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Thread: Stolen Gear

  1. #1
    Registered User 2009ThruHiker's Avatar
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    Question Stolen Gear

    Ok, Gear's not cheap, so what do you do when you get to town? Keep it with you I guess. But what happens when you stay overnight...perhaps in a hostel ? With other folks in and out of the bunkrooms, is it safe to leave your packs there while your out in town? IN a few different books/journals I've read where a few times things have turned up missing, but it seems rare...but at the same time random. Any thoughts on this? Ways to protect your valuables while at the same time being able to walk...float around town without a pack.

    It would be horrible to think you could lose all your gear and be on such a tight budget that someone's greed caused one to end their hike early.
    You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

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    If your pack doesn't include a take off lid then get a butt pack and keep the most important stuff with you at all times (ID, credit card, cash, phone card, cell phone, camera). Stuff does get stolen, not a lot but it really hurts because you are already away from all of your normal comforts. I've found that I can always find someone I know and leave my pack with them while I go in the store, Post Office, etc. (many places in trail towns do not wish smelly packs inside).

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    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    I take what is valuable with me - like wallet and camera. Not had a problem in the few hostels we were at, but as a married couple going, you might want to be in other places (many hostels offer rooms for couples too)...or some cheap motels around.







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    just strap a pair of dirty socks or underwear to it.. you can leave it anywhere, and nobody will want to go near it...

    Seriously though, I had no problems/concerns with leaving my pack at any hostels. Backpackers are a generally trustworthy breed and doubt anything would get outright stolen; however, many people have similar pieces of gear, so if you have all your stuff strewn about, perhaps someone may mistake it for their own and take it. Also, some items, such as a canister of fuel, placed in a shelter or on a table might be mistakenly assumed by some folks to be 'up for grabs.' I saw someone cook a multi-course/fuel-consuming meal.. when he finished, another hiker asked if he could have his fuel back so he could cook. At supermarkets,etc I would ask to leave it near a cashier so they would notice if anyone yanked it. Some places don't let you enter with your pack.. hope for the best.

    Of course, you can never be too safe.. I met a family near Front Royal who were taking an afternoon snooze at a shelter.. when they got up, most of their gear/food and all of their money had been stolen.. rangers and the local fuzz do take this very seriously, but what are the odds you'll get your stuff back? after talking to these poor folks, my pack didn't leave my side for a few states..

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    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    I also this year ran into a Family by Front Royal who had their food pack stolen that had food, some gear and some money in it on my hike this year, another guy just an hour before had told us that his food bag too was stolen at night and was hanging near the trail. This I found to be the only problem I had encountered. While in hostels, just keep your stuff togeather and take your valuables id, cash, camera, i pod with you when you leave your pack at the hostels. Like before mentioned, most hikers are honest folks and are in the same boat that you are in.

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    Registered User 2009ThruHiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle fast View Post
    I also this year ran into a Family by Front Royal who had their food pack stolen that had food, some gear and some money in it on my hike this year, another guy just an hour before had told us that his food bag too was stolen at night and was hanging near the trail. This I found to be the only problem I had encountered. While in hostels, just keep your stuff togeather and take your valuables id, cash, camera, i pod with you when you leave your pack at the hostels. Like before mentioned, most hikers are honest folks and are in the same boat that you are in.
    Sounds great. It's not the other hikers I'm worried about though. From the accounts I've read, its transient individuals who arrive in town who may not be a conventional backpacker of the trail. Still, good advice and thanks for the input.
    You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

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    At hostels I keep my valuables with me, never had a problem. Had some food stolen once at a shelter once, good idea which hiker it was. He should have just asked and I would have shared. Can't say this for sure but it seams most that have problems do not keep their gear together so was it stolen or a case of mistaken identity?
    WalkingStick"75"

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    Garlic
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    The only instance I've ever heard of a pack being stolen was in Duncannon this year. Someone left a pack in the little park at the south end of town for some reason and it got taken. I'm not sure why the hiker didn't carry the pack into town. I think it was a section hiker.

    Many businesses do not want packs inside, for good reason. Always ask, some let you bring them inside. I try to put mine by a window where I can keep an eye on it, never had a problem.

    By far the greater risk is in leaving important things behind by mistake! You'll be your own worst enemy, I can almost guarantee it.
    "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

  9. #9

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    If I'm at a busy supermarket with my pack, I put it on the bottom shelf of the grocery cart. But as everyone says, keep your valuables on your person while in town.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Kilted Thru-Hiker AT'04, PCT'06, CDT'07 Haiku's Avatar
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    On the flip side, I've often run across lost items on the side of the trail or in camp, and will carry them for miles, especially if I recognise them and know who they belong to. I see that all the time among other hikers as well.

