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Camping/Hiking/Backpacking

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by Taure, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    This is a thread for those of us who are enthusiastic about camping/hiking/backpacking and the gear it involves. Please share:

    - Places you have been.
    - Places you want to go.
    - Gear you have.
    - Gear you want.
    - Good recipes for campsite cooking.
    - Anything else relevant.

    I did a lot of camping and walking holidays as a kid, but always pretty tame. My first serious hiking experience was the Torres del Paine "W" trek in Patagonia and I was woefully unprepared. It wasn't even that cold, given that it was the summer, but the temperature plummeted at night, I got wet on the first day, was wearing cotton, had a seriously lightweight sleeping bag, no sleeping pad, etc. Needless to say I had a pretty miserable time and got quite ill.

    On the plus side, it looked like this:

    [​IMG]

    Since then I have been slowly accumulating the equipment and knowledge to do these things properly. I've been easing myself into it, not doing anything too serious (especially as my friends are not as into it as I am) but still having a lot of fun doing short camping trips within the UK (e.g. the South Downs).

    Along the way I've found that I kinda love the equipment just as much as the actual hiking aspect. I really enjoy looking at reviews and picking out the best stuff. I've still got a lot of items to get before I can consider my set-up "complete", but due to the high prices involved these things do take a lot of time to buy without it feeling like a massive up-front investment. In the meantime, I fill in the gaps (most notably my lack of a tent!) by sharing with friends or just making do with non-specialist stuff (e.g. a normal sleeping bag, wearing regular clothes instead of clothes designed for hiking).

    Here's the stuff I've got so far (links to reviews where possible), most of which I am very happy with:

    Utility

    Backpack: Osprey Atmos AG
    This bag is popular enough that it needs little explanation. The harness is amazing, making it feel like the weight is considerably less than it is. It's also very breathable and has handy large pockets in the belt.

    Sleeping pad: Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm
    Again, this is a pretty ubiquitous item because it's just that far ahead of the competition. Amazing insulation, very comfortable (you can lie on your side and you don't touch the floor) and I am continuously astonished by how small it packs.

    Pillow: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
    Most people consider a pillow an unnecessary item when camping. For me I can't sleep without one so this is a big concession I make to weight/volume in my pack. This pillow actually takes up more space than my sleeping pad.

    Towel: Life Adventure HydroFibre Trek Towel
    This thing packs down to an absurdly small size. It also dries insanely quickly. Feels like you're drying yourself with a piece of plastic but it does the job.

    Headlamp: Vitchelo V800
    The review linked is pretty damning but the light suits my purposes well (mainly for emergency use, so battery life is important). It's also one of the cheapest on the market.

    Knife: Mora Companion Stainless Steel
    Cheap full-tang knife made from a good quality steel that does most jobs well. I've abused the hell out of it (e.g. using it to open tin cans) so the blade has developed a couple of notches but it's cheap enough that I can easily get another one. The blade is surprisingly sharp: I was able to cut into tin cans easily! I understand that the regular (non-stainless) steel blade keeps its edge better but I preferred durability over sharpness.

    Kitchen

    Stove: MSR PocketRocket 2
    The only downside is it doesn't have an ignition button so you have to carry matches.

    Cooking set: MSR Quick 2 System
    This is my main concession to weight, as most of my other stuff is minimal "ultralight" type equipment. But for me, campsite cooking is one of the great joys of hiking.

    Emergency firelighter: Light My Fire Firesteel
    I've never had to use it but having it makes me feel more secure.

    Seasoning: Light my Fire Salt & Pepper Plus
    Handy little triangle containing compartments for 3 seasonings. Salt, pepper and smoked paprika are my defaults.

    Cutlery: Eurohike Ellipse Knife, Fork and Spoon Set
    Cheap and do the job, but I can't recommend these unequivocally as if you use them to cook with (rather than just for eating) the plastic does deform a little bit. I'll need to look for something a little more durable; recommendations are welcome.

    Clothing

    Waterproof shell: Patagonia Torrentshell
    Waterproof outer layer. Does the job well and combines well with my down jacket. Not the top of the market in terms of specs but still pretty good.

