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#154235 - 09/01/11 06:13 PM Need LOTS of help
kievalina Offline
member

Registered: 09/01/11
Posts: 38
Loc: metro detroit, mi
Hi all. I'm looking at going on a first backpacking trip and I am totally clueless. I have done short day hikes (like, 6 miles and under), but have never camped or used a pack before.

Other concerns: I live in Michigan. Which is flat. MT is apparently not flat. Peak elevation on the trail will be about 10k feet. I have no perspective whatsoever on what that means for me, physically. All I know is it's somewhere between flat and Mt. Everest. Not all that helpful.

I am so clueless I don't even know what I don't know at this point. I have almost a year before this trip, but am starting to think about it now, mostly because I'm geeked already.

The tentative plan is: 26 miles, east rosebud trail (aka the beaten path) in MT, done sometime late July to mid-August. I'd be going with 2 people who have done the hike once already. 2 of us will be newbies in every sense. I'm a 29 yo female, not overweight, but just slightly out of shape from inactivity (stay at home parent to a 5 yo).

Instead of rambling on any more, can someone tell me what other info would be relevant in order for you all to provide some guidance?

Also, I'm sure there are other threads that can provide some helpful, somewhat generic info to me so you don't have to re-write entire threads. I have been reading articles, etc. online, but being such a novice, most of them are way over my head. I need a Backpacking for Idiots type book and/or discussion!

TIA!

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#154237 - 09/01/11 06:42 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
The good news is, you have a year to prepare. Usually people start to do things a few weeks before the planned trip - it's sort of beyond anyone's help by then.

I'd find a buddy and plan a single night trip somewhere, at mid-elevation - somewhere between 6,000 - 8,000 feet. Rent some backpacking gear (you can do that, get a sleeping bag and pad, tent, backpack and stove) and take some simple food - doesn't even have to be freeze dried special meals, don't bother with worrying about that yet. Sandwiches and snacks will get you through two days of hiking fine. See how you do with something 5-7 miles out and back to the car.

My concerns with someone like you would be 1) are you really going to like backpacking? and 2) how are you going to do with elevation? Because if you haven't hiked up to 9-10k before, that could be really hard, and potentially dangerous (there is a thing called altitude sickness, and sometimes people have symptoms as low as 5,000 feet). Especially if you haven't built up some endurance for the trail.

Keep dayhiking as much as you can, look at the gear lists and articles in the left column here at backpacking.net (did you see those already?) and read up on the threads here in the Beginners subforum. There's a lot of info here already.
_________________________
"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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#154239 - 09/01/11 07:05 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3183
Loc: Portland, OR
Welcome! lori has already given you much excellent advice.

It is probably too early to address this, but here goes... when the time comes that you are putting together your pack, choosing clothes and gear for this hike, fight as hard as you can against the urge to put things into your pack because you 'might need them'.

This is common for beginners, who feel uneasy about facing the unknown and end up taking many items they don't need just for the psychological comfort they provide. They throw in too many clothes, too much food, and gear that never gets used even once, on theory that 'this sweater isn't very heavy, so why not'.

There is just one drawback to this approach: you're going to be lugging that stuff up and down mountainsides, in thin air, and every part of your body and mind will know how many pounds you are carrying. Be kind to yourself and keep your pack as light as you know how to. When you are on the trail the wisdom of this will become utterly clear to you.

Happy hiking!

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#154240 - 09/01/11 07:56 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 1102
Loc: Madison, AL
First you should get some experience backpacking. Short 1-2 nighters over the weekend. Heck your 5 y.o. could even come along if the trail is short (check the subsection on backpacking with kids!). This experience will get you used to the equipment and (as noted above) used to knowing what to leave behind.

In terms of elevation change, living in the LP is no excuse. It is the net sum of the amount of time hiking uphill that matters. It is just as hard walking up and down many small hills as it is walking up and down one big hill. The sand dunes along Lake Michigan would give you a cardio work-out that you would be hard press to match even at elevation. Heck cross the bridge, there are plenty of hills in the UP (where I grew up).

