View Full Version : Music in the trail.

Roee Dotan
03-27-2004, 18:54
From your expirence, should I or should not I take a discman with me ?

I live music, I hear it 24/7, I dream through it, I go into other worlds with it.

But it will cost me another 500 gram ( 1LB ) plus butteries.

So the question is, will I even use it ?

I assume I wont use it in the start, when the adrenaline is high and all of that.
But after a month or so when the trail becomes the routine for you, I am sure I will miss music.

What do you think ?

03-27-2004, 21:32
It's really your call on the Discman. As long as you use headphones and limit the music enjoyment to your own ears during your hike you shouldn't have any issues. Personally though, I wouldn't want to haul and keep track of something that large.

For the most part I think you're going to want your ears free and available to hear the sounds of "silence" and nature as you hike. Having said that though ...I did carry a small weatherproof FM radio (Radio Shack $15) and would occasionaly tune in to hear a song or two, the news or the weather report.

03-27-2004, 22:06
Another idea is to buy an MP3 player. They are a lot lighter. The only problem with that though is that you have to acccess a computer to change the songs on it. Unless you buy one with a big memory card or have several memory cards you can change out.

steve hiker
03-27-2004, 22:19
Ugh. Why not listen to the music of the singing birds, the wind, the rushing streams, and other sounds of nature. The last thing most hikers want to hear in the woods is someone's boombox or cd player.

03-27-2004, 23:17
I picked up a 512MB MP3 flash player (a MPIO). Its about the size of a lighter, extremely lightweight and uses a AAA battery (supposed to run about 8 hours on a battery). Through in a pair of lightweight headphones and you can fit several hours of songs on it, not bother others, and not add much noticeable weight. I doubt if I'll use it while hiking, but when in camp at night or such I think I'll probably want to hear some occassional music. The downside is it cost $200.

03-28-2004, 00:30
Ugh. Why not listen to the music of the singing birds, the wind, the rushing streams, and other sounds of nature. The last thing most hikers want to hear in the woods is someone's boombox or cd player.

I must have missed something...where did he say he was taking a boombox?

I don't own a Discman, but think you use earphones with them. Where's the problem?

RD: If you want to take your music...take it! How's the tenion in Israel? I'm sure you'll enjoy the peace of the trail.

Roee Dotan
03-28-2004, 03:21
Hey Sir !

There is a lot of tension here indeed.

I hope to relax and free my mind too on the trail..

That's one of the reasons that makes me think about giving up the music.
Not to contact anything that I am familiar with, whether it is music, or friends, doesn't matter what..
There's a friend of mine lives in Boston and he is here right now and is coming back to the USA within 2 weeks. So maybe I will just let him take my discman with him to Boston and if I will feel that I need it badly, I will just give him a call and he will send it right away.

But I just think about the 14 hours flight without music and I get nuts :)

Maybe I can send it to him when I land in atlanta ?

03-28-2004, 07:36
Roee - if you feel that strongly about your music, I'd bring it. However, I'm not sure I'd do the Discman. Seems like it would be heavy, burn through a lot of batteries, and a hassle with the discs. As others suggested, it might be simpler with a MP3 player or an AM/FM radio.

You might be surprised just how much you use your tunes. In the early part of both my hikes, I listened to the radio just about every evening. With a March start, you're in your bag so early that I needed something to help me get to sleep. Later on, I used it to help me on those days where I was dragging. I also used it on some of those long, hot slogs up mountains. For me, nothing helps me motor uphill better than some tunes.

Sure, listen to nature's tunes. You'll hear a lot of it, the wind, the birds, the animals. It's beautiful music and it will infect your soul. However, it's your hike. If you feel like you need the music and you're willing to pay the weight penalty, take it.

Kozmic Zian
03-28-2004, 16:15
Yea....Music On The Trail. Tough call. I love music. At home. On The Trail, I don't bring my TV, Computer, Cell Phone, Lap Top, Dog, CD Player, Heavy Pack, MP3, Automobile, Bicycle, Motor Scooter, or anything else that distracts me from my main purpose.......Hiking, and enjoying Mother Earth. [email protected]:cool:

p.s. I'm with UGH!

03-28-2004, 17:21
While it is very important to open up your ears and your heart to the song of the woods, it is also important to hear the so called "soundtrack of your life"- all your favorite tunes. I brought along a Sony Sports Radio walkman and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't listen to it all the time, as reception was limited, but the times I needed it most, when I was down,or the weather was bad, it sure was a real lifesaver! Nothing like flipping through the stations and finding Queens "Bohemian Rhapsody" or Radioheads' "Creep" playing while enduring your 25th PUD of the day.

