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  1. #1

    Default Keep an eye on your stuff folks

    Just a reminder for maybe some trusting, or new folks out there - Keep your stuff in sight, and tidy when on the trail. For both the act of theft by human as well as bears. I personally keep my backpack on my back as much as possible, I never leave my pack at a trail intersection to see a blue blaze trail, or unattended at camp. Now if I've got camp setup, and there are lots of other hikers around, I don't mind putting my stuff in my tent to go get water, privy etc, but I button up all my things and leave nothing in sight. A few stories come to mind - Mainly trekking poles being nabbed at shelters, items left scattered get picked up etc but as well, A fella last spring on springer claimed his whole pack had been nabbed by a bear the year before, and a pack nabbed at the blue blaze intersection on Roan High knob.

  2. #2
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    Good points for the new folks on here....


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    We witnessed 5 people dump their packs on the AT in the Smokies to explore the side trail to Mt Cammerer. Not a good decision.

    If a bear grabs a pack, it greatly inconveniences the hiker (and everybody else who has to contribute extra food and clothing to help him/her), but it can be lethal for the bear to be perceived as a threat to humans.

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    I've never worried much about my pack being stolen. But for sure, critters will seek out and find any food you leave in it. Once I'm at camp I don't worry about it much at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    We witnessed 5 people dump their packs on the AT in the Smokies to explore the side trail to Mt Cammerer. Not a good decision...
    Not only "not a good decision" but technically illegal in the National Park (if they left any food in the packs). Park regulations require "proper food storage" at all times when not in use.

  6. #6

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    Suggestions:

    1) Carry a 4oz bike chain with a combo lock for use at say Waysides in Shenandoah where backpacks can't be taken inside. Wrap the bike chain around several loops in your backpack and position it where you can sit at a window and keep an eye on it. This won't stop determined thieves but may convince them something easier is available. The AT is a microcosm of Society so thievery happens just like it happens back in Society.

    2) Don't put valuables inside your tent at Trail Days in Damascus, VA and think their safe.

    3) Don't put your backpack unattended outside stores along the AT -- someone in a pickup truck might swoop in, throw your backpack and others into the pickup bed and be off before you can say "hiker feed".

    4) If for some reason you have to leave your backpack in the woods near a road crossing (don't do this), stay back at least a half-mile from the road (not at the actual road crossing). Believe it or not, there are people who watch for you to do that and after you leave, they just walk over and pick up your backpack where you hid it and are off to sort through your valuables. It's a clever way for a thief to have an easy time.

    5) Sleep with your hiking poles next to you when sleeping in a shelter -- don't just lean them up against the shelter wall and think they're going to be there in the morning while to are in la-la land overnight.


    Datto

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    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    My experience has been much different from this. I just leave my pack pretty much anywhere when in the woods. As long as you are at least a mile or so away from a trail head, nobody is going to steal your pack. I have never had anyone rifle through my pack either when I left it unattended at a shelter or at a trail junction -- frankly, most of my gear items are not particularly valuable and who the heck wants to carry someone else's weight anyway? I leave my poles leaning against the shelter all night, and have never had any trouble. In short, keep your cash and payment cards close to your body, but don't worry about the rest. Nobody wants your stinky sleeping bag and nobody wants to pilfer your stove.

    Just relax and enjoy your hike!

  8. #8

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    Obviously you need to use some common sense , but you don't need to be overly paranoid about it.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    We witnessed 5 people dump their packs on the AT in the Smokies to explore the side trail to Mt Cammerer. Not a good decision.

    If a bear grabs a pack, it greatly inconveniences the hiker (and everybody else who has to contribute extra food and clothing to help him/her), but it can be lethal for the bear to be perceived as a threat to humans.


    and most of the shelters have a resident thief bear who associates a bag with food and will take it away....

    happens pretty much every year at cosby and russell.......

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    oh, and i should state----even a bag not containing food, at the shelters, a bear might take.............

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    Seems foolish to leave gear unattended. I've met a few sketchy folks along the trail in the south. I keep my pack with me and usually get water before setting up camp so I never leave it unattended. Bears and vermin can do damage to gear in no time. People on most trails lose gear to people and animals every year...I'm not paranoid by any means just depend on and value my gear...easily $750-1000 worth of crap in that bag!


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    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StubbleJumper View Post
    My experience has been much different from this. I just leave my pack pretty much anywhere when in the woods. As long as you are at least a mile or so away from a trail head, nobody is going to steal your pack. I have never had anyone rifle through my pack either when I left it unattended at a shelter or at a trail junction -- frankly, most of my gear items are not particularly valuable and who the heck wants to carry someone else's weight anyway? I leave my poles leaning against the shelter all night, and have never had any trouble. In short, keep your cash and payment cards close to your body, but don't worry about the rest. Nobody wants your stinky sleeping bag and nobody wants to pilfer your stove.

    Just relax and enjoy your hike!


    Ditto! Never had a problem and anyone that sends up red flags in my head, I never leave my stuff alone.

  13. #13

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    If you're a thru-hiker or contemplating a thru-hike, keep in mind if day hikers and two-day hikers have their stuff lost to thievery, they just go home a day early and go back to work as usual. They just have REI or whomever send them some new stuff to accompany all the other new stuff they have in their garage.