Knowing how you are going to acclimate to elevation is a more difficult problem. I think the Porcupine Mountains is the highest point in Michigan. Its probably pretty far from you and its not the high (2000 Ft). If you can't get to elevation before you trip, get to your destination a few days before the hike so you can see how your body acclimates. Also read up on what to do to prevent altitude sickness.

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#154241 - 09/01/11 08:31 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I've read up on the trail. It looks quite interesting (which means HILLY. If you go south to north 2/3 will be downhill.

The review I saw said most people take 5 days which is a long time for a first backpacking trip. There can still be freezing weather there at that time of year, and possibly some snow.

Have the ones who invited you research the trail and see if there is a way to get off it everyday.

Ok, that's the bad news. You CAN do it.

Backpacking for idiots:

Break it down into modules and solve it one problem at a time.

1. Sleeping
2. Shelter
3. Clothes
4. Eating
5. Warmth
6. Staying dry
7. Hydration
8. Packing
9. Hiking.

Let's pick sleeping. You will have a sleeping bag. For that weather probably rated to 20 degrees. It can't be too expensive unless you are rich. But it should be a quality brand. Which one? I'll leave that to the experts here.

Too keep it simple, I'd suggest shopping at REI. If you become a member ($20 for life) everything is super easy to return even without the receipt. They say you can return it for life. But don't just go and see what they have in stock as this time of year, their camping supplies are a little short.

I'll start it off with an example. Others will have better choices.

sleeping bag

Weight will become a big factor. Try to keep the bag below 3 pounds. Around 2 pounds would be even better.

Yes, it's expensive, but cheaper than 3 nights in a motel.

Once you have the bag, sleep in it. At home on the floor. In the backyard on a tarp. Then you will be familiar with one aspect and can come back for the next chapter.

Gram Cracker
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#154244 - 09/01/11 09:46 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
FredMT Offline
member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 38
Start with the easy things. Make a reservation for dinner at the Grizzly Bar in Rosco. They are pretty famous around here. 26 miles doesn't tell me much. Is that 13 miles in and 13 miles back out the same way? What lake is your destination? How many days? Is the middle day a day hike up to 10,000 ft. or do you plan on camping up there on the rocks? If you come to Billings (3200) for a day, then go to Rosco for dinner and camp at the trail head (6200) the night before the hike, it would help with altitude problems. Hills at home (or long stairs) should help with the rest. It has snowed on me above 9,000 ft. up there in mid summer, but it blows through pretty fast. A 30 degree bag is good for me, but that means the rating has to be accurate. For most bags off the shelf, I would go with a 20 degree bag. Are You fishing or just hiking? Are you sharing a tent etc, or trying to pack solo? Bring bear spray. Get it in Billings. Are you good with sleeping on hard ground, or do you need practice sleeping on a skinny slippery mat? Water is the most important thing you will need. Fortunately, you should not need to carry much. A cheap squeeze bottle with a .1 Micron filter is all you need if you pick your refill spots carefully. That means away from the trail on the uphill side. Give us more details for more good advice.
Good luck!


Edited by FredMT (09/01/11 09:48 PM)

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#154247 - 09/01/11 11:08 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: FredMT]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
You've got time to do three things-get yourself in shape for hiking, buy appropriate gear and clothes and learn what to do. For getting in shape, you can do walks around your neighborhood wearing your boots or shoes you plan on using and a pack loaded to the approximate weight you will be carrying. Water jugs will work for the weight. Start slow with short walks and work up to longer walks.

Read-The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher, often found at your local library or available from Amazon and other booksellers. This is the "bible" of backpacking. There are other good books, but this one has all the basics in it. Fletcher died a few years ago, but the book carries on with a co-author.

As other members have said, don't buy gear at random, buy your pack last (you buy a pack to hold your gear, not to fill up with gear you bought and consider each part of your gear selection as part of a system, like building a house. You don't buy construction materials just because they are on sale, you buy what you need. Same idea.

Altitude-this could be a problem. They only real way to adjust to altitude is to be there. I know this from living at 12K for a year or so. Not everyone acclimatizes the same way. Getting as fit as you can will help.

