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Thread: Caching water

  1. #1
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    Default Caching water

    Does anyone cache water along the trail for short hikes (about a week)? If so, what do/can you do to ensure it is there and safe when you arrive? This might be useful during a dry season.

  2. #2
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I'm sure people do it but it's totally not necessary and if for whatever reason you don't make it to all your caches they're just left hidden in the woods.

    Hiking around here I do stash 50 cal ammo cans with food on longer sections but I live here and just pick them up when I'm done.

  3. #3

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    Water bottles dont smell like food
    If you cache them they will probably be there if they are hidden
    Hide under bush, brush, leaves, mark with gps

    The problem with depending on caches........whats plan B if its not there when arrive?

  4. #4
    Garlic
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    It's very common practice in the arid West. It's almost institutionalized on some popular trails. Not so much back East.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  5. #5

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    I've cache water in arid environments out west where you can go 20+miles without water. Except in a drought, don't think I'd bother back east. I normally place mine out of sight under a low bush in a place that keeps it out of the sun and prying eyes. I've seen other people just leaving them near a trailhead or road crossing in plain sight of the trail. I can only imagine the water is hot and the plastic is leeching out into the water. I've heard a few stories where someone else thought their lack of planning constituted an emergency and took someone else's water causing a real emergency on their part since they were counting on it. So out of sight mine go. Have a backup plan if one cache does go missing, even if its hitching into a nearby town. It needs to be in a place that I can readily recognize and find later; or at least try to. When I hiked the Condor Trail in central California last year, there were a few dry stretches without running water, so I left a few caches. One of the caches I left near what I thought were easy to find landmarks, the spring grass grew up 18+ inches in the 3 weeks after I left it and I had to hunt for 20 minutes to find my water.

    A few things need to be said. The person leaving one, must carry out the empties. If you fail to make it to a cache, you need to go out later and remove it. If you leave an empty with the thought of getting it later, make sure wind won't blow the empty bottle away in the time you are gone. Doing anything else is just littering, and the rest of us will think really bad thoughts about you. If you have extra water and you want to leave it for other hikers, don't. They likely will not carry the empty out and just leave it and do so in a visual manner where it looks like trash. And as I mentioned, they likely won't consider winds blowing the bottle away.
    Last edited by Miner; 03-26-2017 at 11:33.

  6. #6
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I often cache food near road crossings, in a bear vault. I've cached water once, knowing I had a long dry stretch in a dry summer on the LT. No need to mark with a GPS - you'll remember where you left it. I've never had problems with the food being bothered, it's always been right where I left it. Like everyone's already said, pick up after yourself.

  7. #7

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    I've done this with bottled water on day hikes or one night trips. I don't want to fool with a filter if I'm just out for one night, so I typically carry enough bottled water to last the trip. If its a loop that has several road crossings I'll leave a bottle of water at road crossings so I don't have to carry all of my water...I've been known to drink 2 to 4 quarts a day and don't want to carry 8 or more bottles of water. There are also several hikes I do where you hike a mile or two in before you get to the loop...I'll leave a bottle at the intersection so that I have a bottle to drink on the way back. I also sometimes cache my pack in a similar way so I don't have to carry it the whole day.

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