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  1. #21

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    I like to plan, to research options, to just generally prepare in advance... and then I use that plan as a backup plan and just do things more spontaneously, confident that I have a fallback plan. I've been in the position in life where I had no choices/minimal choices, and a greatly prefer the alternative of too many choices. It's not always a linear solution, where more of something is better, but having access to the finances, the knowledge, learning the applicable skills is greatly preferable to the alternative of being poor and ignorant. Consider yourself fortunate that you have the choices, and you can just choose not to avail yourself of every single one. Just decide for yourself where you want to draw the line.

  2. #22

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    Some people tweak their gear all the time and spend 100 hours on that and only hike 4 days a year. Not what I'm into, but maybe gear is more their hobby than hiking.
    At one point when I had little experience and terrible gear, I spent a lot of time reading about hikes and gear. It was actually useful and I found it interesting at the time.
    Now that my gear does the trick and I've experienced enough different climates and trails, I don't bother with much of that or care about little gear choices unless something needs replacement. But it matters to the person carrying the 52 lb pack with 6 liters of water (with water available every half mile...)

  3. #23
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    See my signature line.

    One of my favorite people I met on my AT hike was named "Wing it," and she really did.
    "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

  4. #24
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    I'm having a hard time seeing people overthinking gear instead of beeing out hiking.

    Thats one of the biggest benefits of the Middle East desert hikes we are doing: To see the locals using extremely simple stuff to get the task at hand done.

  5. #25
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    I see two major components to over planning:

    1) Putting too much effort into researching gear.

    2) Spending too much time researching the experience by checking out countless YouTubes, Trail journals, and memoirs of those who have gone before.

    I didn’t understand this thread is just about the first one, but kind of make sense.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by foodbag View Post
    As I grow older, and (in my opinion) wiser, I have come to the conclusion that our modern society provides us with too much information and too many options, not only for backpacking/long-distance hiking, but in just about every area. One only has to visit Amazon or REI to see evidence of too many choices, and Google? Fugedaboutit! I just Googled "too many choices" and came up with 1,210,000 results in .64 seconds.

    Maybe I'm just tired, but I am done with studying everything to the Nth degree; I am done with surfing 10,000 different choices for water bottles; I am tired of the "noise" of my possessions (downsizing furiously for the last couple of years); and I am just about done with our noisy Western way of life.

    I've decided to just live my life, and play it as it comes to me: More leaping, less overplanning, more risk taking, and less angst....

    Going hiking on the AT in 18 months, following my retirement from the work force. Gonna throw a few things in my pack and jump the back fence....
    When you have a passion, it fills your days with joy.
    Passionate about hammock camping? When you can't be in the woods it is enjoyable to drool over new hammocks, accesories knots and techniques.
    Can't go paddling for a second time today? What new tripping destination can one ponder? What advantage might an Otter tail paddle offer? What paddling technique might I improve from a Youtube video?
    Wanna hike 2000+ miles along a single continous trail in one summer? What shoe, what water filter, what stove offers the greatest chance of success? What meal plan? What are the most likely resons you'll fail and how can you avoid them?

    You can "throw a few things in (your) pack and jump the back fence" but, are you passonate about that aspiration? Dreaming every day for the 18 months about jumping that fence should bring you joy until the day you actually do it.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by OCDave View Post
    When you have a passion, it fills your days with joy.
    Passionate about hammock camping? When you can't be in the woods it is enjoyable to drool over new hammocks, accesories knots and techniques.
    Can't go paddling for a second time today? What new tripping destination can one ponder? What advantage might an Otter tail paddle offer? What paddling technique might I improve from a Youtube video?
    Wanna hike 2000+ miles along a single continous trail in one summer? What shoe, what water filter, what stove offers the greatest chance of success? What meal plan? What are the most likely resons you'll fail and how can you avoid them?

    You can "throw a few things in (your) pack and jump the back fence" but, are you passonate about that aspiration? Dreaming every day for the 18 months about jumping that fence should bring you joy until the day you actually do it.
    You can also throw out a bedroll and sleep in the backyard every night and try to "live outdoors" as much possible even though you're not out on a trip. It's called "Getting Your Bad Nights", a definite Passion for some of us.

    It's something I do every night when I'm not out backpacking---and I resigned myself long ago to be outside sleeping on a thermarest if at all possible. Why? Because there's something special about sleeping outside every night. We should never take Nature for granted because it could all be wiped out by human sprawl and development and then we'll be lucky to have a bush next to the county courthouse to sleep underneath.

