Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Single best piece of advice ever given? What's yours?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Sean Walashek
(caraz) - F

Locale: bay area
hmm on 01/03/2010 16:07:13 MST Print View

Advice for me hasn't come in a small one liner often. When I focus on the most defining wisdom to sculpt my world view it has been authors such as Thoreau, Hesse, and Emerson, that have left the strongest impression of how life can be lived. To condense it as best I can, the one liner "Live simply, so that others may simply live." Is what I'm left offer to this thread.

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Single best piece of advice ever given? on 01/03/2010 18:32:21 MST Print View

My father used to tell my brother when they'd go on backpacking trips (no girls allowed - this was the late 50's and early 60's and dear ol' dad was from the old school), "you don't have to practice being miserable." Then he'd toss another flashlight or thick, heavy jacket into his Trapper Nelson.

Luckily, I don't have to practice being miserable either, because I use the lightweight skills and equipment I've learned about on this site.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Man Eaten Lake on 01/03/2010 18:46:48 MST Print View

I've wondered why they named it "Man Eaten Lake". Did it actually eat a man?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Man Eaten Lake on 01/03/2010 19:02:05 MST Print View

From some book or other:

The lake, which the Karuk call ara u'ipamvaanatihirak, "the place where a person ate himself long ago," is the setting for a legend about a man who, in a fit of cannibalism, ate his entire family and finally devoured his own flesh. At the end, he became a roving skeleton, still seeking food.

Scott Ireland
(WinterWarlock) - MLife

Locale: Western NY
More than a one-liner.... on 01/04/2010 05:08:35 MST Print View

Several years ago, the owner of another forum I am active on wrote his "7 Habits for Happy Hiking" - I have these posted in several places for constant reminders, so with all credit to "Neil", here they are:


“7 Steps to Highly Rewarding Hiking”.

1. Know your route.

Whatever means of navigating you use (software, compass etc.) make sure you have studied and researched your route. Guide books, old trip reports, specific requests for beta from other hikers, tracklogs, whatever information may exist, you may as well profit from it. Then, whether it means writing bearings on a piece of tape on the back of a compass or entering a route into a gps (or both!) or printing a description make sure you do it.

2. Watch your nutritional status.

I never used to worry about this but getting older (49) has made me aware of the benefits.

It starts (at least) the day before and for me means simply loading up on carbs and drinking lots of water. If you haven’t been active for a few days prior to the hike your muscles may already be full of glycogen (rocket fuel) and so the importance of eating is a little less.

On the morning of the hike eat well, in the car on the way to the trailhead nibble and drink.
While on the trail eat and drink often and plenty. I often find myself not wanting to eat even if hungry so I carry all kinds of different stuff and try to vary my food supply from hike to hike.

3. Stay in shape

If you're like me and can't hike as often as you'd like to then do something to stay in shape between hikes. There's nothing worse than suffering because your out of shape.

4. Bite off a little more than you think you can chew (but not too much!).

Some may disagree with me here but some of my best memories are from hikes that I wasn't sure about being able to successfully complete. (I had potential bailouts)

5. Start real early
For the big trips you can't beat a pre-dawn start. You never know when you'll need those hours. Personally, I prefer taking my headlamp off versus putting it on.

6. Never underestimate a mountain.
Approach every hike with the same respect.

7. Choose your partners wisely.

The only thing worse than standing around in the cold waiting is to be constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to keep up with the others.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: More than a one-liner.... on 01/04/2010 08:11:03 MST Print View

I agree with everything except #5. Yuck. :)

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: More than a one-liner.... on 01/04/2010 08:30:06 MST Print View

Starting early may not be fun at first, but in the mountains the period around dawn tends to have the calmest and clearest weather. You can often avoid strong wind and rain this way.

Scott Ireland
(WinterWarlock) - MLife

Locale: Western NY
Re: Re: More than a one-liner.... on 01/04/2010 08:34:44 MST Print View

and I do agree with Neil's comment that I'd rather start with a headlamp and take it off than end the day by putting it on, although in winters up here we often tend to use them at both ends of the day.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: More than a one-liner.... on 01/04/2010 10:46:33 MST Print View

Well, Miguel, if you say so. But can you please start the fire, I'll be up in a few... :)

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Single best piece of advice ever given? on 01/04/2010 12:34:26 MST Print View

The key phrases I learned from this site:

"A pound of knowledge is lighter than a pound of gear."

and the corollary:

"We pack our fears."

