New Member

Posted by: NavemadaMan

New Member - 11/27/11 03:28 PM

Hi Everyone

I am new to this forum and backpacking as well. I've actually never even gone backpacking before but I will soon have soon enough. I am 17 years old (male) and as a graduation gift from high school, I asked my parents to be able to go backpacking by myself for at least a month in a state of my choice. I was allowed by my parents to go and my father will be financing the trip.

I have the rest of my senior year to get everything for the trip in order (while I continue on with collegiate matters as well). I have been doing a ton of research for the trip but there's no substitute for learning directly from communicating with others. So needless to say I've much to ask and learn.

I decided to go to Oregon for my backpacking trip. It looks beautiful there (I only have pictures to go off of) and its topography fits the general description of what I was looking to see, mountains and the ocean.

Anyway, thats it for my introduction and Ill be starting different threads for specific questions or topics that I have. But if you have any input on anything, Id love to hear.

Forgot to mention, I live in South Florida, Ft Lauderdale, anyone else live near my neck of the woods?
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 04:02 PM

Welcome. I am a lifetime Oregon resident and I commend you on your perceptive choice of my native state for your visit. Those pictures do not lie. We have some very beautiful places here. A month is, of course, not nearly long enough to see everything worth seeing.

I'm glad you are doing a ton of research. Pre-planning never hurts a backpack trip. It will reduce the chances of mishaps, wasted time and effort.

When I graduated high school in 1972 (at age 17) I did a 25 day wilderness hike with two friends, but I was familiar with Oregon, had hiked and camped here since age 6, and had a couple of years of backpacking experience under my belt by then.

Before launching into advice, I have a variety of questions about your upcoming trip.

How do you plan to get from one place to another? Will you have a vehicle at your disposal? This will make a huge difference in how you put together an itinerary. It is a big state.

You say you have never backpacked, but have you done much camping or hiking? Your experience level will affect much of the advice you get. Jumping from little or no hiking or camping experience to solo wilderness hiking in a wholly unfamiliar territory is a rather far leap. (I'm sure that is why you chose it: because it's a Very Big Adventure.)

Do feel free to ask many questions here. All of us here love to backpack and most of us have been doing it for many decades. We'll want to see you succeed, but we will want to steer you down an appropriate path to gain that success, if we can. The more we know about you, the easier that will be.

Edit: As a moderator, I am moving this to the Backcountry Beginners forum, as being the most appropriate spot.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 04:34 PM

Welcome to Oregon! And to the forum!

Since you have no experience, I have a couple of suggestions for starting out. First you might want to start by reading the articles on the home page of this site (left hand column). There are lots of articles on beginning backpacking and on gear selection. The gear lists were developed for summer hiking in the Cascade Range, which is exactly what you'll be doing.

Second, you should get your gear early enough so you have plenty of chance to practice with it in home. Practice camping in your back yard first. Out in the mountains late on a stormy evening is not the time/place to be setting up your tent for the first time or learning to use your stove. The same is true for keeping warm and dry in stormy weather--those skills are best learned where you can retreat indoors when things go wrong (which they often will--that's how we learn). I realize that practicing these skills--at least the keeping warm part--may be a bit difficult in Florida! However, the key to keeping warm is keeping dry, so work on the latter. Once you've had some backyard practice, a few weekend trips to the Appalachians will give you more practice and skills.

As for trip planning, in most years it is at least July before the trails in the Cascade Range melt out enough for extended backpacking. Last summer, it was mid-August before many of the higher trails were melted out, and some places didn't melt out until September. That was pretty unusual, but it can happen. You might want to pick August as your month. In a normal year, August will be pretty much snow-free and will also be less buggy.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 04:43 PM

So I guess Im not the only weirdo out there! Haha I told all of my friends what I wanted for my graduation gift and they all thought it was so weird (although they said it was something they could expect from me). They said theyd ask for a car or electronics like laptops, or cell phones.

Anyway, to answer your first question, I plan on walking as my primary mode of transportation. And Id like to stay for at least a month, so I might be staying longer. And I might be asking you more about Oregon for the research that Im compiling about it. I dont want to be unprepared and I feel like information is the best thing that Ill have in my arsenal against mishaps.

To answer your second question, I have camped a few times before, only in Florida though. I loved it so much, except for the spiders and ticks, which is going to be a totally new thread on the forum. And as far as hiking. Does hiking have to include mountains? Haha Just this summer I spent a week in Colorado with my father, younger brother, and girlfriend. Everyday Id wake up and hike up the mountains with my brother and girlfriend and explore for the entire day, only to return back to the hotel when it was getting late. I mean, I took a backpack on those hikes and carried water and snacks for myself and company, but I dont think thats really backpacking. Besides that, I live in South Florida so I can say Ive gone on many extended walks through natural areas, but there are no mountains, or hills, or any sort of ground elevations here so I cant really hike here. I think Im about six feet above sea level.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 04:57 PM

Yeahh keeping warm in Florida thats a really difficult task hahaha. Most people that come down here in the summer dont know how to keep cool, and then heat stroke runs rampant. But I agree, I definitely need to practice many skills before going. And thanks for help on guiding me on the forum.

And as for trip planning, I wont be able to go very late in the summer because Ill probably be off to college in the fall. So theres that for planning. So Ill have to go pretty much right after school ends, which is in June. Although, I can go a little later in July.
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 05:31 PM

I plan on walking as my primary mode of transportation. And Id like to stay for at least a month, so I might be staying longer.

The reason I asked about access to a vehicle while you are here is that, if you are dependent on public transportation and catching rides to get you to the trailheads, then your ability to move around within Oregon will be limited once you arrive here. For example, you mentioned an interest in both the ocean and the mountains. Public carriers, like Greyhound, are usually limited to getting you from one town to another, and few trails start right in or near towns with bus service.

On the other hand, if you have a vehicle, you'll be able to transport yourself to any part of the state, be able to access both trailheads and campgrounds with ease, could get supplies with no trouble, and could see a much wider variety of places. For example, you could spend a week at the coast, two weeks in the Cascades and another week in the extremely beautiful Wallowa Mountains in NE Oregon.

There is a Pacific Coast Trail, which is more of a route than a continuous trail. You must hike the beach portions with attention to high and low tides; it routes you inland in many places to cross rivers via highway bridges, because they are very big rivers and cannot safely be crossed in any other way. It shifts often between trails and road-walking. This route has the advantage of frequently accessing small towns where you can get supplies, but camping is limited and motels are frequently a better bet. The coastline in Oregon is, however, spectacular almost everywhere you can go.

