Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way


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Theodore Hall
(Bohican) - F
Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/26/2007 18:25:55 MDT Print View

I've been lucky, but here are a couple:

1. Always bring enough food. I was 15, went camping with a buddy on a river about 2 mi. from the house. Brought side dishes and planned on catching the bulk of the food. Needless to say, the trip ended a day early. (Goes back to the 10 essentials thing.)

2. If using a tarp in chigger country, for the love of all that is good, use a ground cloth.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
RE: The 10 Essentials on 10/27/2007 10:55:56 MDT Print View

1. Map
2. Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
4. Extra food and water
5. Extra clothes
6. Headlamp/flashlight
7. First aid kit
8. Fire starter
9. Matches
10. Knife

Woops, I rarely carry more than 4-5 of these.

Learning the knowledge of the area before hand, I don't carry a compass or Map, (If on trails).

I usually go cold food and there aren't too many places in California that you can start a fire at any way, so no matches or fire starter.

I never carry a knife; never use it, maybe to clean my fingernails.

Extra clothes- Not really necessary if you have a warm enough sleeping bag along with good rain gear, right? (and you don't do anything stupid).

Extra food- Only if I am in the middle of nowhere.

First aid kit- Same as above, maybe some tape for the feet if I'm out for more than 3 days and I'm pushing some technical trails.

I only 2 things I consider essentials that aren't on the list are.
1. Insulation for head.
2. Water purification.

People are too needy.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: RE: The 10 Essentials on 10/27/2007 12:07:47 MDT Print View

Map and (GPS/compass) can be vital even if you know the trail. I remember reading twice about hikers in areas where had they stayed on the trail, they knew their way to wherever but unforeseen events forced them off of that trail (in one story, believe it or not, it was violent criminals they had to avoid but had spotted without being seen), in another story it was fire. In both cases, the hikers got lost and nearly died but obviously they lived to tell the story but they regretted not having a map and (gps or compass).

I have never taken sunglasses but I do have a sahara cap and sunscreen -- talking about hiking in Sequoia National Park in late July/early August timeframe for 8 years now.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/27/2007 17:26:48 MDT Print View

1. Don't let skinny people plan your food. I was on the trail for 10 days when I met up with my buddies who were going to 'resupply' me. I ended up with 1 packet of oatmeal and a tiny slimjim for each breakfast, 2 total cups of trail mix (not per day, total!), stuff like tuna and saltines for lunch, and an average dinner of a mere 1 bowl of rice a roni for the next 5 days. If i had to guess I would say about 1200-1500 cal/day total for 12-18 miles/day. I spent my last $5 on snicker bars and was blessed with trail magic to keep from starvation or eating my skinny friend.

2. If its a debate on whether or not to bring that extra jacket, you should probably bring it. Its not that big of a deal to carry another 14 oz.

3. Thinlite + AT shelter = bad nights sleep

4. Don't start off too strong. Just because you have done 40 miles in a day before doesn't mean you can get off the couch and do 30 and be able to hike the next day (found this out for about the 5th time 3 days ago).

5. Don't try to hike 30 miles on 3 hours of sleep after a long week of school and work (found this out for the 3rd time 3 days ago).

6. Accept what gear you have, its weight, and which of it you will need for a trip. Just because a particular item is too heavy to 'justify' carrying (I.E. 5lb 0* bag, extra jacket, 2 quilts instead of 1) , but is necessary to keep you warm or safe, bring it anyway even if it means moving up to you're hauler pack. Don't be overly concerned with flashy basepack weight numbers or ego when you will still have a great warm time with an extra 4-5 lbs on your back and still 10 lbs less than youre struggling friends :)

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/27/2007 18:28:22 MDT Print View

1) If your spouse isn't happy when you're leaving, the situation may not have improved when you return...

2) Taking a little extra food and water has a significant upside and little downside.

3) Honestly acknowledging and planning for your *true* physical and mental condition and abilities is important: Knowing the same of those treking with you is imperative.

4) When things get *really* difficult (as in a dire situation that could be life changing or threatening), take a few seconds to minutes to reflect and discuss the issues and potential resolutions.

5) Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude and encouragement.

6) If they're not shooting at you, it's a workable problem.

Edited by eaglemb on 10/28/2007 12:45:51 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/27/2007 19:19:00 MDT Print View

> 4) When things get *really* difficult (as in a dire situation that could be life changing or threatening), take a few seconds to minutes to reflect and discuss the issues and potential resolutions.
May I suggest the better way of handling this is to sit down and make a cup of tea or coffee?
Always assuming this is possible, of course!

Cheers

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/28/2007 05:06:54 MDT Print View

1. Instant coffee always tastes that way.

2. One of my good hiking buddies chastises the rest of us for "goal oriented hiking." Sometimes you have to relax your ambitions and just enjoy the hike you have.

