Solo Backpacking Trip

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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donjulio
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Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by donjulio » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:39 pm

I am getting ready for a 2 week trip up the Ozark Trail. I am not new to hiking or backpacking but it has been a couple years since I have done it, and I've never been out for this long. I have most of my basic gear together but I feel like I am not prepared enough for this length of a hike. I am thinking about getting a katydyn hiker pro water filter for this trip. What advise can you guys give me on extended backpacking trips, water filters, appropriate firearms to carry, food, or anything at all that I may not be thinking of.
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111t
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by 111t » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:50 pm

This is a good book:

http://www.amazon.com/Long-Distance-Hik ... 0070444587" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I picked the vario over the hiker pro. I like the idea of the ceramic pre-filter to protect the glass element.
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by Jungfrau » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:37 pm

+1 for the Vario, not only the pre-filter but also the ability to select faster flow or longer life.

While there is a ton advice for a trip like that I will say, have someone know your trips plan, routes and times. Have a way to check in on occasion so they know everything is ok, a SPOT it a great way to do this. Also having/using a GPS is a great tool but I will assume you have one and are planning on utilizing it.

For food, I am all about dehydrated meals as they pack smallish and light. I personally would have a drop point somewhere so that you don't have to carry that much food at once.

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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by donjulio » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:31 pm

Thanks for the tips guys. That looks like just the book I need. I have also checked out from the library, The Ozark Trail Guidebook. I have a good handheld gps, but will be printing some detailed maps of my route in addition. I will take the filter advise under consideration. It will be my first filter and I am very open minded about it.

Now for a couple more specific questions that I have been thinking about.

Do you carry a container of clean water in your pack for cooking?

I know that I normally walk about 3 miles per hour. With a full pack on hilly terrain, how much ground should expect to cover each day with a full pack? I don't want to be waiting to long for my ride when I am at the end of my hike.
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by Woods Walker » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:52 am

donjulio wrote:Thanks for the tips guys. That looks like just the book I need. I have also checked out from the library, The Ozark Trail Guidebook. I have a good handheld gps, but will be printing some detailed maps of my route in addition. I will take the filter advise under consideration. It will be my first filter and I am very open minded about it.

Now for a couple more specific questions that I have been thinking about.

Do you carry a container of clean water in your pack for cooking?

I know that I normally walk about 3 miles per hour. With a full pack on hilly terrain, how much ground should expect to cover each day with a full pack? I don't want to be waiting to long for my ride when I am at the end of my hike.
Distance on foot is best measured in time rather than miles. There are too many factors to quantify it in absolute terms of miles per hour. As a blanket statement that should be taken with a BIG grain of salt as conditions are unknown if you’re doing 2 miles per hour in the hills that's ok in my book but again this statement shouldn't be used for planning anything. If you don’t have hiking poles get them. If you pack the GPS run this on whatever power saving mode available aka dark screen and don’t forget to turn it off when in camp.Take trail maps and a compass. I would look for off trail food/supply shopping given the length of trip as two weeks worth of food is kinda heavy.

I take at least one full 34 oz Nalgene and 95ish oz Platy bag and never leave camp without filling up. Heck I have burned though that and more before lunch during hot humid days. Drink enough water even if you don’t feel thirsty. My advice is to get a filter but back it up with tabs. I can’t stress this water thing enough. If you could make a list of available gear that would help determine what’s needed.
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by Blackdog » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:32 am

I'm with WW on the 2 miles an hour thing, trekking poles and hitting a resupply point if possible. Many people can do more than 2 miles per hour but for the most part in any terrain other than a manicured trail for multi-day and figuring in fooling around and having a bit of fun I never count on much more than 2 MPH average.

Here are a few of my thoughts some of which may seem bone headed obvious:

Make sure your boots fit and you have the stuff to fix blisters.

Do a short dry run if possible, socks, boots or anything else that counts when the rubber meets the road should not be making a debut on the big day.

More than 3 or 4 days on the trail will most likely make you re-think just how much of the junk you are humping is really necessary.

If you get a Katadyn hiker drop the extra coin and get a spare filter element. If you get the Katadyn pack some water tabs anyway.

I do not carry a seperate container of water just for cooking but I do carry more than on container even if hauling a great big bladder as I don't like all my eggs in one basket. Lack of water, bad water and blisters are top of the list for screwing up a walkabout.

I have been out 13 days solo unsupported with no big drama and ran out of time before I ran out of chow. The food tends to get a bit monotonous but no big deal. Enertia Trail Foods and Mountain House Pro-Paks are my favorite preprepared chow supplimented with rice, pasta, hot sauce and a small sack of spice flavoring. For rice, pasta and off the shelf food packs a pot cozy really shines. The pot cozy allows you to cook off the shelf stuff like rice, pasta or what ever using very little fuel. In effect what you do is get the water boiling, dump in the chow in the pot, put the pot in the cozy and go about your business of camp chores for 20 minutes or so while the chow cooks in the cozy.

This system has three advantages: 1. rice and pasta do not weigh a whole lot, are cheap and available. 2. Fuel may weigh a lot and with the cozy you will not need as much of it. 3. It is very difficult to burn food using this method. I like the cozy method even If I using a fire because of the burned food/cleanup issue along with the fact that I don't have to sit there and fiddle with the cooking food while I can be doing other things. The cozy also allows me to run a alcohol stove and still cook things that a alc stove normally couldn't handle.

1. boil water.

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2. Dump in chow and give it stir.

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3. Seal pot in cozy.

