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#181924 - 01/14/14 08:40 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: aimless]
lori Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I shocked a whole room of folks by describing how long it takes to mobilize a search team - your friends/family have to notify the appropriate authorities, and then most search teams are volunteer, and then they won't be sent out til the next day as the SAR teams that mobilize in the dark consist of... mine. Most teams do not. Helicopters do not fly at night in the mountains. So if you are injured on a hike and help is needed, you will be out for one night minimum.

The assertion I was contradicting was that a fellow who broke his leg was left waiting for too long and EMS took "forever" to get there. He was two miles from a trailhead, at the end of a paved road, 45 minutes drive at the speed limit from the nearest city. I put forth that four hours is PHENOMENAL response time to get to a hurt hiker, due mostly to his proximity to a road and cell signal. I added it all up for them - four hours drive to a true wilderness trailhead. Miles in, hiking that same trail they did with a backpack with a STOKES LITTER. Hiking the injured party back to the trailhead if a helicopter is not available (our bird is search only, we can only transport healthy and well search victims not in need of medical attention). A lot of things that can happen to delay this, such as weather grounding the choppers.

It's a huge wake up call. And while I realize this is dragging things off the original challenge post - it's really what it's about at the base of it, what you really actually need vs. what you think you need. The 11 item challenge is a great way to accomplish something actually helpful to any hiker, whether he's going six miles or sixty. You only get to 11 items if you think about needs. And it's interesting to see what people think they will need. I didn't put a sleeping pad or bag/quilt on mine, because I know that I could get through with clothing and just the items in the pack like the trash bag and a tarp.
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#181925 - 01/14/14 08:42 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: aimless]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
As an alpine climber, I have spent quite a few nights, unintended, on some cold mountain ledge. I never slept, but survived. I have also done 4-day survivals with NO food. For the short term, food is optional; water is NOT! Training in survival is useful.

"Survival" or an unintended bivy is one thing; I think what the challenge here is all about is taking only 11 items and actually being comfortable. On an overnight trip, with a good weather report, shelter is not essential. Cowboy camping with just the sleeping bag works well. Cooking adds a lot of items but not that much weight if you choose light gear. Particularly if you do not enjoy cooking, taking non-cook food seems very reasonable and maybe even better. Those who feel really uncomfortable with 11 items, probably depend on their gear a bit too much.

To me, the controversial items are related to safety. What is really necessary and what can be left.

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#181927 - 01/14/14 09:19 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: lori]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
I always tell my wife if I don't make it back from a day hike not to worry until the next day. I have spent a few nights hunting intentionally with very minimal gear with the thought of having to carry out meat. And like WD it wasn't the best nights but very doable. I like challenges of this sort as long as I can plan and minimize the what ifs. Now my son has really taken to backpacking I take even less chances, plus I want him to love it, not dread another trip. Luckily he is a great walker and is very at home outside. I know I know I seem to always bring him into our discussions but I'm proud of him. Sorry OT on my own thread.
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The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#181928 - 01/14/14 09:20 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: DTape]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Your list is very similar to mine! cool
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#181930 - 01/14/14 09:57 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: lori]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Thanks for chiming in Lori. I was unable to stay with SAR long enough to do a o/n stay and get marked off for that. For SAR, just a few things to get thru a unplanned night, using natural features to get "by". I was working with CARDA here in Kalifornia with Pooch if you recall from past posts somewhere.
I usually don't bring a water filter and for summer time trips, stopped bringing a headlamp, even though it only weights an oz. I believe for my BD Ion.
Duane

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#181931 - 01/14/14 10:06 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: wandering_daisy]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Nancy, but "if it goes in you or on you", it has to be in a canister unless bear bagging is allowed, if even going to such areas. Got that drilled into me before a SEKI trip in Lone Pine FS?
This kind of trip would hinge on the weather forecast, but then also, the SUL and lower crowd say you have to be prepared for even rain, so a raincoat or protection along that line would have to be brought. Can't just lay on the ground with your windshirt over you and call that good.
Good points for the rest. Hats off to you if you can make it for a month in the Winds during the winter. I'll never be that well none.
Duane

