Getting my feet wet again

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by mpm418, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. mpm418

    mpm418 Member

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    With my retirement looming I have several bucket list trips planned. One being an Elk Hunt with NTO in the fall of 2018, another being a long range shooting school this summer with NTO, and Len and Andy Backus of Long Range Hunting. However I've been thinking real hard about jumping back in to back-packing. Long trips were a thing of the past with a busy job and small children, but now that the career is almost done and my boys are bigger than me it's time to try it again. The Northville Placid Trail is not too far from my cabin in the Adirondacks, the 133 mile long trail goes through some of the wildest parts of the High Peaks Region in the park. I'm starting (or should I say re-starting) my Back-Packing hobby by doing half the trail. My retirement date is July 5th, my wife and I are heading to Wyoming in late July to spend two weeks near Jackson, and Alpine before heading to the shooting school. I figure I can get a five day trip in between those days just to "get my feet wet again" probably literally and figuratively. There are several bogs and swampy areas throughout this hike. I'll take any and all advice for equipment like tents, stoves and anything else you can think of and I'll certainly keep you all updated on all lessons learned. I'm told I'll probably encounter more wild animals than people on this journey which is probably a good thing considering I'd most certainly be the entertainment piece for any people I encounter. More to come on the preparation and please feel free to offer any advice you think I might need.

    Mike Milbrand
     
  2. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    You may also want to check out the "Trailspace" website.


    Eric B.
     
  3. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    Hi "mpm",

    Forget about traditional backpacking gear. It's too heavy. Today's best gear is light. I've listed some below that I like and use.

    Go to the "Backpacking Light" website and pay for a year's membership ($25. I think) so you can correspond with posters and read the full articles on gear. Look closely at the GEAR LISTS forum and ask questions but "filter" the answers with your BS detector. Some posters are "hammock only", "alcohol stove only" and "titanium mug/pot only" guys that are extremists and totally convinced they have THE answers.

    When I moved to Nevada from Pennsylvania I had a 7.5 lb. Dana Designs Terraplane pack - a real heavy monster that I now use only for winter ski camping because of its large capacity for items like large winter sleeping bags, etc..

    I'm on my 3rd and best UL pack, an Osprey EXOS 58. It's the most comfortable pack I've ever used but it's best at 30 lb. or less. You should aim for 25 lb. with 2 qt. H2O and 4 days of food. It's entirely possible to go lower. (Stay away from frameless packs, they are for loads of less than 15 lbs. and even then are uncomfortable.)

    Look at Tarptent for tents. They have a lot of models. My favorite is my solo Moment DW with a ripstop/mesh inner and optional crossing pole for winter and/or high winds. The lightest solo tent that I think is good for most conditions is a Six Moon Designs Skyscape X, made of Cuben fiber material used in racing sails. Very expensive but very light and strong. If you want one get your order in NOW for early summer delivery. I recommend Tarptent for your 1st tent. Made in USA and have excellent quality and customer service.

    Western Mountaineering has the very best light down bags. I have the 30 F. Megalite, overstuffed at the factory to go down to 20 F.. It's wide enough that I can wear my down puffy light jacket inside for extra warmth. But LL Bean has some real bargains in 3 season down bags and light down jackets. My -20 F. down winter bag is from LL Bean and it is a great bag, especially for the money. LL Bean has their top level down treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) called "Dry Down". Good stuff that keeps moisture off the down and lets it dry 50% faster than untreated down.

    My Thermarest ProLite foam filled air mattress is good for 3 seasons but many like the newer Big Agnes tube air mattresses too.

    Get a canister-top stove like an MSR Pocket Rocket. Get a folding 3 leg canister stand too. Look around for the best canister top stove. The Pocket Rocket is OK but others may suit you better.