    Down jacket (mid-layer): Rab Microlight Alpine
    I love this jacket. It's warm, it looks good, it's roomy enough that I can wear a fleece layer underneath but fitted enough that the waterproof outer layer easily goes on top.

    Light fleece (mid-layer): Some North Face fleece that I can't identify
    A mid-layer for when the weather is mild enough that a down jacket is overkill.

    Stuff that I still need/want to get:

    Utility

    Sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering Summerlite
    At the moment I'm using a 2 season sleeping bag which is generally fine for the UK, but I want something that will allow me to go out in early spring/late autumn, as well as a bag which will compress down much smaller than my current bag does.

    Tent: MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2
    This is a very popular freestanding ultralight tent. A new version comes out in Feb 2019 so I'm going to wait and see if the new one is worth the additional cost. If I was in the USA I'd probably get the Nemo Dagger 2P, which is very similar but has a slightly bigger interior and much larger vestibules, but that tent is not available in the UK.

    Day pack: Osprey Daylite
    Something to take the essentials in when you leave the main pack at the campsite.

    Hydration bladder: Hydrapak Shape-Shift Reservoir
    My backpack (and the day pack above) have space for one of these and it's a much easier way of carrying large amounts of water around than bottles.

    Trekking pole: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork
    I was initially quite sceptical about the benefits of trekking poles but they really do reduce the load on your legs/knees.

    Water purifier: MSR Guardian Purifier
    This is massive overkill. A purifier like this is not needed in the UK at all. But it's cool and I want it. It would also be handy in an apocalyptic situation. Will probably be the last thing I buy though.

    Plus other boring shit like First Aid kit, twine, etc. I also need a better way of dividing my bag internally. I've been using some tupperware tubs of various sizes but their rigid nature means that I pack inefficiently with a lot of gaps between items. So I basically need a selection of sealable, relatively durable fabric bags in various sizes.

    Clothing

    Base layer: Unknown
    I need to sort this out. Merino wool is objectively the best material for a base layer but I think I may be allergic. Or at least the ones I have tried on in shops have all been a bit itchy, which merino wool is not supposed to be (the fibres are longer than regular wool). If I can't find a non-itchy merino wool base layer I will have to go for a synthetic alternative, probably the Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Crew.

    Hiking Pants: Outdoor Research Men's Ferrosi Pants
    These are pretty pricey for me but you only really need to buy one pair. I like how flexible they look.

    Waterproof Trousers: Marmot PreCip
    I have a pair of waterproofs already but they're pretty bulky and I want something that packs down smaller. However, I was pretty horrified when I saw the price of the most recommended items. These ones seem more sanely priced and look like they will do the job well.

    Hiking Boots: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
    Again I have some hiking boots already (Doite) but they're coming up on 5 years old now and have seen some heavy use, so I am in the market for a replacement. These ones have good waterproofing (essential in the UK) and are pretty reasonably priced.

    This post is already absurdly long so I will return tomorrow to post recipes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
  2. Silirt

    Silirt Professor DLP Supporter

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    -Entire Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail(short, roughly 76 miles, but difficult relative to the rest of it), various mountains and trails in North Carolina, South Carolina, and of course Georgia. Since graduating from the Boy Scouts(RIP) several years ago, my hiking has decreased somewhat and it's more recently been confined to what the dog can manage, though I still get out to this trail called Pine Mountain in northwest Georgia whenever possible. The strangest place I've ever camped out was in a cave called Raccoon Mountain in Tennessee, and this was after hiking through the cave system for a few hours. I've hiked a little in Chile, though that wasn't a plan very long in the making.
    -I'd really like to go to Scotland at some point, domestically there's the sequoias of California and the Grand Canyon I've wanted to see for years.
    -My gear was frequently rented/borrowed, not much about which to write home, though I'd argue the water purifier is a necessity, even if it doesn't seem as much. Boiling water takes more time and energy than I care to devote to it, and that's your only other option for cholera and other shit that's probably in the streams.
    -I am not someone who needs or wants the latest name brand gear; I'm currently wearing a forty or fifty year old Army jacket with the name 'Morrison' on it because my elder brother got it at an Army surplus store and left it at home once. My Ozark Trail tent is the only one I've ever needed, and when it wears out I'll probably switch to a light, three season model of the same brand.
    -Consider a multigrain pasta for longer trips. It's probably the most nutritious food you can carry, gram for gram, and you can mail it to yourself if there are cities you're passing on the way.
     
