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  1. #1
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    Default Stashing the pack

    I have always made it a habit to drop my pack a few yard off trail when I take a short side trail for water or to scout a camping spot. I never worried about my stuff, but last month I was hiking with my brother and he looked at me like I was crazy. If you saw a pack left at a trail crossing would you assume the owner is coming back for it? Is there a sign I should leave, like a shirt in a car window?
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  2. #2
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    I'm a hiker. I assume the owner is coming back. Especially if it is left near a side trail or water trail. I wouldn't do this within a couple of miles of a road crossing.

    When you say you drop it off a "few yards" I take this to mean 15 to 20 feet and likely on the other side of a tree from the trail. I think this is a reasonable precaution if you are going to hike a quarter mile downhill to get water.

  3. #3

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    I'll stash my pack off into the woods if I'm going to a store a bit down the road. I'll walk a 100 feet up the trail, makes sure no one is watching and stash it so it can't be seen from the trail. And hope I remember where I put it

    If it's just to go get water, I'll leave it leaning against a tree at the trail junction. Most of the people that might come by already know me and the pack. Of course, you don't want to do this in an area where there is a lot of bear activity. That's how packs get "stolen".
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  4. #4
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    While I don't know about the bulk of the AT, in certain locals, technically leaving a pack unattended is illegal.

    Well... not so much as leaving a pack unattended, but leaving food unattended. The scenario places like GSMNP is trying to avoid is a bear finding the pack.

  5. #5
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    No way. I ALWAYS keep it with me. I tend to go very light so it's not such a big deal, but I ain't taking a chance. What if I slide off the Blue Blaze and break my ass?

  6. #6

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    Chipmunks can bore a hole in a pack in no time flat.

  7. #7

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    Yep it is what hikers do .... I would assume you were off to the loo


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  8. #8
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    Hell no....asking for trouble....if carrying a bear can and the can was well hidden that's ok...but not any delicate things such as a pack and it's contents!


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  9. #9
    Registered User Sandy of PA's Avatar
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    My pack goes into the bushes with me, never unattended.

  10. #10

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    A bear can run away with an unattended pack in seconds. Take it with you every time.

  11. #11
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    Default Stashing the pack

    I'm embarrassed now. I figured my brother was worried about bipedal thieves. Never thought of the other trail critters. I'll be hanging my food while I take side trips in the future. Thanks WB!!
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  12. #12
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
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    That's like leaving a BMW running with keys in it. I paid way to much for my gear to be left unattended. Plus if you break a leg or slice open yourself your shelter and first aid kit are now not with you. Its irresponsible and opens up your situation to Murphy. Or a bear runs off with your rain gear.
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterParty View Post
    That's like leaving a BMW running with keys in it. I paid way to much for my gear to be left unattended. Plus if you break a leg or slice open yourself your shelter and first aid kit are now not with you. Its irresponsible and opens up your situation to Murphy. Or a bear runs off with your rain gear.
    We may part ways here. I didn't pay way too much for any of my gear and I don't, as a rule, carry anything into the woods that I can't afford to lose. I also don't take on a dangerous scramble without my gear, so my risk of injury while looking for water or a campsite is probably minimal. And yes, I know I just jinxed my next trip.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  14. #14

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    Maybe you can afford to lose it from a monetary standpoint, but if it's cool and it starts raining while you're taking care of business and you come back to your pack to get your $12 FroggToggs jacket and your pack is gone, you could find yourself in a pile of $#!+ much larger than the one you just left in the cathole!

    It ain't just about the money... just sayin'...

  15. #15
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    I must say that I'm gobsmacked by some of the posts in this thread. Leaving your overnight gear in a lean-to while you're day hiking is a routine practice in the Adirondacks. People tend to hike 5 or so miles into the park, stow their pack in the lean-to, and then head out to bag a few peaks. After their day hike, they return to the lean-to, and set up camp for the night. If you don't leave food in your pack, bears and other critters have no interest in it. And my experience is that the few other hikers who have gone to the trouble of hiking 5 miles in from the trailhead are already carrying more weight than they typically want, and so they have no interest in stealing your gear and adding to their own weight.

    Personally, when I'm in the 'dacks I don't worry about it at all. I always hike with a day-pack containing the 10 essentials, my car keys and my cash. I've never had a problem with people or critters messing with my main pack, but I guess there's always a risk that I could return to the lean-to and find that my overnight gear is missing. But even at that, the worst outcome would be a walk back to my car with my headlamp and the need to drop $1,000 or so on some new gear.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by soumodeler View Post
    A bear can run away with an unattended pack in seconds. Take it with you every time.
    +

    And losing $1000 -2000 of gear, would really ruin most peoples day, week, or year. Theres really no excuse to be lazy.

  17. #17
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    I may be guilty of dropping my pack to bag a peak real quick. But I always felt uneasy about it. It nice when someone doesnt want to make the climb and volunteers to hang back with the packs. On a thru hike. I'd be real addiment about keeping my gear close. After all it's my only possessions

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  18. #18
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    Met a guy on the trail near Sunfish Pond who was looking for his pack. Seems he was fishing and had hid his pack near the trail. He came back to get it and a bear was routing through it, the bear took off with the pack.

    Not only do I always take my pack with me including going off trail for a bathroom break or going for water. Even if I'm going into a grocery store or restaurant I take it if allowed. if not I try to be where I can at least keep an eye on it. I also keep it in my tent at night. That being said when I was thru-hiking I would leave it with other thru-hikers I knew, but never with someone I didn't.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  19. #19

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    I remember a guy telling me how he did that, and then he saw a bear as he was walking back to his pack. Never again. Personally, I wouldn't trust my pack out of my sight.

  20. #20
    Registered User Moosling's Avatar
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    No way ready too many stories about bears running off with packs, like others have said mice, squirrels, chipmunks would get in there in seconds if you left a snack in a pocket. I wonder if the heat from wearing it would attract ticks as well?


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