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Lugh
02-25-2012, 04:37
I am doing my first AT hike this year, and I was just wondering about what I should do with my pack should i need to leave it unattended?

I've heard that pack theft has been a problem on the trail, and since my entire livelihood will be the contents of my pack, i am a little concerned about the aspect of leaving it unattended for any amount of time at all. While on the trail i do not anticipate much of a problem, save a trip to the privy..i cant just take my entire pack with me. I am a little more concerned about the times i may need to leave the trail and go into a town to shop or whatever..is it ok to carry your pack into the store with you? ..like in a shopping cart or something? Do you leave it behind the desk? I'm just not sure how this scenario might play out.

TOMP
02-25-2012, 05:16
I wouldnt really worry about theft from other hikers, so when in the privy it shouldnt be an issue. And when I am in a big store like walmart, I am just going to keep the bag on me and I doubt anyone will question me. If its a small store just ask the clerk to keep it behind the counter while you shop. There arent any other scenarios that I can think of that would separate me from my pack.

grayfox
02-25-2012, 11:48
I once left my pack on a prominent and distinctive riverbank overlook while I scouted for a place to cross a rain swollen torrent. As I headed back for my pack, I realized that all the overlooks were shaped by the same river and they all looked the same! After that I bought an orange pack cover and vowed never to leave the pack out of line of sight ever again.

The more 'ultralight' your kit the easier it will be to always carry it with you. I don't think there has been that much trouble with theft in the past--but these are new times and I would be at least be careful and mindful of the potential for risk. But don't worry too much--people are still pretty much good.

Slo-go'en
02-25-2012, 11:49
Most, if not all, the pack thefts you might have heard about were likely bears dragging the pack off into the woods. So, leaving your pack unattended out in the woods with food in it may not be a good idea while you wander off to get water or take a potty break.

That said, if there is a store a mile or so down a road I want to make a quick trip to, I often "stash" my pack 100 yrds up the trail from the road crossing, off the trail a bit and behind a fallen tree trunk or something. Just remember where you stashed it!

If your staying at a crowded shelter or hostel, try to keep all your stuff consolidated. If your not using something, keep it in your pack. This makes it less likely you will either accidently leave something behind or have someone pick it up by accident, since many have very similer or identical looking pieces of gear.

Also, at hostels, keep your valuables like money on your person and any small items like your camara or phone out of sight. There has been at least one report of valuables going missing when left in plain sight on a bunk in a hostel. No reason to make it easy or to tempt someone.

At small stores or resturants, there is generally a spot just inside the door you can put your pack. If there is a check out person in sight, it's a good idea to say "ok if I leave this here?" and usually they will say yes or suggest a better place. Occasionally there will be a sign which says "no packs inside" or the store is so cluttered there is no room, so you have no choice but to leave it outside. I don't know of anyone who has ever had a problem with that.

In large supermarkets, I put my pack under the cart. Speaking of supermarkets, it is worth while to stop at the service desk and get a discount card, as you will be shopping at thier chain stores farily often. Ingles and food city are two you'll often find in the south.

rocketsocks
02-25-2012, 13:35
You take your pack in any store you want to,if they give you a hard time you just tell em to ---- it.If people can bring a purse,shopping bag or the like into a store then a back pack is not that much different.And your right ,it's your stuff....all your stuff.In fact I'd sleep with it on;)

Land_Shark
02-25-2012, 14:08
Do not EVER leave your pack unattended. If you should slack pack some sections (I DO SUDGEST THIS) you can check your pack with those who are giving the ride or were you are staying. Most are trust worthy but some are not always best to leave no doubt give no temptation. Be safe to all and most should be seeing me. Stop and say hi :-) and if any need trail magic or just some one to hike with let me know.

Slo-go'en
02-25-2012, 15:25
You take your pack in any store you want to,if they give you a hard time you just tell em to ---- it.If people can bring a purse,shopping bag or the like into a store then a back pack is not that much different.And your right ,it's your stuff....all your stuff.In fact I'd sleep with it on;)

Please don't tell them to ----it. It's thier store and if they don't want your pack inside, that is thier right. A pack is a LOT bigger than a purse or shopping bag and if the isles are tight, you can be knocking stuff down off of shelfs or getting in peoples way.

Deadeye
02-25-2012, 16:12
You take your pack in any store you want to,if they give you a hard time you just tell em to ---- it.If people can bring a purse,shopping bag or the like into a store then a back pack is not that much different.And your right ,it's your stuff....all your stuff.In fact I'd sleep with it on;)

Telling stores to ---- it is just a dandy way to make sure that store owners/restauranteurs/ etc. have a high opinion of hikers. Geez, I hope I get to towns before you do.