The Cascade mountains are about 100 miles inland from the coast and there are no trails I am aware of to get you from one to the other.

A typical possibility for a month-long hike in the Cascades, without a vehicle, would be to take a bus from Portland down to Ashland, Oregon. There you could fairly easily hook up with the Pacific Crest Trail and walk the length of the state (about 430 trail miles!) back up to the Columbia River at Cascade Locks.

However, this would be an exceptionally challenging backpack for someone with your tiny amount of experience and I wouldn't recommend it without extensive preparations that you most likely do not have time for. Among other things, you might well run into plenty of snow in the mountains next July, covering the trails and making both hiking and navigation quite difficult. Not a novice-friendly hike!

Edit: I strongly agree with OregonMouse that August would be your best month to hike here, as the choicest parts of the state can be covered with snow until late July. Or later.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 08:18 PM

There's no way I could have a vehicle because I am too young for any rentals and I can't bring any with me since I am taking a plane to Oregon. Plus I don't want to use vehicles very much if I can help it. I just want to walk places. Although, I just might do what you said to do and take a bus or other public transportation to get me closer to a place of interest.

Here's a question, how long does the bus ride take? That seems like quite a ways, from Portland to Ashland.

And to make up for my lack of experience, I will just practice whatever I can in my area. Unfortunately, I do not have access to mountains or much undeveloped land. South Florida's flatness makes it easily accessible for developers. Beaches are constantly being destroyed by condominium development.
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 10:06 PM

There's no way I could have a vehicle because I am too young for any rentals...

Oh well. That complicates your logistics, but that's about all. And realistically, it puts certain parts of the state
out of your reach.

To put it in the simplest possible terms, there are only so many days you can be on the trail before you need to reload with food and fuel. There's only so much room in your pack, and only so much weight you can carry before the burden of it takes all the fun out of the hike. Too much weight causes stress injuries, too.

So, for each place you decide to go, you'll just have to figure out where you can buy supplies at intervals, whether it is on your way in, or an interruption in the middle of a long hike. Wilderness being what it is, it is generally not very near to roads, towns and supplies.

This is far from an insurmountable problem, but it is a real one and you'll need to have a strategy worked out for it - whether that consists of finding a trail-rich area not too far from a town and exploring it in a series of moderate-length hikes with resupply runs in between them, or taking a long hike, with predetermined spots where you can leave the trail and get to a town, then come back to the trail again. Or something else.

That second strategy (a long hike with some jaunts off the trail) works very well for places like the Appalachian Trail, but is a bit trickier in Oregon, where the population is thinner, the wilderness is wilder and is more remote from towns.

In deciding on your strategy, it will be important to understand how much you can carry and how far. It will be easy to miscalculate, because you haven't done it much, yet. So, even if you have no hills to test yourself on, try to borrow a pack and start carrying loads, so you get the feel of what it is like and get some kind of gauge on yourself. The difference between 20, 30 and 40 pounds is not a straight smooth line. At some point added pound of weight starts to affect you more drastically than earlier ones did. Where that point falls for any one is not predictable.

how long does the bus ride take? That seems like quite a ways, from Portland to Ashland

It's about 300 miles by freeway. But I do not advise your trying to solo hike the Oregon section of the PCT. You'd need to go into intensive training and planning and you are still in school and couldn't devote enough time to be prepared for that in the time you have. You might manage a shorter section - possibly. You haven't taken enough baby steps, yet, tbh.
Posted by: TomD

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 11:33 PM

Ok, I hate to rain on your parade, and at the risk of offending the Oregonians here, I have some reservations about this grand plan.

If this is really going to be your first real backpacking trip, going alone isn't the greatest idea. However, I've traveled alone and depending on where you are, it can be a lot of fun because you tend to meet people along the way you might not otherwise meet (and that includes, in your case, girls). On the other hand, you could disappear and no one would have a clue what happened to you-been there, done that-not the disappearing part, but the hiking alone where absolutely no one knew where I was part.

But, aside from that, let's assume you do some shorter trips in FL, learn to use your gear and are ready to go. If I was you, I would head to Yosemite and here's why:

1. You don't need a car-you can fly into San Francisco and take a bus to the park;

2. The scenery can't be beat and it is wildly varied;

3. The park offers every type of accommodation and has its own internal bus system;

4. You can hike into the backcountry on dozens of different trails and even hike part of the John Muir Trail if you like; there are guidebooks that you can use for trip planning-Rough Guides makes a really nice one;

5. The park has plenty of infrastructure, including gear and rental shops for bear canisters (a must in the high country), supermarkets, fast food places;

6. If you are alone, I would take along a SPOT (it's a gadget that you use to notify friends if you get hurt or lost) or a PLB (a different gadget that notifies SAR to come look for you); Yosemite has a very sophisticated SAR team that looks for people all the time.

Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 11:46 PM

I agree that without wheels, you will be severely limited as to where you can go. You'll either have to hitchhike (dangerous) or go with hiking clubs which carpool (most of their trips are dayhiking). One big complaint in Oregon is that even in the Portland area, hardly any trailheads are accessible via public transport. As Tom mentions, Yosemite would be far more accessible for you. The scenery there is awesome and, once you're away from the popular areas, it won't be overcrowded. You will need permits for overnight camping and you'll need to store your food in a bear canister. The Yosemite NP website (nps.gov) will give you lots of ideas.

While we have lots of awesome scenery in Oregon, there is more of it in Yosemite, IMHO. I don't feel slighted in the least!

You may have more altitude issues in the Sierra. Try to pick a first trip where you gain elevation gradually, and plan to take short days. After the first week, you shouldn't have any problems.

Again, June is really far too early down there, too. Try starting mid-July at the very earliest. Not only will June feature snow-covered trails (requiring knowledge of snow travel, such as using an ice axe for self arrest, and navigation skills), but it will also feature high water and hazardous stream fords.

I know it's not the West, but the southern end of the Appalachian Trail would certainly be better for early summer, would be closer to home (maybe your parents could do a drop-off/pick-up on a couple of weekends?) and would have more opportunity than Oregon for you without wheels.
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 11:46 PM

We Oregonians expect to get our parades rained on. It comes with the territory.