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#181932 - 01/14/14 10:18 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: hikerduane]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3141
Loc: Portland, OR
Here are the ground rules I am setting out for myself:

I will not count among my 11 items my trail runners, light wool socks and liners, synthetic boxer shorts, shirt, bandana, eyeglasses, or convertible pants, which I wear at all times when I'm hiking. I will not count the food I bring to eat. I am assuming I will not be attempting to cross any terrain where the risk of injury is high, such as talus slopes or steep snowfields. I am assuming no worse weather than heavy rain, or a clear, cold night not dipping below my sleeping bag's rating.

Now, in the spirit of producing the most minimalist and UL-inspired list I know how to put together (that I would actually be willing to attempt) this would be my list:

1. frameless backpack with hip belt
2. 20 degree-rated down sleeping bag
3. 76" x 20" closed cell foam pad
4. single-walled, freestanding tent
5. two-liter platypus water bottle
6. gravity-feed water filter
7. bear can
8. rain jacket with hood
9. rain pants
10. waterproof dry bag for my sleeping bag
11. topographical map

Here are some explanations of my choices.

I would not cook my food, eliminating the need for a stove, a pot, or any other utensils. Non-cooked food is almost invariably finger food. This also opened up the possibility to eliminate a lighter or matches, which economizes on the number of small-fry items, which add up fast if you don't watch out. Eleven items is extremely hard to stick to.

For water, I chose a two-liter platypus so I'd have sufficient capacity I could walk away from a water source to spend the night, if that served my needs best. Water-born disease is not common in the wilderness, but it is the last thing you want to deal with when you've cut your gear down to 11 items, hence the water filter.

By choosing a single-walled freestanding tent I adroitly sidestep any arguments about whether stakes or a rain fly are separate items and I also minimize the necessity of staking the tent. In a windy situation I'd just have to anchor it with rocks, unless stakes are allowed me as part of the tent.

I tend to think preserving body heat is the most reliable way to stay warm. My sleeping bag is a hugely important piece of my safety equipment. That's why it gets its own dry-bag. The closed cell foam pad would provide decent R-value under me and be used to give some structure to the frameless pack, this being UL SOP. My backpack would probably have to double as my pillow, maybe wrapping it in my rain jacket, if the jacket is dry.

The rain jacket and pants are the most versatile items of extra clothes I could identify. They cut the wind and preserve warmth well. They can even be used in camp if the bugs are horrible. And in rain they would allow me to stay somewhat dry. A hood can keep your head warm and comes as a bonus with most rain jackets. If it is colder than the rain clothes can handle, I need to get into the sleeping bag pronto.

In cutting out most little bits and pieces of gear and safety items we all usually carry, I privileged staying warm, dry, and hydrated as 8 of my 11 items. The remaining three are: backpack, bear can and topo map. The backpack is self-evident and probably ought not even count as an item. A bear can is unarguably a single item and not losing my food in this situation is paramount. The topo map is the best insurance I could have for staying found whether I am on or off-trail.

Anyway, that's the sort of thinking that's behind my list.

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#181933 - 01/14/14 10:20 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: wandering_daisy]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
WD, well said on your last reply. This thread isn't about only bringing things to get by in an emergency (sorry Lori), but to see how few you could bring and still have a good trip. Maybe not smelling the best afterwards, but a trip that makes you think more about less. smile
Thank you Lori for bringing in the survival thinking. More food for thought for many.

