Hello, my name is Robby and as you can probably guess by my username I like to skateboard, I realize it seems like a weird name for a backpacking forum but I use this screen name for just about everything so it's easiest for me to just remember ONE name, haha. I'm 20 years old and have recently gotten into backpacking. I don't like considering myself a beginner because I don't want to admit it, but I guess I have to, I'm a complete beginner I've only gone a few times but I do love it and hope to continue going for years and years. I bought a lot of gear from Sport Chalet, REI or Amazon in the past 4 or 5 months when I decided I was going to take it up after going with a friend and borrowing his gear before that. I have a lot of gear that are luxuries that I think are pretty cool but I'm sure most of you hard core guys would almost be embarrassed that someone who wants to consider themselves a backpacker would bring, but I figure if I can comfortably carry it and it will make my trip more enjoyable I'm sure as hell going to do it, haha. I feel that I bring a lot of things that I probably won't in the future but for now they're all nice and even if I went solo the pack still weighs less than 50 pounds full of food and water. I haven't been solo yet but I imagine I will start doing that once I move out of my parents house and can have my own dog (I want a Great Dane, does anyone reading this have a Great Dane they take with them or know someone that does because I want to take a dog camping and I've always been in love with Great Danes and always wanted one) but I'll probably be going solo then because I don't have too many friends that are down to go backpacking and it's hard to get friends to take time off of work at the same time I do and frankly my last 3 trips have all been spur the moment "oh I have a 3 day weekend, I'm going camping" and got lucky enough to have a friend go, my uncle go, then another friend go. Anyways, here's what I bring with me backpacking, some of you will probably just cringe and think I'm ridiculous for bringing everything but the kitchen sink, but hopefully most of you are nice enough about it or don't think I'm over packing, I've been reading in the ultra light section, haha: 88 Liter backpack 3 person tent (I bought this with the intention of camping with 1 or 2 friends but this thing is small/light enough even WITH the fly to where I can fit it comfortably in my pack even if I went solo plus it fits perfectly into a stuff sack that came with my sleeping bag) compact mummybag (3 season bag, I used the stuff sack that came with it for my tent + fly because I can fit this into a smaller stuff sack) I also have a 4 season mummy bag I bought thinking it would be my 1 sleeping bag and I wouldn't buy another but it's a 4 season so it's a lot bigger and doesn't fit into a small stuff sack, so I had to buy my other one which was only $28 on amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001TR7QZA I'd highly recommend it. Leatherman folding knife from gerber I have a bear jar but I don't take that with me if it's not bear county or the park doesn't require you to use one obviously. Jetboil Jetboil frying pan/plate (this was more pricey than I wanted but the frying pan has a radiator looking thing on the bottom to disperse heat evenly and more efficiently I think) spork ax/saw combo that gerber makes, I had a hatchet originally but it wasn't as effective as an ax so decided I might as well, saw pulls out of the handle of the ax. Self inflating sleeping pad 100 foot paracord 550 lbs strength just in case survival/first aid kit a good trail gps (I bought this originally for my dirt bike but it works for hiking too of course, haha) I bring my iPhone on airplane mode because I use it to take pictures and I put some tv shows on there so I can watch something if I want while going to bed. Solar charger from Goal0 and the guide 10 power pack thing they make so I can keep my phone charged, I also use rechargeable batteries in my LED maglite and GPS so I can swap those out and keep those charged too. Obvious toiletries (toothbrush/paste, toilet paper) Electrical tape (smaller than duct tape and I think equally as good. I have a camel back that I take the bladder out of and I tie it to the outside of my backpack and I can keep things like eggs or a luxury soda in there because it's insulated and if I like a particular spot I'm camped at and want to stay there more than 1 night I can use the camel back as a day pack. waterproof matches and a stick of flint or something else like it because I like to try to start the fire with that because I find it cooler/more fun but the waterproof matches are a backup. Water filter folding shovel extra pair of jeans/t shirt/swim suit/underwear/socks for each day/one of those small towels 2 AA LED maglite Deck of cards head lamp
I'm sure there's more but I'm just laying here in bed trying to think and I can't think of other things although I'm sure there are other small things. As of right now even if I went solo with all of that the pack is only 40-45 lbs which I can deal with (and have even though I didn't go solo I had to carry basically everything). As you can tell I don't exactly go light, but I like what I bring, even if I don't use it all I like knowing I have it in case.
