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  1. #1

    Default mid hike trips home

    If one needs to make a trip home in the middle of a thru hike, what does one do with one's gear?

    I would be flying so in my car with me is not an option. I'm not enamored with the idea of checking my pack assuming a I can get a box of bag to cover it. I've left luggage with hotels while traveling before so that seems logical to me, but I thought maybe there are better suggestions.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    A mid hike trip home is both a pain in the rear and an opportunity.

    If you can find a hostel owner or motel owner that is hiker friendly, you might be able to leave a box or a bag containing some gear items, but you might also want to take some other gear items home. In a perfect world, you would leave your knife, hiking poles, tent pegs, stove and a few other items in a box at a motel, and then the rest of your backpack would be eligible for carry-on, which would eliminate the checked-baggage fee and the risk of the airline losing your pack.

    The rest of your gear you might like to take home with you. This would give you the opportunity to thoroughly wash your clothes and possibly swap some out (eg, leave your half worn out pairs of socks at home and bring brand new socks back to the trail with you, dump your winter gear and bring back summer gear, etc). It would give you the opportunity to at least air-out your sleeping bag for a few days to reduce that delicious trail odour that accumulates in it, or you could go crazy and actually wash your bag. You might want to leave your partially worn out trail runners at home and return to the trail with brand new. There are many opportunities to improve your gear since you'll be at home anyway.

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    Do they have public coin operated lockers at airports anymore?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
    Do they have public coin operated lockers at airports anymore?



    most airports got rid of them after 2011...........if not before....

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    yeah, I kinda figured that would be the case. I haven't flown much in the last 11 years or so. I know I still see them places. Just recently had to use one at the Orlando Eye to stash my pocket knife before riding the big farris wheel.

    Shame. Something like that would seem great to stash tent stakes, pocket knives, and such in just this sort of case.

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    If one needs to make a trip home in the middle of a thru hike, what does one do with one's gear?

    I would be flying so in my car with me is not an option. I'm not enamored with the idea of checking my pack assuming a I can get a box of bag to cover it. I've left luggage with hotels while traveling before so that seems logical to me, but I thought maybe there are better suggestions.
    Here's a thought. What if through circumstances, you don't go back to the trail?

    I buy a cheap $17 duffel bag at Walmart and put all my gear in it when I fly. So far, no problems and I've done it several times. I have a Zpack backpack, and I doubt it would make if I put it on a plane with no protection.
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  7. #7

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    I guess it really depends on how long you expect to be gone. Just a weekend is one thing, 3 weeks is another.

    Actually, taking a bit of a break mid hike can help. Resting up and eating well for a couple of weeks can put the spring back into your step. And if you have to go back anyway, why make it a stressful thing? In which case, take everything home with you and do some tweaking and maintenance.
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    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I guess it really depends on how long you expect to be gone. Just a weekend is one thing, 3 weeks is another.

    Actually, taking a bit of a break mid hike can help. Resting up and eating well for a couple of weeks can put the spring back into your step. And if you have to go back anyway, why make it a stressful thing? In which case, take everything home with you and do some tweaking and maintenance.

    If you take everything then you probably will need to check your bag which costs $25-30 each direction. If you leave your knife, poles, tent pegs and stove with somebody near the trail, then the remainder of your pack can be taken on the plane. Depending on how much gear you have that is not eligible for carry-on, it might be just as cheap to throw it away (or into the hiker box) and buy new gear. With $50 or $60 saved by not paying for a checked bag, you could easily buy a new knife and tent pegs, but the poles and stoves tend to be a bit pricier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    If one needs to make a trip home in the middle of a thru hike, what does one do with one's gear?

    Thank you.
    When getting off a thru in the midst of it with the intention of coming back within 3 wk's what I do depends on the character of the individual route/trail, how light and bulky my kit, and how I'm traveling once off the trail.

    I've had CGs, hostels, hotels, and NP lodges hold my pack often for a fee or, even if free, offering compensation or a "tip". I find it best offering some $ up gront for better security. This is good if one might not return. At some NP's and a few SP's as well as at train stations and a few CG'S there are lockers big enough to store most packs. I've done this in Yosemite and Glacier NP's for example.