StubbleJumper
02-25-2012, 17:24
Personally, I mostly worry about keeping my cash/cards in sight at all times. If I'm going any farther than taking a pee, then I tend to put my cash ziploc in my pocket. I do not worry about any of my other gear while on the trail. Just remember, NOBODY wants your weight! In almost all cases, the last damned thing they'll do is steal some of your gear. In town, I like to take my pack into the grocery store with me, but it's not a deal breaker. Again, when in town, almost NOBODY is interested in your smelly, dirty pack (unless you're dumb enough to leave cash inside). At hostels, it's about the same thing. Who wants your stinky gear? Most of the time, I don't even want my stinky gear....

Just keep a close eye on your booze!

birdygal
02-25-2012, 19:52
I always wondered about leaving your pack at those places that said no packs inside, Are there lots places in the towns that make you leave them outside, I do not feel comfortable leaving mine anywhere except maybe on the way to the privy

Blissful
02-25-2012, 21:13
It really depends on the place.
If a larger grocery store, just put it in the cart (I put a sopping wet pack in a cart at Hanover Coop. Got some interesting looks).
If a restaurant, ask if you can leave a pack in a certain place that looks out of the way (I did this at Boiling Springs at a restaurant. They were very nice). If you have to leave it outside, get a table looking out over the pack. If fast food like a McDonalds, I take it with me.
I have put my pack outside in the back of a convenience store out of sight. I have also left it in the front of the store in sight if there's a bench. I've had people sitting there who will watch it if I ask. I have also brought it in and put it in the corner of the store. If you leave it outside, cover it with a rain cover and take all valuables with you at all times (hiker wallet, camera, phone).

At a shelter, I usually took my pack with me to get my water (I did that first before unpacking).

rocketsocks
02-25-2012, 21:15
Telling stores to ---- it is just a dandy way to make sure that store owners/restaurateurs/ etc. have a high opinion of hikers. Geez, I hope I get to towns before you do.Thats funny,cause I have an opinion too.And I'm of the opinion that if I've have planned a trip that I may take only once in a life time ....then the pack stays with me period if a store owner wants me to leave,fine no money for you.My money spends just like anybody else's.You be nice leave your pack out on side walk and you too could be trying to figure out your next move and how to get home,pretty sad and you've no one to blame but yourself.;)

rocketsocks
02-25-2012, 21:16
Please don't tell them to ----it. It's thier store and if they don't want your pack inside, that is thier right. A pack is a LOT bigger than a purse or shopping bag and if the isles are tight, you can be knocking stuff down off of shelfs or getting in peoples way.Same as above.;)

Blissful
02-25-2012, 21:21
Thats funny,cause I have an opinion too.And I'm of the opinion that if I've have planned a trip that I may take only once in a life time ....then the pack stays with me period if a store owner wants me to leave,fine no money for you.My money spends just like anybody else's.You be nice leave your pack out on side walk and you too could be trying to figure out your next move and how to get home,pretty sad and you've no one to blame but yourself.;)

Please respect the businesses, if they have a no pack policy, then you abide by it. A nasty attitude is why there are businesses in trail towns now that do not like hikers. And hikers are not their primary business either by any means. I've had stores fill up my water bottles, make me great sandwiches, and be cheerful because I was cheerful. iI goes a long way and helps the hiking community that comes after you.

rocketsocks
02-25-2012, 22:11
Please respect the businesses, if they have a no pack policy, then you abide by it. A nasty attitude is why there are businesses in trail towns now that do not like hikers. And hikers are not their primary business either by any means. I've had stores fill up my water bottles, make me great sandwiches, and be cheerful because I was cheerful.I goes a long way and helps the hiking community that comes after you.Blissful I wouldn't have it any other way if that is the policy,however this attitude that hikers are somehow second class citizens I just don't buy into.If I bought the pack in a store then there is no reason why that same pack should not accompany me where I go.I have always thought that the world was what we make of it,and if you go into a store like a bull in a china shop then yes,no soup for you....folks should have a little finesse and be responsible for themselves and only themselves.And if I feel that a store owner has made unreasonable demands and a "Stow it" is in order than that is my right.Of coarse you realize all this has been hypothetical...right?

Datto
02-25-2012, 22:58
Don't ever leave your pack unattended on your thru-hike. Particularly at Trail Days and particularly in the front of store next to a road (the crooks will drive up and in one fell swoop toss all the packs into the back of their buddy's pickup truck and be off before anyone can do anything about it).

Two times on my thru-hike I had to leave my pack outside and I chained it to something so no one could easily walk away with it (once in Shenandoah National Park and I sat at a window keeping an eye on my backpack outside while I was inquiring if the customers were wanting 'dem butters and once in Salisbury, CT at the pharmacy/coffee shop there). I carried a 4oz bike chain with roller type lock with me just for chaining my pack to make stealing the pack more difficult -- I didn't need it often but was glad I had it when I did use it.

On the night I stayed at Thomas Knob Shelter just north of Damascus I actually met someone who was in the business of stealing packs at Trail Days which was a couple of days prior to me staying at Thomas Knob Shelter. He was talking to a girl there and trying to impress her so I was in my sleeping bag listening in before my earplugs when it. I got an earful of the process and the reasons behind backpack stealing.