Brushy Sage
03-28-2004, 21:00
I took a tiny Radio Shack radio and headphones for my three months on the trail. I used it a few times at night to drown out snoring sounds and to listen for weather reports. After a while, though, I just didn't go to the trouble of hooking it up, and got used to the more natural sounds of nature (with one exception where one guy's snoring was definitely unnatural!). When I got back home and turned on the Mozart music to which I was previously addicted, I realized that I didn't even want to hear it. I was much more interested in getting outside, to a roadside or a park where I might hear some birdsong or the sound of a stream.

03-28-2004, 21:18
After reading this I thought about it and was reasearching MP3 players on Ebay. I found one that I bid. It is 128MB and plays for up to 8 hours on a AAA battery and I won the bid for $37.95. The one I got was made by Soundblaster and it is about the size of a cirgarette lighter.

I look forward to getting it. I like to listen to music when I end up at my stopping point for the night and I get stuck there with no one else around. This way when I am in my hammock I don't start getting peranoid at every noise I here just before I fall asleep. LOL

03-29-2004, 09:47
I know how you feel. I, too, live feel and breathe music. I began the trail without any electronic music player, enjoying the natural music of the Earth. However, I began really missing man's music, so I had a small walkman (~2oz, runs on 2 AA batteries) shipped to me. When I first received the walkman, I listened to it about 10 hours a day. But after a week or so, once my withdrawal had been satiated, I listened to it more moderately. Some days I would listen to it 1-2 hours, some days not at all, and others during most of the day.

Recently, I've been researching mp3 players for my next long distance hike. I'm seriously looking at the 512MB FL 100 from Mpio. In addition to its internal 512MB of memory, it also accepts SD cards (up to 512MB each) so you can carry your entire library of music. Like the other mp3 players listed here, it is about the size of a cigarette lighter, weighs less than 2 ounces with the 1 AAA battery used to power it, and will play for about 12 hours on one battery. The one downside is, of course, the cost. The 512MB FL 100 is ~$250 USD, and each 512MB expansion card is about $150-200 additional.

Have a great hike!


03-29-2004, 11:11
On our three month hike, we ended up getting a lightweight radio. This time we will be bringing our MP3 players - RCA Lyra 1080 (or 1090). They have an FM radio (okay reception), take external cards (SD), and best of all, they use a newer encoding (MP3Pro) that takes up half the space of a traditional MP3. We get about 120 songs on 128 MB internal and 256 MB card. It's a lot of songs.... We will have a variety of cards with us to keep us entertained.

Battery life might be worse than the FL100. It takes 2 AAA and they last somewhere around 7 hours (although they claim 8).

Gravity Man

Jersey Bob
03-29-2004, 13:03
at least 10 characters

03-29-2004, 13:32
This thread gives me a chuckle. I guess I'm amused because I hike the AT for the exercise and the sounds and sights of nature, and the removal of as much man-made "noise" as possible.

I agree with you 100%. I do not listen to the any music while I am hiking at all. To me the defeets the purpose of hiking all together. But that is only my opinion. Like I said I only listen to music right before I fall asleep at night and only if I am in a campsite alone. This way I don't get parinoid about every noise I here out there in the woods while I am alone. Your probably laughing as you read this.

Roee Dotan
03-29-2004, 13:47
My whole I have been connected to music.

Like I said, I live through the music, so as dreaming through it.

Do you realize that I am AFRAID to go WITHOUT the music beacuse I feel so attached to it and I am like hanging ON it my whole life.

When I listen to music I feel like I am living in a MOVIE. And I am not kidding !

It's like, if I will give up on the music, I am afraid I wont live anymore the way that I got used to. I wont feel the same feelings as I feel with music, I wont have the same dreams without the music, and all of my hopes and feelings will go away.

Though maybe it is a good choise to go WITHOUT music and develop my own hopes and feelings without any music that will lead me to places it does when I hear it. After all I have never exprienced more than 24 hours without music in my whole life.

What do you think ?

The Scribe
03-29-2004, 14:14
We live in a world that drives me nuts. With all due respect to people that feel as though they can't live without music, it truly feeds the sound polution that is everywhere.

I am not anti music by any means. Soon my ears will ring for two days after seeing Tab Benoit play a blues show in my town. I will listen to anything once and most things twice. I love NPR and sports talk radio.

But I also love to come home after a day of teaching and listen to the silence in my house. I love to sit on the deck and listen to the birds. I have driven for hours in silence. Read in silence.

Am I a minority in my own house? For sure. The others will come home and turn on the stereo, TV (s), or what have you. THEN LEAVE THE ROOM!!!