As a matter of fact, your suggestion sounds exceptionally reasonable to me, and I don't see how anyone could feel slighted if they were jilted in favor of Yosemite. That is a world class piece of landscape down there. An independent 17 year old could go crazy for a month, backpack or hike 10 miles every day, and not see all there is to see. It also neatly takes care of the transportation and resupply problems I cited.
goodjob
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 11/27/11 11:56 PM

Just out of curiosity, once you get out there with your backpack, what do you want to do?

Do you want to hike a lot of miles?

Do you want to hit several parks and spend a few days at each?

Do you want to get into the forest and find a cool spot and spend a week or more there and not hike a lot?

All of those can be a lot of fun.

But... You know, 28 days is a long time to be mostly all alone, especially for someone your age. And you are going to be a long way from home, with no wheels.

I have to tell you, I like your style. Cars and gadgets will be worn out and forgotten in just a handful of years, and the memories of your trip will last a lifetime, but 28 days in the Oregon Forests may be overreaching a bit.

Consider how you'd hold up during a solid week of rain. Or even worse, snow.

I like aimless's angle of "finding a trail-rich area not too far from a town and exploring it in a series of moderate-length hikes with resupply runs in between them"

Exit plans are really important. If you get weather of epic proportions it's really nice to be able hike out in a few hours and dry out, warm up, and hunker down in a motel. That's good planning.

And I'll also urge you to practice using your gear. You can do that in your back yard. Definitely practice setting up your tent in the wind and rain and spend a few nights in it while it's raining too. It rains in Oregon, you can be sure of that. And it sucks to learn all the ways a tent can leak that are your fault when you can't make a fast dash back into the house wink

Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 12:00 AM

I've already been taking about 10 mile walks, with a backpack loaded up with 20 pounds using 2 10 pound dumbbells, for a few days now. I include a walk through a park near my home that has some decent-sized hills. It hasn't been tough and after another week of that I'm going to load a 45 lb free weight into the backpack and walk at least ten miles with it for many weeks until I'm used to carrying the weight on my back.

I'm also want to get a large multiday backpack to store all of my gear. From what I've read about them, they distribute the weight evenly through your body so very heavy loads don't feel nearly as heavy. I of course have never used one before so I cannot vouch for the validity of those statements. But if they are accurate, then hauling a large amount of weight long distances is feasible.

I realize that carrying less weight would be more comfortable, but I do not want to have to worry about having to resupply too often and I am willing to carry a heavy load of supplies
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 12:21 AM

I guess I'll have to research Yosemite as well and make decision. You do make a good point.

But just to clarify, I do not want to go on this trip solely to view nature. It is also for the experience of being self-reliant (emotionally and physiologically), dealing with change, and isolating yourself from familiarity. I want to go on this trip because I feel like its going to teach me things that I can't learn any other way. And I want to be challenged. I don't mind knowing that I will be pulled from my comfort zone for pretty much the entire time I'm there, in fact I welcome that notion.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 12:32 AM

I definitely agree there is much that I must practice before I go anywhere.

I also agree that there is much planning to do on my behalf and still a ton that I need to research.

As far as being alone for a month, its a part of why I want to do this. And if I can't do it and I lose my sanity, I can always name a beach volleyball "Wilson" and just talk to him.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 12:45 AM

Wow... I just looked up how much snow there is in Oregon during June and I must say going in June is out of the question. Although July doesn't look too bad so that's still a possibility. Man, you guys weren't kidding when you talked about the large amount of snow in June. Forgive me for being skeptical, I am a lifetime resident of South Florida. In June, temperatures can average in the 90 degrees and sometimes can even get into the triple digits.

So anyway, June out of the question but July is still there.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 01:05 AM

Quote:
But just to clarify, I do not want to go on this trip solely to view nature. It is also for the experience of being self-reliant (emotionally and physiologically), dealing with change, and isolating yourself from familiarity.


Other things being equal, it's more fun to do this in the midst of great scenery!

Just be careful--self-reliance requires skills that you need to master first. Otherwise you could end up like the "Into the Wild" guy--i.e., dead. You will certainly be challenged, no matter where you go, but you need to acquire coping skills, too.

On the pack, you want to acquire most or all of your other gear before buying it. Be sure to read the home page articles (previously linked to) on selecting a pack. Either take the rest of your gear with you to a good gear shop to select a pack, or, if you must order through the internet, once you receive the pack, load it up with the rest of your gear and the equivalent of 10-12 days' food and hike around the house or the neighborhood for a few hours. That way you can return the pack if it doesn't work for you. Pack fit is almost as individual as shoe fit--you want it to fit you and your gear!

IMHO, it's a good idea to keep your gear relatively light so you can carry 10-14 days' supply of food without the pack's being unduly heavy.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 10:47 AM

Now that Mouse has broached the subject, I'd gladly put a plug in for staying in the East. I think our backcountry might be less intimidating for a beginner, quite honestly. And, if your parents are willing, it could simplify your logistics issues and give them a bit more peace of mind.

If you want a month on the trail, then you could do the first leg of the Appalachian Trail (and finish section-hiking the whole trail by the time you finish college.) Alternatively, if you don't mind breaking your trip into disconnected sections, you could sample a great number of different areas: The Smokies, the White Montains, Shenandoah (all three contain AT segments); you could also visit some of the "pocket" wilds, such as Mammoth Cave, the Hundred Mile Trail (joins the AT in New England), and Isle Royale NP (in the middle of Lake Superior.)

For a first trip, these will be plenty intimidating without being overwhelming. You'll gain great experience, and then be ready to take a big bite out of Big Mountains in the West next year.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but I think Mouse has given you a realistic and achievable alternative for a first trip.
Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 11:57 AM

When I started to read this thread, I thought "He needs to go to a National Park." What else would a retired NP ranger suggest? I am glad to see that others are ahead of me on that. The advantages have already been listed and they are real. I think that I would also look carefully at Yosemite. It offers a good base camp situation and resupply, along with a great variety of trails, many of which are unfrequented and remote.

I would also suggest you consider Isle Royale. It is an unknown gem (or gym, as the case may be). Extremely remote, it is usually the least visited of the stateside national parks. It is definitely fabulous country. I was there for a project two decades ago, and getting back there for a recreational trip is on my bucket list. You might even considering asking about volunteer opportunities for part of your visit (I have no idea about the present volunteer opportunities). In general, volunteering can be (but not always) a very interesting and unique experience. You can get places you would never reach otherwise, for instance. Just a thought.....