    It's just one of the many many things that makes doing a day hike or an overnighter completely different than undertaking an AT thru-hike.

    If you're a thru-hiker your backpack is your house -- if you lose your backpack, you have a very serious problem. Think of all the money and time you have invested in your thru-hike and all of a sudden your wallet, your sleeping bag, your tent/tarp, your food, your iphone, those special pictures of your girlfriend and everything is gone. To restart your thru-hike will cost you not only tons of money, but tons of time and aggrevation.

    If, right now, you're a thru-hiker in planning you should start distinguishing between the sources of advice you're receiving -- here and elsewhere.


    Datto

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    It does make sense to keep your most valuable items (wallet, phone, camera, etc.) on you if you leave your pack for any length of time.

    I've left my pack for hours at a time at many hostels. I've left it outside my tent overnight at many campsites (back when I was using a tiny Eureka Solitaire tent.)

    If I'm in town, I try to keep it in sight, or if I'm at a store or place to eat, ask staff if they mind if you keep it close, or if they'll stash it for you while you're there.

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    "Switchback - NOBO '06" MyFeetHurt's Avatar
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    I hope things have not changed so much in the 10 years since my hike where hikers need to be overly worried about losing their gear? I would routinely leave my loaded bag out front of restaurants/shops/whatever and never worried about it getting lifted.

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    There is actually very little theft among hikers when they are in the woods. Nearly all problems are in towns or hostels, so use some common sense with your stuff. A few quick comments:

    *Never, and I mean NEVER "stash" your pack in the woods near the Trail, even for just a little while, and never
    have anyone do you this "favor".

    *In a hostel or shelter, police up your stuff, and don't leave tempting things (like headlamps, electronics, pocket-
    knives, etc., out where people can get at them. Also, consolidate your stuff and try to keep it in one general
    location, you'll be much less likely to forget something.

    *When you know you're going to be in the woods for awhile, i.e. nowhere where you'll need to spend money,
    bury your wallet in your pack or keep in on your person in a secure pocket. Don't leave in a side pouch or the
    top "brain" of your backpack, where someone could find it in five seconds.

    *Use extra diligence with your property when riding in vehicle. On the Trail, probably 100 items are lost or for-
    gotten than are stolen. Most frequently lost items in vehicles: Your ziplock "wallet"; your phone; your trekking
    poles. Make a small sticky label and put your name and E-Mail info on your phone; it greatly increases the
    chance of it getting back to you if it is lost.

    **Back up or periodically remove EVERYTHING on your phone......photos; names and addresses; numbers; other
    info. The number of people who manage to lose gadgets while hiking is unbelievable.

    **When doing laundry in a town, it's probably OK to leave your stuff unattended for a little while when it's in
    the washer, but I would NOT leave stuff in a dryer and then take off for an hour. I know some folks who lost
    some very expensive stuff doing this.

    *Don't have anything outside your pack that you can't afford to lose, cuz stuff falls off packs all the time.Arriving
    into camp after a long rainy day and discovering you've lost a flip-flop is no big deal. Discovering you no longer
    have a tent is no fun at all. In fact, if you "strap" something to your pack, either the back, bottom, or front,
    you might want loop a small carabiner to the item, so that if works its way out of the pack-straps, at least
    it won't fall to the ground and be lost.

    *Be leery of lending stuff to other folks unless you can do without it, and ask people to hand deliver you back
    the item when they return it. Be aware that very frequently, if you lend other folks your stuff, it may well
    be returned dirty, damaged, late, or never.

    *In hostels, mark/label your food if there's a common fridge or it'll likely be eaten, and never leave food or gear
    near a hiker/swap box.

    *In hostels and motels, do an idiot check when you leave the bathroom. Please lost jewelry and watches all
    the time. And look under your bed, too!

    That's it for now, I'm sure I'll think of more for later.

  17. #17

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    Less than 60 seconds after I took this photo, some guy ran into this laundromat, went to the right-hand dryer in the background of this photo, grabbed all the clothes from the dryer and took off in his car. The owner of the clothes yelled loudly, ran out after the thief (Pearson and ran out with him too) but the thief was already driving away.


    Datto


    mohave01.jpg

  18. #18
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    If you are drunk or drugged in town you are basically asking to be ripped off. I remember one spring at a shelter north of Damascus, a stereotypical New Yorker was complaining loudly about all the stuff that was stolen from him at the hostel in town. He also later mentioned how much he partied in town the past few nights. Later on a couple came through who had been at the same hostel and mentioned that they might be moving on because that New Yorker had been at the hostel the night before and was falling down drunk and kept everyone awake. He apparently was giving all sorts of his stuff away to anyone who would take it.

    For most folks, they may be super secure when sober but mix some alcohol or drugs into the mix and all sense of caution goes by the wayside. If someone is prone to be stealing, its pretty easy to just hang back and wait until the partying cranks up.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 04-08-2016 at 16:11. Reason: to keep lone wolf happy

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I remember one spring at a shelter north of Damascus, a stereotypical New Yorker was complaining loudly about all the stuff that was stolen from him at the free hostel in town.
    there is no FREE hostel in Damascus

  20. #20
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    there is no FREE hostel in Damascus
    Sorry to learn that.

    There used to be one that asked for donations only, but I guess times change.

    Enjoy the Masters, Lone Wolf.

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