I've also been wanting to make this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Multi-Function-Walking-Stick-Converts-into-a-Cha/ which is a hiking stick which converts into a chair/little compartment for stuff/torch but haven't gotten around to it yet. I want a hiking stick and this seems like a good idea instead of finding a stick and it serves multiple purposes. Have any of you guys made this? Anything bad to say about it?
Alright, that's a heck of a long intro sorry about that, hopefully some of you read through it and will welcome me though, I hope to stick around and check the site every day or so.
It would help us to know when and where you'll be camping. Gear choices tend to be driven by expected conditions (mostly weather and terrain), so we'll be able to help you better by knowing this information. (For example, one question I have is what you're using for an insulating layer - but if all your hiking is in southern Georgia and norther Florida, you may not need a serious insulation layer.)
My first comment is about your clothing. Don't bring the extra jeans and t-shirt for each day. In fact, don't bring the jeans and t-shirt you're wearing! With the exception of the desert, cotton is just about the worst fabric for backpacking. Get a pair of quick-dry nylon shorts or pants (or pants where you can zip off the legs to make shorts), and a synthetic wicking T-shirt; REI has tons of these to choose from. Cotton is cold when wet, heavy when wet, and almost impossible to keep dry; if temperatures drop below 50, just sweating in a T-shirt can leave you flirting with hypothermia. Ditch the cotton!
My next comment is that you choose your sleeping bag by expected weather conditions, not how well it fits into your pack. Most people have two bags (at least): a three-season bag with a 30 - 50 degree comfort rating, and a winter bag with a 0 - 30 degree rating. The precise rating depends on where you camp. I camp in the east central US, where summers are hot and winters are generally milder. My three season bag is a 40-degree hoodless bag, which usually gets zipped open and used as a quilt, if it gets used at all. My winter bag is a hooded 20-degree bag, because I rarely go out when it's colder than that.
My second comment would be to question why you feel you need an axe/saw and a shovel. Many places, it's illegal to chop or cut standing trees; since you're carrying a stove and a tent, it certainly isn't necessary to be cutting trees for shelter building or cooking fires, and excavation of a campsite is generally frowned upon - not to mention plain hard work. Personally, I quit carrying an axe after my first backpacking trip (when I never used it), and have never wished I had one. As far as digging, a snow stake is plenty good for digging a cat hole, and I don't need to dig anything any bigger. But that's me.
You're off to a decent start, and most important: you've started! Getting out is the most important thing; the gear will change and evolve as your hiking and camping styles develop. For now, just keep going out, let us know how your trips go, and keep asking questions. You've made a couple of good steps to start, and just need to build on that.
One last tip: read the next thread down, about letting someone know where you're going. It's one of those things that should become automatic when you are planning a trip.
Glenn made some good observations here...but everyone has to hike their own hike, and if you want to carry more than you need to carry, that's your business, not ours.
That said. I never take jeans (they weigh a ton and never dry out if they get wet--talk about DEAD weight!) and I take ONE shirt for the whole trip. It's synthetic, dries in an hour, and weighs about 5 ounces.
And I never take the following things that you carry:
Sodas Ice pack leatherman (what equipment will you fix with the screwdriver, wrench, pliers, etc? A simple sewing kit with needle and thread make a lot more sense backpacking)
Electronics of any kind...except a camera that weighs about 9 ounces. No battery, no charger, no weight.
axe, saw, or shovel...I take a very lightweight plastic trowel instead..and almost never make a fire. If we do make a fire, it is with downed wood, and small pieces so that it is easy to control.
And for an eight day trip I still only carry a 55liter backpack
I figure if you leave the jeans, leatherman, sodas, ice pack, axe, shovel and larger pack behind...you will cut something between ten and fifteen pounds from your pack.
Which will put you at 35-40 pounds. Much better. More fun. And if you think about it a little more, I bet you can get it down to thirty. That's a huge difference.
