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Camping/Hiking/Backpacking

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

  1. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I use them. Saves the knees and the hips on long climbs. Also the poles form part of my tent frame (the lightweight tent is designed on sort or an a-frame that use the hiking poles instead of tent poles).

    Pro-tip: wrap a few meters of duct tape around one of the hiking poles, just below the grip. Peel off as needed for minor repairs while on the trail.
     
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I could really use some help here folks!

    I'm not new to hiking but I am new to actual backpacking. I've only camped out a handful of times in my life, though on vacation it's not unusual for me to hike 20 miles in a day with daypacks (usually two hikes with civilization and lunch in between them).

    This summer I'll be doing the West Highland Way in Scotland by myself. Or such is the plan. I picked this one in part because I've wanted to do it for years and in part because there are small towns along the route where I can stop if I have trouble or just restock in general to help ease things along.

    So... (1) what do I need to buy and (2) what issues am I not anticipating that I'm going to have?

    Stuff I have

    Redwing 40 - this is my standard luggage everywhere I go. Right now it's the only piece of luggage I brought for 10 weeks in China, for example. I'd like to get everything I need for my 3-week trip to Europe in there, which I hope will be doable. I need very different things (and fewer clothes) for a fun trip for a few weeks than I would for a few months of work.

    I don't have the hydration pack for the Redwing but don't plan on using one for this trip unless someone makes a great case for it.

    I know that this is also an internal frame (instead of external) and that it's a bit small for what I want to do. However I don't have friends who can hike with me and I don't want to spend more on a nicer pack for multi-day trips without knowing how I'll enjoy it solo first.

    That said if it is truly too small I have a fifteen year old Redwing 50 as well - it's just sized a bit large for me at 5'4" even with adjustments.

    Osprey Talon 11 - my old day pack. Not planning to take it with me as I'd like to just have the one bag.

    Osprey Dyna 6 - a running hydration pack. This has been my new daypack as it's very small and packs easily into a larger bag for trips where hiking isn't a main purpose. Fits my lunch, my first kit, and enough water for a days hiking (hydration pack + bottles). Not planning to take this either.

    I have a very nice flashlight that's small and easy to pack with solid battery life.

    I have a travel towel somewhere but I don't know where it is - should probably get a new version of this.

    I have plenty of good knives but I can't take them in carry-on luggage, so not sure what to do there as I hate checking bags. If I did check my large bag and had a smaller carry-on I'm not sure what to do with the other bag while I'm hiking - sure as hell don't want to carry it around.

    I don't have any cooking stuff and don't plan to cook. The West Highland Way apparently has at least one bit of civilization you can reach every day, so I'm hoping to get one solid meal somewhere each day and eat protein bars, trail mix, jerky, etc. the rest of the day.

    I have some water purification tablets but a friend suggested I buy a grayl instead of more of those, as it won't expire and I could use it if I come back to China. Debating.

    I'm good on hiking clothes. I'm a fan of Darn Tough socks and have a few pairs of varying material and thickness, a solid pair of boots that I personally love even if most people would want more support, quick-dry shirts and pants, etc. I have layers and waterproofs and whatnot so I don't think I'm missing anything.

    I don't have a sleeping bag, mat, pillow, etc. Some nights I might get a room at the hostels that are supposed to exist along the route but I plan to mostly camp. I sleep very well and easily though, so I don't anticipate needing "extra" here, just good solid basics.

    I need a tent, obviously, and am leaning towards this one - ALPS 1-person Tent- however I don't know jack-shit about tents so I'd like some advice here in particular. I'm trying to pack fairly light (see how my hiking pack is on the small side for a venture this length) and I need something I can set up solo, hopefully quickly. They also have other options for 1, 1.5, 2 person tents if you all think I'd really appreciate that extra space or a different design. I gravitated towards these because they are apparently very easy to set up but open to others - just recall I am limited on space.

    Anyone ever wants to go camping/hiking tho it is my favorite thing ever, at least what I've done of it so far.

    So... help me out folks? What should I get, what am I not thinking of, what problems do you see, and what issues am I going to run into (like with my available backpack) on this particular trip?

    Answer and I'll owe you one!
     
  3. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I'm a big fan of hydration packs. This is because:

    a) they allow you to carry a lot more water with you with its weight distributed in a better manner, and

    b) you end up drinking a lot more water when it's so easily accessible.