_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#154249 - 09/02/11 06:10 AM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
GrumpyGord Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 935
Loc: Michigan
As a fellow Michigander I can tell you that the elevation is going to be your biggest problem. Try to team up with some locals and do a couple of trips with others. I live in Grand Rapids and there are quite a few backpackers in this area as well as some folks who organize trips for beginners. Take a look at the local North Country Trail chapter. Some of them do trips and you will meet like minded folks.

As far as buying equipment, stay away from the big places. There is a small outdoor store here where you could spend some time with some very knowledgeable folks.

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#154256 - 09/02/11 01:06 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
kievalina Offline
member

Registered: 09/01/11
Posts: 38
Loc: metro detroit, mi
Wow. Lots of replies. Thanks all!

I'll try to address some things you brought up.

One thing is that I'll have very little control over the itinerery because I won't have a car. I'll probably either be riding in with my (other) stepbrother or I'll be taking Amtrak and then catching a ride with my dad/stepbrother a few hours to the trailhead. This means that I don't have any idea (at least, not yet) of how early I will arive, what kind of training I can get in there before we go, etc. I do know it won't be more than a day or two since my husband will have to take off work that whole time to be home with our daughter.

I have no way to get to any "real" elevation here in my state. Realistically, I also won't be able to get up to the UP before then, either. I have done Sleeping Bear Dunes. (In fact, my daughter did it at age 3, not quite 4. She is one tough kid; I don't know how many miles it was to Lake Michigan and back, but she walked the whole way there, wind blowing in our faces, sand in our eyes/noses/mouths; then when we GOT to Lake Mich. the sky turned dark and a nice, cold rain blew in... it was a long, cold, wet, windy walk back. We did carry her for much of the way back because the poor kid's lips were blue with cold. We are lucky our daughter still loves us after THAT one.)

Anyway, I saw that the recommendation for the trail in MT was something like 3 days. We are going to take 6 to 8 days to do the hike. I believe the first day will be 8 miles to Rainbow Lake and may be the most difficult stretch of the hike. So, this is not a hike halfway in and hike back out; it's a hike through.

I haven't yet figured out if I'm sharing a tent with anyone or not. I'd kind of like to just for comfort (not to be alone), but we'll see. Right now, the plan is to do this particular hike and to have 4 of us going, but it may only be 3 and it's even possible that this won't be the exact hike we do. It's far away yet and so there's a lot I just can't know for sure yet. (I'm really probably posting this all too soon, but like I said, I'm kind of geeked.)

My dad and stepbrother physically prepped for this for about 4 months before the trip, both being in pretty good shape to start with.

As far as fishing, my dad said the fishing wasn't as good as he was hoping it'd be and he wasn't going to bother taking his fishing gear next time.

It will be difficult for me to take practice mini-trips because I don't want to take my daughter camping until I know what I'm doing (both my husband and my daughter would be whining and would never, ever camp with me again if I messed it up) and I don't have any close friends who camp. However, I have a friend whose husband camps and hikes. We are not terribly close (just re-connecting for the first time since high school, really) and I may see if they can humor me and take me with them some time when they go.

Also the rest of this camping season is pretty much over for me (I am not going to start trying to camp in the winter, that's for sure!) because my mom just passed away in July and I'm dealing with a LOT right now.

One specific question I had, and someone answered it a bit: What is a reasonable weight to expect for, say, a pack, or a bag, or boots or clothes? I'd really like to have as little weight as possible since I think the weight of the pack is goig to be one of my biggest hurdles on this trip. And I am slightly freaked out about the possibility of snow and cold weather. I have seen pics of people hiking in places with some snow on the ground in shorts. How warm do my clothes really need to be for this area? I imagine I need to make sure I've got either a warm bag or warm clothes at night, but if I'm working hard hiking... I just really don't want to overpack, but freezing doesn't sound too fun, either. I guess another thing is that the amount of hiking each days sounds like it will be moderate, having us rolling into camp each day around 3 or 4 p.m. So that would mean sitting around camp for a few hours and I suppose those few hours would be mighty unpleasant if I had no warm clothes. How do I calculate what clothes I will need and how much? I'm all for multi-purposing things, layering, etc. and keeping the weight down.

