Backcountry camping

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Backcountry camping
Sat May 10, 2014 3:25 pm
  • Gentleman,

    Thus summer I am headed to Rocky Mountain National Park for a three night hike/camping excursion.

    I am new to all this but it is something I have wanted to do for a while.

    Just wondering if any of you are into backcountry hiking and camping.

    Any advice as far as do's and dont's, equipment, etc is appreciated.

    Fart
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sat May 10, 2014 3:33 pm
  • Haven't done it since Boy Scouts 30 years ago but I enjoyed it. Not sure I could do it now, though. I'm sure equipment has advanced by light years since then. My advice is make sure you have water purifying tablets. Combine them with something like Crystal Light for your drinking water. Aspirin is a must for your first aid kit, as well.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sat May 10, 2014 4:14 pm
  • Don't drink the water.

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Re: Backcountry camping
Sat May 10, 2014 6:37 pm
  • Check out Estes Park if you get the chance.
    Bring warm layers, it's cold at the top even in summer.
    Carry some unsalted sunflower seeds. The ground squirrels and chipmunks love'em they will eat from your hand.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 7:33 am
  • Get yourself a First Need water purifier, they will guarantee fresh water ($99). Use Nalgene bottles with it.

    Get a Thermarest blow up mattress and get a chair kit for whatever model you buy, you will sit and sleep in comfort.

    If you dont want to pack a tent, get a nice bivy sack to wrap around your sleeping bag. Get one with fiberglass hoops with a bug screen..OR makes a good one.

    I have a bunch more if you need more info. We used to go on alpine rock climbing excursions, and learned a LOT, sometimes the hard way.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 9:35 am
  • Thanks guys. I've got the water situation handled.

    I am wondering about equipment. I know that if I don't sleep worth a crap it will be miserable three days into it.

    And because of the altitude no matter what shape I am in, the weight of everything plays a role. Tent, bag, pad recommendations

    Temps about 65-70 during day and low 40s at night.

    Oh and food and cooking suggestions. May be able to do some glacier stream runoff and lake trout fishing.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 10:12 am
  • Hawk Strap wrote:Thanks guys. I've got the water situation handled.

    I am wondering about equipment. I know that if I don't sleep worth a crap it will be miserable three days into it.

    And because of the altitude no matter what shape I am in, the weight of everything plays a role. Tent, bag, pad recommendations

    Temps about 65-70 during day and low 40s at night.

    Oh and food and cooking suggestions. May be able to do some glacier stream runoff and lake trout fishing.


    With water not a problem, I would recommend some dry soups/stews. I took one of them bear creek soup dried meals up and we never used it. The peeps I was with were really good as far as food goes. I took a simple small tent up with me and bought a Thermarest pad. They almost air up on their own. Thin pad it is and is necessary to keep you both dry and the pad heats up quick and keeps you warm and the ground away from your body. It uses your body to heat up. I got a 5footer if you want to use it. I am planning a little trip up to O-town in the future. (45 miles north of ya). Not sure of the rules in the mountains there too, the package I got had corn in it and where we went corn was ILLEGAL...Upper Uinta Mts Utah. A lightweight windbreaker type suit would be a great idea. Sometimes it is just the wind that eats thru you. Sleeping bag, I would go with one that goes down to at least 0f. I had my heavy bag (-40f) and it was too much weight but worked. Dont know about utensils, but I would get at least one aluminum mess kit. They do ok for cooking and are lightweight. I shall remember more later and add to this. I spent a week up in the mountains and we moved camp one time but ran around the mountain streams and lakes. Hope one of you has a big toy just in case of danger too. :mrgreen:
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 11:07 am
  • Hawk Strap wrote:Thanks guys. I've got the water situation handled.

    I am wondering about equipment. I know that if I don't sleep worth a crap it will be miserable three days into it.

    And because of the altitude no matter what shape I am in, the weight of everything plays a role. Tent, bag, pad recommendations

    Temps about 65-70 during day and low 40s at night.

    Oh and food and cooking suggestions. May be able to do some glacier stream runoff and lake trout fishing.