Consider Great Smokies or Shenandoah as well, but if you want to get away, Isle Royale is head and shoulders above everything else, while still providing you a base for resupply.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 02:33 PM

I know that Isle Royale is accessed via ferry, but is there public transport to the mainland ferry terminal? Please note that the OP has no car! Unfortunately, very, very few national parks in the US can be reached by public transport. Yosemite is one of the few.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 03:07 PM

I don't know if there's transport to the various ferry docks, but if his parents wanted to travel a bit, they could fly to his previous destination, rent a car, pick him up, and drive up to Houghton or Copper Harbor (as my son put it, "drive to the end of the world, turn left, go another 50 miles, and get on a boat.") It's pretty country, and could make a great vacation for them, too.

Absent that, transportation could be an issue. (Of course, if he could get to Dayton, Ohio, mid-summer, I could always tell my wife, "But, honey, he has no way to get there, so I guess there's no choice but to take him and then go over to the Isle with him. It's rough duty, but someone has to help these kids...")
Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 04:50 PM

Per the website, there are daily flights (United) to the Houghton airport (eight miles S of town). They don't mention shuttle services, but I am pretty sure they exist. In some way Yosemite is probably ideal, but I think Isle Royale is a prime example of a really neat place that is definitely uncrowded, unlike some parts of Yosemite. And, of course, while you are in that neck of the woods, you can drop by Pipestone National Monument, another hidden gem. No public transportation there, but it is accessible by bicycle - that is how I got there.

Actually there are scads more trails at Yosemite that at Isle Royale, and some of the more isolated Yosemite trails are probably just about as unfrequented.
Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 05:00 PM

Such nobility will not go unrewarded....
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 05:40 PM

there are scads more trails at Yosemite that at Isle Royale

Yes, Yosemite is a hiker's paradise and this young gentleman would have the chance to hike straight out of Tuoloume meadows for as many miles as he cares to go, as deeply into the (truly fabulous) Sierras as he wishes, for as many days as he can carry food to cover - two weeks worth if he's willing. All this, and public transport from the airport to the trail and a chance to resupply without leaving the park, then go off in a different direction for another two weeks!

But I find it is mighty hard to deflect a person who has fixed an idea in their head for a while and started to build a dream around it. We may believe this would be a fantastic choice for him, based on what he's said he wants, but if he is going to accept our ideas on this, he'll have to trust that we know a lot about this matter that he doesn't yet have the knowledge to conclude on his own. That's one heck of a lot of trust for someone who is specifically trying to demonstrate his independence. frown
Posted by: TomD

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 06:47 PM

I recommended Yosemite because it is relatively easy to get to by public transport, has good infrastructure and as already noted, you can base out of either the Valley floor (which has the ambience of an outdoor Disneyland with better scenery) or Tuolumne and head into the true wilderness.

Keep in mind that the romantic ideal doesn't always turn out to be all that romantic, so having a bailout plan is always a good idea. Sometimes, it is just good fortune or the kindness of strangers that helps.

Here are two of my favorite sayings-
"Adventure is just bad planning." Roald Amundsen (18721928).

"Having an adventure shows that someone is incompetent, that something has gone wrong. An adventure is interesting enough in retrospect. Especially to the person who didn't have it." Vilhjalmur Stefansson, My Life with the Esquimo.



Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 07:48 PM

Sequoia and Kings Canyon are good too. Once you get away from the touristy spots the trails aren't crowded. At least they weren't when I was there.

But, Yosemite is the Crown Jewel of NPs, and the logistics of getting there and hiking there are probably the best anywhere you can go. All things considered it almost has to be the first place I'd recommend too, and I've never even been there frown



Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 07:49 PM

Don't forget the Boundary Waters area is near (relatively) Isle Royale - is there any good backpacking there?

Of course, if our young friend got tired of walking, a canoe or kayak trip might make for a pleasant finale to the month. smile
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 07:50 PM

Hey, Ranger, the same offer is open to you, if you want to fly to Dayton. (I'd even let you UPS your gear to my house - give me a chance to do some upgrades while you were en route. smile )
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 07:56 PM

I wasn't intending to talk him out of it - just give him some alternatives closer to home (if logistics is a problem) and perhaps less daunting (which may be more a matter of parental trepidation than his own spirit.)

Regardless of where he decides to go, I'm very envious; youth is indeed wasted on the young! smile
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 09:24 PM

Ending up not-dead would be kinda nice. Hehe I guess learning self-reliance skills would take some time and experience. I'm the kind of person who usually goes into things all-or-nothing. Its gotten me into all kinds of situations throughout my life. Some good, many not so much. But I feel as though I should go against my nature on this, listen to you experienced folk, and postpone going to Oregon until a later time when I do have more experience. frown

BUT! There is still my other options that have been listed so kindly. So far, Yosemite is winning. I've seen a few images on Google and the scenery looks breathtaking there! Nonetheless, I still have many other places to look into.

And I agree, I should probably get my gear very soon to be able to practice with it and see if the backpack fits and everything.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 09:38 PM

Originally Posted By aimless
there are scads more trails at Yosemite that at Isle Royale

But I find it is mighty hard to deflect a person who has fixed an idea in their head for a while and started to build a dream around it. We may believe this would be a fantastic choice for him, based on what he's said he wants, but if he is going to accept our ideas on this, he'll have to trust that we know a lot about this matter that he doesn't yet have the knowledge to conclude on his own. That's one heck of a lot of trust for someone who is specifically trying to demonstrate his independence. frown


Well it was an extremely difficult decision, I am the most stubborn person I know, but I'm going to listen to you guys. Not listening to your guys' input would probably not be a wise decision, since you all have only a tiny bit more experience than me smirk hehe. So but I must say you were spot-on in saying that its hard to change someone's mind of a dream they've already begun to construct. And let me tell you, there was a lot of that daydreaming going on in my classes today.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 09:46 PM

Isle Royale looks stunning in the pictures I've seen, but it seems like there are too many issues with transportation to be able to even get there. And that is a noble gesture Glenn, but I don't want to get you in trouble with your wife grin hehe
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 10:03 PM

Like I've never been in trouble with her before! (Like most men, I married a whole lot better than she did.)