    Here's my back porch "camp"---

    P1000076-L.jpg

  8. #28
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    The ancients spoke of the "Golden Mean", and part of becoming wise is to strive for the "Golden Mean". This is true for all aspects of life and hiking is no different.

  9. #29
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    You can "throw a few things in (your) pack and jump the back fence" but, are you passionate about that aspiration? Dreaming every day for the 18 months about jumping that fence should bring you joy until the day you actually do it.

    I guess you could say I'm passionate about it. I quit two full-time jobs with benefits in the past to hike the AT - first attempt in 1999 at age 42, and then an attempt to finish what I started, in 2005, at age 47. I'm going to attempt a thru-hike once more (at age 64 this time around), and if I come up short, well then I'll have the rest of my life to go section hiking, with no contraints on my time. Woohoo!
    Long-distance aspirations with short-distance feet.... :jump

  10. #30

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    So foodbag, you got about 3 more years to obsess over gear choices

    BTW the water bottle one is easy. Do you like Coke or Pepsi?
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  11. #31
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    Honestly.. in 2019 i think its easier to decide on what gear to bring.

    There are so many successful thru hikers who have displayed their gear for the public to see.

    Now not everything works for everybody but its pretty easy to put together a kit nowadays.

    Water bottles? Really...

    99% of thru hikers use smartwater bottles.

    Go buy 2 smartwater bottles and move on.

    I know gear is very frustrating. Its due to inexperience. You dont trust any of your choices.

    But theres alot of experienced people out there who make it much easier to start off on the right foot.



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  12. #32

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    The real question you need to ask is can I go this long without seeing my wife and children and grandchildren.I did and said “He’ll no”.So I just do my small section hikes and enjoy my family.

  13. #33
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    This thread reminds me of the perennial "people who use technology don't enjoy hiking properly" conversations on this site. If someone else likes to devote countless hours to research and plan every shelter stop from Springer to Katahdin, how does that affect me? Maybe they're not enjoying John Muir's idea of "the true experience," but they're enjoying their experience, and surely that's what matters. It certainly doesn't bother me.

    I dislike obnoxious gear heads giving me an unsolicited shakedown at the shelter as much as the next hiker, but I also dislike obnoxious purists giving me an unsolicited lecture at a shelter about how I'm cheating myself of the "true" AT experience if I watched a few of Dixie's videos and read some AT books instead of letting every switchback of the trail be a brand new adventure. In both cases, I think HYOH applies. The obnoxious part is neither the overplanning nor the purism, just the belief in either case that he or she doing it "right." (to be clear, I completed my thru hike as a "purist" in the sense of hiking past every white blaze, but not as a "purist" who believes that the only real hikers are those who hike exactly the same way as in the good ole days)

    Personally, I like to be laid back and spontaneous once I'm actually hiking, or traveling in new cities and countries. I take a lot of spur trails to views or waterfalls, and I just walk until I'm tired. In new cities, I wander the streets with just one or two landmarks in mind, and I see what else I stumble across. I prefer not to adhere to a schedule.
    That said, ahead of time, I devour books, videos, and maps of my destination. I sketch out mileage of hikes, I meticulously weigh my gear, and I read every memoir I can get my hands on. I read travel blogs and hostel reviews. I might not adhere to any of it, but the anticipation of the upcoming adventure reminds me that the daily grind is finite, and new experiences are coming soon. The idea that this "overthinking" is somehow robbing me of the real experience is the opposite of what I've observed, which is that I appreciate an experience more when I can place it in context.
    A.T. 2018 Thru-hike Hopeful
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  14. #34
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    Sad to say - I often overthink things... as I suddenly worry about how others interpret what I said... PLEASE, EVERYONE - know when you hear something, if makes your upset or uncomfortable, perhaps, the person who said it didn't mean that to happen.

  15. #35

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    First couple of times I was way overpacked. I eventually figured out what I needed and what was a waste of space/weight. All I check on now is how far to a shelter/camp site and water source. Give it time, you will figure out what you really want/need vs. what is frivolous and can plan accordingly.
    ./~Hi ho, hi ho, it's up the trail I go ./~

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCDave View Post
    When you have a passion, it fills your days with joy.