Ed Collyer
(ecollyer) - F

Locale: East Bay Area
2010! on 01/05/2010 09:20:41 MST Print View

I have hundreds of these tips, most of them very useful if you remember them!

Best Advice:
1. Go to bed warm, a sleeping bag is like a thermos, put in something hot and it stays hot, put in something cold and it stays cold.

2. Mark your pee bottle!

3. WHoever said, "Wear your wet clothes to bed to dry them" forgot to say that if you have a down bag, this doesn't work, in fact you may die.

4. Never CUT towards yourself.

5. Cottons Kills, Hydrate or die, you'll go blind if you play with yourself

6. Sharing is caring

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Single best piece of advice ever given? What's yours? on 01/05/2010 09:39:18 MST Print View

If you keep stopping you never get to the point where you can keep walking. Slow down, don't stop. Endurance is easy to build.

There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot. (don't remember where I heard it, but it's true!)

It's not worth killing yourself over. Don't focus so much on the goal that you lose the enjoyment in the journey.

D S
(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
nice ED! on 01/05/2010 09:39:24 MST Print View

some of the best advice posted! That whole sleeping in wet clothes thing to dry them out---they freeze, where did that come from?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: 2010! on 01/05/2010 09:43:12 MST Print View

"you'll go blind if you play with yourself"

Really? No way... :)

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: 2010! on 01/05/2010 09:46:03 MST Print View

Sleeping with wet clothes actually does work, even in a down bag. But the condensed "message" is simplistic and doesn't really depict how it's done.

You can't really sleep in lots of soaking wet clothes and expect a comfortable experience.

But things do dry. Drying socks ain't so hard, you can even just lay them next to you. Drying a damp/sweaty pair of long johns may be done by wearing them to bed.

I've even had success drying damp rain shells by wearing them to bed.

Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
RE: "Single best piece of advice ever given? What's yours?" on 01/05/2010 09:49:50 MST Print View

"you'll go blind if you play with yourself"
"Really? No way... :)"


Just till you need glasses (Third post down)

Edited by djjmikie on 01/05/2010 09:50:57 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: 2010! on 01/05/2010 09:51:05 MST Print View

"you'll go blind if you play with yourself"

Really? No way... :)"

i dint bwliece thst crzp euthwr (darn keys, can't quite make them out....)

Ed Collyer
(ecollyer) - F

Locale: East Bay Area
Re: nice ED! on 01/05/2010 09:57:45 MST Print View

Actually, (Sorry Mike C!) I read it in "Allen and Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book" which was a text for my winter camping class.

And I quote" I also sleep in most of my insulating layers. Heck, once I even slept with my boots on. This way you don't have to take all that time getting dressed and undressed. Plus it's easier to get out of bed if you are already dressed in warm clothes." Next to it is an awesome drawing (by Mike C!) of a guy sleeping with all of his clothes, yes even boots!

I re-read it and nowhere does it say anything about down sleeping bags getting wet, maybe that was implied and I was too dumb to know, but on my first extended winter trip, I found out the hard way. Luckily I had a synthetic bag in my car that was only about a mile or 2 away, so I went and exchanged bags when my down bag was just "nylon on nylon", all the down had clumped to the sides.

However, I do wear some wet clothes if they are not too wet in my synthetic winter bag. I have found I am not careful enough and the snow is too wet in California for down winter bags.

I have found that if you have frozen boots in the morning, you can pee on them to un-freeze them. (yes I have done this) Plus most of us have to pee in the morning anyways!

Scott Ireland
(WinterWarlock) - MLife

Locale: Western NY
Ed, seriously? on 01/05/2010 10:11:48 MST Print View

"I have found that if you have frozen boots in the morning, you can pee on them to un-freeze them. (yes I have done this) Plus most of us have to pee in the morning anyways!"

Who ties your laces?

Ed Collyer
(ecollyer) - F

Locale: East Bay Area
Re: Ed, seriously? on 01/05/2010 11:19:51 MST Print View

I tie my laces, of course. But have you ever tried to tie frozen laces? Its like trying to tie sticks together.