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#153110 - 07/26/11 01:24 PM New guy to backpacking
Matticus Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 2
Hi all, short time reader, first time caller. I am planning a solo 3-night (technically 4 night) trip on the Superior Hiking Trail in northern MN. I plan on starting at the beginning north of duluth and hiking to Split Rock, roughly 27-29 miles.
Current gear:
Tent: Mountain Hardwear 3-man tent (9ish lbs) I have access to borrow lighter tents but haven't gotten to use this one much.
sleeping bag: Marmot bag (3 lbs)
Pack: rental from REI (6 lbs?)
most of the rest of the gear will be borrowed, except for hiking boots and clothing.

My question is, if my pack weight is sitting around 30 lbs, is 10 miles per day too ambitious? I don't want to end up getting to a campsite with half a day to dicker around, I'd rather hike all day.
Day 1 is 8.6 miles
Day 2 is 10.4 miles
Day 3 is 5.8 miles
Day 4 is 2.4 miles to the car
this itinerary gave me a conservative distance each day to campsites, but not sure if I should do more. I have hiked 10+ miles in a day, but only with a day pack. Took a dry run the other day with 20 lbs in my daypack bag assuming the full size pack would be far more comfortable on the shoulders anyway. The terrain was gentle sloping hills and nice grass trails, did about 6 miles in 2 hours. I know I'll go slower on the trail, but is it pushing it to assume 10 miles a day for 3 full hiking days? I'd love to save some weight bringing no-cook food, recommended? or is hot food a luxury I should definatly have?

I know someone will say get a lighter tent, and im debating it, if I find I enjoy backpacking I will look into buying a tent or hammock for this purpose for next year. Anyone been on this part of the trail and have any advide? I am planning this trip for mid September.

Thanks! advice from experienced folks out there is invaluable!

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#153114 - 07/26/11 02:28 PM Re: New guy to backpacking [Re: Matticus]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Welcome to the forums!

Nine pounds is not a backpacking tent, that's for sure, but you wouldn't be the first to carry one, that's for sure too.

Your milage doesn't sound like too much, but that really depends on your total pack weight and how well you handle it. If you're lugging 45 lbs or more, 10 miles might be more than enough to wear you out.

I'd load the rental pack with all the gear I'd be bringing and do a couple miles to see how it feels.

As far as food goes, you can get freeze dried meals, like "Mountain House" from Wal-Mart for around $6 each. They say on the package that they serve two, but after a long day hiking you'll be eating one all yourself with no problem. I think they're pretty tasty considering the weight. There are other brands that may be better rated by members here that you might want to look into as well. Check out the links on the sidebar of the pages here for more on that.

The main thing you need to remember is to take a break every now and then. If you haven't already, check out the recent thread "Your Most Profound Advice". Although not fully elaborated, most of what's in that thread is really pretty good advice and shouldn't be dismissed or ignored.

Have fun, and post a trip report with pics if you can, we'd all love to see where you went and hear about how your trip went!

_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#153115 - 07/26/11 02:30 PM Re: New guy to backpacking [Re: Matticus]
BZH Online   content
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1105
Loc: Madison, AL
The distance you can cover in a day is mostly dependent on you. 10 miles certainly isn't unreasonable.

With the sort list of gear you provided, I'd be really surprised if your pack weight is below 40 lbs. Since you are renting a backpack, why not rent a tent from REI too.

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#153120 - 07/26/11 04:24 PM Re: New guy to backpacking [Re: BZH]
lv2fsh Offline
member

Registered: 04/27/08
Posts: 111
Loc: socal
You would be surprisd how fast the pack weight sneaks up on you. Unless you are taking two more people or you expect snow, get a lighter tent/smaller tent. I didn't see stove or cooking stuff,clothes,first aid kit,ect. All that stuff adds up fast. I'm guessing more like 50-60 lbs. I'm not even close to UL but I try to keep mine down to 40 or so for that length and I carry all the food and cooking stuff for the two of us so my wife who has medical issues has a 15 or so pack and will still be able to go. The dog carries her own.