    THERMAREST MATTRESS, is a M U S T. Get the chair kit for it, you will NOT regret it, also a good bivy sack adds 10 degrees of heat to your bag. If you must take a tent, a backcountry tent that is packable cost a lot of coin, so a bivy sack is way lighter and cheaper. MSR makes great packable stoves. Lipton pasta and sauces are great in the mountains. Bring some squeeze Parkay to put in it with powdered milk, you can add jerky for flavor/protein. MSR also makes a great packable kit of pots/pans, a french press is great for coffee.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 11:33 am
  • Another thing I used to do is make up a big pot of spaghetti sauce a few days before. Freeze it solid in a ziplock. Take it out right before you leave and keep it on ice until you get to the trailhead. By the time you get where you are going you will have fresh sauce ready to eat in the backcountry !!!

    Just get a baguette and noodles and you are set. A baguette is tough, we used to take 4 of them and each of us would strap one on either sides of our packs...Awesome.

    Get yourself a set of nice trekking poles as well.

    You can probably beat their prices but they have a lot of usable things here.

    http://www.rei.com/
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 11:39 am
  • A few thoughts from a fairly avid and experienced camper/hiker/hunter/outdoorsman:

    Bring a good fire kit, not just some matches. I include regular matches, waterproof matches, a lighter, tinder, and a good magnesium fire striker in my fire kit. Generally it's easiest and most convenient to just use a lighter. Why mess around trying to get a fire started when you need one? Keep the matches as backups, and the striker for situations where you have nothing left and still need a fire. They're amazingly cool and useful.

    For water, I'd also bring either a decent-sized canteen, or a pack with an integrated Camelbak-style water pouch. Camelbaks are a lot easier to use. Bring a Nalgene bottle or two for other use, and/or additional water storage. Always have a water purification kit with you. I like the SteriPEN water purifier myself. It's small, light, and easy to use.

    I recommend Jetboil stoves for your food and cooking needs. They're light, small, and easy to use. They come in several sizes, depending on how big a meal you need to prepare. They set up in no time flat, screw onto a little (or big, depending on the length of the trip) isobutane/propane canisters. The canisters are quick and easy to use, and slide right into the Jetboil containers for travel.

    There are a number of other cooking kits out there, but just get gear you can carry and use easily; something you're comfortable with. In addition to my Jetboil stoves, I carry a light frying pan/griddle, a foldable wire rack for barbecuing, and usually make a spit for meats. If you're traveling with a number of people, having a large stew pot and large frying pan is almost a necessity, but the bigger they are, the more you are limited by what you can carry. The Jetboil line is cool, and very convenient for light camping and hiking, but it's not really suitable for larger groups unless everyone has one and just makes their own grub.

    You can use a lot of the freeze-dried, pre-packaged meals that are sold in pretty much any outdoors store worth its salt, but don't forget about a lot of normal commercial stuff. I'll always take packets of chicken noodle or onion soup, as they're small and convenient. Pasta, chicken or beef broth, dried potato flakes, oatmeal, and cold cereal (with powdered milk) are other great staples you can do a lot with. You can find dried mushrooms and vegetables in Asian supermarkets to spice up your dishes. Next time you're grocery shopping, stroll the aisles with camping specifically in mind. Avoid anything canned, bottled, fresh, or frozen. You'll also get a lot of mileage from breakfast and candy bars (which can have as many nutrients and calories as the "healthy" energy bars.

    Don't forget about tea and coffee. Tea bags are light and easy to pack, and hit the spot in the morning or evening around the fire. I like to take those Senseo coffee pods, or something similar for my coffee, because they're light and convenient like tea bags, and I don't have to fool around with grounds and a coffee pot. The little flavor packs for water are great too; a great way to get something flavored to drink when you don't want a hot drink like tea or coffee.

    Bring some quick snack food in an easy-to-reach place in your pack. Stuff like jerky, candy/energy bars, trail mix, peanuts, dried fruit, etc. Great for replacing energy along the trail. If you really want quick energy, you can find a variety of energy gel packets in most outdoors stores. Different flavors, with or without caffeine, etc. They're good for quick energy and they're compact and light(ish).

    Bring plenty of spices, herbs, and seasonings. It's easier to make a crappy meal taste better when you can flavor it. They make a lot of multi-packs for spices, but they're expensive, and I find I can do combinations better and cheaper myself. If you want something compact to keep them separated in, consider either buying one of the spice combo packs and restocking it yourself, or use something like this screw-together stacking storage container. Those stacking containers come in handy for other stuff besides spices, such as storage for odds and ends like can openers, extra Camelbak bite tips, shoelaces, fishing gear, etc.