Datto

Del Q
02-25-2012, 23:11
I am definitely on the paranoid/over careful side, better safe than sorry. Unlike at home, my pack in the woods is everything that I have, rarely ever leave my pack for lots of reasons..............talk about a way to ruin a hike instantly. Just not worth it in my book.

rocketsocks
02-26-2012, 00:03
Honestly,I am a pleasant person where ever I go,and I give better than I get.Truth is I was just using a non-expletive expletive with regard to the ---- it.I just feel very strongly about personal responsibility to ourselves,and respecting and understanding the magnitude of leaving ones belongings while that far from home can potentially be a major,major inconvenience,and a crushed dream would be the end result.Not to mention that having your things taken at the absolute wrong time,(say during a snow storm),could be life threatening.That's really what this is about,and not all that other crap.:)

Deadeye
02-26-2012, 00:33
Honestly,I am a pleasant person where ever I go,and I give better than I get.Truth is I was just using a non-expletive expletive with regard to the ---- it.I just feel very strongly about personal responsibility to ourselves,and respecting and understanding the magnitude of leaving ones belongings while that far from home can potentially be a major,major inconvenience,and a crushed dream would be the end result.Not to mention that having your things taken at the absolute wrong time,(say during a snow storm),could be life threatening.That's really what this is about,and not all that other crap.:)

I never suggested that I would let my pack out of my sight, only that if a store says "no packs", then no packs it is, and I'll take my business elsewhere. But I'll take it with manners and respect, and wouldn't tell the store to ----- it, that's just creating more problems for the next hiker coming through town.

rocketsocks
02-26-2012, 00:48
I never suggested that I would let my pack out of my sight, only that if a store says "no packs", then no packs it is, and I'll take my business elsewhere. But I'll take it with manners and respect, and wouldn't tell the store to ----- it, that's just creating more problems for the next hiker coming through town.Yes,and I think I just said That I probably wouldn't say --- it either,and that it was used for the weight of the statement...yep that was it alright.;)

ScottP
02-26-2012, 11:30
I understand that some businesses fair rules or relevant laws prevent packs from being taken onto the premises. Regardless, I don't let my pack be in a place where I can't see it.

MuddyWaters
02-26-2012, 19:10
If you must, and it bothers you, a small 3' lenght of 1/16" steel aircraft cable and a very small luggage style lock will allow you to lock it to sign poles, etc. Not foolproof, but someone trying to get it would attract attention in a public place. For about 1oz.

Papa D
02-26-2012, 19:39
In towns, you can usually leave your pack just inside a store, laundry, gas station, etc. -- most people are very nice and helpful -- if it's a sketchy place (like maybe a big box store), I'd suggest hiding it somewhere nearby (patch of woods behind store, etc.) - in the forest, I regularly stash my pack with pack cover on off the trail, behind a fallen log, rock or some other feature that I can remember - works fine. The places to be most concerned (unfortunately) are in your bunk space in certain hostels (um, like Uncle Johnny's) - the best plan is to try to always be with your pack - this is hard when you are in the shower or something so there is always a little risk - being aware of strange characters in hostels, knowing who the bona-fide hikers are and having them watch your stuff, etc. are good plans - in all likelihood, if you are reasonably careful you'll be fine. In a pinch, put your pack on the floor next to the shower - people have done stranger things.

Del Q
02-26-2012, 19:49
In Kent, Ct the store manager at the supermarket kept telling me to leave my pack outside, only needed a few things........kept it on my back, got what I needed.......paid and left. Could sense his hiker-negative-energy...........was polite, swift............went on my way. Was NOt going to leave it outside.

As they are trying to figure out things in Wash D.C...............maybe we should press that stealing a hikers' pack is a capital offense subject to...............................

Derek81pci
02-26-2012, 19:54
Can't imagine ever leaving my pack anywhere. Good idea with the bike chain thing.

Papa D
02-26-2012, 20:13
In Kent, Ct the store manager at the supermarket kept telling me to leave my pack outside, only needed a few things........kept it on my back, got what I needed.......paid and left. Could sense his hiker-negative-energy...........was polite, swift............went on my way. Was NOt going to leave it outside.

As they are trying to figure out things in Wash D.C...............maybe we should press that stealing a hikers' pack is a capital offense subject to...............................

Not too may thieves in Kent, CT - pretty ritzy town - surprised there wasn't a pack valet :D

Lugh
02-27-2012, 02:55
Thanks for the replies everyone. Lots of good info. Since my pack is already camaflouge i will probably hide it (and pray i dont get a sudden case of amnesia) its a frame backpack, and so the bike chain would work well too.

Even in spite of all the good info, i do not think i will deviate from my original plan...which is keep it as close to me as possible at all times..as many have said, its is literally my lifeline..and so I wont be caught dead without it (i hope :D).

rocketsocks
02-27-2012, 03:31
I concede that a( --- it)was not the best way to convey the message of disapproval,Thanks:)