backpacking with my wife
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ben wood
(benwood)

Locale: flatlands of MO
backpacking with my wife on 07/09/2009 22:41:10 MDT Print View

my non-backpacking, yet very supportive of the habit and patient about the gear conversations, wife has decided to go on an overnight with me as a birthday gift. sweet!
in the past she has shown much distaste for the idea of walking around in the woods for a few days, but is going to put that aside to enjoy a couple of days doing something i enjoy. its a really big deal to me and i am very excited, so i needed to share. thanks

Jack Scheckton
(Meestajack) - F

Locale: Brooklyn
That's Great on 07/10/2009 08:58:14 MDT Print View

My Wife and I backpack together, and after she got comfortable with the initial discomfort she has really embraced the feeling of freedom and strength that comes from climbing peaks and being self sufficient.

The best advice I can give is to let her help guide the pace, keep her pack light and comfortable, make sure she is involved in the navigation and camp duties.

I handle all the "boring" (to her at least) details like planning, packing, stuffing, gear-shopping, weighing, bearbag hanging, dishes, water pumping... and get her involved in the meals, photography, tent setup/bedding, etc.

Hope you both have fun... Here is to many future hikes!

Aida Martinez
(aidamone) - F

Locale: Washington D.C. metro area
Awesome on 07/10/2009 09:04:09 MDT Print View

Keep it fun and comfortable. I would include a few extra comfort/treat items - whether it be a coffee, smores, or wine. Maybe she will find out that it isn't so bad and actually enjoy herself and want to do it again. :)

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
"backpacking with my wife" on 07/10/2009 09:14:47 MDT Print View

For a first trip make sure you go somewhere spectacular and that it doesn't rain. If the forecast is so so think about postponing. make that first trip a great one and she will likely want to go again.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Backpacking with your wife on 07/10/2009 09:50:06 MDT Print View

Simply stated, she should enjoy her first outing. The key for most people in their first encounter with backpacking is that their pack is too heavy and/or ill-fitting so that the hiking part of backpacking becomes a struggle.

My recommendations:
1. Keep the pack weight low with a pack that fits her.
2. Keep the distances moderate.
3. Take along a luxury or two (food/drink treat).
4. Slow the pace to make it more relaxed.
5. Depending on your area, make sure you have insect repellent and/or bug headnets.

Jack Scheckton
(Meestajack) - F

Locale: Brooklyn
succint on 07/10/2009 09:56:39 MDT Print View

"Simply stated, she should enjoy her first outing."

My wife's first time backpacking was a nightmare... She went on a week long trek when she was about 13 years old, carried maybe 45lbs, it rained constantly, LA Gear brand *hiking* boots with cotton socks.

It took alot of convincing to get her out into the woods for that first backpacking trip. But even though it rained on us she really enjoyed the trip.

Smartwool socks, sub 20lb pack and decent raingear changed her entire outlook.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 11:29:15 MDT Print View

Sounds fun Ben!

Rules when with my main squeeze:

1) Fully enclosed shelter AND seperate shelter to hang out in.
2) red wine
3) no freeze dried foods
4) nice fire

Rule #1 really turned things around for her. I bring my MLD Duomid (11 oz.) as an extra shelter to hang out in in case of bad weather, play games, store gear and whatnot. Sounds crazy but it is worth it to make the trip all that much better. Of course, the more of rule #2 I bring along, the less rule #1 and rule #3 matter.

Rule #4 is a must. No fire = No camping...so I always have to camp in designated fire areas...again, not a problem up here.

Enjoy!

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 11:34:13 MDT Print View

Oh, and she loves to navigate! She really gets excited when I give her a map, show her where our camp is and she has to get us there. I just follow her around all day, she asks me questions from time to time when she's not sure, but she is in charge, except when we are way of course - but we don't like to talk about those trips ;)...maybe your wife would enjoy that aswell. It can be quite satisfying.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 11:40:14 MDT Print View

- Nice chocolate(s) for dessert is always a good idea.
- Avoid rain & bugs if at all possible
- Take a camera (and small tripod?) to document this adventure. It can be a very sweet post trip present to mount a picture of you two or her in a backpack in an attractive frame.
- A foot & back rub in the evening would get you added points, but might set a bad precedent for future trips.
- Pack some moist wipes to help her remove some grime at the end of the day...you may remain filthy.

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
RE: backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 11:45:12 MDT Print View

Chuckling at Steven...

My wife insists we ALWAYS take a big tarp as a rain/cooking/"hangout" shelter. I resisted a bit when our "old" tarp was 2 1/2 lbs...and easily give in with new Spinnaker fabric (<10 oz). We have spent more than one evening spread out under a tarp in the rain, resisting the idea of being elbow-to-elbow in a smaller tent (if that were the only choice).

Wine is always nice, especially on the first night out, but not quite as weight-efficient as single malt scotch whiskey (Lagavulin or 18 yr old Glenlivet come to mind)!

