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morning routine
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James Byrnes
(backfeets1) - M

Locale: Midwest.... Missouri
morning routine on 12/31/2010 02:59:15 MST Print View

I would like to know what people believe to be a reasonable time to break camp, including eating breakfast. Any tips on speeding up the process? This is only an issue for me when I travel with others, but threatening weather and getting on the trail without the tent getting wet have been a problem in the past.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
30 min's on 12/31/2010 03:18:17 MST Print View

If I am pushing time, I can have a cup of coffee & pack camp, in about 30 minutes.
With a group, I plan on an hour.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: morning routine on 12/31/2010 05:15:19 MST Print View

Three things had a major impact on reducing my morning breakdown.

1) Going UL. Less stuff to pack allowed a set packup which was faster.
2) Moving to tarp/bivy. Most nights are spent in only the bivy and I just stuff the quilt, still in the bivy in the bottom of my pack.
3) No stove in the morning. I will eat something as I pack up and get going but I will wait till my first morning break to have my breakfast with coffee.

I am usually out in under 15 minutes. But I also would rather be hiking than sitting around camp. Did I mention I was ADD as a kid?

James Ennis
(JimEnnis) - F

Locale: South
re: morning routine on 12/31/2010 10:25:38 MST Print View

You can speed up a lot of your morning chores by getting most of your gear ready to go the night before.
On multi-day trips, I always get my next-day's food ready and bagged up separately. If I am wearing any different clothes the next day, they are put separate from the rest of the clothes bag.
I don't usually have a hot breakfast, so my cookset is packed up after dinner and ready to go.
By doing this night-before prepping, I save myself several minutes in getting things packed the next morning and can be up and gone well within 30 minutes.

Michael Cockrell

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Re: No hot Breakee on 12/31/2010 10:46:36 MST Print View

Forget that nice hot tea/cocoa/coffee in morning. Too much time loss!

Have some Caffe Latte Perpetuem, or HEED Strawberry/Melon (shot of Espresso/chocolate Gel mixed in?). With a bananna (or dried bananna chips/fruit).

Eat/drink this while packing.

Pack up and get on trail as light arrives.

Snack on trail.

Your gone in minutes!

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
morning on 12/31/2010 12:46:19 MST Print View

I can get going pretty quick when I'm solo (20 minutes or so w/ cold cereal/breakfast bar/cup of coffee and packing up)- when I'm w/ my wife it takes a lot of longer- she likes to lounge around and wait until the coffee is ready :)

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Packing up in the morning on 12/31/2010 13:55:40 MST Print View

I solo backpack so . . .

When it's not raining, about 20 minutes with eating.

When it's raining, about 40 minutes.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: morning on 12/31/2010 14:07:35 MST Print View

"...when I'm w/ my wife it takes a lot of longer..."
I hear that! I often can't get her to wake up for an hour or two despite banging around camp!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
What's with all this rushing? on 12/31/2010 14:41:38 MST Print View

I'll spend a couple hours if I'm lazy - several cups of coffee and tea, oatmeal, set my sleeping bag in the sun maybe.

The most I'll hike in a day is maybe 13 miles, 10 is better, 6 or 7 is okay if I end up at a nice place and explore around. Especially in the winter I'll do fewer miles because of shorter days and worse weather.

Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: morning routine on 12/31/2010 14:52:07 MST Print View

Ditto on getting ready the night before. Also see
these previous posts.


Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Morning Routine. on 01/04/2011 14:13:52 MST Print View

I tend to get up with the sun so it has a tendancy to be on the cooler side of things.

To help with that here is my routine:

Get up, pack up as quickly as possible
Hike a few miles untill it is warmer (warm enough to stop and not all of my layers)
Eat here.

The benefit is that you are not sitting around and waiting (generating no heat) during one of the coldest parts of the day thus keeping you warmer and getting you out faster.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Morning Routine on 01/04/2011 18:18:02 MST Print View

A great change I've made lately is keeping my breakfast/coffee in a OPSAK (odour proof sack) in my shelter. So the first thing I do when I wake up is put water on to boil for coffee/oatmeal in my vestibule using my pre-assembled caldera cone & MSR Titan Kettle. Then I've got about 10 minutes while the water heats up to pack up and get dressed. About 15 minutes after I wake up I'm having breakfast. Then I spend 10-15 minutes eating/drinking and then I exit my shelter. I spend another 10 minutes or so packing up my shelter and retrieving my bear bag and then I hit the trail. 45 min is a normal time. I don't rush too much. I don't like to rush, but I do like to be efficient.

Keeping your breakfast in your shelter saves time on any morning, but it really pays off when it's raining because it sucks to get all your rain gear on to retrieve your bear bag/canister, and then have to crawl back into your shelter with your wet stuff on. Previously when it was raining I would just skip breakfast because I hated getting my rain gear on/off.