Actually, Isle Royale is beautiful, but probably a bit too complicated, logistically, for what you want to do. All things considered, it sounds like your best bet would be Yosemite if you decide to go west, and the Appalachian Trail (a single longer chunk, or several selective sections) if you want to stay east.
Posted by: lori

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 10:58 PM

Unless next season's snow pack is like last season's snow pack, in which case a lot of Yosemite may be under snow til July.

Keep your eyes on the forum! The trip reports will be rollin' in come springtime. I shall be taking the hiking group to Yosemite for snowshoeing several times before then, and want to get a 3-4 day Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne trip going in July. I might be able to add a day and go from Hetch Hetchy this time.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 11:05 PM

Okay, Yosemite wins! So at the end of my senior year, I will be going to Yosemite National Park. It looks so beautiful and from what you have all told me, it seems like the ideal place for me to go.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 11:13 PM

Going in July instead of June is something I can definitely do. So if its snow I have to worry about in June, the I'll just have to go in July.
Posted by: TomD

Re: New Member - 11/28/11 11:34 PM

You may only encounter snow in the high country, and not much at that depending on where you go. In the Valley in summer, it is hot. Not Florida hot with high humidity, but hot. Check the park's website for weather info.

I highly recommend the Rough Guide to Yosemite. Amazon or your local bookstore will have it or can order it for you. Retail price, $9.95. Also Tom Harrison has a great map of Yosemite.
www.tomharrisonmaps.com
There are many other guidebooks, plus info on the park's own website. The concessionaire also has its own website to make camping reservations, which you will need for some camps. Backcountry requires a free backcountry permit, which you can get once you get there.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 12:02 AM

That seems ideal though, snow still in some places but most all of it melted away.

And one thing I can say about living in Florida my whole life, I've learned ways to keep cool and deal with heat. So the heat doesn't concern me as much as the cold does. Now that's a whole new animal right there...

And thanks for the book recommendation. I'll see if I can get it.
Posted by: balzaccom

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 11:18 AM

Bear in mind that the heat in Yosemite will be far different from what you have in Miami. The relative humidity is extremely in the High Sierra. That means you will still sweat a lot, but you won't notice it because it will evaporate almost immediately.

So don't use sweat as an indicator of how hot you are, and keeping drinking LOTS of water.

Posted by: Blue_Ridge_Ninja

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 12:12 PM

Originally Posted By Glenn
Now that Mouse has broached the subject, I'd gladly put a plug in for staying in the East. I think our backcountry might be less intimidating for a beginner, quite honestly. And, if your parents are willing, it could simplify your logistics issues and give them a bit more peace of mind.

If you want a month on the trail, then you could do the first leg of the Appalachian Trail (and finish section-hiking the whole trail by the time you finish college.)

For a first trip, these will be plenty intimidating without being overwhelming. You'll gain great experience, and then be ready to take a big bite out of Big Mountains in the West next year.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but I think Mouse has given you a realistic and achievable alternative for a first trip.

This would get my vote as well.

Appalachian backcountry is beautiful and plenty challenging, especially for a beginner.

And no grizzlies to worry about. Ha.
Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 12:18 PM

Grizzlies in Yosemite? not recently...

The real hazard for Easterners traveling to the West is that once you experience the area (and Yosemite is just the tip of the iceberg), you will never go back east. That is what happened to me years ago.

Once you have cut your teeth on Yosemite, you can try some really nice, relatively secluded areas like the Gila Wilderness, Bob Marshall, or similar..
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 01:58 PM

Regarding the eastern U.S.A. vs. western U.S.A.:

I really have no doubt that the east has some amazingly beautiful country, the sort of places that make your heart swell like a bullfrog with quiet wonderment. But when it comes to generating powerful, thrilling waves of awe, the western mountains (and deserts) are in a whole 'nother league. And for a flatland Florida lad, Yosemite will be like dying and going to heaven.

Just my $0.02.
Posted by: lori

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 03:16 PM

Originally Posted By Blue_Ridge_Ninja


And no grizzlies to worry about. Ha.


There are no grizzlies in California, have not been any since before I was born... and that wasn't yesterday.

And the black bears here just want your food, so don't forget to rent the bear canister.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By aimless
Regarding the eastern U.S.A. vs. western U.S.A.:

I really have no doubt that the east has some amazingly beautiful country, the sort of places that make your heart swell like a bullfrog with quiet wonderment. But when it comes to generating powerful, thrilling waves of awe, the western mountains (and deserts) are in a whole 'nother league. And for a flatland Florida lad, Yosemite will be like dying and going to heaven.

Just my $0.02.



Shhhhhhh. You aren't suppose to tell anyone.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 04:06 PM

Originally Posted By aimless
when it comes to generating powerful, thrilling waves of awe, the western mountains (and deserts) are in a whole 'nother league.


Yeah, I agree. Nothing east of the Rockies can compete for jaw dropping awe.

And the Ozarks do "make your heart swell like a bullfrog with quiet wonderment". At least they do mine smile

Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 06:45 PM

except for the one on the state flag...
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 11/29/11 07:48 PM

Actually, I don't think it's a contest. You simply learn to love the areas you can get to. In my case, I don't hike out west because I can't block out 10 days or 2 weeks to hike (competing needs of work, family, etc.)

I've seen some of the western mountains, not as a backpacker, but as a business visitor. They are incredibly beautiful. So are the Applachians and Smokies and Whites. But they're all beautiful differently - and that's the wonderful part: there's always something to wow everyone. As Harry Roberts once wrote: "backpacking exists everywhere, and it's good everywhere... There are places in this world that let you look out far, and others that help you look in deep. My Michigan is one of the others..."

Couldn't have said it better myself.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 11/30/11 10:38 PM

So yesterday I just didn't have the time to respond to any posts on here. Between catching up on both AP physics work and sleep, I just couldn't. Oh and wish me luck on my physics test tomorrow! grin

Originally Posted By aimless
Regarding the eastern U.S.A. vs. western U.S.A.:

And for a flatland Florida lad, Yosemite will be like dying and going to heaven.



Ah aimless, very perceptive of you. That is a huge reason why I'm adamant about going to the mountains in the west coast.

