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UL gear and planes
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David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Travel by plane on 02/15/2006 10:04:03 MST Print View

I like the box option. Pack everything in a box (or boxes) and then just recycle the cardboard at the destination airport. Simple. You can just use your keys or a pen to break the packing tape if you don't want to buy a knife or stash a knife in / near a slit in the box. Problem there would be getting a new box for the return flight.

I also like the hide option... use an overbag and stash it somewhere at the trailhead (assuming you'll be back at the trail head to retreive it).

What about a combination of carry on and checked? If you can fit just your food and your disallowed items (knife, etc.) in a small box... the type of box you might get from the backroom of an airport bookstore (with the help of a kind employee)... you could do that and then carry your pack and other gear on the plane. That way you don't need a big and/or custom made box to fit your pack. You'd have to buy / borrow some packing tape tho'.

Edited by davidlewis on 02/15/2006 10:10:11 MST.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Travel by plane on 02/15/2006 11:00:20 MST Print View

The big problem with a box is that when TSA decides to search it they won't have a good way to repackage it, unless you thoughtfully provide them with packing tape and they have the time.

I pack carefully everything into a small dufflebag and check it. Then I can either mail the duffle to myself (along with town clothes and anything else I don't want to carry) in a drift box (easy to find a cardboard box the right size) or stash it someplace for the return trip.

Since you can't check fuel or matches (!) you need to either buy them at the start of your trip or get them there some other way. Some trips I've just mailed myself a box full of supplies that I picked up before I started the trip. Fuel is the most problematic. You can parcel post canister fuel, though.

Things tend to disappear from searched bags. I don't know if this is because TSA employees are particularly larcenous, or (more likely) because everyone is in a tearing hurry and things don't always get into the right bag. So make sure you do a full inventory before you start hiking. You are just as likely to have this problem with carry-on bags as with checked baggage.

Bill Cooper
(bwcooper) - MLife
Tent stakes and other restricted carry on's on 02/17/2006 15:26:11 MST Print View

Though I always try to take everything carry on, I check my pack when carrying tent stakes. My sweet little titanium skewers would make fine weapons and I expect they'd be confiscated.

Does anyone have a solution besides checking the pack? Mailing items ahead doesn't always work. You need a friend at the destination or be able to get to an open post office - not always practical. Perhaps I could just carry 30 or 40 pounds of rocks for hold downs...

On another issue, I prefer an alcohol stove but you can't legally carry the fuel on board. And the logistics of finding a hardware store, buying a pint of fuel, pulling out a few ounces then disposing of the rest doesn't suit my environmental ethic.

On the other hand there are Esbit tables. I suspect they're contraband, too, since they are a type of cooking fuel. But they're safer than a liquid; if the container broke a spark isn't going to ignite the vapors.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has a fact sheet on restricted items:

I called the TSA and asked about Esbit tablets but the person on the other end couldn't give me an answer. Does anyone have any other experience aside from just carrying them and playing dumb if found?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Tent stakes and other restricted carry on's on 02/17/2006 15:35:04 MST Print View

Are those really tent stakes you're carrying on, or are they Ti Knitting needles?

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Tent stakes and other restricted carry on's on 02/17/2006 17:48:02 MST Print View

When I check my pack (which is 99 percent of the time, I put it into a clear plastic bag with a twist-tie on it to protect the pack from abrasion. I've also found that if you can, turning the pack inside-out is a good idea, since the shoulder straps and hipbelt and mesh pockets aren't where they can snag or tear through the plastic bag.

UPS is a good thing. If you stay at a hotel or motel at the start of your trip, said hotel will gladly hold a UPS or snail mail package for you. A little poking around on-line and a few phone calls has usually yielded a place that will hold a package for visitors, especially if you explain that you are a hiker and TSA is making it hard for you to take your vacation -- always go for the sympathy play.

You can run alcohol stoves on HEET, which is widely available in mini-marts.