    If you're using a blow-up mattress to sleep on, that's fine, but it's also extra work and weight, and you really can't stray far from the car. If you're backpack camping, you'll want to bring only a thinner pad, if anything. Grass, leaves, twigs, and pine needles make a great mattress to set your sleeping bag on, and if the area's dense enough with such growth, you can use enough to be quite comfortable. I often camp without a tent, so I'll use a bivvie sack around the sleeping bag. Always err on the colder side with sleeping bags, i.e., if it's going to get down to 40 degrees, take a 30-degree bag. If it'll hit zero, bring a bag rated to -20 degrees. If the elements are going to be an issue, foil space blankets come in handy. They're cheap and light; kind of a throwaway thing that you can use for anything from protection from sun, rain, and other elements, to collecting water in an emergency.

    Comfort is above all paramount in camping. I'd skip buying fancy hiking boots if you have a sturdy pair of running shoes you like. Nothing worse than getting up in the woods with an untested pair of boots and finding they chafe, they're uncomfortable, stiff, and the laces keep coming undone. Might want to bring a cloth boonie hat along. Comfortable, and keeps the sun and rain off your face.

    MicroNet Microfiber towels for your cleanliness needs. They're light, compact, and dry easily. They come in a variety of earth tone colors: desert tan, forest green, olive brown drab, etc.

    Always pack a first aid kit, with at least the bare necessities; band-aids, gauze, wraps, sterilizing agents, a snake bite kit, etc. There are a variety of ready-made commercial ones out there, but I also have a smaller one I carry in a red plastic soap case for shorter excursions. I can personalize it to specific need that way.

    I usually store my gear in a small assortment of small cloth bags, plastic bottles, film canisters, and containers that come in handy for a variety of things besides packing stuff around. Never know when you're going to need them. As much as possible, I like to pack my kits in Pelican micro-cases. They're sturdy as hell, mostly water proof, and protect whatever you're carrying well. They make easy kit bundles for separate items like fire kits, first aid kits, spice and flavorings kits, etc.

    A decent knife (or two or three). I recommend at least something like a CRCT Carson folding lock blade. That, or the several like it I have, is my staple knife when out in the woods. I always carry my pocket knife in addition to that, and if I'm on longer trips, I'll carry my Cold Steel Trail Master, which I can alternately use like a hatchet to cut wood for fires and shelters. If you're going light, or won't be gone too long, just the folding blade should be fine.

    I'd also recommend a good firearm if venturing into known bear-, pig- or cat-infested areas. I recommend at least a .357 Magnum, or something that pack an equivalent or better punch. I like revolvers over semi-autos in the woods personally, as they're easier to keep clean, and they have fewer moving parts to jam and gunk up when you need them to work. Hiking and camping in Montana when I was younger, I often carried both a .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum. Bears, pigs, and cats will usually give you a wide berth, and you probably won't even see them, but every once in a while you get into a situation where that's not the case.

    My camping gear is about equal parts military gear, top line commercial gear, and random useful/old/jury-rigged items I've picked up somewhere. It doesn't have to be top of the line. It has to be useful, and more important, easy and comfortable for you to use. Don't change your life and habits completely going out there or you will be in an unfamiliar situation even before stepping foot in the woods. You don't always need the best stuff you can find -- the top shelf freeze-dried foods, the ultra-light pack, the hip new hiking boots. Find what works for you.

    Bottom line: Always remember the four basics: fire, water, food, and shelter, or as we joked sometimes going out into the woods when younger, firewater, food, and shelter. In all seriousness, though, I'd cut back on any alcohol intake in the woods, or not bring any at all. It's often a bad mix with stuff out there. That is, of course, not the order of importance for those items. Food and fire (unless fire plays into the warmth/dryness/shelter equation) are way lower on the list than water and shelter/protection from the elements. Hydration is paramount. Keeping yourself warm/cool, dry, and safe is next, followed somewhat further down by food, and then least important of all is fire.

