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Backpacking for the girly girl
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Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Check is in the mail on 07/12/2011 08:55:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for everyone's insight. I knew when she posted it would bring in a lot of BPL opinions. It's fun to hear about what worked, and what did not. We're talking about my Bday in Sept and what we'd like to do. We'll probably figure something out for that time frame when it isn't so hot and bugs aren't as bad.

Mike - The check is in the mail....actually, can we just come for a 2 week hike in your neck of the woods? :p

Ryan Tucker
(BeartoothTucker) - M
insight on 07/12/2011 08:55:48 MDT Print View

i got my wife into backpacking. it doesn't mean it will work for you. but i have learned just to make some decisions and let her feedback tell me if she likes them or not. the more time she spends out the easier her comfort level gets. i do have anxiety about wet, wind blown rain under the tarp making her miserable. that situation makes me miserable as well though.

my thoughts are you can't make someone enjoy backpacking/hiking...just expose them, read them and try to help make it as enjoyable as possible. i know the time my wife and i spend out is what it is about. we deal with the rest. hope this perspective helps.

Kathleen L
(kathleenl) - F
Re: you should just go for it! on 07/12/2011 08:59:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the insights Mike, but I'm sticking to my guns. Tents with bottoms and campsites with bathrooms FTW. :)

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Cabins are the way to go on 07/12/2011 09:41:29 MDT Print View

I think day hikes and the gym to get in shape, plus some cabins up north will be the way I need to approach this with Kathleen. This will also stop me from fighting with myself to buy the lightest 2 person shelter (at the risk of having to sell it if she is not enjoy) or a moderate weight, full floor tent (at the risk of her getting into the past time and wanting to go lighter over time).

I still maintain my Birthday wish is for her to sh_t in the woods! :p

Joslyn Bloodworth
(LynB87) - F

Locale: Southwest US
Go for it! on 07/12/2011 09:59:40 MDT Print View

First, on Mike's suggestion, actually probably not the best idea. I know from experience, irrational or not, if you are worried and paranoid about bugs all night, you'll never sleep and that makes for a worse trip. Not to mention, you don't have to compromise those points to have a great ultralight backpacking trip. I don't know if I'm repeating this suggestion or not but check out some of Henry Shires Tarptents as a great compromise. The Squall 2 has the bathtub floor, mesh door, fully enclosed from bugs and creepy crawlies and is just a little over 1lb per person. As a girl who is totally with you on the bugs and critters, these tents have really been my go-to when it comes to super light while still ensuring I spend the night alone, Especially since I'm not really willing to compromise on weight or my "irrational" fear of nighttime guests.

Kevin Cody
(codycolor2) - F

Locale: Los Padres NF
Re: Cabins are the way to go on 07/12/2011 10:00:09 MDT Print View

"I still maintain my Birthday wish is for her to sh_t in the woods! :p"

I love the comedic feel of the backpackinglight forums. We are just one big twisted family.

I have a funny youtube video for you to show her. (watch the whole thing)

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Other Bday Wish on 07/12/2011 10:01:40 MDT Print View

MLife Membership..... (Note to Kathleen :p)

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Nice privies at the Randolph Mountain Club (Mt.Adams, NH) on 07/12/2011 11:12:09 MDT Print View

RMC privy at the Perch.
The RMC cabins are rustic but nice, and cheap, $7 to $13 per person per night. They're ideally situated for climbing Mt. Adams, Jefferson and Madison in the White Mts (NH).

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
well on 07/12/2011 11:18:22 MDT Print View


Well...I am sure Bryce is a great guy and has more experience in the outdoors, and it's important to trust each other in a relationship, but I would not know enough to just say that to someone online. Trust him, but trust yourself even more, which you seem to be doing. Mute point, I guess.
When I was a little girl at the doctors, about to get a shot in the arm, and I was scared, my mom told me not to look and it would be better. The doctor disagreed and advised me not to let anyone inject me or do anything else to me without looking and being aware in general. Well, I trusted my mom, but I got the message.
Geesh, you'd think I am having a bad day, nit picking like this and all, but I am actually having a great day.
Welcome to the forum, and I hope you have had a chance to see some of the great trip reports on here. Very inspiring.