Also I burn so this may affect my clothing choices as well? I'm worried I'm doomed to be hot and miserable so I don't burn.

Thanks again.

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#154263 - 09/02/11 02:50 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Hi, kievalina:

I sent you a private mail (PM) regarding gear, so I won't repeat that here (if you're not sure how to access it, just click on the little flashing icon up by "My Stuff."

Anyhow, to make a very long story short: if you are not sharing gear, and are willing to use lightweight (not necessarily ultralight, but light) gear, it's pretty easy to get a pack weight, before you add fuel, water, food, and clothing, of about 15 pounds. To that, add 2 pounds for each iter of water (I plan to carry only 1 liter, which gets me from stream to stream easily here in the east - talk to others for how much to carry where you're going.) Add 1 or 2 pounds of food per day (I'm older, and eat very simply, so I'm down around 1 pound; I have a friend who likes to cook, and he carries about two pounds a day - plus an extra pound of kitchen gear for preparing his feasts.) If you're using down clothing, figure 2 - 3 pounds of cold-weather clothing, and for more than a weekend, add a pound for spare hiking clothes. If you're using sythetic insulation instead of down, add another pound. Then add any non-essential gear, like fishing poles, books, iPods, cameras, chair kits, etc. Given those very rough rules of thumb, and minimizing non-essentials, you should be able to stay at or under 30 pounds without much problem. Sharing gear (which it sounds like you're going to do) will make it even easier, and may mean you'll be carrying 25 pounds or less.

Please understand, I'm not guaranteeing anything - the type of gear you choose (which will be driven by price as well as weight consideration) will be the main determinant of whether you can hit these goals. But, "30 pounds" gives you a budget to work with. You can make trade-offs within that budget: if you want to save money by using a synthetic sleeping bag and jacket, you can offset the weight gain by deciding to carry only a single small mug/pot and stove, which will move you toward 1 pound of food a day because you'll have to eat more simply (start by tossing all the cocoa mix and such - my son and I did that before heading to Isle Royale one year, and found that we saved nearly a pound each.) You might have to decide to leave the fishing gear and iPod behind, too. You get the idea. If you decide you can sleep comfortably on a closed-cell foam pad instead of the self-inflating pad I included in the 15 pound starting load, you can spend the half pound of weight you save on something else.

Your first goal should be to come up with a fairly complete gear list. Post it here, without weight, and ask us to review it and eliminate the stuff that isn't necessary. Then you can start picking out specific brands and models of gear and assigning weights to each item - and then give us a whack at that list before you start spending money!

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#154271 - 09/02/11 07:56 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
See, the problem is, you won't know how to do it til you do it. I posted what I wish someone had told me before I went out for the first time in decades (used to go as a kid, but kids experience far less misery than middle aged adults under same conditions!).

The problem is that making your first backpacking trip a multi-day outing will mean increasing (by probably quite a lot) the risk that you will not have a great time. My first backpack was a miserable painful experience. And I had been dayhiking a lot, and done quite a lot of research on gear. Yet the backpack didn't work out for me, the shoes were not right, and there were some miserable miles with tears streaming down my face. Had I been on a multi day with other people, I would have had the problem of suffering on for the remainder of the trip and keeping my mouth shut, or suffering back to the car with the disappointed friends going with me, because it is just not right to leave a miserable backpacker and go have a good time while they limp back out of the wilderness.