Thanks all for contributing, I stirred up some interest with a few folks I bp with a few times a year. We've done some theme trips, which were fun and inflicted little pain on us all.
Duane

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#181934 - 01/14/14 10:38 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: aimless]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Great reply Aimless, one question, I have light weight rain pants but find myself clammy after wearing them for any length of time. Do you also experience this? I think for me at least I would rather have my down pants, they only weigh 3.5 oz (I think). But not in rain of course.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#181935 - 01/14/14 10:45 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: rockchucker22]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I finally got an answer. They just tried to get by with a minimal # of items. They shot for 24 was the number I finally found out. We've done better and I think still had a good trip if we went with the lists. Getting to 24, then you could count a lot of little stuff like knife, matches, spoon, lamp etc. Maybe that would lower the ante, but we still need to shoot for a minimal weight goal. See what you could do without?
Duane

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#181936 - 01/14/14 11:10 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: hikerduane]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Shoot 24 items that's more like typical amount of gear!
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#181937 - 01/14/14 11:12 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: hikerduane]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
My thinking on the no bear can if all food is eaten on day 1, is that bear cans are not required for day hikers, so why should you need one if there is no food at the end of the day 1? It would be ridiculous! Bring a bear can and put nothing in it?

Another way to look at what we see as needed is to look back at what we brought in the "old days". I spent many summers in the Wind Rivers, in some horrible weather, weeks of rain, snow, horrendous mosquitoes. We only had wool pants - no rain pants, no long johns. Just thick sturdy warm wool pants. Our ponchos were knee length. Sometimes we got wet. We stayed somewhat warm in wet wool. We eventually dried out. We had no tents - just tarps. We went in groups (solo trips were rare in those days) and shared much of the group gear. First aid supplies were minimal; first aid training was extensive. Our "items" were heavy, but we really took less items than most backpackers take nowadays. Walk into REI nowadays, and you would think you need 100 items to go backpacking!

John Muir would go out for days with a heavy wool coat and hard tack in his pocket for food. I read a book about John Muir's childhood - people in those days grew up simply accepting a lot of discomfort as the price of living. They grew up spending a lot of time outdoors (farming) so being outdoors was simply normal. Their bodies were much more acclimated to hot and cold temperature variations. They did not seem to fear getting wet- just took it for granted.

I also think they were less concerned with "safety". A lot of other things killed people back then. Many children never even lived to grow up. I think they had more of an attitude that when your time comes, so be it.

So with our modern "choices" given by a multitude of "stuff", media telling us that we absolutely need it, our modern aversion to risk of any kind, and our softness both physical and mental, it is no surprise that we feel it is difficult to go out for one little overnight trip with 11 items.

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#181938 - 01/14/14 11:19 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: wandering_daisy]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Nancy, well said. smile Was wool invented when you were out? smile
Duane

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#181939 - 01/14/14 11:21 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: wandering_daisy]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 751
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Thank you WD that is a awesome post! thanks
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#181941 - 01/14/14 11:28 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: wandering_daisy]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3141
Loc: Portland, OR
It's nice enough to point at John Muir in his heavy wool coat with a few fistfuls of hardtack in his pocket and say that we have grown soft, but soft or not, I can't see any necessity for emulating Muir's approach, especially when he apparently spent a great many nights sharing the fire and possibly the food of the many shepards whose flocks grazed in the Sierras all summer and fall.

If I have the luxury of planning my trip and my equipment (as opposed to being caught out unexpectedly), then I'll be the well-fed old softie with his down sleeping bag, pad and tent, and NOT the tough old mountaineer laid out on the cold ground in a wool mackinaw gnawing on hardtack. smile

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#181944 - 01/15/14 12:31 AM Re: 11 items only! [Re: aimless]
jimmyb Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 276
Great thread! I need to catch up...

I'm liking this thread cause it reinforces for me why I bother to take along each and every piece of gear in my pack. Im always thinking can I leave it behind and what are the consequences?

1. As said, and I have seen more than my share, day hikers woefully unprepared for a forced overnighter. I have always contemplated an immobilizing injury. Probably cause I've had a few in my day riding MX. cry If we are talking about surviving a night out 11 items seems to cover it. As a minimum rain gear and something to keep me warm always go with me. I realize as Lori mentioned that rescue is not going to be immediate in almost all situations. As a small boat sailor I have read the operational response procedures for PLB signals and its not like dialing 911 folks. Now if your not so equipped and your relying on someone coming along or on your hiking partner to fetch help its going to be a while. Bleeding and exposure would be my worst fears.