Life isn't a movie. Use the external stimulation of Eric Clapton or whomever to enrich your life, not control it.

03-29-2004, 14:17
While I am totally in support of you bringing music on the trail, I think perhaps you should try going without it for awhile. Like you, I live and breathe music (I've been playing classical violin since I was two, and participate in several professional ensembles. I also toy with guitar, piano, etc etc) and it was difficult not having it for the first two months while on the trail. But if you really live music, then it is a part of you, and even when you have no music, you still have it in your mind.

It's very simple. If you want music, take it with you. Out of courtesy, use earphones and keep the volume quiet enough not to disturb other hikers, as I'm sure you were already intending to do. For weight reasons, I'd recommend getting an mp3 player, or a small fm radio if you're not too picky about the genre of music, instead of your discman. But the discman will work fine on the trail (assuming it has skip protection, of course). Bring your music, listen to your music, live your music, and have a great hike. But do yourself a favor and see how long you can go without it at some point on your hike. If you never experiment, you'll never grow...


03-29-2004, 14:28

I agree with some of your points. I, too, enjoy silence and solitude (as I think many hikers do). After returning from the AT, I stopped watching television. Sure, I watch the news about 1 hour each week, but other than that have probably watched less than 5 hours of TV in the past 4 years. I too, often sit in silence, lost in my own thoughts, and it is a very awesome thing.


03-29-2004, 15:13
I like music, but CAN do without it myself.

Carried a radio on 3 of my section hikes, listened to it for a total of about 20 minutes in 15 days of hiking, I don't carry it anymore.

I would say, take your music with you. As with any piece of gear, be prepared to send it either ahead or home if/when you find you no longer need it.

My music on the trail is my 6 hole transverse flute. Weight; 3.25 Oz, plus (waterproofed) sheet music, weight; 0.5 Oz. Needs no batteries, I play ONLY the songs I like, no boring news, bad jokes or wrong weather reports. :clap

My flute has survived being dropped about 25 ft onto rocks, no scratches :p
I once dropped my radio about 3 ft, it never worked again :datz


Jersey Bob
03-29-2004, 15:17
at least 10 characters

Jersey Bob
03-29-2004, 15:52
at least 10 characters

03-30-2004, 14:05
I live long stretches of time without music, tv, phone (when possible). This keeps me connected to a peacefullness, energy that gives me confidence and happiness. Music is someone else's creative expression.

When I want to write, I look away from the page (like a grade-school, art teacher once showed me), close my eyes, and listen to the sound of my dogs breathing, or a bird landing on the branches of a wind-chime adorned tree. Words flow into my fingers and characters become themselves without much interferance from me. I am merely a reporter in these incidences.

I guess it depends on what you want from either the music or the lack thereof.

I choose to leave behind the noise of society, and I find great peacefulness walking through the woods without human voices to remind me of all that baggage that comes with us as social beings.

steve hiker
03-30-2004, 14:29
With all due respect to people that feel as though they can't live without music, it truly feeds the sound pollution that is everywhere.
You got that right. Especially today, when the most popular "music" is mindless bass thumping at highest volume. Car speakers have become war drums directed at society in general. Absolute C-RAP.

Roee Dotan
03-30-2004, 16:02
I am starting WITHOUT the discman !
I gave it to a friend of mine who lives in Boston, he is going back to the states two weeks from now, so if I will need it badly I will just give him a call.

Thank you all for your advices. I had the direction and you just made it stronger. Thanks !

03-30-2004, 17:27
I am starting WITHOUT the discman !
I gave it to a friend of mine who lives in Boston, he is going back to the states two weeks from now, so if I will need it badly I will just give him a call.

Thank you all for your advices. I had the direction and you just made it stronger. Thanks !

RD: Like you, I'm not a thru-hiker (yet) and came to Whiteblaze to learn as I plan my hike for next spring after I retire from the military. This is a great site to learn about hiking. ATTroll is to be commended for the manner he runs his site. He very much wants to present an open forum for folks to share their knowledge. One thing I've learned is that many choose to share more than their knowledge...their opinions are sometimes expressed rather negatively. For a while I was intimidated (sometimes angry) by this, but have gotten over it and have now decided to hike the way I choose to hike. I will continue to ask about gear, services, etc., and will take everything else with a grain of salt (especially smart... reponses to legitimate questions). I've said all this in an effort to encourage you as you come to America and begin a great adventure with the wonderful outdoors. I've admired the way you've handled the responses to some of your questions. I was raised to believe there are no dumb questions, but not everyone believes that. Once you get here continue to head north...no doubt, your reward will be great!

