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SUL with baby brother
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
SUL with baby brother on 06/16/2010 15:19:41 MDT Print View

This is a trip I took my little brother Joseph on in March of 09. At the time he was 10 years old. Joseph is a real trooper when it comes to backpacking. Since I don't have his mom's permission I won't post pictures of his face.

I was about to leave for Colorado and Joseph really wanted to go hiking. Since it was forecast to be warm I wanted to try going SUL with him and try out my new 11 oz BackpackingLight Quilt.

Going up Bluff Mtn.

I packed all my gear into my Golite Ion while Joseph used a 16 oz Camp Trails daypack. Thats a little heavy for SUL but I took all the misc. stuff like Aqumira.

We started hiking south from the Blue Ridge Parkway on the AT. The plan was to hike down to Fullers Rocks and camp for the night than hike out a couple miles from their in time for me to grab my car and head off to Colorado.

On top of Bluff Mtn.

My pack

Joseph takes a rest out of the wind

On top of Bluff Mountain we met a guy who was SOBO through hiking in day hikes. His wife was following in a mobile home and he would meet her at road crossings. He was an ex Navy Sea Bee and told us about traveling to Russia as part of a Nuclear Disarmament verification team. He'd taken the oppurtunity to go brown bear hunting with a couple of Russians using an old rifle from WWWII.



Joseph spotted some cool rocks and wanted to climb them. I wasn't interested but it was a trip for him so we dropped our packs and headed up. It was a good thing I'd listened because the view was very nice.

Rocks we climbed

View toward James River Valley

After taking a lot of pictures we kept going. Joseph missed having a stirnum strap on his pack so I took a strap off his trekking poles and imrpovised one with a small carabiner as a quick release.

View toward James River


We spent some time at Fuller's Rocks than went to set up camp. I didn't have a poncho tarp for Joseph so instead we shared a 10 oz. plastic tarp. I'd reinforced the tie outs with Gorilla Tape and it held up to the wind very well although I still wouldn't use it in really bad weather.


We ate dinner looking at the sunset and went to bed as it got dark. It was a bit cold that night, about 38 degrees. Without a good insulation layer my quilt wasn't really enough (since than I have used it with a down jacket at similar tempuratures with no problem). Part of the problem too was that it was a long night.

We made a fire the next morning to warm up with.

Fire starting

After warming up we went to watch the sun rise. It was the best one I'd seen in a long time.

After enjoying the sunrise we ate a quick breakfast and headed down the mountain.

Morning sunrise


Overall it was a great trip. Joseph was a great sport and we got to try out some new SUL gear. Josehp wasn't entirely happy with the fit of his pack and I wanted more versital SUL gear so lately I've been working on some MYOG so that we can go SUL easier. I've been working on a more durable tarp, rain wraps, and a better bivy for Joseph. Hopefully we can go just as light next time with slightly more flexibility if the weather is bad.

Edited by Cameron on 06/16/2010 15:24:24 MDT.

Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
Total weight/distance on 06/16/2010 15:41:04 MDT Print View

I have a 10 year old nephew that I'd like to hike with too, but I'm not sure of his limits.
Can you let me know how much Joseph carried and the total distance walked?

Edited by PedroArvy on 06/16/2010 15:41:35 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re total weight and distance on 06/16/2010 16:05:14 MDT Print View

If I remember right Joseph's total weight was ten or twelve pounds.
I think the total distance was about 11 miles of which we did about 8 the first day. In my experienc that is about the limit for most kids that age.
Joseph is a very tough kid so he makes the ideal hiking buddy but I've taken other kids hiking with good success. If they think its a fun idea they should be fine as long as the trip is fun and not too long. Good luck