2. The 11 item overnighter gets us all prioritizing. Great thing to keep in mind every time you are loading your pack. Helps reinforce collecting those essentials on the living room floor first when loading the pack. I always use a list because I admit I am far from infallible when it comes to memory.

3. I find a lot of the items overlapping showing that in general we all have some similar basic needs. Some of the variants to my list may not apply to others and vise versa. I did not include hiking sticks in my original list but I take them on every BP and most day hikes because I have no natural balance since my inner ears were destroyed. I can do with out them but its a pain. Same with a headlight. I cant function as the light goes down. Without light I don't know which way is up. I left it off my list thinking I could hike only during lighted hours. It also goes with me on all BP and day hikes. So just a few examples of wanting to take items that others might find non essential.

3. I will probably take the challenge with my wife this summer on an overnighter on the AT here. There are stretches here with bear boxes, shelters, and plenty of water. Should make the 11 easy and hopefully under 6lbs. Cant remember if the weight is still a issue with our challenge here? I think another good learning experience would be to take along my day pack with no more than usual and spend a spontaneous night no more than say 3 miles out. It certainly will not be comfortable but very use full in proving what's in my pack. grin

jimmyb

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#181945 - 01/15/14 01:09 AM Re: 11 items only! [Re: wandering_daisy]
jimmyb Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 276
Quote:
So with our modern "choices" given by a multitude of "stuff", media telling us that we absolutely need it, our modern aversion to risk of any kind, and our softness both physical and mental, it is no surprise that we feel it is difficult to go out for one little overnight trip with 11 items.


WD, Agree that many in this modern day are truly soft in comparison. I tend to get bummed when I think of all the electronic crappolla in our world robbing youngsters from connecting to what is REAL and all around us. frown

But...the human race is quite remarkable in many ways, and although maybe not in the mainstream of things, continues to live on the edge and risks just as much if not more to feel alive and in the moment. IMO people from the beginning of time have never taken personal demise very easily. Everyone will find out one day how dear it is when fighting for their lives. That I don't think has changed. The risks of daily life were more intense years ago as medicine alone could not save you from something like a simple fever or appendicitis.

But now that we are safer and more secure in our longevity we still crave that feeling of what it means to be alive. Who in their right mind from the past would jump from airplanes, and mountaintops with flying squirrel suits. Kids to day are risking life and limb jumping everything from dirt bikes to skateboards over insanely huge jumps in an effort to experience something more than what life is handing them. I think our ancestors would think we were hell bent on killing ourselves when it is really just trying to get back to feeling what it means to be alive. You yourself and all your adventures past and yet to come are a good example for others that wish to get outdoors and live! So fortunately IMO many are still tough enough to face their mortality even when they could just as well sit it out on the couch with a remote in hand. smile wink Keep inspiring folks WD and we'll help in changing the next generation... or at least a few of em.

jimmyb


Edited by jimmyb (01/15/14 11:19 AM)

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#181949 - 01/15/14 02:05 AM Re: 11 items only! [Re: jimmyb]
rodwha Offline
member

Registered: 06/25/11
Posts: 131
Loc: Texas...for now
Why does such little weight matter on such a short hypothetical trip? 6 lbs? My pack weighs almost 5.

I didn't read through the whole thing...