Roee Dotan
03-30-2004, 19:44
Thank you sir for your encouragement. I really appritiate each and one of the people who answers to my questions, and I had A LOT of them as you can see :-)
And still, peoples had the will to share, help, and support.

Thanks god I met this forums. Otherwise I would probably start the trail with about 70LB ! ahaha :jump

Thank you again !

03-31-2004, 01:17
I used an Am FM on my section hike last summer (PA, MD& VA).Alhough it was mostly for weather, I found it was a great relief when I hit a buggy area like The Shanadoahs. The bugs buzzing in my ears drove me nuts and sometimes I would put it on just for that reason alone.

The Scribe
03-31-2004, 09:16
BREAK FREE!!!! :jump

Pencil Pusher
09-27-2004, 05:07
I just got myself one of these new-fangled MP3 players. Real small, like an oversized Bic lighter. I probably would've opted for a bigger memory for my various mood swings had I known I was going to like this. It's 128mb with radio tuner and voice recorder. Well, I like it. Now if I could just figure out how to use it...

This seems like something nice to have while on the trail. So what is a good quality to record these songs at? It looks like the scale goes from around 96kb/s to 192 kb/s, though you get the point if I'm wrong with those numbers.

09-27-2004, 09:07
From your expirence, should I or should not I take a discman with me ?.......etc.,etc.,etc.....


might think of an mp3 player....more lite-weight...also, keep your tunes to yourself....most hikers enjoy "the sounds of silence" rather than a blaring radio/mp3 player or discman.

be courteous..whatever you decide to take. :D

good luck with your hike!

09-27-2004, 10:32
<!--StartFragment --> The recording quality you need will depend mostly on the quality of what you are listening to the music through. For home listening through decent speakers I record everything at 320. However, that means the average 3-4 minute song takes up about 8.5 meg. With a 128 meg mp3 player that means you're only going to be able to record 15 songs. 96 kbs will take up about 700k per minute of music and is generally considered FM radio quality. 128 kbs is "supposedly" CD quality and will take up a little over a meg per minute. At a lower recording quality, like 96, it may sound like trash on your home stereo but be perfectly fine through ear bud speakers connected to the mp3 player. Try recording a few songs at a pretty low setting like 96 and see how it sounds on your player. If it's acceptable then you'll get much more music recorded.

09-27-2004, 12:30
listen to mother nature no sweeter music can be found

09-27-2004, 17:06
i am really surprised no one said iPod. they just lowered the price $100 and they hold 10,000 songs. thay also only weigh like 6 oz. i think its a good investment if u need ur music

09-27-2004, 17:12
I was walking with 2nd degree thrue maryland in 99 and she was ahead of me Id say ten feet or so!and lo and behold their was a rattler streched across the trail she was innocently hiking with her walkman on and was just in the groove I understand the feeling! I use to hike with mine on but not after that! I edged my way forward and grabbed her arm with some authority but not yanking her arm off.Her expression was like I had woke her from a dream! Im not against music but I can say that I myself save the music for later,after my hiking is thrue for the day:D kentucky just an opinion on that note!

Pencil Pusher
09-27-2004, 18:20
I guess the biggest difference between this and the Ipod was the price, this was $60. Thanks for the tips on the song quality. What I have found, at least for me, is that Windows Media Audio doesn't record nor convert well to MP3. I kept getting a noticeable skip or 'scratch' every three to four seconds when I would play the music on the device, yet none when I'd play from the computer. Once I recorded from the CD in MP3 format and then transfered this without conversion to the device, there were no audio problems.

Is it possible to send MP3 music through email? As in, could a hiker have someone at home send them new music via email? It seems the access to computers is fairly good along the trail, the connection is USB, and then I guess it depends on whether each computer can actually do that? Otherwise, yeah, spending $200 for an Ipod or equivalent would make sense.

09-27-2004, 18:43
i think you should bring ur music. just get an ipod. they were just recently lowered $100 and only wrigh like 6.0 oz. they hold like 10000 songs too.

10-04-2004, 09:56
I, like many others on this forum, live, eat, and breathe music. However, would advise against bringing a discman, for as any backpacker knows, 1 pound can mean the difference between misery and comfort. If you have the money and must have music, then yes, invest in an MP3 player. They are lightweught and you don't have to worry about extra weight from the CD's in your bag. My suggestion though is to just listen to the sounds Mother Nature has to offer.

10-04-2004, 10:23
I am a musician, and get plenty of inspirado from hiking in the woods WITHOUT music. Hiking is one of my only true escapes, in surroundings much larger and older, and hence more wiser than me. I just pay more attention and this sparks creativity for writing very easily.