I guess I mis spoke, I don't carry extra jeans for each day, I have 1 extra pair of jeans (if I'm going to be gone for more than 4 days, but if less I don't take any extra pants, same with shirts) however you guys have made an excellent point and driven it home about the jeans being heavier than nylon so I'll go find myself a pair of those.
The ax/saw I like having in places like Big Sur because they have a lot of fallen trees and big branches that need to be cut. I don't use really thick branches of course, it's all stuff that could be broken by stomping on but I'd prefer not to risk hurting my foot. Shovel I have but I've only taken it once (and only then because my friend and I were splitting gear between the two of us so weight wasn't really an issue). And that goes for the soda's too, I would be just fine with the powder drinks that you can get at the grocery store that you add to a bottle of water, I really like the Arizona green tea ones, but it was a cool luxury to have a soda. The electronics is just my phone (which I use as a camera) and I obviously won't be ditching that for a lighter camera because of the safety of having a phone, my gps is electronic but I feel safe with that, especially as a beginner the more I have to know where I am the better. I assume you were referring to the solar charger but to be honest I don't think I'll bring that after last trip, I was just fine using the guide 10 power pack and having 4 extra rechargeable batteries. I was able to plug in my phone and charge it (and my friends phone who was taking a LOT of videos as it was his first backpacking adventure). Last time I went I didn't use my phone for anything else (i.e. music/watching videos or anything else) but it is nice to be able to if I wanted or was alone. I will never ditch my leatherman for another multi tool because they're expensive and this is my dad's old one so I didn't have to spend a cent on it. I'll admit last time I went out I didn't use it once compared to my other knife, but I do like having it if I need the pliers or something else in there, it's not like it takes up room or is heavy, so I'm fine with it. Like I said though the shovel/axe/saw aren't things I would take with me every time I go, it's a matter of where I go and when.
And like you said about the sleeping bags, I do have 2 sleeping bags, a 3 and a 4 season one just like you said, I just mentioned size because I bought the 3 season after buying the 4 season and seeing how much space the 4 season one took.
Thanks for the welcomes and for helping me out, I'll definitely have to go get some nylon pants now.
I am glad you are ditching those jeans (and all other cotton) in favor of synthetic fabrics. Cotton, especially heavy cotton jeans, absorb moisture readily, are extremely heavy when wet and are slow to dry (what's the last item out of the clothes dryer?). They are therefore a sure ticket to hypothermia in cool, damp weather. My daughter went into the beginning stages of hypothermia while wearing jeans in wet brush with temps in the low 60's. By the time the rest of us realized what was wrong, she was already incoherent and would not have been able to help herself.
While you haven't given us an idea of your location (as earlier requested), you do mention Big Sur. Before building any campfires, please check local campfire regulations. I know that California, where there have been many devastating fires, is particularly strict about banning campfires in times of high fire danger, as is the Forest Service in Washington and Oregon. In other places, campfires are often banned above a certain altitude (due to impact and lack of fuel) or in heavily used areas. I've found a lightweight stove so much more convenient that I have not built a campfire in many years, except in designated car-camping campgrounds or at the beach below high tide line.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I concur with the others who recommend ditching the cotton. I will add to the recommendation of synthetics,... wool and silk. These natural fibers also make excellent backcountry articles of clothing, especially merino wool (it isn't scratchy likes grandpas wool).
Welcome to the group. Just get out there and you will learn what you don't need (or no longer want) to pack in.
before I go in anywhere I go to the ranger station and make sure fires are allowed and get a permit if needed and check to see if they have any trail maps or any thing like that. I don't just go in, I make sure everything is allowed and stuff. I didn't realize when I registered this was a light weight backpacking forum, it was just the first one up on google, however I see the motto at the top is "packing light is more fun" haha silly me.