    Hope this somewhat long missive helps. I'll continue to flesh this out a bit more as I think of stuff, so check back. Have fun out there.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 4:36 pm
  • Sailor.....Yup.
    Cats will rule the world...just ask my cat.
    Gollum had a ring...Bilbo took it...Frodo had it...Gollum got it back.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 4:44 pm
  • Great stuff, thanks

    Couple of our campsites don't allow fires, so I had been looking into the jetboil.

    I will probably be borrowing/renting most of my equipment until I decide what I like/need.

    Quick question, can you honestly sleep in an 1.5" pad comfortably? And grass and pine needles? Sailor you are a wild man.

    Oh and no guns allowed.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 11, 2014 5:22 pm
  • You have no idea. I spent a lot of my formative years in Southwestern Montana, after growing up in Eastern Washington. My buddies and I became quite the experts in outdoor survival and all things related. We used to hunt and fish and snare and do pretty much anything and everything in the woods. We used to go out with a knife, a gun, and little more. Used to catch and pick our food as we went. Intentionally tried to get lost in the wilderness, but we never were successful. I can't count the times I've camped without a tent, even in subzero winter. I still don't have a decent one because it was never a priority. Yea, I was a real minimalist back then. Big fan of Tom Brown's stuff. Building your own shelters, fires, tracking, edible and medicinal plants, the whole works. Kind of paid off when I went through Navy SERE school and walked circles around everybody out in the field.

    I truthfully haven't slept on a pad for decades; since I was a kid, really, so I couldn't begin to address how comfortable they are as an adult. If you use one, you can always pad below it with detritus for extra softness. Technically, if a man has enough patience (and pine needles and grass) he can build a bed as soft as a feather bed. Put the pine needles on bottom, so as not to prick your sleeping bag. They'll also work their way into the bag and stab you when you sleep. Not a great way to wake up. You can use fresh or dead detritus, but fresh is a bit better. You get the smell (fresh grass, pine needles, etc.), and it doesn't crackle and pop when you roll around on it. If you're using a mix, put the dead stuff on bottom. You can also put fresh pine bows, branches and all under the detritus to form a sort of mattress springs effect. Don't put them too high or you'll feel them on your back all night, but if they're padded enough, they provide a bit of bounce to the bed and make it far more comfortable. Probably a little more than you're looking for, but thought I'd mention it.

    Jetboils are a great way to circumvent a fire. I love 'em. They're very convenient, and you can get a stovetop adaptation to hook onto the burner to give you the ability to put a larger pot on top of it. The little fuel canisters come in a variety of sizes from a few uses for day trips to larger for extended ones. Not very convenient for barbecuing and roasting weenies, but you work with what you got.

    If you're close to a rocky river or lake shore, you can go crawdading and catch dinner. Cook up a big ol' pot of crawdads and sit around the fire (or little Jetboil canister) and suck 'em dry. If you're going to do that, bring a can of Sprite or 7-Up to cook them in. Much tastier than steaming them with plain water.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 12, 2014 7:09 am
  • Hawk Strap wrote:Great stuff, thanks

    Couple of our campsites don't allow fires, so I had been looking into the jetboil.

    I will probably be borrowing/renting most of my equipment until I decide what I like/need.

    Quick question, can you honestly sleep in an 1.5" pad comfortably? And grass and pine needles? Sailor you are a wild man.

    Oh and no guns allowed.


    I just found my 1/2 inch pad. Got the seat thingy like largent said, and the other pad if you want to use them. I have not used them in years, so no sweat off my brow if you want to. Pic coming soon.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 12, 2014 7:38 am
  • A pic with 550 cord. The padding is at least 6 ft and bout 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 12, 2014 12:05 pm
  • If you are going way far from the car weight is the most important thing. When I went backcountry, I had to pack this climbing equipment as well as provisions....Rope, harness, shoes, quickdraws and carabiners and rock climbing protection rack. All of that shit was 20 pounds plus. So, we bought the lightest most efficient stuff we could, and this stuff is PRICEY.

    If you aren''t a climber, your back and legs are a lot better off and you can lug pots and pans if you wish. Not me. I would take Vodka in a Platypus bladder, and use snow for mixed drinks, mixes well with Countrytime lemonade.