Edited by Kat_P on 07/12/2011 11:25:03 MDT.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
More suggestions. on 07/12/2011 11:23:27 MDT Print View

Wait until autumn for a real backpacking trip, no creepy crawlies and it's the ideal time to be outdoors in New England.

In the meantime:
RMC cabins (cheap) or AMC huts or lodges ($$$).

Car camp (or cabins) at State campgrounds near N. Adams, Mass:
Savoy Mt. State Forest or Mohawk Trail State Forest.
Do day hikes in the area (AT, MT. Greylock). Try to check out shelters and privies on the AT.
Spend an afternoon at the Clark Art Institute ( or Mass Moca (contemporary art, ).

Car camp at NY's Taconic State Park. Day hike in Mass, AT (bear mt, mt Everett, Race Mt), south Taconic Trail. Check out some AT shelters and privies for approval for an autumn backpack. Check out the wilderness camping area in Mt. Washington State Forest (Mass). Go into Great Barrington, Mass, for a nice dinner.

Manuel Boccini
(trailmanny) - F
Re: Re: you should just go for it! on 07/12/2011 11:30:45 MDT Print View

"Thanks for the insights Mike, but I'm sticking to my guns. Tents with bottoms and campsites with bathrooms FTW. :)"

Hi Kathleen and Bryce,

This is my first post here, I live in the Mid-Hudson Valley. I'm a 80's style backpacker, learning to lighten up.

Perhaps the South Taconic trail would work for you. You could start on Rt. 44 by Catamount (Downhill ski area) and hike to Taconic State Park (NY) which has toilets and showers. Enjoy a dip in the lake and then have an evening stroll to Bash Bish Falls.

The second day hike to Alander Mt. (Old fire tower cabin) and then on to Brace Mt and out to Amenia. This is a short intro trip with great views and some of the amenities that Kathleen would prefer. Great views and trails too. Not too far a drive as well.

All the best,


Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
comfort on 07/12/2011 11:42:41 MDT Print View


My advice would be to try this stuff in the comfort of your own home/apt/house rental. Your first time peeing in the woods can be in the seclusion of your own back yard. It may seem weird, but it's a good way to try it with a clear shot into the house should anything go wrong. It likely won't, but it's the proximity to the safety of a bathroom and a change of clothes is what's important. So why not give that a try prior to the trip? Animals go to the bathroom outside all the time and lawns/trees/bushes/whatever and the grass still continues to live. It'll undoubtedly be fine with you too.

You had also mentioned that Bryce has bug netting. The cool thing about that is that it was specifically designed to address your fears! It's MEANT to keep the bugs out. What I would do, BEFORE your trip, is to give that a shot in your back yard (preferably away from the pee mark, hehe). It'll give you a baseline for your comfort with the situation, and you can always pack up and walk back into the house and to your bed! How cool is that?

I just think at home might be the best way for you to try something new in the safety of 10-20 feet from comfort.

Have fun! Remember too that it's just glorified walking with sleeping at the end. Different from your usual digs for sure, but it's a day like any other.

Also check out which is Mike Clelland's advice on pooping in the woods. He's at the extreme end of the topic and believes in not using TP, but you can avoid that aspect and just pay attention to the way he's showing you to have your legs and such.

Edited by Trout on 07/12/2011 11:47:41 MDT.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Cabins are the way to go on 07/12/2011 11:47:54 MDT Print View

Not to throw a wrench in this wheel, but cabins and established campsites tend to attract rodents. I mean let's be honest, if we were mice, we'd want to hang out in a nice sheltered cabin and eat crumbs and scraps too. Also, back-country toilets aren't exactly known for their cleanliness. It's not as if they're cleaned every morning by the cleaning crew.