    Haiku.

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    stolen gear happens...

    but i'd worry about the out of trail town locals more than anybody...they are the ones furthest from the A.T. connection...

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    Packs get stolen, but very rarely. And in some cases, the "theft" is faked, i.e. I've met quite a few folks over the years who claimed to have been robbed while thru-hiking, but in several cases, these claims turned out to be false.......these folks were moochers and Trail bums looking for sympathy and handouts.

    But forgetting that, yes it happens, but rarely. As others have said, safeguard your stuff in towns and hostels, avoid leaving it untended, even for a few minutes. In restaurants, try and eat in a window seat where you can keep an eye on your stuff, or if this is impossible, try and leave your pack in a vestibule or lobby rather than outside on the street. Watch it in hostels, especially larger ones, and especially during hiker events or festivals that might draw folks that aren't necessarily real hikers. And by all means, take your more valuable items with you at all times, as others have said.

    Oh, and never leave your pack by the side of the road somweher when you go into town unless it's REALLY well hidden. Likewise, never have someone drop your stuff off by a Trailhead. There's too much chance of stuff going missing, or more likely, a chance that the person dropping off your stuff leaves it in the wrong place, making it difficult or even impossible for you to
    locate your stuff. I've heard of this happening several times, and in some cases, the pack was never found.

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    Yeti GAME 08 Team Deutschemark smaaax's Avatar
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    If you are going into a store or something alone, just ask someone working there if you can put your pack down inside. I never had anyone refuse me. Be polite, it gets you places.

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    We should put together a sting someday, when we have nothing better to do, complete wit video cameras, and confront the thief just to see what they say.

    Panzer

  15. #15
    Kilted Thru-Hiker AT'04, PCT'06, CDT'07 Haiku's Avatar
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    In grocery stores I just throw my pack onto the shopping cart and push it around the store with me. In restaurants I bring it in and leave it by the door if possible. If I'm with other hikers I feel safer leaving it with other packs out front, preferably under a window so I can see if anyone's messing with it. I've had more problems with other hikers leaving extra "gifts" in my pack when I'm not looking than with people taking anything. I once hid my pack at the side of the trail as I went to do a side circuit trail, and I was more worried about wildlife finding my pack than other humans. But mostly, trail wisdom says don't separate from your pack. If you hitch, try to keep it with you on your lap. If the ride insists that you leave it in the trunk, when you get out, leave your door open until they pop the trunk and you get your pack out. If it's in the back of a pickup, again, leave your door open until you retrieve your pack. Most of the time if the ride takes off they're not trying to steal your pack, they've just forgotten it's there. Don't let them forget.

    Haiku.

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    Garlic
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    Excellent tip about hitching, Haiku.

    If you use poles, they're the item most commonly left behind in cars, according to several trail angels I met.
    "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

  17. #17
    Kilted Thru-Hiker AT'04, PCT'06, CDT'07 Haiku's Avatar
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    Yeah, the first thing I do with my poles when I get to a road is collapse them and strap them to my pack, so everything's together.

    Haiku.

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    I know of a couple of people who had gear stolen, or accidentally picked up by other hikers. We figured it was most likely and accident since most everyone's gear looks alike. There are only a few different types of gear, so a lot of people have the same things. Like stoves, water bladders, filters, etc. In a hostel I always kept my stuff in my pack if I didn't need to pull it out. Anything I pulled out went on my bunk, or outside to dry. A lot of hikers would empty their pack every chance they got, and I would always hear them complain about something missing. When 10 hikers have their gear all over the hostel it's real easy to accidentally walk away with extra gear and not know it. Plus for things that may have been stolen, someone is less likely to go into your pack for anything than to grab something that is laying out in the open. If it doesn't need to leave your pack, I would keep it in there.

  19. #19

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    Totally agree that you will lose most items because you forgot them on the trail, in the shtelter or at the hostel/motel.

    I am always amazed how many hikers will get to our hostel, plug in their phone or camera to recharge the battery, then go off into town. That is an invitation for someone to steal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post

    I am always amazed how many hikers will get to our hostel, plug in their phone or camera to recharge the battery, then go off into town. That is an invitation for someone to steal.
    they do that at "The Place" here in damascus too

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