    As with any activity, staying hydrated is pretty important and your body will thank you for it. Also if you have a 3L hydration pack you can fill it from a clean source each day to last a full day so probably would not need a purification solution.

    Since you're not cooking and therefore don't need any camp kitchen stuff or food other than snacks, I think a 40L bag should be plenty. Especially as you apparently don't have a sleeping bag or mat either! I use a 65L bag which fits everything I need but it's probably around 30% cooking-related.

    If you do struggle to fit things in, then one solution (if the problem is something compressible like clothes/sleeping bag) is to get a compression sack like the Sea to Summit e-vent, which I use to compress my sleeping bag down to about 1/3 it's normal size.

    I really would recommend bringing a mat, though. Even in summer, that part of Scotland has an average low of around 10 degrees C and without a mat you are going to leech heat into the ground. You can probably get away without a sleeping bag in summer, especially if you have a good insulated jacket, but I think you will miss not having something to insulate you from the ground.

    Tent-wise, since you're in the US I'd recommend taking advantage of REI's own-brand backpacking tents. They're good quality and a bit cheaper than MSR etc, though they're a bit heavier.

    As for a knife, one solution would be to order one to the location of wherever you are commencing your journey. The Mora Companion is around $15, full tang high quality steel, and is more than sufficient for camping/backpacking needs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  4. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    @Taure - I have hydration packs for the two smaller bags, just not the larger one. If you think it's worth it I can pick up the one for the larger bag, however.

    I need a sleeping bag - when I said I didn't have one I meant that I wanted a recommendation on what to purchase for sleeping. I don't know if I need a mat or not, don't know if I need a pillow or not, don't know the best ones that pack down really small, etc. Edit: Just saw that you said I probably would, so good to know! And I could probably just stalk your own picks for recs, but I wasn't sure if everything would apply directly.

    Good tip on the compression bag - will probably need to pick one of those up depending on how things pack.

    REI is a US brand? I think I saw one of their stores once, but I live nowhere near one. Less worried about cost than getting something easy to set-up and carry.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  5. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I've not done backpacking, but I used to go camping around Scotland a fair bit.

    I'm not sure what your temperature tolerance is? If you're used to higher temperatures, I'd suggest getting a 3 season sleeping bag. It's a bit better insulated and warmer for you. If you're used to cold weather, then a 2 season bag should be sufficient during the summer. You can always layer up at night if you do find its a bit too cold. I'd avoid a 1 season bag for camping in Scotland.

    Style wise, I'd always recommend a mummy over a rectangular.

    For a ground mat (which I'd say is a definite necessity), I used to just use a simple, cheap foam one. But they can be quite bulky, so perhaps an inflatable one might suit you better from a storage and transportation perspective.

    One issue you're not anticipating is midgies. They're a small flying insect that swarm in rural areas, generally in the early to mid morning, and then again in the evening. They're not dangerous, but they will land on you and bite you. There is not 100% certain way to avoid this. Their bite causes small raised lumps which itch like nothing else, but disappear after a few hours usually (unless you're one of the unlucky folk who they affect for several days).

    You can get insect repellent, but most standard ones don't affect midgies. One product I've found which does work reasonably well is Smidge. Its not 100%, but does better than any other repellent I've come across.

    The Royal Marines apparently swear by Avon Skin So Soft. I've never used it myself, but I know some folk who've used and say its very effective.

    Citronella is supposed to be quite effective, so burning a citronella candle might help but I've never found them to be that effective.

    Wood smoke is 100% effective, but unless you're setting actual camp fires each night it won't help you.

    And one thing I did find quite effective was a high garlic consumption. After a couple of days of eating a lot of garlic, the midgies seemed to take a much reduced interest in me.

    You'll also attract less attention from them if you don't smell sweet, so no perfumes and scent neutral soap. And if you're diabetic they'll go for you when your blood sugar is higher.

    If you get badly bitten by them, and the itching is too much for you to handle, anti histamines take the edge off it.
     
  6. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    My favourite website which reviews equipment is Outdoor Gear Lab, so I'd recommend browsing their recommendations. They test the items pretty thoroughly and go into detail as to their specific pros and cons so it's good for identifying something that's specifically good for you.
     
