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Going from overnighter to long distance
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R Petrelli
(rydia131) - F
Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/05/2013 07:05:55 MDT Print View

Sorry, I know I didn't post this in the right category. I've done several overnight backpacking trips, nothing to ridiculously lengthy. I'm continuing to fine tune my gear and skills but I'd like to continue to move towards longer distances and multi day treks in the future. My question is, when making that transition from overnight to multi-day, what are some things that have helped you? Any pointers you could give or things to focus on would be great! Thanks in advance!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/05/2013 10:23:04 MDT Print View

Just put this idea into your mind. Long hikes are just a. Bunch of overnighters laid end to end. The only difference is you need to carry more food, fuel, and maybe water & TP.

Josh Garst
Re: Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/05/2013 11:20:54 MDT Print View

For my area is pretty popular. I was able to do a few backpacking trips there with people who had a ton of experience. Main thing about planning your own trip is knowing your surrounding area and what's available to you. One thing that help me out was looking at trips that day hikers/backpackers where doing, then look at a map of the area and add the mileage that I wanted to make a loop.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
good question though on 07/05/2013 12:16:58 MDT Print View

rp, adding to what nick says, the main difference between an overnighter and a 7 day trip is that you cannot make assumptions about the weather, nor can you use the popular 'if my gear is inadequate return to trailhead and drive off in your warm car' plan B option, since you are too far from the trailhead to return to your car.

You need to think a bit more about food per day, make sure you know your fuel consumption per meal so you can bring enough fuel. Your body will also achieve a conditioning that will require probably more food than you are used to eating, for example, where I might eat half a cup of dry oatmeal with nothing in it at home, on a longer trip I will eat a full cup of chopped dried apples and oatmeal, same for dinner differences in quantity.

All longer trips where there is greater than 0 chance of rain you should have raingear that will work, in summer my feeling is that for relatively dry climates the dryducks top is light and good enough, though not robust, but very light.

You might also bring moleskins in case of blisters in odd places you never imagined a shoe could create a blister, the thick moleskin works better than the thin.

to me an overnighter is, check weather report, pack accordingly, that can mean 4 pounds less gear for me. You can also use a tiny pack on an overnighter since you are only carrying 2 meals plus maybe a lunch or two.

More water carrying ability too, depends, some people here seem to hike in areas where there are creeks every few miles, but in the heat, in summer, you want the ability to carry a few liters at least.

Also, you probably will in most cases want to bring bear bagging cord, for varmints or bears, that's something I think I'd leave at home on most overnighters. Depends on the terrain / ecosystems you will be in of course.

DEET is also something I'd bring on a longer trip, particularly in summer months, you can be in one ecosystem that is void of bugs, and 15 minutes later, be being bitten alive in another. Hat too, for sun, goretex socks for rain, basic stuff like that you might leave at home on an overnighter depending on the season and the ecosystem/climate type you are going to.

For me I don't usually think of overnighters, usually a 3 day trip is going to be my light load, and a greater than 3 day trip more stuff to handle more situations. Depends on the climate/ecosystems you enter however, and your experience with those.

Oh, I forgot the most important one, longer trips require greater mindfulness, every step, every action, because there is really no easy solution to a major error, a misstep, not securing your food and losing it, spilling your fuel, etc. That means you are paying attention, which means you leave the mp3 devices at home, hearing the sound of the ground you are walking on is a key indicator of trail stability etc, and also hearing a polite warning from a rattlesnake letting you know he is present before it's too late, etc. Being present and mindful at every active moment to me is one of the greatest pleasures of long backpacking trips, and every error/slip of attention is one that causes me generally major problems, either with nagging injuries or whatever else. Heat makes this type of slip much more likely by the way.

