2 people trip...

Posted by: Amr7944

2 people trip... - 04/19/14 08:37 AM

Hi. My roommate and I are planning a 70 mile trip. Our goal is to finish at least half but we are going to attempt whole thing. My question is do we both need a 60)L plus backpack or can one of us carry a larger one and one carry a smaller and swap loads to make it easier for us? Most of the stuff we will be sharing obviously so I figured we could pack light. This is our first trip. We do need to pack two sleeping bags though.
Posted by: rockchucker22

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 09:44 AM

Really not enough info, like where your going, temps, weather, what gear you have.
Posted by: ryan54

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 12:55 PM

In addition to what rockchucher22 said, it'll make some sense for you and your friend to take a couple short trips, 1 or two nights each before the 70 mile hike. That'll give you a sense of who carries what, the size bags you need, etc., and after a few of these shorter trips you'll be able to create a system that'll help you become better prepared for the big hike and make it easier on you both.

Jumping into a 70 mile hike can be pretty daunting without a few trial runs behind you.
Posted by: bluefish

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 01:13 PM

Trial trips would be great for figuring out what you really need and whether you are both in equal physical condition. You may find out what is necessary and what is not. Like rockchucker said, the variables are great, you'd need to tell us more to get better info. 70 miles over mountain passes and rugged terrain, is much different than 70 miles on the flat or easy rolling terrain. You can also use 2 60 liter packs and switch who carries the tent or the food . Unless you are both the same exact size, packs may be comfortable to carry or not. I'd rather carry less or more weight in a pack that fits me well. Actually, I'd rather carry lots of weight in a good pack than a little in a bad fitting one. grin
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 01:16 PM

I also strongly recommend taking several short "shakedown" trips before your long trip. Even a weekend at a local state park (car-camping with your backpacking gear, but hiking during the day with full backpack) will be beneficial. You could even camp in the backyard (yours or a borrowed one). Some of those "trial runs" should be during bad weather so you learn how to cope with it and stay dry and warm. The experience you gain from these short trips will make your 70-miler far more enjoyable.

Have you read the articles on gear selection and other topics, and the gear lists on the home page of this site, left hand column? They will provide a lot of the answers you need.

Without far more information, we really can't recommend a backpack size. Where are you are going and what are the conditions there (climate, temperature, trail surface, etc.)? That determines the specific gear you need. How much time do you expect the trip to take? That determines the amount of food and fuel you need to carry. What is the volume of your gear? You can stuff it into a box, measure the space and calculate the cubic inches. 1 liter is approximately 60 cubic inches. Be sure to include the volume of the food and fuel you'll need, plus the amount of water you'll need to carry at one time.

It's generally recommended to postpone buying the backpack until you have the rest of your gear. That's because the pack must fit you, must fit your gear and must be comfortable for you with your gear packed inside (which carries far differently than the sandbags and weights they use in a store). There is also no industry standard for backpack volume, another reason for getting the rest of your gear first. Your gear may measure 60 liters, but there's no guarantee that a "60 liter" pack will hold it.

Backpack fit is almost as personal as shoe fit. For this reason, it's highly unlikely that you and your friend can comfortably exchange packs.

My personal experience is that I can comfortably fit all my gear, food and fuel for a 10-day trip in a 40-liter pack. My gear is probably more compact than most, though. And I don't backpack in desert areas where carrying a lot of water is required.

Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 02:45 PM

The answer to your question is "yes." Either you both need a 60 L, or one or both of you can use a smaller pack.

