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  1. #21
    Registered User Diamondlil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don H View Post
    Start off doing low milage and slowly build up.

    Hike your own speed, don't try to keep up with others.

    Take more pictures.
    Yes, yes and yes! Don't beat yourself up for not making the miles you planned on your first or second day out. Even your first or second week. Just enjoy that you are away from the noise, listen to the quiet. And when you realize you've packed that kitchen sink you will never use, send it home.



  2. #22
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    I wish I had know about Injinji socks and Body Glide.

  3. #23
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    Don't let a bad day on the trail end your hike.

  4. #24
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    Your pack should never b heavier then Tipi Walters

    thom

  5. #25
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    In bear country always hike with a person you can out run.

    Thom

  6. #26
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    If your NOBO, stop at Mountain Crossings and do a pack shakedown with them. You'd be surprised at what they see versus what you do and can lighten the load only a week into the hike.

  7. #27
    Registered User ADVStrom14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    In bear country always hike with a person you can out run.

    Thom
    Lol!!!!!

    Jes

  8. #28
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    I wish I had known that I didn't need to know what everyone told me I needed to know.

  9. #29
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    -That it's actually a lot of hard work. I think those who have never backpacked underestimate what hiking for many miles a day with 25+ lbs on their back feels like. It's a lot of work. You get sweaty and dirty and tired. And you may not sleep well your first couple of nights on the trail. You may have more miserable times than good times on the trail, the first time you go out. It boggles my mind that so many folks set foot out of Springer each spring who have never backpacked a day in their life ... or never even camped or hike. Sure, some of those folks will persevere. But most won't.

    -That you will have a "comfort zone" of how many miles you can do in a day and it's okay if it's only 5 miles. Or 8 miles. Don't feel pressured into keeping up with folks doing double-digits right out of the gate. The stronger you get, the more miles you'll be able to do. Or maybe you won't and that's okay, too. And you might be better suited to shorter trips than longer ones, and that's okay.

    -Choose your route wisely and learn how to read topo maps. My first backpacking trip was a 3-day slog with a lot of uphill. Had we reversed the route, it would've been all downhill except for a final climb back to the parking lot and we probably would've enjoyed it a lot more.

    -If you're out for the first time, and backpacking with a partner that you've never hiked with before, don't split up your gear. Each of you should carry everything you need and that way, if one of you needs to walk faster or slower or bail partway through, the other can still go on.

    -Do a shakedown car camping trip or two to get used to your gear. Learn how to use it and sort out what you absolutely need vs. what you don't.
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  10. #30
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    If during my first few Middle East desert hikes I only had known what great people the local Bedouins are. I would have stopped for a tea and made friends more often.

  11. #31
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    For new hikers?

    Advice: Only you can tell what works for you when hiking, and the only way you can tell is through experience.

    Don't buy too much new gear. Don't spend much money, don't worry about weight or distance. Just beg, borrow or rent some essentials, get out for a weekend or a week, see if you enjoy it, and learn what works and what doesn't.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  12. #32
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    Definitely worth practicing on shorts trips to prepare for the long ones.

  13. #33
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    For new hikers?

    Advice: Only you can tell what works for you when hiking, and the only way you can tell is through experience.

    Don't buy too much new gear. Don't spend much money, don't worry about weight or distance. Just beg, borrow or rent some essentials, get out for a weekend or a week, see if you enjoy it, and learn what works and what doesn't.
    This.

    On the 'don't spend too much money' front, read PMags's gear guide. I started with a lot of items from that list. I still use some of them. Other stuff I've upgraded, but seriously, that list is good enough to get out for a few nights and figure out whether or not you like it, and start learning what your personal style is. You can even go on using a lot of it. What he describes for cooking is still pretty much my setup,

    Paul's list will give you about a 14-15 pound base weight, which is bearable. You don't want to try to go UL until you have the skills to support it, anyway.

    Don't spend big bucks on a pack until you have the rest of your gear dialed in.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Engine View Post
    I wish I had known I didn't need to be a mobile emergency and comfort preparedness station. I carried so much stuff which never saw daylight until I unpacked back at the house...What you need to carry and what most new backpackers think they need are often miles apart.

    What were some of those emergency items you thought you needed but never did? What does your emergency kit look like now? If you would be so kind to take the time to answer... Much appreciated! If you had to guess, what would you say are the three most often-ditched items hikers start out with and don't need?


