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    Thread: Tell me about backpacking

    1. #1
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      Iokheira's Avatar
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      Tell me about backpacking

      My husband and I have gone camping before, and we are looking to try backpacking. We got most of our stuff with backpacking in mind, so it's pretty light and compact. We live in central Texas too, so snow isn't really an issue. It does get nippy here in the winter (30-40 degrees F at night)

      We both have ALICE packs and stuff found in Bug Out Bags, but I have a few questions here:

      -I have a medkit, but I don't want to take all of the crap in it (it's kind of heavy). What should I take?
      -What kind of sleeping pad should I get? (I'm mostly a stomach sleeper, some side)
      -What are some things we MUST take (or it's a damn good idea to take)?
      -How do you get food? (I'm assuming you can't go around killing little animals)
      -How do you get water and what do I need to know about water purification? Does boiling water kill everything?
      -Are you ever worried about someone walking by while you are taking a dump?

      Anything else you think is helpful please mention. Assume I have no idea what I'm doing, because I kind of don't.
      “Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”

    2. #2
      Explorer SilverJay's Avatar
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      That's fantastic! I love when people get intrested in Backpacking/Hiking, it'll really strengthen your relationship. Well, I'm an Eagle Scout (15) Who's collected around, 230-250 miles doing this sort of thing. Well, I think I have a few things I could help you with..

      -The med-kit, I wouldn't reccomend taking a 30-person set for a trip. A local drug store should probably carry a lightweight First Aid kit, you want mole skin, typical band-aids for cuts and such, and band aids for extra padding. The mole skin for hiking blisters- it's incredibly useful.
      -I would take a small, roll out pad for each person. There's some that can come in foam pads that come ready to roll out. They can easily be tied up, and tied on your bag. On the flip side, there are inflatable pads, that you blow up by blowing air with your mouth.
      Note: I wouldn't reccomend air matresses, cots, anything that raises you too far off the ground. It's.. Much colder.
      -Bring food. M.R.E.'s are useful, dehydrated food typically. Also small protein-bars, granola bars, stuff that can be lugged around, and without need of too many pots or pans. Also, candy. Yes. Candy is so highly processed, it can stay with you for hours. It's not needed, but if you have a sweet tooth. Also, you'll need a mess kit. <-- You can get them at your "Sportsman Warehouse" Type 'o store.
      -At a store like the one just mentioned, they sell water purifiers. I'm not a big fan of boiling water, as it takes too much weight to carry around more pots, and it's not worth the load for it's effectiveness. So, I would use a water pump. I have one, I'll try to get you the name/brand a.s.a.p. But they're fast and easily usable.
      -Ah, the "dump" situation. Bring toilet paper. I'd say walk at least 50 ft. from the trail, and go there. Once down, place the T.P. on a tree closeby as a warning for someone who may be walking through.

      Things to bring.. besides food, mess kits, water purifiers, etc. Here:
      If this is a day trip, and not staying overnight, just bring a day-pack. Anything like a high-school backpack will word extravagantly. Bring only as much food necessary, maybe less.
      Less is better.
      Bring a compass, of course. If you don't know how to use one, I'm sure there's a site or youtube video to help you out.
      If staying overnight:
      If you have 2 people, bring a 3 person tent, so there's room for your equipment. Always bring a rain-fly for it, it could always rain.
      For your temperatures, your sleeping bags sound great. I would suggest actually taking a lightweight, easily carried blanket. 30 degrees can feel a lot dang colder sleeping. hnoes:
      Two flashlights at least, and bring extra batteries.
      Definitely bring a knife. Fire is always a priority, bring fire starters. Matches, flint/steel, and lighters will do. Anything, haha.
      Bring two water bottles per person. You never know when you'll see water, so stock up.
      Metal-frame backpacks for over-nighters.
      Hot hands, they can be bought at typical camp and fishing stores. If it's a little nippy, they'll feel great.
      On the trail, less weight in the bag, is always so much more...
      Most of this stuff I've forgotten or haven't done at one point or another and.. Hah, I paid the consequences.
      Some general knowledge:

      Always tell someone when you're leaving, where you're going, and when you'll be back. The guy in 127 hours, haha.. He didn't.
      Don't stray from the trail, it.. it doesn't end well. I've had some bad experiences working a summer camp.
      Schedule a time for an easy lunch, it's a great break.


      Plan out your trails well, find -flat- ground for your tent. Absorb the nature around you, become -aware- Of your surroundings and the beauty of your walk.

      I'm sure you know most of this, but I thought I should just do a re-wind. I hope you guys have a great time!

      (Feel free to ask about anything I said, and I might come back with something I forgot!)
      NewArtemis likes this.
      Goals: For now, exploration!.

    3. #3
      Explorer SilverJay's Avatar
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      Ah! I'm sorry-

      Socks. I could not stress enough, socks. Have thin, wicking material sort of socks. Over those, (even in warm weather) Wear wool socks. not only will this keep you warm, it prevents blisters. <-- Again, I've made mistakes and learned.

      Shoes, boots to be more precise. Break them in before going. If they're new, wear them around the house for a week before. Just don't start a hiking trip with new boots, haha.

      Again, some common knowledge I'm sure you know, but good luck! It's a great experience, I don't know what it's like in Texas, but I will soon.
      Goals: For now, exploration!.

    4. #4
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      Iokheira's Avatar
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      Thank you so much! This helps a ton
      SilverJay likes this.
      “Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”

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      Silverjay got most of it, but one thing I noticed that he left out is soap. Probably a little thing of liquid soap or antiseptic wipes or something. That is a first aid thing for any cuts or scraps but is useful over all.

    6. #6
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      I would also add to the list a raincoat (even if it isn't supposed to rain). Its a good windbreaker and you never know what is going to happen.

      In regards to a 3 person tent as SilverJay mentioned, I also used a two person tent and then carried an extra light small tarp. When setting up camp, use the tarp to create a lean-to and put the gear under that. This way animals won't be attracted to your tent, but to the tarp where your gear is. If you are in bear country then you'll need a bear bag (just a waterproof bag) that you can put all you food, toothpaste, and non-water liquids in and tie up in a tree.\

      Also when planning your first trip, don't be too ambitious when deciding how many miles you want to cover each day (start with 5 or so miles a day depending on the difficulty of the terrain). You don't want to be planning on hiking 10 miles to your next campsite and find yourself spending all morning taking down your old campsite and packing (will take longer than expected during your first few trips) then having not enough daylight to cover the distance.
      NewArtemis likes this.

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