Like others said, gear items can vary greatly in weight and volume. I have two 2-person tents; one weighs about 4 and half pounds, the other barely 3 pounds. The lighter one is far less bulky than the other. The same goes for kitchen gear, sleeping pads, and especially sleeping bags. The volume also depends on how much and what type of clothing you're taking (do you feel the need to change clothes every day?) Share some of those details with us, and we can start talking about packs. If you don't have those details down, then you have some homework to do before your trip. (If you have questions as you do your homework, we can help with that, too. But you have to do the work to get far enough along to be able to ask the questions; there's no short cut.)
Posted by: Amr7944

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 03:56 PM

We are going to Laurel Highlands. I think it's a mixture of flat, forests, and mountains. We have a map and know it goes through a few game lands so those are flat. At end of July. We have to gear at all currently as this is our first trip. We have a list of stuff to bring but may not be in any physic condition at all so we are aiming to just go slow. If it takes us five days to go 30 miles then it does. With being in college right now and working we both don't have time to make a trial run at the moment. We do want to do a day trip and see how much we can trek. The trail has tramways every 6 to 12 miles Adirondack style, we weren't sure exactly what that meant. But we know that it has sleeping cots and spring water so we weren't planning on bring more than four bottles of water each of us. Clothes will be light because of the weather, and we decided we wanted to do tent and sleeping bag since we arnt sure how cots are or work. I have wanted to do this since I was 16 but never found a person to do it with until this year, and I think we both just kinda jumped into it and got excited. I have a week off from work so I figured we would do it then. We both go hiking for several hours often, and only turn back because the trial ends or its getting dark, so I just assumed we could make it into a long trip.
Posted by: Gershon

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 06:07 PM

Unless you are renting gear, I recommend you each be self-contained. This will give you both valuable experience, and allow you each to plan your own meals. I suppose you could use one tent if you want to sleep in the same tent, and you could shift some things to account for that.

60 liters is likely too big. 50 liters should do it.

As a guess, you ought to be able to carry 22 pounds including the water plus 1.5 pounds of food a day. This will get you in the ballpark. This is without going ultra-light and keeping it simple.
Posted by: Amr7944

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 06:29 PM

You can rent gear?!
Posted by: TomD

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 09:19 PM

There is a lot online about this trail. I suggest you read up on what you should take. it doesn't sound like you can get lost, as long as you stick to the trail, but you never know. The campsites require reservations and it sounds like the trail gets lots of hikers, so you should get on that right away.

You don't seem to know much about hiking. Granted, I don't know you, so I don't really care, but someone probably does, so do them a favor and learn how to take care of yourself before starting off. Don't rely on cel phones or the kindness of strangers (you're in college, go look it up). You probably won't wind up like Chris McCandless (died in Alaska after eating poisonous plants out in the wilderness, you can rent the movie Into the Wild for details) or Tim Treadwell (killed by a bear, also in AK), but even in PA, the wild isn't exactly a college campus.

Yes, you may be able to rent gear. Check your local outdoor store. REI for example rents gear, but there aren't any in PA as best I can determine from their website.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/19/14 10:08 PM

For low cost gear ideas:
Dirtbagging and deal shopping.

Even a a few overnights in someone's back yard (some of those in bad weather) will gain you some experience. You don't want to be setting up your shelter for the first time on a dark and stormy night with flashlight in one hand and dripping wet instructions in the other!

Another good article on the "Sgt. Rock" site is this one:
Staying Warm.
Posted by: bluefish

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/20/14 10:17 AM

An Adirondack shelter is an open fronted wood structure, usually with sleeping platforms arranged like bunk beds. You bring your sleeping gear (pad, bag or quilt). I've slept in quite a few, as I generally try to use them in off seasons. The ones on the trail you wish to hike on sound large and heavily used. I would not plan on finding a space in them, but bring a shelter to use in the tent pads. Even if you do get a space inside, I've often set our small tent up right on the sleeping platforms to provide bug protection and a little privacy. Many people do. Hard to do on the top bunk, easier on the bottom if you have a small free standing tent. The shelters provide a little wind protection, but offer nothing for warmth. Don't count on them doing anything other than helping to stay dry in the rain. I did a backpack outside of Johnstown long about 1975, as I had a friend living there and going to Carnegie-Mellon. I don't remember a great deal,(if you remember the 70's you weren't there... grin) other than it was a very pretty area, and the hiking wasn't extreme. Sounds like a perfect choice for your trip. There's a lot to figure out for gear, do the research, ask the questions, and you'll have a lot of fun. You made a good choice to come here. I'm in awe of some of the members experience here. A WEALTH of knowledge.
Posted by: Amr7944