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4. Go off and roll up your sleeping bag or what ever and come back in a while for hot and ready to go chow.

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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by Redbad » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:22 am

+1 on the cozy.

You might want to look into freezer bag cooking as an alternative to dehydrated meals. The meals that you make will be less expensive than the meals you buy.

You should weigh your gear and make decisions on how much to carry based on weight/need. There are items that you will use every day: your pack, sleep system (sleeping bag and sleeping pad), your shelter system (tent or tarp or shelter, etc.), which you may be able to save considerable weight (there are lightweight packs, lightweight sleeping gear, and lightweight shelter options); also consider multi-use items where appropriate. You cannot skimp on water, but there are lighter containers for water. The same goes for kitchen gear (your stove, cookwear, etc.). Don't take stuff with you that you will not use; a couple of weekend hikes will allow you to winnow gear that is not absolutely necessary from your pack.

The lighter your pack is, the less stress you will place on your body and the more time per day that you can hike comfortably. Time hiking is really the only factor that you have control over.
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by KYZHunters » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:42 am

You probably have it covered, but how about comm and redundant comm. Going solo ups the ante terrifically if you fall, fall ill or just plain get lost. For a two week outing you're going to have to have a way to recharge your cell phone if that's your primary way to call for help. Also, double up on signaling devices: whistle, mirror etc.
And all of those things probably need to be on your person the whole time, they're no good in your pack.
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by roscoe » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:05 pm

The best solo (and general) backpacking book is The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher, who almost always hiked alone, frequently for months. But, yes, tell someone where you are going an have a communication backup. And wear shoes that you have broken in very well, or the trip will be very long.

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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by 111t » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:08 pm

Oh here's another thing in terms of food, think 'staples' wise instead of 'menu' wise. For example on a weekend outing one invariably plans out a menu for each meal. Everything gets measured out and ziplocked/foodsavered up. On the other hand, for a long trip, it makes sense to just pack staples... such as a sack of rolled oats. a sack of rice, some spices, a sack of dehydrated ground beef, potato flakes... etc... you save a ton of weight in packaging. After a while you get to know how many pounds of what will last you to the next re-supply. A book that looks at this method, albiet from a small group perspective, is NOLS Cookery:

NOLS COOKERY
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by NapTime » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:01 am

I always bring a book. Well worth the weight IMHO, especially with nobody to talk to. Besides that, just don't forget any of the little things. Toothpaste, sunscreen, TP, flashlight, etc. Then again maybe I'm the only one that forgetful. I forgot to bring the fuel bottle on my last overnight trip, but got to learn that Mountain House is edible if you just soak it in cold water for a few hours. :oops:

Sounds like a great trip! Enjoy.

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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by donjulio » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:37 am

Great stuff guys. Due to a scheduling conflict it looks like I will only be out for a week now. As far as communications, I will carry my phone turned off and have scheduled check in times and secondary check in times with home. I had planned on bringing staple food rice, oats, etc. My msr stove needs some tlc, and I had considered just leaving it at home and cooking on a small fire. Am I just setting myself up for failure there?. A couple of books are definitely making it into my pack. :)
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by roscoe » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:06 am

What happens if it rains and the wood is wet?

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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by slingstone » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:40 am

roscoe wrote:What happens if it rains and the wood is wet?
Then someone gets an opportunity to practice their woodcraft, eh?

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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by ninja-elbow » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:13 pm

NapTime wrote:I always bring a book. Well worth the weight IMHO, especially with nobody to talk to. Besides that, just don't forget any of the little things. Toothpaste, sunscreen, TP, flashlight, etc. Then again maybe I'm the only one that forgetful. I forgot to bring the fuel bottle on my last overnight trip, but got to learn that Mountain House is edible if you just soak it in cold water for a few hours. :oops:

Sounds like a great trip! Enjoy.
Yeah, a book(s) or something to keep you mind busy in the down time. I learned this my first solo trip a few years ago. I was saved by random naked hippy chicks but I would not bet on that. I really wished I had brought a book or even a note book and pencil or somthing.
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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by roscoe » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:13 pm

Then someone gets an opportunity to practice their woodcraft, eh?
Sure, I agree, but it all depends on how comfortable the OP is with his skills. Plus, some places, open fires (or chopping live trees) are not allowed.

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Re: Solo Backpacking Trip

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:26 pm

donjulio wrote:Great stuff guys. Due to a scheduling conflict it looks like I will only be out for a week now. As far as communications, I will carry my phone turned off and have scheduled check in times and secondary check in times with home. I had planned on bringing staple food rice, oats, etc. My msr stove needs some tlc, and I had considered just leaving it at home and cooking on a small fire. Am I just setting myself up for failure there?. A couple of books are definitely making it into my pack. :)
Some places aren't all that ground fire friendly on trails. I pack my MSR pocket rocket and maybe an extra canister on longer range trips. Better yet a wood (hobo) stove with a bit of alcohol (stove and fuel). You can also pack food that doesn't require cooking.

For clothing during warmer weather trail work I wear shorts, shirt, wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, waterproof hiking shoes, boxers and hiking socks. Also pack my Golite poncho, gaiters, 2-3 pairs of socks. A UL vest/jacket is also nice as you never know in the hills.

The wide brimmed hat and sunglasses not only keeps the sun off my head but nats, horse/deerflies and mosquitoes as well. The poncho/gaiters with shorts works great during rain plus the poncho is a good pack cover. Though if it rains hard for days you will get damp in most any rain gear. Dry socks feel great.

Good play on telling people your plans etc.
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