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Backpacking without a backpack?
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Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/05/2009 00:13:48 MDT Print View

Anyone ever done it?

I broke my collar bone earlier this summer so carrying a backpack is out of the question. And yet, I'm going to get out.

Right now the plan is for most of my stuff to sit in a large hip belt pack. But I don't have SUL gear, nor am I willing to buy anything new for such a specialized purpose. I think that I'll be able to make an overnight trip with some no-cook food in the fanny pack, along with a warm jacket, rain gear, first aid kit, map, compass, lighter and headlamp. I can attach a pad to the fanny pack. But I'm not sure how I'll carry my sleeping bag and shelter. Sadly my gatewood cape is in storage 1,000 miles away.

I'm leaning towards not bringing a shelter. It's something I've never done. I'll bag the trip if the weather is bad and I can't find an overhanging rock or other option. Maybe I'll bring an emergency blanket. That still leaves my sleeping bag. I've got two ideas, either stuff it in a messenger bag or put it in my otherwise empty Jam 2 and sling it over my good shoulder.

I'm looking forward to this. Mixing up backpacking makes it more fun. Kind of reminds me of the stories of Mr. Muir.

Anyone ever do any backpack-less backpacking?

Edited by Found on 08/05/2009 00:15:39 MDT.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/05/2009 06:26:27 MDT Print View

Dixon Rollerpack

Just kidding...sort of.

Hope your shoulder gets better.

Edited by Coldspring on 08/05/2009 06:27:34 MDT.

Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
"Backpacking without a backpack?" on 08/05/2009 06:46:32 MDT Print View

thisis an example of something that might fit the need

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/05/2009 09:59:54 MDT Print View

Sorry to hear about your shoulder. I pray for a speedy recovery.

I haven't done this... but in the past people have used their blanket / quilt / sleeping bag as a sling. So rather than taking up room it became the object that other things were carried in.

You might also wants to throw your question out on the general forum at When I was active there a couple of years ago there were several people who using only waist packs.

It's to bad that your gatewood cape is unavailable.


Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/05/2009 12:36:45 MDT Print View

If you could jury rig up something like this you wouldn't even have to carry anything on your torso.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
RE:Backpacking without a backpack on 08/05/2009 12:47:13 MDT Print View

I've done 1 or 2 night trips with no real shelter by leaving when the weather is good and forecast to stay good. I would take a piece of light plastic as a pseudo-bivy in case of rain. Where you are it ought to be easier to find reliably good weather and carry very little.

I've had a broken collar bone and it is not fun. You might want to choose easier hikes till it is fully healed. In my case, when it had stopped hurting I was in a minor fender bender and that made it hurt for another 2 weeks. Be careful on terrain where you might stumble; you might jar it enough to slow down healing.

Justin McMinn
(akajut) - F

Locale: Central Oklahoma
Re: Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/05/2009 13:55:51 MDT Print View

Could you use a sling or just use one shoulder strap of your backpack? I often times only use my shoulder straps only to keep my backpack vertical with all of the weight on my hips.

Great Kilts were used as sleeping gear by the Scots.

Folding Instructions

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/05/2009 14:38:54 MDT Print View

How about some pack mules? :P


todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/05/2009 14:42:26 MDT Print View


Sorry to hear about your injury.

Crazy Pete posted a trip report about this very thing. Worked out well for him, as well as I remember.

Heal quickly.....

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Patagonia Lightweight Courier Bag? on 08/05/2009 15:40:10 MDT Print View

I picked up one of the Patagonia silnylon courier bags and have considered doing a summer uber-uber-lite overnighter with it. Water is the heaviest item. If your broken bones can handle a load on one side, it might do the trick.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
bedroll on 08/05/2009 16:30:43 MDT Print View

I've been wanting to try an old style bedroll like this for a while. It would be ideal for the sleeping system as you can use your tarp for the outer waterproof layer. So far I've not been able to get my sleeping bag to cooperate thought!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Bedroll on 08/05/2009 22:21:17 MDT Print View

You may have something there...

How about some large rubber bands to get the sleeping bag under control-- assuming it is slipping and sliding around? Velcro straps may work too, or even some parachute coard. I could see laying out gear in a 3 foot column, wrapping it all in the sleeping bag and then the tarp.

Water, snacks, and gear that needs to be closer at hand could be carried in a fanny pack with room to spare. That would put the really heavy stuff on your hips too.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: bedroll on 08/06/2009 07:18:46 MDT Print View

To try a bedroll, I'd not use my sleeping bag as they use their blanket but would instead use a tube of silnylon with cordlock closure on both ends and an unattached strap for the middle. No added weight of shoulder straps. No sweaty back.

Think I want one.

Edited by jshann on 08/06/2009 07:31:22 MDT.

Slo Hiker
(SloHiker) - F

Locale: NC Foothills
Lumbar Pack Option on 08/06/2009 08:33:58 MDT Print View

This might work: I have Mountainsmiths largest lumbar pack - the "Day" model - with the optional "strappettes". For me at least, these straps stabilize the load in the pack more than bear the weight. Perhaps your shoulder could handle that. You could strap a summer weight sleeping bag & a pad to the top, and with almost 900 cubes of internal space - you should be able to do a fair weather over-nighter.

MS Straps

I remember reading about Chip Rawlins doing this in the book, "The Complete Walker" - he did it somewhere out west in early fall, and about froze his ass off.

Lumbar Pack w/straps

Edited by SloHiker on 08/07/2009 11:35:02 MDT.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Backpacking without a backpack? on 08/06/2009 23:01:00 MDT Print View

Great comments Ya'll. I'm definitely looking forward to getting out this week. Mostly because I'm going to epically beautiful places but also because of the lack of gear.

A bed roll would be cool. I'd be interested in doing a retro gear trip some time. Though I'm not sure that I really want to do that at 12,000ft above the legal zone of campfires. I'm not eager to do it with my modern sleeping bag though. I'm not sure why.

I am actually an owner of a Mountainsmith Day lumbar pack. I like it. Bought it specifically to hike with after I hurt my shoulder. Haven't fully loaded it for an overnighter yet though. I won't be buying the strappettes anytime soon. I spend too much money on gear. And I feel like if i want to have shoulder straps I should just be carrying one of my six or seven dayhiking backpacks! Plus at this time, I cannot wear shoulder straps at all.

I'm not sure what I'll actually do when it comes down to the hike. I'll have a lot of choices and decide when I actually pack up at the trailhead. It's more fun that way. :)

Wheeled carts would be an interesting option for somewhere not in the USA. But here I like entering Wilderness Areas where wheels are not allowed.