There are some definite benefits of cabins. I mean they concentrate the environmental impact into one place, BUT that means that those "impacts" occur in the controlled space of the cabin. I'm not anti-cabin. I think that they're a good thing for the mountain, but not for the reasons that you're hoping.

I've stayed in cabins, and honestly the mice and snoring didn't bother me one bit. I'll eat the hot, unlimited soup at the full-service cabins, BUT some people WILL be kept awake most of the night by the tickle of little toes and the sounds from other people. The cabins are fun, because you get to chat with fellow hikers, but there's no place for "cuddle time."

Peeing and sh#tting in the woods is the simplest thing in the world. Believe me, walk around long enough and you will have NO PROBLEM doing what you need to do outside.

Mike's right - you just need to jump in and enjoy yourself. Go on a proper camping trip with your BF. If you try to go halfway, I think you'll end up running into all the things you want to avoid and then never want to go backpacking again. Go out and enjoy yourself!

Elena Lee
(lenchik101) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
from a girl on 07/12/2011 12:01:49 MDT Print View

That's a funny topic, i can only think if someone wanted me to dress in pink girly dresses, go shopping all day and end up watching some TV show i don't care for.. how would i feel? I'll be more like this is a huge waste of time , i'd rather go hiking/biking/etc. I'm not saying what i do is better.. but everyone is different, no?

As far as tents go, the DR Tarptent is a nice spacious backpacking tent. Throw in two neoairs, a good down quilt for two, and montbell pillows, you get a luxurious sleeping arrangement that rivals hotel beds (dramatization!). Osprey backpacks have good lightweight frames and are very comfortable and cool looking.

And in the woods? Please please tell us what's the big difference of doing it there vs. on the toilet? We can only help you in this area once you define exactly what scares you in this process when performed outside.

good luck!

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Cabins are the way to go on 07/12/2011 12:47:46 MDT Print View

+1 to Tommy

The backcountry toilets I've seen were almost as funky as James Brown. Find an unused area all your own.

+1 to Double Rainbow Neos and a quilt.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
$0.02 on 07/12/2011 13:02:45 MDT Print View

You've recieved a wide variety of advice already, so I won't try to duplicate any of it. I have only one thing to suggest, and it is: KEEP TRYING.

You're nervous and that's fine. Nothing wrong with being nervous. But KEEP TRYING. Do the things you're scared of, no matter how many attempts it takes. As it's said, don't knock it till you've tried it. How you try it is up to you. Ultimately, you may end up not liking it, but regardless of the outcome you will have the satisfaction of knowing you gave your best effort to experience what Bryce wants to share with you. And it IS pretty awesome once you get past the bugs. |=)

Mark Hudson
(vesteroid) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Sierras
Re: Backpacking for the girly girl on 07/12/2011 14:50:43 MDT Print View

There are 76 post and I cant bring myself to read all of them, so if this advice has been offered before just consider it a second.

I have been married for 18 years. In that time I have learned one very valuable lesson. My wife and I have many things in common, but on those that we dont, there is not need nor sense in trying to make them "in common".

As an example, I am one of those guys who loves anything mechanical. Give me a big truck, a fast car, a cool motorcycle, or a dirty 4 wheeler and I am in heaven. As my group of riding buddies got larger and I saw that often their wives would go, I started to think how cool it would be if my wife rode. No I didnt want the typical harley wife who was 40 lbs overweight and sat behind their similar husband on the big hog, I wanted a speedy wife on her own machine.

so I hatched my plan to her, and she reluctantly accepted in an attempt to "please" me.

Off I went, and bought her a bike, and all the toys that went with it. I sent her to riding school, got her license and was ready to ride.

We went on our first ride and it was a disaster...she was so uncomfortable on the bike that she simply would not do the most basic of things (such as stop at a 4 way stop and then take her turn). She was truly petrified of the bike and hurting herself. I tried patience, I tried time, I tried having her ride with other people thinking it might be pressure from me, none of it worked. She got a little better, but never to the point she nor I felt safe or comfortable with her riding.