    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    Most internet advice is worth what you paid for it . Including mine

    thom
    Is there a person, books, source, website, video series, etc. which you do trust for advice? Any reputable backpackers writing or making videos that you would recommend. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckT View Post
    Take wisdom. Ultra lite, hard to come by, worth more than gold.
    Practical advice? Take less (of everything) and go further each day).

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk

    In your experience or opinion, how would you recommend a new hiker get started cutting weight? What resources, books, or websites are worth listening to when learning to go UL?


    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    1) The things people ask and fret about the most are not even actually needed--knives, water filters, and stoves. I often hike with none of those. (See my signature line.)

    2) Take less of nearly everything than you think you need (ditto #7 above). Arrive at your resupply or trail's end with no food left. Lighten your heavy load, and free your mind.

    3) Your skin is your largest organ. Take good care of it.

    4) "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."

    Which items, if you had to guess, would you say are the most commonly carried and ditched (same question as Engine [everyone else feel free to chime in on this])?

    In what ways do new hikers neglect to take care of their skin? Is there a routine a new hiker might use to help with skin care?


    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenBear View Post
    A little introduction, if I may.

    I tried using two hiking poles, but found that I need one arm completely free to swat away insects. So now I hike with one pole. I allows me to keep my balance, putting a lot less strain on my legs.

    For a year or so, I also used the pole to push myself along, as I did my typical series of week-long section hikes.
    Eventually, my right shoulder developed chronic pain, that no amount of rest or rubbing could help. It hurt just to grab a tree for balance.
    On the advice of an orthopedic M.D., I tried a month of physical therapy -- no help.
    Only a shot of cortisone -- his initial suggestion, which I resisted (he said "cortisone" and my mind heard "steroids") -- took care of the problem.
    But, at the time, I still wondered how I developed the damage.
    On a later hike, I noticed the strain in my shoulder every time I pushed off with my pole, trying to move faster. Ever since I gave up using the pole in that manner, I've had no shoulder pain.

    SOOOOOO, whenever I catch myself using the pole to push myself, in order to increase my speed, I repeat to myself, "Balance, not propulsion."
    Do you think this is a personal injury development or are you aware of other hikers who have been injured using poles for propulsion. I use my poles this way and know many hikers do... just curious if you are aware of it becoming a growing problem. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Not being used to long distance hiking in the moist east, my biggest mistake on the AT was foot neglect. It is important to bathe and dry your feet regularly, daily if possible. I probably developed trench foot.

    I was also a big sissy when it came to hitch hiking... it really is easy along most of the trail. Don't be afraid to hitch, it works well.
    Would you be willing to share your foot care routine or any general advice you may have on preventing foot rot? Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    I took a lot of advice to heart from many internet articles, forums etc so didn't really feel I missed out on anything pertinent at the time.

    One thing I found though, on my first couple of trips, was that testing my gear on overnights was completely worth it before I hit a week-long trip with no chance of changing stuff out (also internet recommended). My week-long trip had things dialed in really well, including my food, and I didn't over-carry too many edibles (I had a little extra). Since I started out solo, and have only ever gone solo, I haven't had someone around to help me and did a LOT of research and reading.

    I also think that for those new to the hobby, stretching muscles in the morning and evening is vital. One of my first trips was cut short because I over-did it and I hadn't stretched the needed muscles before-hand. I also constantly stretch throughout the day if I feel things tightening up.
    What websites, YouTube Channels, authors, or bloggers are out there right now you would trust for great information? How can new hikers find all that great information you found in order to get started right? Is there an educational site or resource you would recommend to learn backpacking skills? Thanks so much!

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle fast View Post
    If your NOBO, stop at Mountain Crossings and do a pack shakedown with them. You'd be surprised at what they see versus what you do and can lighten the load only a week into the hike.
    In your experience what items did you carry at the beginning which you've now learned are not needed? What are some items you've noticed other hikers carry but not need? If you had to guess the number one most-ditched item on the trail, what would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I wish I had known that I didn't need to know what everyone told me I needed to know.

    How can new hikers learn to hike from reputable resources without being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of opinions and advice? Is there someone or some resource that's really teaching it right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    For new hikers?

    Advice: Only you can tell what works for you when hiking, and the only way you can tell is through experience.

