshot

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 08/15/11 10:26 PM

You may find this map helpful though I have not been to most of these places. I just started BPing a couple years ago when my son crossed over. I'm closing in on 10 lb base weight. They have a Scout section at, too.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 08/17/11 03:41 PM

Welcome! I'm a former Illinoisan myself wink

Be sure to look into backpacking the Ozarks too. You're probably around a 7 hour drive or less to SW MO / NW AR and we have some great spots here. The Ozarks Highland Trail, the Buffalo River Trail, and some really nice wilderness areas to explore. I know there are parts of the BRT that you and your boys would love, and you can rent canoes and do float trips there and camp along the shoreline anywhere you want, then pick up a trail and backpack too. Best times to hike here are mid-October thru the end of March.

Please post a trip report with pics when you get back from the Shawnee National Forest. I'd love to go there one of these days!
Posted by: dragonictigeron

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 11/07/11 05:31 AM

Greetings! I have not been very active on the site since during the summer but I am from So. Illinois myself and had planned on doing the river to river trail this past fall. Due to finances and time constraints I was not able to do so but did small sections of it. I am planning to hike the whole trail next year and then within a couple years I plan on doing the Appalachian Trail. If you are planning to hike any length of the River to River trail I would suggest buying these two books:

The Official River to River Trail Guide

This book covers pretty much everything about the trail

Pocket Guide

This is a small guide that has mileage, gps points, ect so you can use it on the trail easier than the main guide.

I am not real experienced in backpacking and prolly not the best person to go to for help but if there is anything I can help with let me know!
Posted by: Glenn

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 11/07/11 07:14 AM

Welcome aboard!

Don't ever feel the need to apologize for lack of experience. You accuulate experience every time you go out - and going out is sort of the whole point, anyhow.

I've been doing this for 35 years, recreationally, and I'm still not sure whether I've got 35 years of experience, or one year's experience 35 times. smile
Posted by: 1baddad

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 11/08/11 04:51 PM

I have the fourth edition of the R2R trail guide. The pocket sized version looks handy. Thanks for the link. We are leaving Friday morning for the 5 hour drive to Garden of the Gods where we will start from. Ending point will be Concord Cemetary. About 15 miles. We are really looking forward to getting out of dodge even though it is just for 2 nights. Weekend temps look to be in the 60s and 40s with no rain in the forecast. Couldn't be better as far as I am concerned.
Posted by: Gershon

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 11/08/11 10:17 PM

Deleted. Wrong Garden of the Gods.
Posted by: dragonictigeron

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 11/09/11 02:06 AM

Sounds like a great trip! I haven't been able to do any over nights other than camping out and then going on long day hikes the next day. I need to get a pack soon so I can do some overnights.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: new to back packing from cen. IL - 11/09/11 01:19 PM

Check the articles on the home page of this site for suggestions on selecting and fitting a backpack.