  3. Erotic Adventures of S

    Erotic Adventures of S Denarii Host

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    I do a lot of 1 day hikes but never overnight.

    I am doing the Tongarero in 2 weeks for the third time. The walk that goes through Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings.

    It’s kind of tradition to do these walks in grossly inappropriate cloths. So I’ll be doing it in Jandels (flip flops) shorts and t shirt.

    I will be doing it with three Germans who will be so obnoxiously over prepared and who will sternly disapprove of my attire that will make it fun.
     
  4. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Let's talk food. Obviously if you want to maximise calories to weight, your best bet is to get freeze dried ration-type meals or some form of "just add water" ramen/pasta. However I actually enjoy campsite cooking and also those meals tend to be quite salty unless you get the really expensive stuff. So I tend to just carry one or two "just add water" type meals for emergency use and try to cook properly the rest of the time.

    One of my favourite campsite meals, either as breakfast or a light lunch, is spinach, black bean and chipotle quesadillas:

    [​IMG]

    They're quick, easy to make, and delicious. If you use babybell you don't have to worry about the cheese going bad as they are individually sealed in wax (babybell does melt, I've tested it!). The real problem is the spinach, which goes bad pretty quickly. It means this has to be either a day 1 meal only, you need a cool box, or your route takes you past grocery stores.

    In truth if you're hiking then this is just not space/weight efficient because of the can of black beans which holds a lot of water weight. However if you're camping at camp sites rather than wild camping then you may be able to purchase the tinned ingredients at/near your campsite.

    Thinking more substantially, I can also recommend this Coconut Red Lentil Stew, which is very hearty. Again, it's not a hardcore hiking meal because it means you have to carry canned tomatoes and perishable kale. Again, if you're hiking between campsites where you can purchase food, then you can just get the heavy/fresh ingredients at those locations.

    The dried lentils are at least very space/weight efficient as you're not carrying any water weight. The lentils can also be used to beef up the calorie count of other dishes like your classic chilli:

    [​IMG]

    Another delicious stew for which the same weight considerations apply is this Sweet Potato and Peanut stew.
     
    Oz
  5. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Cool thread.

    I've been a hiker/camper for years. I've done bits and pieces of all the major Australian tracks, not notably the Bibbulmun, and a lot of stuff in UK/Europe. I'm heading out for 3 days up and around mt Kosciusko in February. Looking forward to that.

    My goal is the Appalachian Trail as a thru-hiker. All 2,164 miles over 5 months or so. I almost got out there a few years ago, but couldn't swing 5 months off just as the books were starting to take off. I'm hoping to get out there 2021 now.

    Here's my hiking gear list. I do subscribe to the lightweight mindset, but not stupidly so - still, I've been collecting higher-end gear for years, and it has served me well:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Drachna

    Drachna First Year

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    Before I left the scouts camping was one of my favourite things to do.
    The longest hike that I have ever been on was a 23 kilometre hill walk in Galway.

    One thing that I always found irritating about camping with the scouts was the company. Often times I would get placed in tents with people I despised. Regardless, I would imagine that camping is infinitely more enjoyable as an adult, especially when with friends.
     
  7. Silirt

    Silirt Professor DLP Supporter

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    Irish scouts do mandatory tent-assignment? We didn't even consider that after the rainbow scare.
     
  8. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Currently planning a couple of short weekend trips for late March/April. The idea would be something like:

    Saturday: Get a train from London to starting point A. Walk to B and camp there.

    Sunday: Walk from B to C and get train from C back to London.

    Basically it means I don't have to take holiday at work as it's all contained to a normal weekend. There are two routes that I’ve got planned, both on the South Downs. I'll be doing one with a group of friends from work. The other I may just do on my own, perhaps throwing out an invite the week before to anyone who wants to join.