Oh and my mother is a little relieved to find out that I am going to Yosemite instead of Oregon. Cooled her off a bit. So good call guys laugh
Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 11/30/11 11:23 PM

Be sure and check back in and let us know how it all turned out.
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 11/30/11 11:46 PM

Heck, he needs to check in sooner than that and share some of the planning stages. Just so we can see he's doing his due diligence, and so we can help him to figure all this new stuff out.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 08:46 PM

So the physics test wasn't quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. The density, buoyancy, and pressure problems I had down. But the problems that pertained to rotational dynamics are what really got me. Overall though, not too bad.

Anyway, back to the main topic, Yosemite. I figure that starting with procuring my gear would be easier than figuring out the logistics right now. Too much uncertainty in the home, school, and climate sectors for me to make any specific or definitive decisions about the many things that must be planned. Plus, I still need to do quite a bit more of research on Yosemite.

In the meantime, there's plenty I need to learn about gear and I'm going to need plenty of time to practice with it. Glenn is being extremely kind and has offered to send over some of his gently used gear. But aside from that I still need help on some gear choices.

For instance, I've been looking up watches with altimeters, barometers/ multifunctional. I don't have a watch for daily use, figured if I got one it might as well have features like that, and the holidays are rolling around so I figured this might be something good to ask for. So in your opinions, what is a really tough, durable, accurate, reliable, or just best darned multifunction watch you know? OR, do you think they are just a complete and utter waste of a tool and money?
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 09:14 PM

Just to get you started thinking about gear (aside from the helpful list Oregon Mouse pointed out to you elsewhere in this thread).

The key pieces of gear, imo, are: sleeping bag, footwear, and pack. The footwear and pack are all about how well they fit the shape of your foot and your body, so it is hard for a bunch of strangers to tell you what is going to work best for you. You'll be wearing both the footwear and the pack for long hours so good fit is critical. Chafing, hot spots or sore hips are bad signs. Ten minutes isn't long enough to evaluate fit in a store.

Other primary considerations for a pack: it needs to be big enough to fit everything you need to carry, both food and gear, but not any bigger. In Yosemite that also includes a bear canister for your food, which is somewhat bulky. It is good advice to leave buying the pack for later and get your gear together first.

In Yosemite, you'll be at very high elevation and it can get cold at night, even in July. Very cold for a Floridian. Your bag should probably be rated at 20 degrees if it is a good-quality down bag from a high-end manufacturer like Western Mountaineering. If you can't afford a high end bag, I'd buy something rated for 15 degrees, because lower quality bags are alsways over-optimistically rated.

If you spend a ton of money on any piece of gear, make it your sleeping bag, not some nifty toy. A GPS can't keep you from freezing at night.
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 09:30 PM

I couldn't agree more. A $20 Timex will tell you what time it is (which, as you will learn, isn't all that critical in the backcountry - "dawn," "midmorning," "about noon," etc., are close enough.)

But knowing - absolutely knowing - you'll be cozy warm your sleeping bag on a cold, cold mountain night - maybe not priceless, but certainly well worth the hefty price tags the good bags carry.
Posted by: lori

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 09:31 PM

Originally Posted By aimless


If you spend a ton of money on any piece of gear, make it your sleeping bag, not some nifty toy. A GPS can't keep you from freezing at night.


+1.

Not to mention - do you know what you would use the altimeter/barometer for? Is it a function necessary to your enjoyment or your survival? If not, why are you wanting to get that item?

Lightweight backpacking means leaving things that aren't necessary - map and compass skills aren't going to leave you in the lurch since there are no batteries to fail in subfreezing temps, and no electronics to break or fail to find a satellite.

The altimeter will be of little use without the ability to read a topographic map - with skills and map, you can use the altimeter to triangulate your position with more precision than without it. Without skills you are left with... your current elevation. If it's an accurate reading. Electronics sometimes aren't accurate.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 09:43 PM

You do raise a good point. See, this is why I came to you guys for assistance in the preparation for this. You all know better, even if its things that seem painfully obvious -- like purchasing an expensive and trivial gadget like that watch instead of a sleeping bag that'll be able to keep me warm at night.

So what company makes high quality sleeping bags?

Oh, scratch that you already proposed Western Mountaineering
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 09:47 PM

$20? Harrumph! I'll have you know my Timex watch cost me fully $35. It seems to function just as well in the wilderness as it does here in town. It even tells me the date (except it thinks every month has 31 days frown ).
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 09:51 PM

Okay point taken, a simple watch does just fine grin
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 09:56 PM

Kohl's, on sale, after Christmas, 5 years ago.

Actually, I no longer wear my Timex. I replaced it with a digital pocket watch that has an extra nifty function that lets me make telephone calls. smile
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 10:06 PM

Wow, you weren't kidding when you said that these good bags got expensive. I see a Western Mountaineering UltraLite bag, do you know if they are good? I've seen some negative comments about the durability of the bag.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 12/01/11 11:06 PM

I love my WM Ultralite! With extra clothing (i.e. all my insulating clothing) and a warm pad (the sleeping pad is vitally important!), I've gotten down to 15*F with it. And I sleep cold! For me, the best part is the draft collar--I can snug it up around my neck and leave the hood relatively loose for ventilation (while wearing a fleece balaclava).

You do want to treat it with care, though. You want to treat any sleeping bag with care! No draping it over thorn bushes or dragging it over rocks. No letting your cat or dog sleep on it! Actually, that's true with any gear.

Feathered Friends in Seattle also makes equally high quality bags. Marmot's line of sleeping bags named for elements (such as the Helium) are also good and are more apt to be on sale.

With any sleeping bag, pay close attention to the girth measurements. (Remember that shoulder measurement is over your arms, and should also be over your thickest insulating jacket.) If the bag is too narrow, it will not only be claustrophobic but it won't be as warm because you'll compress the insulation. If it's too wide, you'll be spending a lot of your body heat warming up dead air space.

Have you tried searching the forums? There is a lot of info on sleeping bags and other gear items. The search funcftion here is a little tricky; instructions are in the "sticky" thread at the top of the General Discussion section. Pay special attention to changing the date parameters.

You can also click the items in the left hand column in this page which will take you to our TLB sponsors. You'll find lots of information about specific brands there.

Posted by: Steadman

Re: New Member - 12/02/11 12:07 AM

I always thought adventure was someone half a world away risking their life while eating bad food...

Anyway, while you're gathering gear you need to consider skills building (as already mentioned).

