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  1. #1

    Default Packing List Basics Part 2

    Packing Lists Basics Part 2: Pretty Important And Some Nice To Have Stuff
    By Taz1
    Last Edited 23 Nov 2005


    What about extra stuff? For starters, you need to keep the contents dry. Simple and cheap is a trash bag or two. Some nylon sacks are water repellant (read as ďnot water proofĒ). Waterproof sacks may be a bit heavier but are waterproof. I use a nylon sack and carry a waterproof pack cover.

    Youíll probably have need for a stove and a pot or two. Iíve never used one but have been told that the lightest stoves are those that burn alcohol. They are supposed to be easy to make on your own. There are white gas, multi-gas, kerosene and cartridge stoves. Remember planning? White gas stoves work well in colder weather, cartridge stoves donít. If you plan on hiking in Europe, know that white gas is not readily available. However, along the AT, most towns off the trail will have places to find fuel of any kind.

    My PUR water purifier fits into the mouth of my dromedary and Nalgene water bottles. Iíve gotten into the habit of taking it on nearly every trip. Duct tape, that wonderful multi-use stuff used for equipment repairs, blister prevention and anything else you can imagine, can be wrapped around the Nalgene.

    I sometimes carry a therm-a-rest seat converter to use on my sleeping pad so I have a chair, but there are sleeping pads that do both. I carry a tarp to make a shelter if Iím caught in weather or find a shelter full. The tie down I use for the tarp could be used as shoelaces and is lighter than rubber bungee cords. The tarp is also used in shelters to help protect my sleeping pad from unwanted snags.

    My wife sewed me a fleece sack that I stuff with extra clothes (or maybe the dromedary) to make a pillow. Sleeping bags are a matter of personal comfort. Down bags are warmer at colder temps and lighter but have to stay dry. A synthetic fill bag will keep you warm even if it gets wet but they are slightly heavier. One time in March in a Pennsylvania state park, I slept in polypropylene underwear with a poncho liner (a synthetic Army issue blanket) inside a Goretex bivy sack and roasted. Iím a hot sleeper.

    Iím not getting any younger and my knees are definitely getting older. I have found that using Leki poles relieves a lot of downhill stress and allows my arms to help push me up a hill. They also make super tarp tent poles. Nothing is better than a pair of camp shoes. The cheapest are a pair of shower flip-flops. Pricier, heavier but more sturdy are Teva sandals. Down booties in winter are sweet!

    A couple of other things to consider are a bandana, which has a number of uses. Some folks think a whistle should be on the top 10 list. Foot powder and dry sox are good for tired, damp dawgs. Last, but not least, insect repellant. I am additionally blessed with not being terribly attractive to flying insects and rarely need, or carry, bug juice.

    PACKING IT

    Keeping things organized will relieve a lot of headaches. Some people use zip-loc bags for everything because they are see through. I use a red stuff sack for dinner food and a green one for breakfast foods. Trail snacks are stored on an exterior pocket. Things I need to get to often or quickly are easily accessible. Those that are not are buried deeper in the pack.

    Physics will play a part in weather or not you are walking straight up, stooped or lying on your back like a turtle. An internal or external frame pack will make a difference too. Internal frames tend to be sleeker and generally have a limited number of outside pockets. They sit on your back thus limiting airflow. I use my internal frame in winter (it also has a larger capacity) or if I plan to bush whack. External frames will usually have more pockets and outside storage. My external frame is smaller, sits off my back some and is used more in the summer. External storage on a pack is fine, but Iíve seen a number of hikers that look like walking talking gypsy caravans. Every pocket is stuffed to bursting and more gear is attached to the outside of the pack, swinging around crazily, either waiting to fall off or waiting to get tangled in a tree limb or something more tragic.

    Basically, I try to build a base at the bottom of the pack, either with a sleeping bag or rain gear or sometimes a cookset and stove. I try putting heavier items, which is usually my food sacks and water near the middle of my pack and close to my body which reduces the center of gravity and makes it easier to maneuver with the pack on my back. If there is too much heavy gear near the very top, the pack will throw you off your feet or maybe beat you senselessly about the head. Too much heavy stuff at the bottom will have your shoulder straps biting into your trapezius. Your pack should have a hip or waist belt and the load should ride on your hips. As your walking you can adjust the shoulder and/or chest straps and hip belt in order to shift the weight of the load to different areas of your body, thereby reducing too much stress on one particular point.

    So there you have it. Clear as mud. A few more tid bits of advice. When buying the pack, make sure it fits. This requires knowing your torso size. Any decent outfitter can help you with sizing. Load it up in the store and walk around. How does it feel? Before going to the woods, load it up at home and walk around the block or down at the local park or greenway. Donít wait until youíre in the woods. That would be a failure to plan, which is a plan to fail.

    Some good references to consult are in addition to the two mentioned in the article are:

    The Appalachian Trail Backpacker by Victoria and Frank Logue available at http://www.atctrailstore.org/

    Everyday Wisdom Ė 1001 Expert Tips for Hkers by The Mountaineers Books http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/showproducts.cfm?Step=1&FullCat=9

    Happy Hiking.

    Taz1

    Aka Ken LaFlamme
    Last edited by SGT Rock; 11-23-2005 at 12:32.

  2. #2
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taz1
    My wife sewed me a fleece sack that I stuff with extra clothes (or maybe the dromedary) to make a pillow. Sleeping bags are a matter of personal comfort. Down bags are warmer at colder temps and lighter but have to stay dry. A synthetic fill bag will keep you warm even if it gets wet but they are slightly heavier. One time in March in a Pennsylvania state park, I slept in polypropylene underwear with a poncho liner (a synthetic Army issue blanket) inside a Goretex bivy sack and roasted. Iím a hot sleeper.>>

    >>
    I don't know if a synthetic will necessarily keep you warm if you get wet. It may stay warmer than a down bag that is wet, but with either it will not be a "warm" experience.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
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  3. #3
    Registered User Blass's Avatar
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    I love the fleece pillow/stuff sack idea
    Fresh Air and Fresh Socks,
    lets head off to the Rocks

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    this very nice forum

    ========================
    workout routines

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    Registered User wythekari's Avatar
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    First, I love reading these 'advice by others' posts. Even if I do not agree with everything they say, just reading what others think is of interest to me and at times I pick up an idea that is useful. And I see this original was posted a while back.

    That said, and I've spent many a rainy/icy/wet night in the virginias, carolinas, even two years with alot of nights outside in Iceland. But once I left BSA in the 60s and left behind my cotton, felt sleeping bag and learned how and where to pitch a tent, a wet sleeping bag has never been an issue. So I wonder why this continued issue of 'down bags are nice but have to stay dry' keeps popping up. Do people really sleep wet where a down bag gets to be compromised? I'm just sayin' - at that point it is not the bag but something they are doing wrong - IMHO.

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    Registered User wythekari's Avatar
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    And I get personal preferences, my winter expedition bag is a Paul Petzoldt synthetic which would keep me warm on the dark side of the moon. But if it is wet enough to soak your bag you are probably awake filling sand bags.

  7. #7

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    I have the same bag and couldn't agree more, I would take this thing to battle with me any time...

  8. #8

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    I reccomend a compression sack for clothes. It's an awesome way to make everything fit. Me gust a.
    Pink Bandit.

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