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/20/14 10:57 AM

Does anyone know where in here there is a discussion about the Laurel Highlands? I don'tuunderstand the reservations thing and figured I would ask from people who have done it before calling them!
Posted by: bluefish

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/20/14 01:35 PM

Seems this site would explain a lot. http://www.featheredprop.com/?page_id=7
Posted by: Amr7944

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/20/14 01:53 PM

Thankyou this was very helpful!
Posted by: Gershon

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/20/14 02:46 PM

Our local college has an outdoor leadership major. Occasionally, they have camping trips and other trips the public can sign up for. Maybe your college has something similar. Your college might have someplace to rent gear.

Many people start by car camping and taking day hikes from the camping spot. This makes the camping gear less critical because you can always go home if it's not working out. You don't even need a tent in many areas. If it starts to rain, just go home.

Others start out by hiking and never get around to backpacking. Our local hiking club is like that.

It helps to break things down into segments and go from there.

This is an excellent book and it's only $2.99 for Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle, you can read it on a computer, most tablets, and many phones. It should give you everything you need in one place.
Posted by: BZH

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/21/14 12:20 PM

Originally Posted By Amr7944
You can rent gear?!

Many colleges rent equipment in their rec department. REI and few other outdoor shops do to. I also seem to recall an online shop renting equipment.

I would not take one large pack and one small pack. I think it is a better idea to split up the shared equipment. With a long hike like this and limited experience, you should probably think about the possibility that one person will want to bail early and the other will not. Will you both leave the trail? Best to have that discussion earlier rather than later.
Posted by: Amr7944

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/21/14 03:15 PM

We would both stop if one of us wanted to. I can see one of us wanting to say it out loud but not actually saying it. We are doing a dry run in a few weeks
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/21/14 05:51 PM

A dry run is a great idea.

Also, be sure to have a clear understanding with your hiking partner that if one of you stops being comfortable and wants to bail, you'll bring it up immediately and discuss it without animosity. You may find, after talking a few minutes, that it isn't really time to bail yet; but that decision should always be a joint one, not a case where one of you intimidates the other into continuing. Backpacking should be fun, not a death march to a goal. (I know from experience that, in backpacking, "macho" is not a term restricted to describing only men.) Besides, I'm assuming you want to keep your hiking partner for the long term - the best way to lose a partner is to force them beyond their limits. ("Comfort zone" and "limits" aren't necessarily the same thing. It's one thing to persuade someone to continue outside their comfort zone; it's sadism to push them beyond their limits.)

Let us know your plan for the dry run, and for sure let us know how it goes.
Posted by: TomD

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/22/14 02:44 AM

Start here -
Laurel Highlands Trail info

Read what's on the website, then buy the guidebook it mentions. If one of you is going to bail out, you need to know where you are and how you are going to get back to somewhere where you can be picked up. Apparently their are trailheads along the trail and shuttle service, so you won't be all that far from civilization, but you don't have to be far to have a problem.
Posted by: Amr7944

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/22/14 09:35 AM

Already bought it and read it! Thank you!
Posted by: mrnic3guy

Re: 2 people trip... - 04/25/14 04:23 PM

I have hiked sections of the traithe part near the Conemaigh Gap is niceThe shelters are nice too. I have been to the section near the end by the fire tower and part off the Million Dolllar Highway. If you want to see the shelters first hand you can drive up Decker Avenue in the West End it makes a sharp curve amd then after awhile tirns to gravel. You go straight up and youll come to a gate which stops you from going straight but you can make a left make the left go 100 yards. Park at the turn dont park at the gate please. Now go back to the gate head back on the road behind it and its a 1/4 mile to the shelters. You need to make a reservation 30 days in advance its like 2 or 4 bucks a head up to so many people. Just lock your doors if you stay over night shady people go up there to vassels field drink n other things and act a fool.