    For the AT you might factor in and consider leaving off where you know you'll be getting back on when organizing flights. You very well could arrange not only leaving your pack but getting a AP shuttle from the same company or person which solves to potential issues.

    If you must fly back consider leaving some stuff behind especially TSA no no's like knives, stoves, combustibles, maybe trekking poles and hygiene products.

    For myself, my thru hiking kits consist of many cross over items in my traveling kits always doing both in a minimalist UL low wt and volume fashion so not as much hassle. I always like to have my kits in my personal possession.

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    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I had to go home for 5 days to sell my house when I hit Pearsiburg, but I rented a car. You could mail or UPS some of your gear home and carry on or check the rest.
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    Dow Villa in Lone Pine held my pack for me in 2015 when I took a break from my PCT to fly back east for a visit for a week. It totally broke the spell of the trail for me and brought front and center some off trail problems I wasn't aware of. I returned to the PCT, then aborted my thru 10 days later because I wasn't enjoying it anymore, worried about things back home and I no longer knew the other thrus on trail.

    For me taking a break was a very bad move. It might not be for everyone. Anyway, TMI, I know. Get a hotel or hostel to hold your gear is my suggestion if you must take a break to fly home.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Dow Villa in Lone Pine held my pack for me in 2015 when I took a break from my PCT to fly back east for a visit for a week. It totally broke the spell of the trail for me and brought front and center some off trail problems I wasn't aware of. I returned to the PCT, then aborted my thru 10 days later because I wasn't enjoying it anymore, worried about things back home and I no longer knew the other thrus on trail.

    For me taking a break was a very bad move. It might not be for everyone. Anyway, TMI, I know. Get a hotel or hostel to hold your gear is my suggestion if you must take a break to fly home.
    This kind of thing concerns me as I was planning a visit home in the middle of my Flip Flop for all the above mentioned advantages in other posts. I might have a friend joining me on the second half too so I will have to reassess the whole situation when it's time to cross that bridge.

  13. #13

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    Thank you for all the responses. I'm thinking the best option is the same as when I'm traveling for 'regular' vacations; leave it with a hotel for a fee. It occurred to me another option is to rent a car, put my stuff in the trunk, and leave the car at the airport. A $50 per night locker. In the end I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, but its nice to have an idea where the best bridges to cross are.

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    If planning to carry-on your pack, you could take all items TSA doesn't allow in carry-on luggage (knives, stoves, etc.) and mail them to yourself c/o general delivery at a PO where you are leaving the trail.

    I left the PCT twice to return east for the weddings of my nephews. On both occasions I used a duffel bag (Osprey Airporter). I kept it in my bounce bucket.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    Dow Villa in Lone Pine held my pack for me in 2015 when I took a break from my PCT to fly back east for a visit for a week. It totally broke the spell of the trail for me and brought front and center some off trail problems I wasn't aware of. I returned to the PCT, then aborted my thru 10 days later because I wasn't enjoying it anymore, worried about things back home and I no longer knew the other thrus on trail.

    For me taking a break was a very bad move. It might not be for everyone. Anyway, TMI, I know. Get a hotel or hostel to hold your gear is my suggestion if you must take a break to fly home.
    It could be related to the length of time off. Taking longer sabbaticals can take some out of their LD hiking mode/routine.

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    I find the transition from hiking with others to by myself or its opposite of hiking alone and then with others both to be pretty disrupting. It is like the 2 modes require such different mind sets that to go from one to the other triggers unwanted mental states. If that makes any sense at all.

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    Ahh that tight rope balancing act involving being an introvert - I hate it, I like it - with the extrovert - I hate it, I like it - transitions. Some don't fare well which maybe plays into hiker trash LD hikers becoming townies, maybe homeless for a while, followed up by picking up like a nomadic gypsy. See this In Asheville, Hot Springs, out on PCT towns, in Hawaii, Arizona, etc.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by handlebar View Post
    ...mail them to yourself c/o general delivery at a PO where you are leaving the trail.
    If you mail a box of gear to yourself c/o general deliver from the PO you will pick up the package, does it actually go anywhere? Like do they have to send it to a central sorting station? Or do they just keep it there in a safe locked PO waiting for your return?

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