We finally agreed we had made a very expensive mistake and I sold her bike (and bought upgrades for mine YEAH!!!!!!).

Long story short, dont try and be someone you are not just to please you said, you are 31 and doubt there is any major change in your attitudes in the near future.

I say marry him, send him off hiking, and spend half his annual salary in the mall while he is gone!!!!!!!!!

In case you dont know am just being funny (at least I think I am funny) on the last part, but the fist part of my post is dead on.

Oh, and if he really lives on this board 24 / the board, buy a membership for him.

Patricia Deutsch
(pdeutsch) - F
How to pee outside .. from a girl on 07/12/2011 18:36:28 MDT Print View

Kathleen and Bryce: Got a great kick out of reading this entire thread!

Kathleen: can totally relate!!

I had never camped a day in my life until age 41 when my son at age 7 said he wanted to join Cub Scouts so he could go camping and he wanted ME to take him camping ... that was a great first camping experience as the trip was at a state park that had REAL BATHROOMS since I had never peed outside!! I even made us take a sponge bath before we went to bed at night. ... fast forward 8 years ... he and I have just returned from a Philmont trek! A very far cry from that first camping at the state park :-)

So ... point is, take it slowly and over time you will find that the things that initially bothered you become less and less important and you will learn to appreciate the great outdoors for the peacefulness and beauty of it. Not to mention enjoying it with Bryce!

Finally .. peeing outside: Get yourself a p-style ( or other similar device. It is very freaky to use initially and most definitely practice at home, but hope you find that once getting over the weirdness of it, it is actually quite practical and convenient!

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Going heavy on 07/12/2011 19:11:35 MDT Print View

"We're both dying in our respective corners here where I loath the day I carry more weight, and she would rather die than sleep on the ground w/ no floor."

You guys seem to have a fun relationship (at least you're smiling in the pictures) but this sounds like trouble. I travel pretty light in general, but you know what my pack weighs when I take the kids? I have no idea. I don't weigh the Dora dolls, the cheap polyester princess sleeping bags, the extra dresses and underwear, the comfort foods, and whatever else they want.

I am happy enough that they want to come with me, and my only priority is that they enjoy the experience enough to want to do it again.

This was one of my favorite quotes from Roman Dial----

"However there's one class of heavy trip I did repeatedly for a decade: family trips. One example, with my six year old son and a North Face VE 24, back in 1993. We walked 60 miles across Umnak, an Aleutian Island, just the two of us. I carried a big pack because he carried nothing. Sometimes I carried him, too, when he said "Dad, my feet hurt." but he always hopped down when I said, "Son, my back hurts."

I learned a lot on that trip! The best thing I learned was that he and I liked doing long wilderness trips together and that I liked being there with him, and liked looking after him. I found going heavy was Ok cause he needed more frequent rests too. I found stopping a lot and sharing the landscape and seascape views were good. I liked having all the stuff for him: big tent, two rain jackets for him, lots of fuel and a stove, a gun for protection against wild bulls, a camera to capture the trip, a book for us to read, plenty of snacks to keep him happy, a glass ball from a Bering Sea beach as a memento."

My advice, don't spend a lot of money on a new tent, or anything else for that matter. This is a one time offer from Kathleen, and if you stick to your UL guns, chances are good that's all it will be. So borrow a tent or bring the coleman (gasp). Bring a bottle of wine, a nice dinner, and whatever else might enhance the intimacy of the trip. Don't weigh anything. You'll have your whole life to indulge your UL fantasies, but only one chance to have a partner to do it with.

Good luck.

PS. If it's really important to Kathleen, Doug Ide might clue you in on an UL porta-potty made with a cuben seat and carbon fiber legs. Ask to borrow his movie projector at the same time.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Going heavy on 07/12/2011 21:26:26 MDT Print View

+1. A great post.

Well, except for the Doug Ide part.......;-)