PDA

View Full Version : Total Noob looking to be schooled



inavacuum
01-05-2009, 00:25
Hey guys.

I've done a lot of family camping and outdoor living. I've only been backpacking once and I was younger so I don't really know anything about planning it and gear and what not. Lately I've been getting more and more interested in doing some backpacking trips. I just need some advice on selecting gear. All that I have at this point is a Kelty vortex 2 tent, an REI Morning Star pack, some no name bag thats rated to 20 degrees and a bunch of heavy, bulky base camping gear. I need some serious advice in buying cooking stuff, jackets/apparel, and possibly upgrading my pack and bag. I plan on doing some short 3-5 day trips as soon as I can get a better understanding of what I'm doing. As far as footwear I'm a Chaco freak. I can't stand wearing anything else, especially when I'm outdoors. Is this a wise choice or should I check out something else? Please steer me in the right direction. Everybody at my local outfitter just wants me to dump out my wallet on the counter and get the latest most expensive gear and that is simply not an option for me.

inavacuum
01-05-2009, 00:26
I meant to add, my dog will be accompanying me. What can I expect to need for her?

Cool AT Breeze
01-05-2009, 00:29
Reasearch your gear here. Be patient and and check out ebay,thrift shops and on line deals. Have fun and good luck.

dudeijuststarted
01-05-2009, 00:44
take what you already have on increasingly longer overnights (start with 3-4 miles in and out). Get to know your hiking style and you'll start dropping and adjusting gear accordingly. You may find that you don't want a tent, maybe a hammock or tarptent. May find you want lighter shoes or heavier boots. Might want a simple z rest or something much thicker. I would recommend and msr pocket rocket as a starter stove since you don't have one listed. Dumping your money to an outfitter will leave you with a ton of excess gear and a hole in your wallet. The trail is the best place to get gear reviews.

KG4FAM
01-05-2009, 00:54
Take what you have and swap it out only when you get pissed off and end up burn it dancing around it with a gas can. In the meantime think about what pisses you off with the piece of equipment and ask questions on here about it and what fixes that problem. There is not perfect set of gear that fits everybody so you need to know what you want before dropping a lot of money and that takes time in the woods.

Alcohol stove is the cheapest and lightest and you can even make it yourself. you can get a cheap aluminum cookpot at walmart.

4eyedbuzzard
01-05-2009, 01:06
I meant to add, my dog will be accompanying me. What can I expect to need for her?

You might want to do day hikes and graduate to overnights and longer with your dog. It will give you time to learn about both you and your dog, and give the dog time to get used to hiking and living in the woods. Going on a 3 day/2 night with Fido as a first trip might well be more than either of you really want to tackle, especially if there is bad weather or if other things go wrong while you're in learning mode. You'll also want to read up here and other places on what your dog needs in the way of special care, etc. Be ready to take special time, etc, and even abandon your hike if necessary for the dog's sake. Remember, you choose to hike, your dog doesn't. She simply follows because you want her to. This is assuming your dog is already well trained and well behaved. Nothing irritates most hikers more than dogs running unattended out of voice command range, dogs jumping or charging, dogs in shelters, etc. There are also many areas dogs are not allowed, and many where leashes are required.

inavacuum
01-05-2009, 01:32
Thanks for the suggestions. About the alcohol stove, I believe I read about that when I was lurking around on here a few months ago. I believe it consisted of an old cat food can and placing a few different sized holes in a specific pattern/placement around the can, is that correct?

Worldwide
01-05-2009, 04:48
Tuna can, soda can, beer can they all work toy with it until you get it right.

I would suggest you get to So Ruck ( check the thread out on this site) if ya can alot of kibitzing, socializing, and knowledge to be had there. Plus you get to meet perrenial personalities from the AT.

sclittlefield
01-05-2009, 13:51
Thanks for the suggestions. About the alcohol stove, I believe I read about that when I was lurking around on here a few months ago. I believe it consisted of an old cat food can and placing a few different sized holes in a specific pattern/placement around the can, is that correct?

Yup, that's correct, it's called the Supercat. And it's arguably the simplest, most efficient, and trustworthy alcohol stove around. Here (http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/index.html) are the directions. And this (http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htm) is probably the best site for checking out differing types of alcohol stove design. (P.S. It does however seem to be missing Zelph's -and other's- fiberglass work, which really is the safest and best way to go. Check out some of his posts in the gear forums (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=65) here, his Starlyte (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18383) is fantastic, and his FancyFeast (http://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=27262) is a real powerhouse).