    Route 1: Eastbourne-Eastbourne circular walk

    [​IMG]

    Day 1: 8.5 miles

    Day 2: 10.5 miles

    This circular route takes you via the charming village of Alfriston where we would stay overnight. Day 2 covers the river Cuckmere and the white cliffs of Seven Sisters national park and Beachy Head.

    Links:

    https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/south-downs-way/itineraries/2-day-walk-exploring-eastern-downs

    https://thehiker.co.uk/hiking/south-downs-two-day-walk/

    Route 2: Steyning-Southease linear walk

    [​IMG]

    Day 1: 9 miles

    Day 2: 12 miles

    This walk is a bit further to the west, a bit longer and involves more elevation. We would get the train to Shoreham-by-Sea and from there get a 25 min bus to the starting point. Overnight stay would be at Ditchling. Attractions include the Devil's Dyke and the historic Saddlescombe Farm.

    Links:

    Day 1: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/devils-dyke/trails/walking-in-the-south-downs-day-one

    Day 2: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/devils-dyke/trails/walking-in-the-south-downs-day-two
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  9. Lyndon Eye

    Lyndon Eye Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    My favorite hikes:
    • Trolltunga (Norway) - best dramatic reveal
    • Annapurna Base Camp (Nepal) - best multi-day hike
    • Hooker Valley/Mt. Cook (NZ) - best low effort, amazing reward hike
    • Mt. Sunday (NZ) - best feeling of 'wow' when you're standing alone atop Edoras
    • Kjeragbolten (Norway) - most dramatic selfie
    • Walchensee (Germany) - breathtaking when there are cloud oceans
    • Tongariro Crossing (NZ) - Mt. Doom. 'nuff said.
    • Angel's Landing (USA) - sadly packed with a million people, but the view into that valley is still special
    • Valley of Five Lakes in Jasper (Canada) - eery and otherworldly in the mornings with the mist
    • West Highland Way (Scotland) - best multi-day hike to do with a gaggle of friends; whiskey, mars bars, and pubs galore

    My wishlist:
    • Patagonia W circuit
    • Inca trail
    • Pacific Crest trail
    • Camino de Santiago, someday when I'm old and creaky and miss pintxos
    • Half-Dome at Yosemite (cause it feels un-American not to...)


    EDIT -- I'm on funemployment til August, so if anyone in Europe wants a buddy to do one of the GR hikes, I'd be game!
     
    Oz
  10. Shodan

    Shodan First Year

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    I've recently gotten into hiking, and because I was in Western Australia recently for a few weeks, I did quite a few cool hikes. The best on was in the Kalbarri National Park:
    kalbarri.jpg
    It was pretty awesome, especially because it's so different to anything I know from Europe, but by the time we finished it was insanely hot (each of us drank almost 4 liters of water on our 10 km hike).

    I've never done a multiple day hike but because I've still got some traveling time left, I'm thinking about doing one. I'd love to do parts of the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand (Australia is amazing, but I think it's too hot for a longer trip and the nature can get a bit boring after a while).

    It would probably be a good idea to do a shorter trip (two or three days) before attempting a longer one, so I might do that in a NP in Victoria. If everything goes well, I'd love to do about two weeks in NZ, but that would obviously be a challenge.

    Has anyone ever done parts of the Te Araroa trail? What places would you recommend? And, on hiking in general: Are two weeks too much? I like camping and I don't mind some solitude, but I don't want to underestimate the challenge.
     
  11. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Inspired by @Joe I have made a spreadsheet of my gear, both current and planned.

    upload_2019-2-5_20-29-56.png upload_2019-2-5_20-30-29.png upload_2019-2-5_20-31-8.png upload_2019-2-5_20-31-48.png


    The weight figure is somewhat exaggerated as:

    1. It includes stuff I would be wearing rather than carrying, notably the hiking boots.

    2. It includes some redundant items, such as both long and short underwear. In reality you'd take one type depending on weather.

    3. It includes some items which you would only take if wild camping like a trowel.

    4. It includes cookware for 2 people, a tent for 2 people, so I'd only be carrying all of that if I was going solo.

    So this weight figure is a kind of maximum, if I were to literally take everything on a mega-trip.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Auror DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    Taure, have you got a plan in terms of how you're buying things? An order of importance or order of desire?
     