The other advantage of having my wife along is that I don't feel compelled to pull big mileage but rather focus on enjoying a less-than-compulsive hiking pace. We can still cover decent distance, spend a bit more time in camp and enjoy our surroundings. My solo trips are bit more goal-oriented and satisfying in a different way.

ben wood
(benwood)

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: RE: backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 12:36:22 MDT Print View

thanks for all the replies. i'm taking some of the advice to heart. i will be bringing a fully enclosed shelter and borrowing a BA IAC for her. i use a z-lite. i am thinking some smores would ne nice and she doesn't drink so i was thinking of some martinelli's sparkiling cider, which she really does like to have on special occasions. and definately will be bringing the camera. i think i will be carrying the majority; tent, stove, food, etc. and just leave her with a sleeping bag and clothing, and personal items. i had her try on both of my packs this morning to see what is more comfy, it turned out to be the lighter one which is nice for her.

thanks again for the advice.
ben-

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 13:04:53 MDT Print View

Slow pace. On uphills, ask frequently enough if she would like to rest.

Assure her that there are no creatures around to hurt either of you.

Before sitting down for a rest, visibly look around for bugs/snakes... at least let her think you are making sure nothing is around to bite.

Have fun.

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
No one has mentioned bathrooms... on 07/10/2009 14:48:57 MDT Print View

I know you want a wilderness experience... but you may wish to find a place that a facility can be found at some point. My friends wife has been with us many times and she finally pooped in the woods last time, we both cheered. It is a very uncomfortable thing for most woman that aren't very "outdoorsy" so that is also something to think about.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F

Locale: Walking With The Son
Re:backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 15:20:37 MDT Print View

My wife is also very supportive of my love of the outdoors, but has no desire to camp in the woods. She does, however, like to hike. I wanted to do a weekend trip with her so the compromise I struck was this; We "camped" at a B&B, and the owner shuttled us each day so we could do day hikes. It worked out that we stayed in Tyringham, Mass, and hiked back to the B&B each day, since it was less than a mile off the AT. We had a great time.
At Benedict Pond

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re:backpacking with my wife on 07/10/2009 18:11:21 MDT Print View

My wife loves the backcountry: wipes with moss, has a jrb quilt, bpw 8 lbs, she says stuff like "taut pitch." So if your gal has any not for the public questions PM me bro.

ben wood
(benwood)

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Re: Re:backpacking with my wife on 07/14/2009 15:27:27 MDT Print View

thanks rick! ha! anyhow, the trip went really well. i think she may be in for another if i am careful. she likes the hiking but not all day, and she prefers the comforts of car camping. i.e. bathroom, chairs, coolers, etc.

Elena Lee
(lenchik101) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
from a wife's standpoint on 07/22/2009 20:49:45 MDT Print View

wow you guys are funny: chocolate, wine, and no bugs. add a spa treatment ...and this sounds like a cruise vacation to me:)

I wanted to make two points. First, i guess i'm a little shocked to see that here in the US, where women aspire to be like men in every aspect of life, you are making such gender specific suggestions on hiking (this is from a viewpoint of non-US born woman). Second, i really think both men and women have similar problems outdoors, and their ability and desire to pursue these experiences is really a matter of taste. Both men and women have varying degrees of attachment to outdoor activities, so lets not write this off to gender only and say because she is a girl lets keep her pack weight low! Everyone deserves a light pack, good companionship, mutual respect and understanding of one's abilities, in addition to a piece of yummy chocolate. I personally was the one who introduced my husband to multi-day lightweight backpacking, and i also deal with "adjustment" issues, despite the fact that he is a guy and i'm a woman (according to your theory this should be opposite?). However, i don't think giving him a gun or bringing a bottle of whiskey would fix it! And my last thought... You can't just dress up something and make it right, no matter what your efforts are, if your loved one lacks a pure inner desire to pursue a certain activity, not on the same "wave" with you, and/or doesn't want to please you, sometimes, you just have to accept the fact they never will. My husband loves hiking, however he doesn't care about climbing mountains in the snow and ice, regardless of the weight of his ice-axe. and i accept that.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
backpacking with my wife on 07/22/2009 21:44:42 MDT Print View

I've got a question for the OP. What are you going to do for her? This was the first question my wife asked. My idea of a perfect weekend, out hiking. Her idea is a weekend of no telephone and some great classic movies accompanied with some light gardening. 20 years together, so far. Works great cause I can leave the dogs at home.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Backpacking with the Wife on 07/22/2009 21:46:31 MDT Print View

My wife is good for two trips a year...She has a few rules that I must ad here to: She needs a a very comfortable sleeping pad-she likes the new Neo-Air...She wants chocolate to always be handy....She wants sauteed Asparagus in a pan w/ Olive oil and spices...and finally she needs a bottle of Chardonnay(1 ltr Platy). The one thing she dislikes in the Great Outdoors is having to go to bathroom--so I always volunteer to dig the cathole before she does her business...My wife is a trooper and puts up with Backpacking Obsession and is truly starting to enjoy the great outdoors... I need to plan a Backpacking trip to the Big Island---that is a Win-Win situation!!!!!

P6270185 The Better Half doing the hard miles to Young Lakes!!!

Edited by Creachen on 07/22/2009 21:49:48 MDT.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
elena on 07/22/2009 22:08:24 MDT Print View

i'd happily go on a trip with you - and i don't mind if you carry a little more weight than i do: but i won't go on those icey trips either :)

there are women like you here in the usa, but they are rare, at least in my experience; are you saying there are more like you at home?

if my marriage doesn't last, which country should i be visiting?

as always, my tongue finds cheek meat, but it does seem ironic that most of the men here seem to have to coax our women into the back-country, and yet you also seem to have similarly coaxed your man :)