"The electronics is just my phone (which I use as a camera) and I obviously won't be ditching that for a lighter camera because of the safety of having a phone, my gps is electronic but I feel safe with that, especially as a beginner the more I have to know where I am the better. I assume you were referring to the solar charger but to be honest I don't think I'll bring that after last trip, I was just fine using the guide 10 power pack and having 4 extra rechargeable batteries. I was able to plug in my phone and charge it (and my friends phone who was taking a LOT of videos as it was his first backpacking adventure). Last time I went I didn't use my phone for anything else (i.e. music/watching videos or anything else) but it is nice to be able to if I wanted or was alone. I will never ditch my leatherman for another multi tool because they're expensive and this is my dad's old one so I didn't have to spend a cent on it. I'll admit last time I went out I didn't use it once compared to my other knife, but I do like having it if I need the pliers or something else in there, it's not like it takes up room or is heavy, so I'm fine with it. Like I said though the shovel/axe/saw aren't things I would take with me every time I go, it's a matter of where I go and when."
So take all of those things and put the on a kitchen scale together a see what they weigh: Phone, GPS, batteries, powerpack, leatherman...you'll be amazed at what you don't need to carry because you never use it!
There's still a lot of information on these forums that is about backpacking in general. Many, but not all, of us default to the lighter solutions to a problem because it has worked well for us.Just remember that lightweight is only one solution in a set of solutions (sounds like algebra or calculus, doesn't it?) Just because our gear talk is generally toward the lighter end of the scale doesn't mean your questions won't get answered "right" - after all, walking is still a matter of "right, left, right, left" regardless of how much your pack weighs, and the trees and mountains still look the same. Just be sure to remind us, from time to time, if you're not looking for the lightest gear - we are usually familiar with a lot of the spectrum. And often, the techniques that work with light gear work just as well with "heavy" gear: using freezer bag cooking works pretty much the same regardless of whether you choose a titanium, aluminum, or steel pot, and most spoons work about the same way regardless of material.
Yeah, your list is pretty heavy. Yeah, this is a lightweight forum. But....dude, your 20. My advice is take what you want, and over time pair it down that way you want to. By the time you hit 30, you will want a lighter pack, and by then you will probably have the gear and knowledge to do it. Right now, get outside and enjoy the outdoors. At your age, you won't notice the weight as much. Most of us here started out with heavy gear, and gained experience and knowledge to drop weight. We didn't die in the process. In fact, we enjoyed it enough to continue. Good luck.
Oh yeah, we do want you to stay and hang around here. Read all the stuff on the main page that supports this forum. Contribute to the discussions with your experiences. And, post your adventures, especially things that you learned. We want to hear about them.
Edited by finallyME (08/03/1111:43 AM)
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
Yeah, your list is pretty heavy. Yeah, this is a lightweight forum. But....dude, your 20. My advice is take what you want, and over time pair it down that way you want to. By the time you hit 30, you will want a lighter pack, and by then you will probably have the gear and knowledge to do it. Right now, get outside and enjoy the outdoors. At your age, you won't notice the weight as much. Most of us here started out with heavy gear, and gained experience and knowledge to drop weight. We didn't die in the process. In fact, we enjoyed it enough to continue.
And save it in word processing. It needs to be reposted occasionally
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not." Yogi Berra
Gear is not all to consider. It is very important to know how to read a map (in addition to having a GPS), at least read about wilderness first aid (do you know how properly use everything in your first aid kit?), know how to camp environmentally sound (leave-no-trace methods), safety (like how to recognize hypothermia), emergency plans (what to do if you get hurt), how to safely cross streams, to mention a few. If you build fires, how to completely extinguish a fire, where it is OK to use fires, where it is not. If you learn good wilderness skills, later you can venture off trail- a very rewarding activity. You did not say where you live, but REI gives free orienteering classes. There are good books about backpacking and wilderness savety you may be able to check out from your local library. Experience is a good teacher, but doing the same wrong thing over and over will just get you expeperience at doing things wrong. Mother nature is generally quite forgiving, but do unsafe backpacking enough and you will eventually get into a bad situation.
Years ago took a friend on a 10-day backpack. He insisted on jeans. We also took more appropriate nylon hiking pants. By day 3 jeans were continually soaked; amazing how uncomfortable it is to walk distance (particulary uphill) in wet tight jeans; Day 4 he threw them in the fire and burried the remains (not the best choice environmentally). A lesson was learned.
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