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#118428 - 07/17/09 01:40 PM New to Backpacking
zeppelin03 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/17/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
I'm looking to start backpacking this year. I've been camping and hiking but want to take it to the next level. I started reading about supplies and backpacking in general, but have become overwhelmed.

Anyone know where I should start? Should i look at gear first? Any notable information i would be advised to read. If you have any advice or directions to go in let me know. I'm a bit scrambled at this point.

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#118434 - 07/17/09 02:54 PM Re: New to Backpacking [Re: zeppelin03]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Welcome to the forum!

http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/gear/index.html
Mark Verber's site is a great, concise resource to start. It can help sort out what you really want from a gear list like http://www.backpacking.net/cheklist.html or http://www.backpacking.net/18-pound.html

If you haven't done any backpacking at all, check around your area for any clubs or groups that go and for sport stores or outdoor retailers like REI that rent gear. Rent a pack, stove, sleeping pad/bag, and tent. (and appropriate food storage - some areas require bear cans). Find a nice low mileage outing either with a group or with a friend and hike a few miles, set up and experiment. See how you like carrying a pack on some trails before you commit to more than a night in the sticks. You don't even need to haul dehydrated food if you don't want to - a sandwich, a bagel, a tupperware of frozen leftovers to reheat in camp, even a can of chili are all fair game for a low mileage overnight trip. Worry about food when you get the gear figured.

The only way to really know a lot about what you need is to try it out and see. Then a lot of the overwhelming info on the forum and other backpacking sites starts to make more sense and be less overwhelming. If you go with a group there will be a mix of experienced and beginner packers - you can get a good look at other people's choices and ask why they brought this or that stove, and get a look at the different styles of cooking and sleeping.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#118442 - 07/17/09 05:48 PM Re: New to Backpacking [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
All the articles on the home page of this site ("TLB Home"), listed in the left-hand column, are well worth a read and are a good place to start.

As Lori said, renting or borrowing gear, or buying used gear, to start out is an excellent idea. It will be heavy, but it will get you out there with a minimum investment. Once you get "hooked" and gain some experience, you can start thinking about spending money. Above all, do not put yourself at the mercy of a clerk in a camping or sporting goods store (that includes REI and EMS)--you'll end up with a 7-lb. tent, 6-lb. pack, 5 lb. sleeping bag, a total pack weight of 50-60 lbs. and a very empty wallet! Within a year you'll be shopping again for lighter weight versions of that expensive initial outlay. Shop judiciously, check reviews, ask around. Do follow the excellent advice of buying your pack last, so it fits the size of your gear.

On Mark Verber's excellent website that Lori linked to, there are lots of useful links. One of them is to "Backpacking for Cheap." His descriptions of the different gear available in each category also include budget options (at the end of the article). Clothing, especially, can often be found at thrift shops or military surplus stores or in the athletic departments of stores such as Target, KMart or Walmart. You may have quite a bit of suitable clothing in your closet or drawers already. Just avoid cotton!

Googling "hiking groups Cleveland" may get you together with some like-minded folk who could help you out.

Welcome to the forum and to the world of backpacking!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#118448 - 07/17/09 08:43 PM Re: New to Backpacking [Re: OregonMouse]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
I don't know so much about renting gear but I do know that lori and oreganmouse are right about one thing. You have to go and get out there in the back country just to see and feel the things that you need to see and feel to really know what you might want to take on a trip for one night or a trip that you stay multiple nights, you just have to figure it out for your self. On an occasion, I trek with a few friends of mine and their idea of what they need is totally different than what I might carry with me and it all works out the same for every one.
Some of the things that they carry I don't even carry...at all... And then there are the things that you just would not l;eave home with out. One of my buddies still carries the old fashioned canister type stove and the thing must weigh 5lbs., but he carries it none the less and he seems like he really enjoys the thing too. I just couldn't deal with the thing but it seems to work just fine for him and he has had it a very long time too.
So with all this being said, you just have to get out there and give it your best shot. You would be amazed at the gear list that you can get worked out on an over nighter. Just get out there and start walking and I can promise you that it will take no time at all to get a great gear list figured out...sabre11004... goodjob
_________________________
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

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#118456 - 07/17/09 11:50 PM Re: New to Backpacking [Re: zeppelin03]
zeppelin03 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/17/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Im thinking I would like to buy boots. And rent a tent and pack for my first go. It seems sensible to build some items myself.

Im looking at building a plumbers stove.

What about water? Is it best to carry a bunch in, or would i be better carrying tablets or boiling?

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#118458 - 07/18/09 02:19 AM Re: New to Backpacking [Re: zeppelin03]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Homemade alcohol stoves (using denatured alcohol or HEET) are very popular. This site has lots of ideas.

If you can keep total pack weight down to the low 30's in poundage, trail runners are far more comfortable than boots unless you're going to be doing a lot of off-trail hiking in scree, etc. Regular running shoes are fine if the soles have deep enough tread for a grip on slippery surfaces. If you decide on boots instead, get really light ones, no more than 2 pounds per pair. Goretex boot/shoe linings, IMHO, don't breathe enough to keep you from having wet, sweaty feet all the time. If you get them wet (get in water over the tops or similar disaster), they take days to dry out. Well-ventilated shoes dry a lot faster and are more comfortable.

If you do a search here you'll find a lot about treating water. I don't think anyone boils--it uses a lot of fuel and the water tastes really flat. Some use chlorine dioxide (Katadyn Micropur tabs or AquaMira). This requires several hours to kill the nasties so requires you to carry more water. Some prefer filters. Just don't use iodine--adverse reactions to it are common (I am so sensitized to it that I can't eat seafood or anything made with iodized salt) and it isn't as effective as chlorine dioxide.

There's a big section here on making your own gear.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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