  7. Mordecai

    Mordecai Drunken Scotsman Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Also, I'd suggest making sure you have a really good waterproof jacket. Summer rainfall is Scotland is not uncommon, and can be extremely heavy. However, at the same time, make sure you can pack your jacket away because it can be extremely hot sunshine as well.

    I'd suggest waterproof shoes as well. I got good quality hiking boots, and then used waterproofing spray on them. Alternatively you can get waterproof overshoes.

    Waterproof trousers are optional, but I'd recommend them. You can get quite good overtrousers which fold up really small and don't weigh much.

    You don't want to be in the position of having to pack up your tent in the pissing rain, then hike for hours in said rain, completely soaked to the bone and then get ill because of it.
     
  8. Sorrows

    Sorrows Order Member Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    Was in the Highlands over Easter. I would definitely recommend waterproof shoes the ground can be deceptively boggy even if it's not rained in a few days. I'd also recommend walking trousers which can be zipped away into shorts. I sure wished I had some when the sun was out. You basically want lots of thin layers, waterproofs, windproof etc, the weather is seriously changeable.

    The midges can be bloody awful, they sell these mesh body suits alone hiking routs but I don't know how effective they are. Also check yourself for ticks, they are prevalent in deer country and Lyme disease is a thing.

    You will have no signal for long stretches of time. So download or buy some good maps before you set off.
     
  9. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Administrator Admin

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    On the original topic of camping/kit and not Re: Ched:

    I weekend camp in Stanislaus National Forest very often (6-7 times a year), bonding time with my brother. Terrain is similar to Yosemite (which is next to it) but less people and no limits for consecutive days. General kit:

    Essential stuff:

    Teton 4000. Just a standard camping pack. As long as it straps on nicely I'm happy.

    Ferrorod goes in one pocket of the pack. Ziplock full of dryer lint (best kindling I've ever found) in another.

    An all-metal pot with folding handles that can fit into the pack pockets. Good for dropping into coals and boiling water/food/etc.

    Hatchet usually, machete if I'm going somewhere that isn't Stanislaus. Stanislaus is a lot of high altitude pine forest, and machete doesn't work as well. Lower altitude in CA you get more scrub brush or burr grasses, and then the machete is a god send. Much prefer the composite plastic handle types to wood; the weight savings are nice, they last much longer in shitass conditions, and they often also have loops for strapping onto the pack.

    Metal canteen. Same principle as the pot - I want something I can drop in the coals and boil in if I need to. Loop on the top is a nice touch so you can attach it to the pack during travel rather than hold it or stuff it in your pack. Gets harder and harder to find in lieu of plastic ones, so I cherish mine.

    Paracord. It's ubiquitous for a reason. Goes in the pack with the duct tape.

    First aid kit - I bought a waterproof kit (for the bag) and redid it towards what I most wanted to have in a kit. Right now it has large sterile gauze pads (which can be cut down), rubbing alcohol, sewing needle/thread, antibiotic ointment, medical tape, ibuprofen and some regular band-aids. My brother and I behave fairly carefully and are both experienced, I would modify this if I was going with someone else most likely (at minimum include a tourniquet)

    Niceties:

    Standard dome tent. Rolls up small enough to fit nicely in the pack, easy to set up if you're out by yourself.

    Compass. These type are small and get the job done reasonably well, at least keeps you on a good bearing.

    Lightweight waterproof sleeping bag. When I was young we would bring the cotton sleeping bags that had waterproof external shells. The morning dew would still soak in sometimes, and since sometimes we go up above snow level I don't like to fuck around with this. Not terribly hard to make your sleeping situation warmer, and the one I have usually does the trick anyway.
    Sleeping pad to go with this. I can roll my pad and sleeping bag together and strap it to the top of the pack in one nice little bundle. We found ourselves stuck in a rocky area once (granite all around the area, just boulders without any real soil at all) and I wouldn't have slept half as well without this. It can compensate nicely for shitty ground conditions.​

    Bear canister. Lots of black bears both in Stanislaus and the rest of CA. We eat well away from camp and keep the canister away as well. Wash the exterior in some water if you get your greasy smelly fingers on it. Also bug repellent. Bring bug repellent. Big quality of life improvement.

    A portable butane stove has been useful sometimes, and can be nice to have as a backup. They pack easily.

    I like a walking stick as well, it can make going down wet/sandy hills a lot safer and it's useful if you gotta chuck a snake away from you. I usually will make one before we set off or bring one with me. You can chop a quick V into the end and it gives you a good option if a mountain lion wants to fuck around and forget who the apex predator is.