Edited by rodwha (01/15/14 02:06 AM)
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"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day

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#181950 - 01/15/14 08:54 AM Re: 11 items only! [Re: jimmyb]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
At our local community college, the Rec instructor had a survival night, live like a hobo so to speak. You spent the night out in Sept., lows could be freezing or in the 40F's at least, sleeping in either your clothes or what could be found. I suggested to a friend to use two boxes with wadded up newspaper as the insulating layer between the two boxes, one of course smaller than the other. He did pretty good. The instructor checked everyone in in the PM and at about 6AM so they could get to class or work.
Duane

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#181953 - 01/15/14 11:09 AM Re: 11 items only! [Re: rodwha]
jimmyb Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 276
Quote:
I didn't read through the whole thing...


when you do, you will understand. wink

jimmyb

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#181956 - 01/15/14 01:19 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: hikerduane]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2912
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By hikerduane
I finally got an answer. They just tried to get by with a minimal # of items. They shot for 24 was the number I finally found out. We've done better and I think still had a good trip if we went with the lists. Getting to 24, then you could count a lot of little stuff like knife, matches, spoon, lamp etc. Maybe that would lower the ante, but we still need to shoot for a minimal weight goal. See what you could do without?
Duane

[Note to self: stereo is back in.]

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#181958 - 01/15/14 02:06 PM Re: 11 items only! [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6738
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Great, W_D! I remember the days of being out in cotton denim jeans and shirts, and Duofold long underwear which we considered "wool" but actually had a cotton inner layer (so not unbearably itchy) and a mixed wool/cotton outer layer. Synthetics (except rayon) were not yet available for civilian use when we started in 1945. We donned slickers (since we were traveling on horseback) when it started to rain, making sure our body cores stayed dry. Of course, the jeans got wet anyway while we were walking through wet meadows tending to the horses (my job!). (Many days I walked more miles after wandering horses than I rode!) I spent evenings standing by the campfire turning frequently, as though on a spit, to dry my soggy jeans, hopefully without scorching them. Waving cotton socks over the campfire (again in the hopes of drying without scorching them) was another popular evening activity. Believe it or not, we had a lot of fun laughing and joking during these evening drying sessions! Precious memories!

When nylon became available for civilian use after World War II, my parents were very skeptical of it and didn't see any reason to replace the gear they already had (waxed Egyptian cotton tent, waxed cotton-shelled down sleeping bags). Of course because they were horse-packing, there was less need for light weight, and the early nylon stuff was just as heavy, if not heavier, anyway. I remember it impressed me as really clunky!

I do rembember visiting (with my parents) Roy and Alice Holubar in Boulder, CO, in the mid-1950's, when they were still working out of the basement of their home. Roy taught math at the University of Colorado and Alice did all the sewing. This was the vanguard of the gear revolution. I didn't realize that at the time, but in the light of later history, this visit has since become a treasured memory. More info about the Holubars here.

Re eating up the food on Day 1 so no bear can is needed--do you really think the NP rangers would believe that when they found you camping out overnight?


Edited by OregonMouse (01/15/14 02:08 PM)
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#181994 - 01/16/14 12:39 AM Re: 11 items only! [Re: rockchucker22]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Interesting concept and responses...

It's somewhat similar to the "Let go without food and eat only what we can hunt and gather" challenge.

The overall reasoning in both is you will learn something about yourself and become more confident and skilled in the process. These feel to me like rushing the process though.

The thing is, you could learn to make do without intentionally leaving anything behind. There's really very little difference between not taking it and not using it, but neither of those give you the real life experience you're looking for.

That said, I know for sure I could do just fine with these items in most conditions for one night:

Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Large SOL emergency blanket.
Guyline
Lighter
Dehydrated food
Coffee
Wool sweater
windproof jacket w/hood
2 cup stainless steel mug
Pack

I'd rig the SOL blanket as a tarp for shelter, make a fire with sticks, a stove with rocks, use the cup to boil water, eat a lot of one kind of food, whatever it was, find a rock to use as a knife and whittle a stick for a utensil and find another big stick to defend myself from bears and axe murderers.

Now, for real life experience what I do instead is forget or break stuff. That way I can learn and relearn those lessons without really planning it at all. This method gives you the advantage of surprise, which is really much more devastating emotionally, and therefore arguably a much better approach to learning how to deal with it.

For example, I forgot my sleeping pad on a recent trip. Not long before that I forgot my stove. Now I know I'd rather forget my stove than my sleeping pad, but you might not learn that if you made a list like the one above.

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