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#153121 - 07/26/11 04:44 PM Re: New guy to backpacking [Re: Matticus]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
It depends mostly on how strong a hiker you are - and that depends heavily on age and condition, which we don't know. I can't do any more than 10 or 12 and reach camp by dark; my buddy can do 15-20 by 3pm. (I'm 61; he's 28. I'm an accountant; he's a former SEAL who is now a firefighter, and thru-hiked the AT a few years ago. See what I mean?)

One difference I notice between dayhiking and backpacking is that I tend to take more frequent breaks when backpacking. Part of it is that I'm carrying more weight. But a lot of it is familiarity: I dayhike locally, and end up revisiting places a lot - so there's no need to stop very long at any given place; I'll see it again soon. When I'm backpacking, chances are good that I won't be passing that way again, at least not for quite a while, so I tend to take my time and soak it all in.

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#153134 - 07/27/11 08:17 AM Re: New guy to backpacking [Re: Glenn]
Matticus Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 2
I see some high numbers on weight here. I was going to dump the stove idea and go no-cook, but that seems not to be a common thing to do. clothes will be 2 wicking shirts, one pair of pants that convert to shorts, baselayer (gets into the 30's at night in winter) however may leave that out as I sleep hot, even when it's cold.
1st aid kit.
water and some sort of filter (borrowed)
1.5lbs food/day x 3 days,
the smallest stove I get can my hands on (again, borrowed)
small pocket knife,
thin rope for hanging food
2 pair wool sock (one on foot)

Minimal water will need to be carried, there is an abundance of water where I will be.
sleeping pad (may not bring, never used one in the past)

I've gathered what I could and weighed it, not as heavy as expected, definately not getting near 40lbs. I will see if I can downsize the tent, save myself 6 lbs. I'd like to get below 30lbs.

Thanks for the replies, it helps, I think I need to start getting the borrowed equipment from people so I can nail down the weight. It's hard to plan when you have no idea what you will actually have.


Edited by Matticus (07/27/11 08:19 AM)

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#153138 - 07/27/11 12:22 PM Re: New guy to backpacking [Re: Matticus]
Tipi Walter Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 9
I've carried an 8+ lb tent for about ten years and see no problem with, although I will say my daily limit with an 80 lb pack is between 8 and 9 miles. Seven miles is about perfect. The route schedule you mention looks fairly easy to moderate, no worries.

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#153147 - 07/27/11 04:39 PM Re: New guy to backpacking [Re: Matticus]
BZH Online   content
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1105
Loc: Madison, AL
Originally Posted By Matticus
I see some high numbers on weight here.


Weight adds up much quicker than you think.

Originally Posted By Matticus

I was going to dump the stove idea and go no-cook, but that seems not to be a common thing to do.


People do it, they are usually the more extreme ultra-lighters. Do you really want to spend four days eating nothing but granola bars, trail mix, and energy shakes? Just so you can lug around a heavy tent?

Originally Posted By Matticus

clothes will be 2 wicking shirts, one pair of pants that convert to shorts, baselayer (gets into the 30's at night in winter) however may leave that out as I sleep hot, even when it's cold.

How about some outer layers? A wind breaker, rain protection, a fleece?

Originally Posted By Matticus


1st aid kit.
water and some sort of filter (borrowed)
1.5lbs food/day x 3 days,
the smallest stove I get can my hands on (again, borrowed)

Water storage, pot to boil water, utensils?

Originally Posted By Matticus


small pocket knife,
thin rope for hanging food
2 pair wool sock (one on foot)

Minimal water will need to be carried, there is an abundance of water where I will be.

Water weight is a optimization problem. Cary too much and you pack is burdensome... carry too little and your constantly stopping to pump more water.
Originally Posted By Matticus


sleeping pad (may not bring, never used one in the past)

Sleeping pads are important for insulation. A hot summer night, you might not need it, but what happens if the weather turns bad? The ground will be sucking energy out of you all night.

Originally Posted By Matticus


I've gathered what I could and weighed it, not as heavy as expected, definately not getting near 40lbs. I will see if I can downsize the tent, save myself 6 lbs. I'd like to get below 30lbs.

Thanks for the replies, it helps, I think I need to start getting the borrowed equipment from people so I can nail down the weight. It's hard to plan when you have no idea what you will actually have.

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