If you can't manage at least a car camping outing with the gear - fill up the backpack like you're going overnight, take it dayhiking, come home, set up camp in the back yard and play backpacker. Seriously, it sounds dumb - people think I am nuts for taking stoves and such on dayhikes all the time. You test the gear before you rely on it. It's not about what works for other people, it's about what works for you. More people take more gear back to REI because some sales guy sold them THEIR favorite stove, boots, whatever, and it just was not what that hiker needed. A newbie backpacker on one of our hiking group's easy overnight trips stopped half a mile short of the lake we were heading for and camped right next to the trail because she could not take another step. The next day she and another hiker packed back out again because she was throwing up - could not climb higher than 7,000 feet in elevation. She had brought a white gas stove the salesman talked her into and could not get it to reliably light without overpriming it and nearly torched her shirt with it. And of course, she isn't listening to the rest of us when we tell her it's probably better to start shorter and slower. She did it TWICE. And got lost into the bargain because she absolutely would not consider NOT going back by herself, because she didn't want to inconvenience anyone. The first backpack was six miles out without a lot of elevation gain. The second was about the same. Same results. She spent the entire second day sleeping, on the first trip. She had been dayhiking, kayacking, riding her horse, going to the gym, and thought she was going to be ok.

My suggestions still stand... I respect that scheduling and priorities are there, but I'm not just talking about something I haven't tried to help people with over and over and over. I have a hiking group of 1300+ people, and at any given time five or six of them are trying to figure out this backpacking thing - between my own learning curve and theirs, it's a pretty sure thing that you don't know until you go. You may very well do it and do very well - you might not. Gear testing and trying some miles with the full backpack only help you determine ahead of time the likelihood of successful, enjoyable backpacking.

I made no suggestions about gear because you are getting started very early, and you seem to be thinking through and dayhiking... so I think you will be able to figure out things like that without my help. I'm not hiking in places you're going, so others will have better suggestions than me.

Good luck on your planning, and hope all goes well.
_________________________
"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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#154272 - 09/02/11 09:31 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By lori
If you can't manage at least a car camping outing with the gear - fill up the backpack like you're going overnight, take it dayhiking, come home, set up camp in the back yard and play backpacker. Seriously, it sounds dumb - people think I am nuts for taking stoves and such on dayhikes all the time


I don't think it's dumb at all.

Monday, I'm taking the shortest backpacking trip of the year. I'm going to hike about 2 blocks and practice setting up the hammock in the local park. I'll try to set it up in a few different places.

I'll bring a full pack with me and cook a meal while I'm there.

I'm going to try to get out next weekend for the real thing with the hammock and see how it goes. It might be a disaster because my hammock is crude, but it will tell me more about what I need.



_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#154273 - 09/02/11 10:27 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: lori]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I also agree - get the camping stuff worked out before you commit to 6 days. If you can't get away for a whole weekend, take your gear to a nearby state park and camp in the car-camping campground. Leave on Friday, after work; you might even get to hike for an hour or so with your pack after you get your site. Take only your backpack with your food and gear, and then pretend that the car isn't there. (Some parks have "overflow" parking lots a few hundred yards from the campsite area; you can even park there, and carry your pack to your site. Live out of your pack overnight, then pack up and hike for another hour or so Saturday morning, then drive home.

Do that once or twice, at least, before you commit to a long trip. Heck, I still do it every spring as a shakedown for my gear to make sure everything still works.

If you get a twenty degree bag, and are expecting temperatures around 50 or 60 during the day, and 30 at night, camp in those conditions around home - that might extend your opportunities into late October or early November, and let you start again next April. (Here in southern Ohio, that covers pretty much March 1 through Thanksgiving.)

Your idea about getting friends to let you tag along is also good.

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#154275 - 09/02/11 10:42 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: Glenn]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 514
Loc: Virginia
Fall and Spring are also really nice times to go camping.

I don't remember not camping when I was growing up, but I introduced my kids to camping by going in the backyard with a tent and basic sleeping gear - it is a really smart way to lower the cost of failure.

The older two are now going backpacking with me - even while I'm learning to do it better. They don't know the difference, so long as I keep them safe, warm, and fed.