  13. pbluekan

    pbluekan Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    Cool thread! I'm stoked for this summer, I don't backpack in the winter. I reserve the cooler season for strapping fiberglass boards to my feet and throwing myself off cliffs and down mountains.

    I generally take short trips with just my dog. Weekend out and backs or loops. For these trips I'll carry my dog's food, and honestly just bring some Campbell's Chunky (or whatever it is) soup along with some cheese and salami to cut into it. I heat it up in my Jetboil Canister. Backpacker Glamping.

    For longer trips of three days or longer, I've got a doggie pack for the pooch where he carries his own food, bowl, pack tarp, and a bottle of emergency water. For my food, I usually get a bunch of the powdered/freeze dried soups (not the special backpacking kind, just the little packets) and empty them all into a single baggie for each flavor, a block of backpacker's cheese (usually a nutty parm), a salami, grits, tubes of peanut butter and honey, and some sort of hard candy or granola bar.

    Bagged tea and coffee is always part of my setup, and a week's worth fits nicely into the jetboil when it is all packed up.

    A daily vitamin is something I always bring with, especially on long trips where I'm eating nothing but freezedried soup or grits with some cheese and meat added. These foods are calorie rich, but nutritionally vacuous and the vitamins weigh next to nothing.

    FAVORITES:

    My favorite by far, in Colorado, is Mohawk Lakes.

    It's a fairly short trek to the good campsites, but it's steep as hell. Roughly a ~2000 foot elevation gain in roughly a mile. There are ~five lakes past this one when you hike over the lower ridge and up the glacial moraine. Back and to the left (you can't see it) is Pacific Peak (13,998 ft) and just below the summit is Pacific Tarn, the highest lake in North America.

    I generally pack in and camp at the end of the lake near the ridge to avoid the wind, or a really nice dell just to the right of where this image was taken. Then I'll day hike up Pacific Peak or spend a day fishing.
    [​IMG]

    Bonus pic of the pooch and the site:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    So far the order of importance has been to snap things up when I see them on sale. On that front, my next purchases are likely to be the tent (I found a seller that gives you the footprint with it for free, which otherwise costs £50) and the Arc'teryx Rho LT bottoms which I have found reduced from £70 to £45.

    Likely I will have everything in the list by the end of March except for the water purification device (expensive, heavy and overkill, but I want it because it's cool) and the hiking poles (still not sure if I want hiking poles at all).
     
  15. pbluekan

    pbluekan Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    I’ve got one of these. It’s literally worth it’s weight in gold. It’s pricey and a little heavy, but it’s easy to maintain, easy to operate, and most importantly, fast.

    I keep a life straw for emergencies, though.
    --- Post automerged ---
    You can literally use it (the MSR) in whatever puddle you find.
     
  16. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I'm sure in the US it's useful, and even more useful in countries with less sanitary water supplies. However, in England there's only one location in the country where it's legal to wild camp. So most of the time you will be camping at designated camp sites with running water.
     
  17. pbluekan

    pbluekan Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    Huh. Yeah in the US you can basically camp in any BLM location or National Forest. So I get a lot of use out of the MSR.
     
  18. Sorrows

    Sorrows Order Member Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    I mean, there's plenty of places you can wild camp in the UK. You can camp legally without a permit in most of the Scottish Highlands for a start (think legislation did come in a few years ago to restrict it a bit.)

    If your willing to set up late, leave early and don't leave any mess behind. You rarely get any trouble if you're out of the way, even if someone comes across you. A bivy bag is less obvious and raises less objections but honestly most landowners dgaf if your out the way and respectful.

    The National Trust can take it a bit more seriously but even then, in the unlikely chance someone comes across a neat campsite before you can pack up, you tend to just get moved along.
     
  19. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The use of "England" rather than the UK was not accidental. The only place where it's legal to wild camp in England is Dartmoor. Otherwise you need the permission of the landowner.

    But yes, in Scotland regulation is looser.
     
  20. pbluekan

    pbluekan Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    Well, either way, those MSR's last forever and maintenance is easy. You'll probably never need another.
     
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