    Amen. Like Tim McGraw sang Live Like You Were Dying.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelb View Post
    Sad to say - I often overthink things... as I suddenly worry about how others interpret what I said... PLEASE, EVERYONE - know when you hear something, if makes your upset or uncomfortable, perhaps, the person who said it didn't mean that to happen.
    Thank you.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightErrant View Post
    This thread reminds me of the perennial "people who use technology don't enjoy hiking properly" conversations on this site. If someone else likes to devote countless hours to research and plan every shelter stop from Springer to Katahdin, how does that affect me? Maybe they're not enjoying John Muir's idea of "the true experience," but they're enjoying their experience, and surely that's what matters. It certainly doesn't bother me.

    I dislike obnoxious gear heads giving me an unsolicited shakedown at the shelter as much as the next hiker, but I also dislike obnoxious purists giving me an unsolicited lecture at a shelter about how I'm cheating myself of the "true" AT experience if I watched a few of Dixie's videos and read some AT books instead of letting every switchback of the trail be a brand new adventure. In both cases, I think HYOH applies. The obnoxious part is neither the overplanning nor the purism, just the belief in either case that he or she doing it "right." (to be clear, I completed my thru hike as a "purist" in the sense of hiking past every white blaze, but not as a "purist" who believes that the only real hikers are those who hike exactly the same way as in the good ole days)
    Every one reaches a threshold when what someone interprets as enjoying themselves is nor perceived by yourself as enjoyable. HYOH is most often used to justify one's behavior no matter how that behavior imposes on others. It's mostly an acronym to defend a "responsibility only to self" mentality. There's another side of HYOH which rarely is discussed. That is the side of being responsible for one's hike as one who never hikes alone in an isolated bubble. The AT experience never has been an experienced of isolation. The AT itself does not exist as an isolated entity that spontaneously miraculously fell out of the sky for any one person. There are countless that support the AT making the "AT experience" possible. When we hit the trail with a "responsibility only to self" "if it feels good to oneself do it" attitude of ingratitude we demean the very intent and goodwill of the AT and all those who support the AT effort.

  19. #39

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    Just wondering what year it was , I collect the old ones and am always interested.
    RDL

  20. #40
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    I see a difference between planning and over-thinking or obsessing about gear choices. Two completely different topics.

    In regards to the topic of planning, I guess I'd have to describe myself as a planner. Sure, I understand the perspective of people who say "just grab your pack and go", and I myself have done this taking road trips -- when a day trip or even an errand have turned into long weekends (or even more) when I decided "let's see where this road goes...." These have been definitely some of the best adventures in my life!*

    On the other hand, I like to research and plan the majority of my trips and adventures because I want to be sure that I see or experience certain things, and that I know as much as I can about what I'm getting myself into. For me, the research & planning is half the fun of the whole thing -- this is when I can learn so much about so many things, be it the history or geography or the flora and fauna, or certain beneficial skills, and yes even different types of useful gear choices.*

    But....

    "Man plans, and God laughs."
    (a Yiddish proverb)

    ...and...

    "Plans are worthless, but planning is essential."*
    (attributed to Eisenhower)

    After "the battle has been joined", so to speak, when the plan falls apart, that is the time when I learn most about *myself* -- how I respond and react and adapt and cope. The lessons to be learned from screwed-up plans are invaluable.*

    In regards to the topic of gear, I agree that it is easy to "overthink" it because today we have so many different options for so many different things (and forums like this, with so many people who have so much experience and advice to offer); it can definitely turn into a real rabbit hole. I have "obsessed" over gear choices because for me, that can be a fun part of the passion project...but it can also become overwhelming and burdensome, and I agree we all reach our own threshold at one point or another.

    I'm reminded of a conversation I had a million years ago with a college housemate who spent a semester in Poland, back when Poland was under Soviet-style communist rule. She described how it was a blunt-force shock at first, seeing how little the people had, how few choices they had. If you went to the market for bread, you either got that one type of bread or no bread at all. She said it was like living in the stone age...but when she came home a few months later, she went to the store and was confronted with dozens and dozens of choices -- all for a simple loaf of bread. She felt completely overwhelmed. How many times do you go to the store and simply stare at shelf after shelf of what is essentially the same item, trying to decide on the "best" one? She simplified the matter for herself and learned to make her own bread.*

    I think there's something deep and thoughtful in there somewhere, but I guess this has turned into a bit of a ramble.* Sorry.



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