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#154279 - 09/03/11 02:52 AM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: kievalina]
FredMT Offline
member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 38
Do take their advice to heart, but don't let it scare you. Chances are that keeping up with a 5 year old and carrying her around has gotten you some good training. The trails are usually well groomed. Yellowstone park is mostly all above 7500. If altitude sickness were that common you would see people dropping all over the place. You will go over the Beartooth pass while shutling vehicles. It's elevation is just as high as your pack trip will be. Get out and take a half hour walk up there to get the feel of it. I wear North Face mid hiking shoes (waterproof). If I remember correctly, you will not NEED to cross any water deeper than that. I wear "nylon" pants with zip-off legs and bring a silk base layer, mid-weight middle layer (Hot Chilies or cotton sweats with hoody if I plan on playing in the fire), rain suit, rain hat, North Face Redpoint jacket, light gloves (again cotton if I feel like a pyro) and waterproof over gloves. I wear an Ex-officio long sleeve shirt with bug repellent built in. It has an spf30 and tabs to hold the sleeves up when rolled and breathable mesh panel and light-weight. Make sure you can wear all layers at once without restriction. The storms roll through quick, and the mornings warm up fast so the pretty much covers my clothing for that time of year.


Edited by FredMT (09/03/11 03:07 AM)

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#154288 - 09/03/11 09:18 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: FredMT]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Lots of good advice above. Do look at the articles on the home page of this site, left-hand column if you haven't already! Lots of good info on gear selection, gear lists, etc.

Best place to start is in your back yard at home or car-camping close to home. Get thoroughly used to your gear before you take it out. Those are also the best places to learn to cope with inclement weather and to keep your gear dry!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#154290 - 09/03/11 10:15 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: Glenn]
james__12345 Offline
member

Registered: 10/06/10
Posts: 189
Loc: Tennessee
I agree too. I just did an overnight in the woods/pasture about a quarter mile from our house and found out about a big problem with my tent and learned alot of other little things too. Even if you're not that far from "civilization" (or still in it for that matter) you can still learn a LOT from just taking your gear out and actually trying it out.

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#154305 - 09/05/11 10:40 AM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: james__12345]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Perhaps a person who has a bad experience on a first backpacking trip (unless they go solo) isn't at fault. Perhaps it's the fault of the one who invites them.

If I were the organizer for a Meetup group or something like that and someone said they were new, I'd arrange a time for the following skills practice session. I'd do it at the same time as the one doing the practice. To really make it instructional, each one would video what they do for review later. (The learner can review their own and the coach's.)

It's fun to take a newbie backpacking. But it's no fun for anyone if they have a bad time. Many might never go backpacking again. If there is time, have a new person walk along with the coach doing the practice before they buy their gear. Then they will know what is expected.

This can be done in a park, on a nearby trail, in the city with stops in a person's yard, or most anyplace else.

Hike at least 1 mile with full pack

Eat snacks containing at least 200 calories while walking
Set up shelter in 10 minutes or less
Filter a bottle of water (Just take it from prepositioned coffee can)
Cook meal containing at least 300 calories
Clean up dishes or pack them in plastic bags if no water is available
Simulate Marine bath in shelter
Hang food bag
Dress for coldest temperature expected
Sleep or read in shelter for 1 hour
Simulate night relief in woods, carry flashlight. Discuss and demonstrate positions for taking a crap. (My favorite is the downhill skier tucked position with feet shoulder width apart)
Cook breakfast containing at least 300 calories
Take down shelter and repack in 15 minutes or less
Walk at least 1 mile with full pack
Eat snacks containing at least 200 calories while walking
Stop to protect the pack from rain and put on rain gear

Stop for pizza on the way home (The treat is on the coach)

After they get home
Unpack tent and hang to dry
unpack sleeping bag and hang to dry
Do laundry

To make a real backpacking trip out of this, simply sleep the night instead of an hour and cook a few more times.






Edited by Gershon (09/05/11 10:41 AM)
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#154322 - 09/05/11 07:12 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Gershon
Perhaps a person who has a bad experience on a first backpacking trip (unless they go solo) isn't at fault. Perhaps it's the fault of the one who invites them.

If I were the organizer for a Meetup group or something like that and someone said they were new, I'd arrange a time for the following skills practice session. I'd do it at the same time as the one doing the practice. To really make it instructional, each one would video what they do for review later. (The learner can review their own and the coach's.)



This doesn't work.