Edited by hhope on 07/05/2013 12:26:11 MDT.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
don't overthink it on 07/05/2013 12:47:19 MDT Print View

As long as you have raingear and can be as warm as required by the climate you are going to be in, that's really all that matters. Other things will become more obvious to you as you walk day to day. I never gave this stuff any thought at all when I started, just loaded up the gear and walked. People here in general think this stuff out about 100 times literally more than I ever did on my trips before I ran across bpl, and started also overthinking everything, which is great fun by the way.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: don't overthink it on 07/05/2013 12:50:37 MDT Print View


It's just walking. Take your time and enjoy it.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/05/2013 12:54:05 MDT Print View

+1 to most of Harald's comments. My list is similar

Be prepared for more variable weather. In many locations, be prepared (equipment and mentally) for multiple days of rain and figure out how you would manage if you were wet... which you will be no matter what you do.

Many overnight hikers don't think too much about water. The carry what they need and the destination has water. On a longer trip you need to figure out where you will be able to find water and how much you carry from the site. In real time you will figure out how much you will drink on the spot unless you use chemicals for treatment.

How much food becomes important, because if you gear is light weight the food for a 7 day trip will eclipse the base weight. Based on previous trips you hopefully can figure out how much food you will need to carry. For some people, longer trips push them into a better carrying / larger volume pack.

There are a host of simple things... I will think about what they are and add them later if I have a chance. For example, on an overnight trip when I am trying to pack maximum into small amount of time I pack my quilt, hit the trail, and worry about fully airing out the quilt when I get home. ON longer trips I pull out the quilt during my lunch break... assuming its not raining to get rid of any moisture that has accumulated.


Edited by verber on 07/05/2013 12:55:15 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/05/2013 14:05:02 MDT Print View

Definitely taking care of yourself becomes more important. Taking care of hotspots before they become blisters, stretching throughout the day and at camp, eating/drinking enough.

i think i'm like most that i'm not all that hungry the first few days and then it picks up.

doing bigger days is just a matter of getting in shape and then going for it. Could always plan a trip with a big mileage day but have a shorter alternate. Once you start doing longer days you get used to it and it is a lot easier when you believe in your ability.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/05/2013 15:01:16 MDT Print View

Think about gear organization and simplicity. You'll be setting up and breaking down camp multiple times. Keeping things simple can streamline this process. Also, keeping things well organized in your pack so you don't have to dump everything out each time you need something. I guess these things aren't specific to longer trips, but inefficiency is a bit more tolerable on a shorter outing.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/06/2013 21:40:52 MDT Print View

I am posting on a phone so my apologies for the short reply.

Besides what the folks mention I think rinsing your socks and baselayers every few days help a lot as does having a wash with a buff or bandana.

lonmg distance on 07/07/2013 07:09:05 MDT Print View

take more food.
take less crap.

thats about it.

You will figure the rest out.

Edited by livingontheroad on 07/07/2013 07:10:24 MDT.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Longer Trips on 07/08/2013 07:49:36 MDT Print View


Edited by miku on 07/08/2013 09:08:39 MDT.

Simon Wurster
(Einstein) - F

Locale: Big Apple
Re: Going from overnighter to long distance on 07/08/2013 15:04:37 MDT Print View

Harald and others have hit the nail on the head. But another philosophy is to prepare for a longer trip by simulating these during your overnighters.

So don't pack in all the water--make sure you stop, treat, and drink that water. Don't pack in your OTS freeze-dried meals--make your own, or try getting the necessary ingredients from the supermarket and eat those items. Don't have pancakes and bacon for breakfast, or even oatmeal--try pop tarts smeared with peanut butter. If the forecast is for sunny skies and beautiful weather, pack the poncho/rain gear/and insulation layers anyway. No bears in your camping area? Hang the bear bag.

Someone else mentioned quantities of food, fuel, etc., but this applies to insect repellent, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc.--all consumables must be considered as well.

Make sure you have done overnighters this way in all kinds of weather too. Typically, overnighters are cancelled because of rain/snow/sleet/heat wave/bug season/mud season/etc. (I'm guilty of this too.) No! go out there in the pouring rain, blazing sun, swarming mosquitoes--and practice and learn.

This will better prepare you for multi-day trips, and indeed, these longer trips will be a series of overnighters stuck together.