You need to be able to (short list)
- cook food
- do basic first aid
- pitch a shelter
- navigate
- purify water
- make fire reliably

This is a great time to make friends with the guy in your school who's stayed with scouting, or to go to the scout shop and pick up the Boy Scout Handbook. Prove to yourself, before you go, that you can do all the requirements for a First Class Scout. All the directions are in the Handbook. It will only take a couple weekends for a high school senior on his way to college (including doing some hiking and setting up camp), but it will help make sure you are set up to have a good time when you go this summer, and help you manage your risks.

Hope you have fun

Steadman
Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 12/02/11 01:32 AM

I would recommend Mountaineering: Freedom of the hills. A lot of it is more than would be needed, but it covers the basics quite well, in a very realistic manner. Might be hard to find in Florida....
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 12/02/11 06:55 AM

The Boy Scout Fieldbook is pretty good, too. It has several chapters on camping and backpacking, and some general guides to various parts of the country. Most of the information is fairly current although, like any book, the gear information is somewhat behind the times.

Unless they've recently revised it completely, stay away from the Backpacking Merit Badge handbook, though. The last version I saw acknowledged that internal frame packs could be had with a little effort, but didn't really think they'd catch on for backpacking. (OK, that's a bit exaggerated, but not a lot.)

I'll toss a copy of Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker IV into the package I send you - it's a huge book, but if you're into all that phsyics stuff, it should be a piece of cake for you!
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 12/02/11 02:32 PM

Glenn you are awesome. (Glenn's our resident angel and you're not alone in benefitting from his generosity.)

But I don't think you need to spend $400 bucks on a sleeping bag for this trip. I agree, that this is where you want to step up and do better than a $20 Wal-Mart Coleman bag, but top of the line stuff isn't the only way to go. It is the lightest and best way to go, but there are lot's of people that have done Yosemite without $400 down bags. Probably more than not.

I use a Coleman eXponent 32 backpacking bag, with a Coleman fleece bag liner, wear good long undies (top and bottoms), a wool sweater, fleece pajama pants, fleece hat and gloves. I use a bubble foil pad on top of my sleeping pad, and a SOL emergency blanket over my bag, and I am warm and cozy down to 20. All of this together cost less than $150 brand new, and it weighs considerably more than a Western Mountaineering UltraLite bag wink

The take away should be that you have options, but you need to attain the same end result no matter what you choose. You must be warm at least to 20.

Topo map skills will be essential. You haven't mentioned how well you know how to use a map and compass, and South Florida doesn't offer much topography to practice on, but you do need to have or hone those skills for this trip.

You should download all the topos for Yosemite (they're free at http://libremap.org), and start studying them. Get to know them as best as you can and cross reference them with photos so you can better associate what is on the map with what you see.

Follow the major valleys, note the peaks and gaps, and the mouths of creeks and cuts coming down from the ridges into the bottoms, and try and familiarize yourself with the terrain you'll encounter. Try to learn what peaks you will see from wherever you are, and how they will come into view as you travel. It's reassuring to find the features you expect while hiking along the way, and it's the only certain way to know where you are.

You need to be able to visualize the shape of mountains as displayed on the topo map and recognize them when you're looking at them for real, and from all angles. If you can do that, triangulating your position on a map is easy as pie in the mountains.

I use topo maps to help me with planning my route. I look at them and visualize the area, and find places that I want to explore. For me, that's usually the valleys and creeks and cuts. Others here prefer the peaks and ridges, or both.

I guess what I am searching for on a map is the perfect place to spend a night or two. A flat spot where two creeks come together, or a waterfall nearby. You can find where they are likely to be on a topo map if you visualize what they display and it's a wonderful way to escape for a bit and relax and dream. Out there you have mountain lakes that are just stunningly beautiful to plan a night at.

For all I know, you've been doing this for years, but if not, get those maps and get lost in them. Shoot, you've got Google Earth to help you visualize the area. When I was your age all we had was..... (ah well, I'll spare you wink )
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 12/02/11 02:48 PM

I don't think you need to spend $400 bucks on a sleeping bag for this trip.

True enough. My main point was to contrast that a high-end bag would have an accurate temp rating, but if he buys a mid-range bag he should take the rating with a grain of salt and shoot for a lower degrees rating to make up for that. Also, that, given a choice of dropping a lot of money on a GPS/electronic gadget or a sleeping bag, the sleeping bag would be the right investment.

Some less-expensive, but still good, bags to consider would include (in somewhat descending order) Montbell, Marmot, REI, or Kelty at the lower end. Basically, if the bag will keep you warm and has reasonable workmanship, the main variable will be that the less you pay, the heavier and bulkier it will be. As Oregon Mouse pointed out, girth is an important consideration, too.

I generally carry an REI Sub-Kilo rated to 20 degrees that would more accurately be called 25 degrees. It has a narrow girth, but I have narrow shoulders, so it works well enough for me. It cost me in the neighborhood of $130, on sale at the REI-Outlet. It still shows up there from time to time.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 12/02/11 03:12 PM

I'm sorry aimless, I wasn't intending at all to diminish your point, and I apologize if I seemed to be.

I agree whole heartedly that he should avoid spending anything on unessential gadgets and devote as much as possible of his resources to a good bag.

I've spent $400 bucks on GPSs over the past 10 or 12 years, the first one is dead as a doornail, and I've got several cheap sleeping bags twice as old that l don't often use. I'm sure I'd have been better off spending all that money on a good bag first. I didn't know that back then blush
Posted by: Glenn

Re: New Member - 12/02/11 04:36 PM

If you go with a lower-end bag, you may want to allow a tiny bit more girth (i.e., don't get a bag that fits snugly.) This will allow you to extend the temperature range of the bag by wearing fleece or down garments inside it. Don't get a loose bag; just allow enough extra room for the thickness of a layer of insulating clothing. This gives you a safety margin for any optimism that the manufacturer may build into its rating.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 03:15 PM

Hopefully, others will chime in, but depending on your budget this Coleman might be a good option for a first bag.

Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 03:45 PM

I'm not sure if that Coleman bag has enough insulation for a cold night at 9,000 ft in the Sierras. Sure, it has the number 20 in the model's name, but the specs don't show a temp rating or inches of loft. The pic makes it look rather low loft to my eyeball.
Posted by: lori

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 04:15 PM

I agree - she says, having abandoned the hope of finding cheap bags that work in the Sierra long ago.

