I remember, many years back, when I learned to backpack. Before reading The Complete Walker (the original), I relied mostly on what I learned by asking others (mostly Scout leaders, since my son and I were both learning-by-doing with his Scout troop.) Much of what They told me turned out to be wrong. (I don't think They intended to mislead me; they just gave me maxims instead of teaching me the logic behind their technique. I later learned that everything They knew had been passed down as Rules by Others who taught Them.)
Some of these included: Sleep naked, you'll be warmer. Always carry 2 liters of water; doesn't matter where the next source is. Always build a campfire (it's upholding the 'Murican pineer heritage), even if you have to build a new fire ring.
Anyone else have some favorite things They taught you?
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
I subscribed to the sleep naked approach until I sat down and thought about it. These days, my sleep suit and bag (or quilt) depends on the conditions that I expect to be in. Having a sleep suit or bag liner helps me to regulate my temperature and keep from overheating. What we should have gotten from the old school is not to sleep in your trail clothes.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Well, it will. if you store your dirty socks in the food bag! I take a separate plastic bag for the dirty socks, which will probably also be wet or at least damp and impart the dampness (as well as the odor) to your dry stuff, not just your food.
A lot of folks these days seem to be "learning" from Youtube videos, posted, of course, by "They." Some are good, others defy common sense!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I learned early on to seek advice, whether from Colin Fletcher or other sources, but then rely on my on my own needs and experience. Whether backpacking, camping or day hikes over a period of time we are shaped by our own personal needs rather than some generic advice from a book, salesperson or video. It's what fits our needs and not the needs of someone else that's important. As far as sleeping naked, I sleep naked at home so I've found that doing the same backpacking or camping is more comfortable and helps with the transition to sleeping outdoors, although in cooler temps I'll wear a light shirt.
Loc: Portland, OR
I suspect a lot of these bits of lore are holdovers from a time when backpackers were rare (and were often mountaineers doing approaches to difficult peaks), pack animals were the norm, and the backcountry was much more remote and empty than it is today. Gear was only slightly updated from the days of bedrolls, axes, and army surplus mess kits and canteens.
The sleep naked "myth" has some validity. A cold sleeping bag needs to be warmed up, and a naked body does this quicker than a clothed body. (This is the same principle used to warm person with hypothermia- get in bag naked with patient.) But once you get the bag warmed up, putting on a sleep layer will keep you warmer throughout the night. By the way, to get a warm body before jumping into the sleeping bag, I take a brisk stroll right before bedtime. If I hop into your sleeping bag cold, it takes longer to warm up.
I never sleep in my hiking clothes, simply because I want my sleeping bag to stay clean longer. However, having to put on clothes every morning does slow me down a bit in the morning. Theoretically it would be nice to just get up already dressed.
I find that a lot of backpackers view the long-distance thru hikers as examples. Unless you are doing the same style (walk fast, go far, hit towns often), their equipment lists may not work for you. Each backpacking style has its own needs. Try to glean advise from those who have the same style as you do.
I think you meant, "If I hop into MY sleeping bag..."
I've never taken a set of sleeping clothes, but I may have to start - I always just shucked my pants and slept in my boxers and T-shirt (adding layers in cold weather.) For an overnight trip, not a big deal. However, the idea of clean, dry clothes on longer trips does seem good - and would give me something to change into if I "discovered" a hole while fording a creek on a chilly day. (Yes, it can happen. Don't ask how I know.)
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