3. Quality rain gear can save your life.

4. Few things create memories like taking children hiking.

5. It's a good idea to check your pack against a written list before leaving the house for a 3 hour drive to the trail head.

Edited by flyfast on 10/28/2007 05:12:10 MDT.

Jonathan Duckett
(Thunderhead) - F

Locale: Great Smoky Mountains
Re: Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/28/2007 10:08:01 MDT Print View

Don't wear cotton while backpacking.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/28/2007 11:30:11 MDT Print View

"May I suggest the better way of handling this is to sit down and make a cup of tea or coffee?
Always assuming this is possible, of course!"

You might like this article:

make a cup of tea

Edited by dag4643 on 10/28/2007 11:30:41 MDT.

Tim W
(watters) - F
Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/28/2007 14:41:10 MDT Print View

10 pounds on the gut equals 20 pounds on the back.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/28/2007 15:09:49 MDT Print View

Hi Dan

> > "May I suggest the better way of handling this is to sit down and make a cup of tea or coffee?
> > Always assuming this is possible, of course!"

> You might like this article:
> make a cup of tea
:-)
Yeah, I had already read that article some time ago. It works.
Cheers

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
Re: Important Lesson's You've Learned the Hard Way on 10/28/2007 15:34:20 MDT Print View

Some very interesting comments on this one! Honestly, there's a lot of wisdom in some of these lessons, now isn't there? I figure I should repost some of my lessons learned, since this is just a darn good thread :D

1. Don't overestimate yourself. More to the point, don't overestimate the distance you can hike in a day. 15 miles your first real day on the trail is HARD!

2. Don't underestimate the trail. Trail ratings are an overview, not specific to certain parts of the trail.

3. Make darn sure your toilet paper is IN YOUR PACK!

4. Tom does NOT like freeze-dried meals.

5. Ultralight is the only way for me! If I had been carrying a traditional pack on that last trip, I'd probably STILL be out there a week later.

6. Trekking poles work! At least for me.

That's primarily what I learned so far. But, if you ask me, that's a lot of experience for an overnight trip :D

Tom

barry hitchcock
(barryspoons) - F
lessons learned the hard way on 10/28/2007 15:35:11 MDT Print View

all insect netting is not created equal -------------------uk midges are very very small

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Lessons learned the hard way: Food from Asian grocery stores on 10/28/2007 17:46:22 MDT Print View

Is there asian food that doesn't have some connection with seafood? Also be careful with those korean ramen noodles they are the best but hot and spicy REALLY means hot and spicy.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
UL (at least full UL) isn't for me on 10/29/2007 07:23:18 MDT Print View

I learned full on UL isn't for me on my last trip. I've decided to mix UL and Lightweight gear for a good compromise on weight versus comfort. Carrying 20 lbs including fuel, water, food, my DSLR, and a light tripod was great. Taking a while to get a taut pitch with my tarp and waking up to find it soaked inside and out turned me off from them for a while. I've added a few pounds back in to my gear list as a result.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: UL (at least full UL) isn't for me on 10/29/2007 07:40:06 MDT Print View

Going to a flat tarp is the most difficult part. After a few times with a poncho tarp I decided on a shaped tarp such as the golite hut 1. It goes up fast and easy with 5 stakes and no guylines if using collapsible poles.

Edited by jshann on 10/29/2007 07:40:58 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Shaped Tarp on 10/29/2007 08:29:49 MDT Print View

I bought a Black Diamond Mega Light this weekend which is extremely easy to setup but by the time I add in flooring and bug netting I'm near the weight of the lightest double wall tents. Mega Light is 1 lb 10 ounces + 8x8 tyvek at 6-8 ounces + A16 bug bivy at 6-7 ounces and I'm at around 2 lbs 9 ounces or so. Rough carry (read stripped) on a Big Agnes SL 1 is 2 lbs 6 ounces (minus 4.5 ounces with fibraplex poles), MSR Hubba is 2 lbs 13 ounces (knock off 6 ounces for cf poles), Big Agnes SL2 is 2 lbs 14 ounces (minus 6 for cf poles).

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: UL (at least full UL) isn't for me on 10/29/2007 10:12:08 MDT Print View

Chris, curious what light tripod you carried...

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Tripod on 10/29/2007 10:40:15 MDT Print View

Slik Sprint Pro (ball head) without the extension column or bag. It worked very well but I'll probably add a quick release eventually.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Lesson learned! This is a two-parter... OK 3 on 10/29/2007 10:41:44 MDT Print View

1. A campfire is a great source of tiny sparks that can put tiny holes in all your gear located downwind.

2. Winds change direction, putting more tiny holes in all your gear that you had just moved to "safety"

3. Laugh about it, whatever happens. If you can't laugh, pretend you are doing British dry humor and make an ironic remark.