Those cheap Coleman and similar bags just don't cut it when it gets cold... I had a 30F rated cheap bag, I got cold at 45, got rid of the bag.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 04:17 PM

Here's what they give for specs:

Down sleeping bag
comfortable down to 20 F
Fill: Grey goose down, fill power 600, 80/20
Fill weight: 23 ounces
Pack weight: 2 pounds, 14 ounces

The fill power and fill weight don't mean a lot to me. I have no experience to base it on.

But here's what I was wondering, while it may not be good down to 20, with those specs can one assume it might be good to 25, or 30, and if so, do you think it might be a good deal at that $89.99 price tag?

I think the "exponent" gear I've got from Coleman has been pretty good for the price I paid.
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 04:20 PM

Quote:
I had a 30F rated cheap bag, I got cold at 45, got rid of the bag.


Was it a down bag?

I have a 32 Coleman exponant synthetic bag that's not near up to the rating, but it's a pretty decent 40 bag and I only paid about $40 for it.

Posted by: billstephenson

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 04:25 PM

Another thing we have to consider is that while this trip is to the big western mountains, he lives in So FL.

I'd have to think he might be doing more nights there for the next few years than out west at 9000 ft. Of course, I have no idea where he might go to college.
Posted by: lori

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 04:26 PM

Nope, not down. Also not the bag I needed for what I wanted to do. Since it was a mummy it was of no use for other purposes, either, so it went to a kayaker who wanted a synthetic for summer stuff.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 12/03/11 05:01 PM

I don't know if I posted in this thread or another one (BTW, the search function works fine here if you follow the directions in the "sticky" thread at the top of the "General Discussion" section) about the Kelty Cosmic Down 20* sleeping bag. Review. It can be found for under $100 if you shop around. Unlike most inexpensive bags, it is EN13537 rated, so the temp rating (for men/warm sleepers) is fairly accurate. It is, of course, lower quality down and therefore heavier than the high quality down bags we've mentioned here, and it won't last as long. However, it's lighter and will last longer (if properly cared for) than a comparably priced synthetic bag.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 12/05/11 10:00 PM

Okay well there seems to be a good deal of dissent about sleeping bags, with price and company and a slew of other things but I think I'm going to just go with a more expensive sleeping bag to keep me warm at night. Not having to worry about staying warm at night seems like a really nice thing for me. Plus, I'm a Florida boy, 'nuff said.

I am also thinking about getting a fairly good dehydrator to dehydrate a bunch of food at home before I go. I've read that dehydrated food lasts much longer than its hydrated counterparts, and it weighs much less. And I feel like its a lot healthier than buying pre-dried food out there, most of those foods are full of tons of sodium and preservatives.

Am I in the wrong with thinking of purchasing a dehydrator?
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 12/05/11 11:12 PM

Your options are almost unlimited with a dehydrator. A few things are better freeze-dried: peas (which remain the consistency of shotgun pellets after rehydration, even prolonged cooking) and some meats, especially chicken (which, unless you use pressure-cooked or canned chicken, turns into chicken jerky).

This site has lots of recipes and ideas. Also check the "Lite Food Talk" section on this forum. I'm really into "Freezer Bag 'cooking,'" in which you boil water and pour it into your food in the freezer bag it's carried in, using a cozy to keep it warm. Just eat out of the plastic bag, lick and then rinse your spoon--no dishes to wash!

Be sure to try out your meals/experiments at home, first! If they don't taste good at home, they probably won't taste good on the trail, either! You might prevent a disaster such as I had with the dried peas aka shotgun pellets!

Also, label well. My grandchildren still won't let me forget the trip two years ago when (half asleep while preparing breakfast) I mistook chocolate pudding mix for cocoa mix!
lol

Your mom will, of course, greatly appreciate your cleaning up the kitchen after your cooking and dehydrating efforts!
Posted by: oldranger

Re: New Member - 12/06/11 12:01 AM

I'm not sure I would buy a dehydrator right off the bat. A lot of people use an oven set on 'warm" with the door cracked open a bit. You can also get a lot of lightweight food from the supermarket, reducing weight and bulk by repackaging. I sometimes supplement with freeze-dried foods which are reasonably healthy. Like anything else, don't consume them exclusively for long periods.

If you really get into back country cooking, one would make sense.
Posted by: NavemadaMan

Re: New Member - 12/06/11 09:39 PM

I looked up the prices for freeze-dried food and they're really expensive. I feel like buying a good dehydrator would pay for itself in no time. Plus I love jerky. A ton. Really tough and chewy jerky. I know, I'm weird like that. But I think getting dehydrator would be a great investment if its a viable option for generating food for backcountry adventures, instead of purchasing freeze-dried bags of food. Oh and fruit leather, I love fruit leather grin
Posted by: aimless

Re: New Member - 12/06/11 10:12 PM

Well, if you are intereste in dehydrating your own trail food, you've come to the right place. We have some leading experts in that sort of thing. Poke around in the archives of the Lite Food Talk forum.

And check out Sarbar's web site. She's the Queen of home dehydration and freezer bag cooking around these parts. I know I've got a link for that somewhere. (...pats at all his pockets absent mindedly)
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: New Member - 12/06/11 10:36 PM

Sarbar's website, Trailcooking.com, is the one I linked to in my post above. Lots of awesome ideas, hints on dehydration, lots of recipes using supermarket ingredients.
Posted by: TomD

Re: New Member - 12/07/11 02:54 AM

Buying gear is a whole hall of mirrors that will make you crazy because of so many choices, both good and bad. Same for clothes/

For a first time gear buyer, unless you have a lot of discretionary income, I recommend going easy on buying "the best" whatever that anyone recommends. As with many things, it is not the answer, but asking the right question that is important.

One way to start is by reading The Complete Walker, considered by many the Bible of backpacking; not so much for choosing any one piece of gear, but for how to look at what you need=as systems, not individual pieces bought at random.

Example-I winter camp so my gear and clothing selection is primarily for that season, although I can adjust my gear list for other seasons in California, where I live. Look at the gear lists posted here (start at the site's home page) to see various lists. I keep my gear and clothes simple as possible, but other people have jackets for every occasion.

Another choice for gear is buying used. BUT, you need to know what you are looking at and what things are worth. However, there is a lot of poorly made stuff on eBay that is not worth the price, no matter how cheap it is. Never buy anything unless you are sure what it is.