I've tried it. No one signs up. They think it's stupid. They sign up for backpacking trips.

Seriously, they have kids, work overtime, blah blah blah - they have no time for this nonsense - who prepares to go backpacking? You just stuff it all in a pack and go. Everyone does it that way!

My hiking group's website is crazy with links to all kinds of gear lists, helpful articles, tips and websites (this one included!). Every single description of every single hike has all the information you could want and links to all kinds of 10 essentials, be safe, LNT, blah blah blah. I get emails asking where they will park for carpooling (first item at the top of the hike description), can I bring my dog (always mentioned in the description of the hike), how hard is the hike (I am told by people WHO CAN READ that I do a very good and accurate job with hike descriptions) and still, we have trouble. They don't slow down long enough to read five paragraphs. It's just backpacking. Who cares? My schedule is more important. I can do it - I did it before when I was in scouts.

No one can predict how someone else will react or interpret or make decisions - ten "It's not that heavy" items added together overload the optimist with bad knees, and the next thing you know they are stumbling up the trail determined to NOT GO BACK DAMMIT LEAVE ME ALONE.

No, it's not the organizer's fault when people have reality testing problems. We have far fewer problems than we did before, but about twice a year, we have crazy determination hikers who rise up from the couch after 20 years of inactivity. I clearly label the easy outings and plan hikes such that the miles can be done in daylight even if someone is only capable of .5 miles per hour.
_________________________
"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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#154326 - 09/05/11 09:43 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Lori,

I'm not surprised it doesn't work. Realistically, the list is just for myself.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#154328 - 09/05/11 10:06 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Oh, but you have no idea how much I wish it worked....

It would be so much easier for them to enjoy backpacking if they would buy into it. It's made it so much easier for me.

And how sad it is when volunteers sign up for SAR and we can't convince them to leave all the heavy gear at home.... You can only try, and try to be an example.
_________________________
"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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#154329 - 09/05/11 10:32 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Lori,

I used to be an organizer on a motorcycle meetup group. Well, people weren't coming anymore. We ride through the winter in Colorado except when there is snow with no temperature limits.

It was too cold, the ride started to early, too late, was too short or too long. In November and December, it was just me and another guy riding.

In the beginning of January, we decided to take a 600 mile ride. I limited the ride to 4 qualified riders. It nearly started a riot. Everyone wanted to go. Finally we shortened the ride and had about 15 riders.

"Seating limited" is a magic phrase if you want people to come.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#154330 - 09/05/11 10:52 PM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Gershon


"Seating limited" is a magic phrase if you want people to come.



All the backpacking trips are limited by the permit system - it's 15 people, no ifs, ands or buts. Or 8 if it's cross country. (Not my rules! That's the national park and national forest limitation.)

30 people will sign up - there's a waiting list. People start to wail about it. Can they start a second permit?

I tell them to wait til a week before the trip. Trailhead quota doesn't support that many. People will have things come up. They always do.

The week before the trip, we're down to 25, then 20, then 15 - then the day arrives, we show up, and there are nine of us at the trailhead. Magic! Never fails. Ever.

I had 15 people signed up for one of the easy trips - I got 8 permits reserved. People fretted, it got down to... exactly 8 people.

The way it goes...
_________________________
"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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#154335 - 09/06/11 02:15 AM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: lori]
FredMT Offline
member

Registered: 08/05/11
Posts: 38
And now back to the originally posted topic? You 2 really know how to make new people feel at home here.

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#154336 - 09/06/11 07:45 AM Re: Need LOTS of help [Re: FredMT]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Let's see... she wanted to prepare for a backpacking trip and did not like the suggestions of trying out backpacking before a multi day trip.

I understand the problem. It's been a common theme for me - no time to really prepare the way the fanatic backpackers think she should. She says she can't do test trips.

How is it not beneficial to understand that this is not just her problem, it's a common problem with somewhat predictable results, and going on multi day trips without doing shorter trips can mean a less enjoyable trip?

I sure wish someone had taken the time to attempt to get me to understand that before I jumped back into the game and suffered my way back to the car. No one did.
_________________________
"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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