    Don't buy too much new gear. Don't spend much money, don't worry about weight or distance. Just beg, borrow or rent some essentials, get out for a weekend or a week, see if you enjoy it, and learn what works and what doesn't.
    Where can a new hiker start to get advice on what to carry before beginning to develop their own system? Is there a resource, gear list, or blogger out there teaching it right so that new hikers can learn to carry and adapt their own system without spending unreasonable amounts? How does a new hiker learn the basics in order to get started without getting flooded with information and advice?

    Thanks to all the responses! I have put individual follow up questions in this post and I really appreciate all the feedback and time you've taken to talk through this with me. For anyone reading this, please feel free to answer the following questions as I continue to refine what I'm looking for "answer-wise". Much love.


    Follow-Up Questions:

    Based on what I've heard and what I'm learning here are a few follow-up questions for anyone willing to take the time to help me out. Anyone reading this thread is more than welcome to answer these, including new and beginner backpackers! Thanks a ton.

    1. What gear did you bring on your first hike(s) and never end up using?
    2. If you had to guess the single most-often ditched piece of gear carried by new hikers, what would it be?
    3. For those who have felt unprepared: How do you wish you would have physically prepared for the trail? How would you prepare if (when) you do it again?
    4. When you first began backpacking what resources (websites, books, YouTubers, etc.) did you use to get started? Are there any great resources, speakers, bloggers, or educational sites out there today that are teaching new backpackers how to get started?
    5. What information do you wish had been available to you before you started hiking and backpacking?
    6. What sub-genres of backpacking do you feel are misunderstood or inaccurately explained on the internet right now?



  15. #35
    Registered User JessNicole3608's Avatar
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    Haha I was like wow! 10 miles in 4 days... finally someone slower than me!

  16. #36
    Registered User JessNicole3608's Avatar
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    - If you buy new, go to REI or somewhere with a similar return policy.
    - It doesn't even matter if it rains, you're rather soaked in sweat or with rain. I took a heavy raincoat the first trip (rained for 5 days) and used it for maybe 10 minutes then carried it the rest of the time. If you must... just use a cheap poncho. Just keep your pack and feet dry, and change when you make camp (you'll get cold once you stop moving).
    - You're gonna smell awful and probably get used to it... don't stand too close to people in town until you find a shower haha
    - Compact multi-use items (I only carry this mug looking thing with a lid that comes with an insulator/tiny pot holder/collapsible spork and you can hold a small stove and fuel can inside for space). LOVE this! Also, the little $10 stove I found on Amazon has a self igniter button so no wet matches!
    - Learn how to distribute weight in your pack (and adjust it correctly) before you get out there.
    - I STILL always bring too much dang food.
    - You drink way more water than you think you will!! (I've found that I hate the Camelback taste, but love the bite valve much better than Platypus so I frankenstein'd them together)
    - Consider trail runners. I went through 3 pairs of hiking shoes before finding these work best for me. Waterproof doesn't breath. They're light and so comfy. Consider sizes a 1/2 size up to allow for swelling.
    - One thing I did not expect... the knee pain on descents!!! Use trekking poles and knee straps. ESPECIALLY if you have knee issues. Bring Motrin.

  17. #37
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    Your feet are what get you from A to B. Dont abuse them, and learn how to deal with them.

  18. #38
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    So many questions - but I can try a few of them.

    1-2. Things that novices bring too much of:

    (A) First aid kit - This is very personal, but most packaged ones aren't what you wind up using. A few gauze pads, a few Band-Aids, some antibiotic ointment and some ibuprofen in a Ziploc seem to be what most hikers eventually settle on. You can use duct tape as bandage tape. (I have some known issues, so I bring a few other drugs (I have a couple of things I take regularly, and in addition, I bring four bismuth subsalicylate tablets, four 2 mg loperamide tablets, 6-8 25 mg diphenhydramine tablets, total is less than an ounce.) and an Ace wrap. I wind up putting the Ace wrap on a knee about one trip in four.

    (B) Tools. I bring a Leatherman Squirt. No big knife - all that I generally cut on a trail is the cheese. (And maybe the sausage.) No axe. I bring a folding hand saw on day trips because I do a fair amount of ad hoc trail maintenance, but it's excess weight on backpacks. (I don't discuss the choice of bringing a sidearm - I'd be a fool to tell you if I'm carrying and a bigger fool to tell you that I'm not.)

    (C) Pump filter that's the size of a beverage can and weighs nearly a pound. Most hikers switch to a Sawyer Squeeze or Mini, or to chemical treatment exclusively.