Eating on the trail instead of at camp makes sense, but I personally enjoy breakfast too much to put it off and/or have an entirely cold one. Cereal + Nestle Nido milk is yummy though when combined with a hot coffee.

Edited by dandydan on 01/04/2011 18:38:20 MST.

Christopher Taggart

Locale: Western PA
A little off topic on 02/08/2011 22:39:22 MST Print View

How are you guys making coffee on the trail? Do you use instant or is there a trick to having an actual decent cup of coffee on the trail?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: A little off topic on 02/08/2011 22:44:53 MST Print View

Start here

Christopher Taggart

Locale: Western PA
Re: Re: A little off topic on 02/08/2011 22:45:44 MST Print View

Nice, quick draw. Thanks.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
What's the hurry? on 02/09/2011 17:46:30 MST Print View

I've never timed myself but, as a general rule, I'm slow out of the gate, always have been. The kind of places I frequent, the last thing on my mind is hurrying, especially in the morning. High remote places are why Allah, in His infinite wisdom, invented Peet's Arabian Mocha Sanani. That said, I woke up one mid October morning in the Upper Kern Basin to an ugly looking front that had me thinking I'd better be over Shepherd Pass before the dump. I didn't time myself, but it had to be less than 15 minutes from the time I popped out of my bag until I was on the move. It left a bad taste in my mouth, though, not to mention being a waste of some mighty fine coffee.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
morning routine on 02/09/2011 18:29:29 MST Print View

I've always been pretty slow getting going in the morning, in the past often taking as much as 3 hours to get on the trail. I have really worked to cut this down, and have gotten my time down to 1 1/2 hours without rushing. It is, after all, a vacation! If I go to the Rockies for a trip, it's really important to get on the trail early so that I'm off exposed areas like ridges or passes before the usual mid-afternoon thunderstorm. Some days this means getting up before dawn so I can start at daylight. It's not such a big deal here in the Pacific NW where severe thunderstorms are relatively rare. (Out here, a thunderstorm is considered "severe" if there are more than 2 lightning strikes per storm.) On the other hand, there's a much better choice of campsites (limited by the brushy undergrowth out here) if I can get to my destination early.

Part of my morning routine includes taking care of my dog, which does take a little longer. He's unfortunately quite prone to vomiting (sensitive Labrador stomach). Since he drinks a lot of water when he wakes up, I have to wait about 20-30 minutes after his morning drink before giving him his food, to make sure he has burped up swallowed air. I then have to wait another hour for his breakfast to settle before starting out on the trail. In the meantime, of course, I eat my cold breakfast (usually cereal), brush my teeth, do the potty routine and pack up. By the time the dog is ready for the trail, so am I. With the dog's schedule, therefore, 1 1/2 hours is about as fast as we can get.

Since, thanks to old age, I always have to get up during the night, I plan to start taking the dog outside during one of those outings so he gets a drink in the middle of the night, as he does at home. Hopefully this will cut down on the amount he drinks in the morning so I can speed up his morning routine a bit. I'd love to cut another half hour out of our morning routine!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: morning routine on 02/10/2011 13:44:09 MST Print View

When alone it takes me about 20-30 minutes.

1. Pop up
2. Eat while still in my sleeping bag. Cold cereal usually.
3. Pack as much as possible of the things inside the tent.
4. Pack the tent and everything else.
5. Take care of a little personal hygiene and stuff.
6. Done!

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Ryan's morning routine on 02/10/2011 14:30:33 MST Print View

Ryan Jordan wrote an essay on his morning routine as part of an early article here:

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
morning routine on 02/10/2011 16:32:08 MST Print View

I guess it would be nice not to have to dash out of bed immediately upon waking up and run (not walk) behind the nearest tree, but unfortunately some of us have to do that every morning. Nor am I about to keep food or eat in my shelter, relying on OP sacks (which work only until your fingers transfer odors to the outside). I'm rather surprised at this casual handling of food around the shelter, considering that Ryan lives in grizzly bear country! Since I'm up and have my rain gear on anyway, my dog and I eat breakfast out in the rain, and don't go back inside the shelter until I'm ready to pack up. Saves putting the rain gear off and on multiple times.

I'm wondering why the urge to put so much stress into what is supposed to be a recreational activity. I go backpacking for fun and relaxation, not to stress out nor to rush to get (to quote the late Harvey Manning) "from Bug Bog to Blister Pass in 4 hours flat"! I noticed in the current PCT article series that the author really regrets rushing through northern California and Oregon and wouldn't do it again.

What's the big hurry? Why not slow down and smell the flowers!

Edited by hikinggranny on 02/10/2011 16:35:06 MST.