    Buy Katadyn chlorine dioxide water purification tablets. They kill even viruses but take 45 min. to work. Stay away from other non chlorine dioxide tablets like Aqua Pur or Halazone. Get a Steripen UV water sterilizer and stay away from water filters except for small coffee filters to keep out bugs and small children. ;o) Carry both a Steripen and the Katadyn tablets. Tablets for your hydration bladder and Steripen for refilling your bike bottle (that contains an electrolyte mix like CytoMax).

    I like US made Princeton Tec LED headlamps. A small one will do for 3 season use.

    I like Merrill Moab hiking shoes and GTX Moab mid boots. You may like other brands. Fit is extremely important. Always buy one width wider than your street shoe B/C your feet WILL widen after one day carrying a pack. Blisters between your toes are agonizing. (Don't ask...)

    REI carries heat mouldable insoles. Put 'em in the oven at 200 F. for 10 min. then in your shoes, lace 'em up and stand still for 5 minutes so they form to your feet. Get the thinnest pair available. These insoles will prevent almost all blisters. They are amazing.
    BTW, join REI. You get a 10% refund on all non-sale purchases at the end of the year.

    Good luck and stay in touch here on LRH.

    Eric B.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
    Mike 338 likes this.
  4. nateisw

    nateisw Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good advice so far. I went on my first backpacking hunt last summer so I'm not very experienced, but I will say that trekking poles are great and definitely worth the added weight and expense if you don't already have a pair. I use a pair of black diamond trekking poles. I bought a kelty sleeping bag and was happy with it. My stove was a cheap butane stove off of Amazon that worked very well. I found some Vietnamese instant coffee at an Asian food store that already has cream and sugar added and tastes pretty darn good. I used a Sawyer water filter and was fine, but water purification tablets and a steri pen are guaranteed to kill everything. Small headlamps have gotten great in the past few years, but I recently bought a new flashlight for work called the Streamlight Dualie that is fairly compact and light, water proof, takes 3 AA batteries, and I will probably take it along on my next backpacking hunt.
     
  5. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    BTW, Some COSTCO stores have excellent-for-the-money carbon fiber trekking poles. I bought a pair for $29.95 and feel they are well made and come with complete accessories like two sets of baskets for alpine and back country skiing and a "mud shoe" for sloppy conditions.

    Even aluminum trekking poles at that price are a bargain but CF poles at $29.95? Incredible.

    Eric B.
     
  6. mpm418

    mpm418 Member

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    Lots of good stuff here!!! thank you so much for the quick replies.
    As soon as I chase the rookies off my range I'll take a good look at everything.
    I have a lot questions, and there looks to be a lot of knowledge and experience here!

    Mike Milbrand
     
  7. duckhunter175

    duckhunter175 Well-Known Member

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    Great advice so far. Lot of it will depend on your budget though.

    I've found some great deals on steepandcheap.com and backcountry.com. If you are patient they will pop up but you have to jump on them quick!

    I'm a fan of Salomon Quest 4d GTX boots and they require very little break in period if any. I also have higher, all leather boot- the Meindl Denali with Fit IQ.

    For tent and bag I guess it depends on how lightweight and how much you are willing to spend and how cold natured you are.

    I hunt with a down jacket and down pants so I use a 30 degree bag and layer up inside if needed.

    I'm a fan of the jetboil system if you are rehydrating meals plus its great for firing up a cup of joe in the morning!!

    Good luck!
     
  8. mpm418

    mpm418 Member

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    Thank you again to all who have responded so far!!!
    I'm looking at an Osprey Atmos AG 65.
    I had a serious neck injury at work and have had several surgeries.
    I need a pack that distributes the weight.
    this one seems to hug the hips better and not pull on the shoulders and upper back.
    anyone have any other ideas?

    mpm418
     
  9. adk hunter

    adk hunter Member

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    Good morning! Hiking the Adks and elk hunting are two of my favorites!! I live off exit 23. I have half the high peaks done and am looking to get the rest done then revisit the best places again. Been out west twice but not higher than 7K. No ill effects. Will be building a house so elk have to wait a year. Shout if you live nearby...I do shoot almost weekly and have too much gear. Trying to start doing more and buying less.