Just remember, alcohol stoves require a little more understanding than your standard canister stove (require a good windscreen, will go out if set on very very cold ground unless insulated, hard to adjust flame, etc). They can be finicky, but they're also, if designed right, more reliable. And certainly easier to replace if you break it somehow.

Feral Bill
01-05-2009, 14:17
You might read a couple of books. The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlings, and Advanced Backpacking by Chris Townsend come to mind.

Gray Blazer
01-05-2009, 14:36
If you make one of those stoves, be careful about spilling burning alcohol on yourself.

I used to backpack in the boyscouts years ago and thought I could pick it up again 30 years later. After the 1st 50 yds uphill, I was ready to quit. My mistake was bringing canned food and pots and pans and too many clothes and not realizing there could be some steep climbs on the AT. The good news is you will eventually get to the summit and then go downhill for a while.

My dog loves being on the trail more than I do (and I love the AT or any mountain trail). I always keep her on a leash. I've heard of too many canines that see a deer or something and take off never to be seen again. If your dog does take off, leave a shirt or some of your clothing at the last place you saw him/her and you may find him there later. My dog sleeps in the tent with me. She actually will pull me uphill (what a blessing) and heels really well on the narrow parts which is important because one or both of you could take a nasty fall if you try to go through the same narrow space at the same time.

Have fun. See you on the trail.

Rockhound
01-05-2009, 17:56
You have a tent, a pack and a bag. My advice take some more 3-5 day trips and figure out what you need/want. you dont need to spend a ton of money. a stove can be anything from waterproof matches to a jet boil. you can go with leki poles or 2 sticks you find on the ground. you can use gatorade bottles or spend $10 on a waterbottle. many would argue that you dont need a water filter.(I hear LW never uses em').I feel its more important to have a love of the outdoors than $2000 in gear.

snowhoe
01-05-2009, 18:02
inavacuum check out the stuff people have for sale on here you can get some great stuff for a great price. Also see if there is a hiking club near you and get involved and before you know it you will be an expert in here like everyone elese.

Tinker
01-05-2009, 18:28
Here are a few other links to gear to help you get started:
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/index.html

http://www.prolitegear.com/

There are lots more. Just Google Ultralight backpacking or lightweight backpacking, alcohol stoves, etc. You can also click on the "search" button here and insert whatever key word you're interested in learning more about.

flemdawg1
01-05-2009, 18:56
You have a tent, a pack and a bag. My advice take some more 3-5 day trips and figure out what you need/want. you dont need to spend a ton of money. a stove can be anything from waterproof matches to a jet boil. you can go with leki poles or 2 sticks you find on the ground. you can use gatorade bottles or spend $10 on a waterbottle. many would argue that you dont need a water filter.(I hear LW never uses em').I feel its more important to have a love of the outdoors than $2000 in gear.

I agree, you've got all you need to get started. Get out there and try it out. Just take warm enough clothes and extra socks. You won't starve to death in 2 days, but you could freeze. The dog is most likely in better hiking shape than you. Just have a way to keep him warm (share your tent?) fed and hydrated.

Tinker
01-05-2009, 18:57
Flemdawg1 - gotta love the mind picture. :D :)

berninbush
01-05-2009, 20:52
I do overnight hikes with my Golden Retriever and I hike in Tevas sandals (even in winter! at least in south Texas).

I use cheap tents (including a $13 Walmart tent sometimes) and book-bag size packs. I have a light cheap sleeping bag rated to 50F because I generally go in warm weather (which is most of the year here). If you make your first trips in decent weather to get into the groove, equipment quality won't be an issue for you. As everyone has said, you'll know more of what you want once you've taken a few trips.

I don't bother with a stove or even much food. By the time I've been walking all day, my body has no energy for digestion and I can't eat much. Distance hikers say you get over this after a while and become ravenous.

For my dog, I bring a collapsable water bowl (cheap at Petsmart) and a baggie full of dog food. She sleeps in the tent with me. That's about all she needs. She's friendly with everyone on the trail, but I have to watch her in camp, as she can get too protective of the tent. She thinks hiking's a blast.

Have fun!