View Full Version : have you ever had your gear robbed

10-29-2003, 21:52
i will be backpacking my first time this spring or sooner and was wondering if, while on the AT, has anyone had their gear or anything burgurlarized from their campsite or shelter while on a day hike or exploring with your main pack left behind.
i was just concerned because i plan to have some quality gear and dont want to have to replace it or have something i need to survive with to get back to my car gone.
i have camped at state forest campsites in NJ and left valuables out numerous time while gone fishing and never had a problem. are the AT and other trails safe too?

10-29-2003, 22:05
I wouldn't think of leaving my very expensive gear at any shelter unless I was sticking close by. You never know who might come by. I think the word is out on how much this hiking gear cost. I've read where a couple of hikers have had packs swiped. Someone staying at The Place/Damascus had things stolen from a hobo living under a bridge in town. They went out for a while and he moved in and took what he wanted. They did catch him. I think his name was Larry :D

The Weasel
10-29-2003, 22:33
I never, ever, leave my pack, ESPECIALLY in hostels. If I'm at a store, either they let me bring it inside or I don't go there; most trail town stores understand and let you. Hostels that say, "no pack in office" don't get me, either, even to register; packs can "sprout feet" in a few seconds, and pockets unzip real, real fast. To those who don't want trade from hiker trash, I hold no grudge, but I hope they make enough money from the rest of the world...That pack and its contents are, depending on where I am, about $1,000 to $1,500 replacement cost. Uh uh...it stays with me.

Damn right stuff gets stolen. A lot of it. The Place (I love it) is about as secure as a Greyhound Bus Station. No locks, no checkin, nothing. And it's one of the better ones, too.

The Weasel

10-29-2003, 23:35
Yeah. Filthy bandit had beady little eyes and a growth of fuzz all over his face.

The Weasel
10-29-2003, 23:45
My eyes are NOT beady.

The Weasel

10-30-2003, 09:07
I've never had a problem leaving my stuff around, even in towns. Then again, maybe the central and northern stretches of the AT are more prone to theft than the southern parts of the AT or the PCT. There were lots of times when I left my pack sitting outside a restaraunt while I went inside to feed. You can imagine how long a hiker spends feeding in town, so the pack was by itself for a while. Know, though, that that PCT towns see FAR fewer hikers than AT towns.

As close as theft has come was this spring in the Smokys when a bunch of old folks packed up in the rain at 4 am at Tricorner. One of them accidently grabbed my sleeping bag stuff sack.

Uncle Wayne
10-30-2003, 09:53
I have two friends who were thru hiking in 2000 and stayed at some shelter, I believe it was south of Harpers Ferry, that was only a short distance from a road. They dropped their packs at the shelter, went to the spring and when they returned both packs were gone. They lost everything except the clothing they had on, their water bottles and polar pure crystals. All their credit cards, cash and all ID was in their packs.

One of them told me they had been on their guard up to that point but got careless. They walked on to Harpers Ferry and the outfitter there helped them get back on the trail. Several lessons in this story but two of the most obvious: Beware of staying at a shelter near a road and don't leave your cash, cards or etc in the pack or at least not alone.

The outfitter said they weren't the first to be victimized at that shelter. Maybe some of you know which shelter that is, I don't remember exactly and it may have been north of Harpers. But I do know the outfitter in Harpers Ferry got them back on the trail and in touch with home.

They made it, btw.

10-30-2003, 11:41
I'm always pretty careful with my pack, even at shelters a little further away from a road crossing. I'm consistently surprised at how accessubke some shelters are by back roads that the AT may not directly cross. Rather than leave my pack at the shelter by itself or at the intersection to a side trail to get a view, I will either carry it with me or stash in the woods out of sight. In town, I always carry the pack inside with me or have a hiking buddy stay with the packs.

10-30-2003, 12:05
My friend Dimples had all of her clothing stolen from the washing machines in the place in hot springs ( i think rickers-the place with the grocery store/arcade/laundromat). Some local girl had been questioning her about all the synthetic gear and how it worked. Dimples went outside to make a phone call and al of her stuff was gone. It was an unfortunate thing, but just exemplified how wonderful the hiking community can be. About 15 thru's pooled money together at elmers for her and raised money for her to buy a new shirt or two at the outfitter. Other hikers donated extra clothing they had.
I also heard but didn't witness my friend Red having her foodbag stolen at the church hostel in pearisburg. This was most odd and I don't know who would do such a thing.

Nonetheless, theft is quite rare on the AT. See its mostly in towns. I don't think hikers steal from one another

10-30-2003, 13:43
I never had an item pilfered and never worried about it. Then again ...I never left my stuff totally unattended unless I was darned confident it was safe. Just remember that fences keep honest people in and don't keep dishonest people out.

Thru-hikers, for the most part, are honest folk and are more interested in their own stuff than in yours. Stop and think about it ...if you're already carrying a pack that weighs xx pounds do you really want to add weight to it ??

Just use common sense and I believe that you and your gear will be safe.

10-30-2003, 17:29
Skylark in 96' had her pack swiped from the front of a bar in middle Maryland, close to the I-80 bridge, damn I forget the name of the place. She left it for one minute and then it was gone. She just kept on walking north, other thruhikers pitched in and carried extra food until her friends got enough money together to suprise her with her new equipment including two little plastic chairs she had carried from Springer. I assume that they have a very special place in hell for people that steal backpacks that have been carried half way up the eastcoast!

10-30-2003, 20:54
actually i remember now demian and latch had their gear stolen somewhere on the river while they were aqua blazin' around the shenendoahs. That'll teach em to aquablaze. No sympathy from us white is righters :)

11-02-2003, 17:55
i read this quote at the ATC's website in the PA hiking info section:

"This section crosses many roads, and some shelters are near roads, where scattered crime problems make extra safety awareness a good idea.

Pennsylvania can be oppressively hot in summer, and water may be scarce. "

what defines "scattered crime" , anything besides theft?

The Weasel
11-02-2003, 18:03
Trailhead "crime" is generally theft (from packs, including those which people think they have "hidden"), vandalism to trailhead features, vandalism to cars and breaking/entering to steal anything that can be pried out, and similar "petty" property crimes (although some are felonies). While these things happen, they are fairly infrequent, and rare at busy trailheads. Assaultive crimes happen, but are extremely rare. Don't panic.

The Weasel

Miss Janet
11-02-2003, 21:50
A few years ago I remember a group of young guys that decided to stash thier packs "real well", at a trailhead near Erwin and hitch down to a store for a quick snack. They were gone for only a few minutes and all the packs were gone including a dog pack. The perps left all of the hiking poles laying on the ground in a "Blair Witch" pattern. The guys were all back on the trail in a week with begged, borrowed and old gear they still had at home. It was a hard lesson.

11-02-2003, 22:01
They left the poles??? As everyone can see, if you don't won't to loose it, take it with you.

11-07-2003, 21:09
I personally rifled through Footslogger's gear but found the quality of equipment contained within intimidatingly high in quality, so I let it be.