    (D) Too much food and water - but you have to learn through experience how much you need. MRE's, in particular, are heavy, expensive and make a lot of trash.

    (E) Too much clothing. Undies, baselayer, shorts, long pants (or combination pants), fleeces, socks and boots, rainsuit, tuque, and in cold weather a puffy, gloves with liners, a balaclava or buff. In cold weather or in a wet area, add a dry baselayer for sleeping and extra socks. Extra clothes "to change into" are excess weight.

    (F) Luxury goods. Everyone can bring what they're willing to carry, but few of us are willing to carry camp chairs, heavy skillets, 800-page novels, etc. more than once.


    3. Get out and hike. Do day trips. Do overnighters. Walk around town as much as possible with a weighted day pack (It will raise no eyebrows if you carry a computer, a few books and a couple of water bottles, and that's about the same weight as my pack for a long weekend.) The best preparation for walking with a pack is ... walking with a pack. I do a couple or three miles of roadwalk with a pack every day, rain or shine, summer or winter.

    4. I've been hiking since before the Web was a gleam in Tim Berners-Lee's eye. I got started with Colin Fletcher's 'Compleat Walker' and stuff of similar vintage. As I mentioned in an earlier post, PMags has a lot of very sound beginners' material.

    5. That's a tough one, since I learnt as a little kid tagging behind my uncle. I don't have a really good answer for it.

    6. There's way too much emphasis, I think, on the Big Hike, which leads to hiker bubbles, high dropout rates, and a class system. Some of us are weekenders, peak-baggers, trail maintainers, bushwhackos, section-hikers, fishermen, hunters, or just like to get out and bum around in the woods. All of those classes use the major trails - often just as access routes and jumping-off points for other destinations. And those classes outnumber the Big Hikers by a considerable margin.


    Earlier you ask:

    Would you be willing to share your foot care routine or any general advice you may have on preventing foot rot? Thanks!


    As someone who hikes a lot in beaver country:

    On wet trails, your feet are going to get wet, and you're not going to be able to get them dry. Waterproof boots will either get wet through the big holes in them (you know, the holes that your ankles go through), or from the inside when you sweat out your socks. What I've found works for me in those conditions is:


    • Wash feet and socks frequently - in really muddy areas, I'll likely wash them at lunchtime as well as when I stop for the night. They're going to be wet anyway, but grit in the socks is death to feet. In these conditions, I might even bring a third pair of socks, so that I have one to hike in, one in the laundry so to speak, and one for sleeping.
    • Use a waterproofing compound on your feet, starting the day before your trip. Andrew Skurka sells something for this. (Bonnie's Climbing Salve? Something like that...) I use Gurney Goo, and find it works better than Body Glide (on *my* feet, at least). Even Vaseline will do in a pinch. Have just enough on that water will bead up.
    • If you can stand it, wear lightweight trail runners - find a brand that fits you. All trail runners have worthless insoles, so throw them away and put in decent ones. (For me, that's green Superfeet - but they come in a lot of varieties for a reason. A competent fitter can advise you.) Don't believe what you hear about needing a high boot for ankle support. That was true in the bad old days of 50-70 pound packs. Most of your support comes from the heel cup, not the ankle, and keeping your ankle from rolling is hell on your knees.
    • Deal with hot spots immediately. If you feel something rubbing or getting irritated, that will be a blister later on, 100% guaranteed. Cover it. If nothing else, slap some duct tape on it. Duct tape is a great blister preventative - it's slippery, so it stops rubbing quite effectively.
    • Keep your toenails short.
    • Make sure your shoes have a big enough toe box.
    • Carry a paper clip in your first aid kit so you can unbend it, heat the end red-hot, and burn a hole in a black toenail if you have to. It relieves the pain immediately.
    • Never hike in your sleeping socks. At least get your feet dry overnight..
    • In winter, the techniques shift completely, but let's get you comfortable in good weather first.

    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  19. #39

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    That big ass Rambo knife that you love and looks cool and makes you feel safe will never come out of your pack.

  20. #40
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
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    I would suggest sleeping on your mat in the house a few times or in the backyard. Get comfortable with it and you will sleep much better that first night IMO. Or your hammock same applies. Figure out your loadout and get firmiliar with it if taking things out you think you could use was it a pita to get out maybe repacking to make certain things more readily available. Like a camera does no good in the bottom of your pack. Until you are comfortable with hiking try not completely run out of water. Hygiene is important keeps you healthy. Hyoh
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

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