    Edit: Forgot a folding entrenching tool. Really handy for when you want a shit or want to move ashes/coals/etc.

    tl;dr: waterproof, light, enjoy the cold mornings :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  10. Sorrows

    Sorrows Order Member Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    I would not recommend bringing a hatchet or a machete into Scottish villages, you won't need them anyway, where you are walking there will be little in the way of unpathed woodland or scrub.

    I'd also use something lower to the ground than a dome tent if you are planning to camp in the Highlands, the wind can be wicked and the hills have little in the way to block it.

    Also only plan to pack your sleeping bag/mat o the outside of your pack if you are really sure of your waterproof covering.

    The only poisonous snake in the UK is the adder and they aren't particularly potent. Predators such as the lynx and wolf have long been extinct. You don't have to worry about anything more than a fox maybe ripping up a bag of trash if you leave it out.

    A walking stick or two is a good idea though, the grass can be really saturated and a lot of people turn ankles coming down even small slopes. If also second a small camping stove and a little tea/coffee set, getting started on cold wet mornings is hard enough.
     
  11. Oz

    Oz For Zombie. Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Xiph was speaking about camping in California.
     
  12. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Administrator Admin

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    Yup, indeed I was. To the point about waterproof though - the Sierras get rain in a similar unpredictable way to Scotland, and that's why all my gear is waterproof by default. Sucks to sleep in wet kit.
     
  13. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Thought I'd report back on a few recent excursions.

    February - Chess Valley Walk

    10 mile linear hike in the Chilterns Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A day trip within easy reach of London with rolling hills, farmland, and the Chess River. Directions.

    [​IMG]

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    April - Eastbourne Circular Walk

    Two day, 23 mile circular hike starting at Eastbourne, following the South Downs Way through Jevrington to the charming cobblestone village of Alfriston, where day 1 ends. The next day you follow the River Cuckmere south to the coast, after which you head east along the coastline, up and down the cliffs of Seven Sisters national park and Beachy Head, before finally arriving back at Eastbourne.

    [​IMG]

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    April - Box Hill Circular Walk

    9.2 mile hike from Box Hill & Westhumble station passing through Norbury Park, Mickleham, Headley Heath and Box Hill. Another easy day trip from London. Directions. The finale of Box Hill was pretty crowded as it was Easter weekend and the hill itself is car accessible, but the walk in general was pretty deserted.


    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  14. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Why are there no pubs? If there's one thing I've learned from my English relatives, it's that every good walk ends at a pub.
     
  15. Oz

    Oz For Zombie. Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Taure isn't a very good English person which is why we all like him.
     
  16. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Guaranteed that in @Taure's last picture there are at least 800 pubs in that town.

    I, too, went hiking - just yesterday. I did 20kms of the Murrumbidgee River Corridor through the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. My original plan was 28kms, but there were a lot more PUDs (pointless ups and downs) and by the time I got to the 20km mark in a place called Kambah Pools my knees were on fire. So I hitched back to town.

    [​IMG]

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    I saw one wombat, three kangaroos, and walked through maybe a thousand spiderwebs. It was a great day for it.
     
  17. pbluekan

    pbluekan Order Member DLP Supporter

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    So, the warmweather backpacking season is just about to get started here in Colorado so I've pulled all my gear to see what is missing/what I need. I certainly don't take all of this all at once, especially the duplicated kitchen gear. That I tend to tailor for who I'm with.

    The silicone bottles are food grade and really sturdy. One of them has honey in it at all times, the other two rotate between PB&J and olive oil/spice mix or running goop for the really strenuous hikes/treks.

    What isn't on this list:
    1. Spices/Food - Besides the silicone bottles, I tailor that for the trip. Sometimes it's a few cans of campells chunky for a short trip, or it's backpackers cheese, hard salami, and powdered soup mixes and couscous for a longer trip.
    2. Entrenching Tool - My old one broke and I forgot to add it.
    3. Shorts/Boxers and shit. Those aren't dedicated pieces of gear and ... yeah.

    tempsnip.jpg

    Any suggestions for what I need/Ideas for that small pack? Am I forgetting anything?
    --- Post automerged ---
    Bonus gear/dog photo:

    [​IMG]
     
    Oz
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