    Get a good pack that fits your torso. Gregory packs fit my muscled, sculpted form to a T.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 12, 2014 3:07 pm
  • Our campsites are about an 8 mile hike and I am thinking my pack will be about 30-35 when loaded.

    Just loaded 40 in my pack this morning and did 4 miles on the treadmill. Sweating like the fat bastard I have become.

    The altitude is going to be rough, but I have time to get ready. U

    Probably just going to bring a flask for night caps. Carrying all this shit with a fuzzy head 12,500 feet up probably would give me a stroke. That and if I am too snickered I won't be able to hear the bears coming to maul me. Wait...
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 12, 2014 3:14 pm
  • To expand on what Rob said about packs, getting a pack fitted to your body is an absolute must. Get yourself measured in one of the big sporting goods/outdoors stores like REI. Find out exactly what style and size you're most comfortable with. Even if you don't buy one there at the time, when you do find one you like, you know it's fitted to you. Why is this important? Because of the weight you're carrying, and how it's distributed on your body. Better fitting packs distribute the weight in such a way so that no one part of your body is a stress point and will get fatigued or tweaked when you backpack.

    Look at packs from a standpoint of what you're putting into them vs. the carrying capacity, not just what they say they're good for. A huge, deep wilderness pack is too big for me because I'm a minimalist. I carry far less than the average backpacker, and so I go with a lighter pack than what is typically recommended for the type of trip. On the other hand, a day pack is probably too small for the missus, who likes to load up on more stuff for even a simple hiking trip than such a pack is designed to carry. Figure out how you hike and camp, and work from there.

    You also have options. Are you stuffing your sleeping bag inside the top of the pack, or are you strapping it above it? Are you consolidating gear like foodstuffs and cooking equipment so you can distribute weight and bulk evenly between campers, or is it more of an every-man-for-himself type of trip? Depending on the type of trip you're taking, you can maximize your packability by figuring out which is the best method for you on that trip.

    Watch what you take. Many times people pack stuff because they think they want it on the trip, and then never use it. You do different things when you're out in the woods than you do at home. A deck of cards may not see much use at home, but you're probably going to enjoy bringing one along when you're out camping. That big jug of potato salad may sound awesome for a camping trip, but you're going to have to lug it to the camp site and deal with the container afterward.

    You also may want to double check your supplies by mentally going over a bunch of situations and scenarios in your head. Do you have sun screen? Bug deterrent? How are you set up to handle your garbage? Are you equipped to handle any potential hazards you might encounter out there, such as dangerous animals, snakes, ticks, mosquitoes, running out of food or water, getting wet, getting lost, getting hurt, etc.? Are you set up to handle excessive heat or cold? Something as simple as a Frog Toggs chilly towel is awesome in hot weather camping and survival situations. I used the hell out of mine in Afghanistan. And forgetting a simple item like bug deterrent can make the difference between a great trip and one you wish you hadn't taken.

    Waterproofing and safeguarding your valuables while out is something you also need to consider. A small, watertight pouch to store your wallet, keys, phone, and such is a good idea, no matter where you're going camping. Put it in a place where you don't really need to access it, but somewhere it won't get lost. Depending on the trip, you may want to keep everything on you as you do normally, but you might find yourself fording a river, wishing you didn't have your wallet and phone exposed.

    Baggier cargo pants with extra pockets are nice to wear out in the woods. They're more comfortable than jeans, and you'll find yourself putting more things in pockets than normal. You don't have to go all Indiana Jones out there, but some comfortable cargo pants and a t-shirt are good things to have. They also make them with lower legs that zip off, turning them into shorts. Those are especially nice when it's hot out, or when you want to wade around in the water and not get your pants all wet. They're a little bit of a pain to zip on and off, but it's better than changing your trou halfway through a hike.

    Hope this helps.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 12, 2014 4:29 pm
  • Thanks Sailor for passing on your expertise with packing/backpacking.

    For many of us your knowledge is or will be invaluable.

    :th2thumbs:
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Re: Backcountry camping
Wed May 14, 2014 11:22 am
  • Wow you guys got this stuff down.

    OP don't forget the chipmunks :)
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 15, 2014 9:10 am
  • I would like to change my story just a tiny little bit. I did NOT have the correct SLEEPING BAG..and tried that aluminum emergency blanket on top of me. I did get very very cold. I try to block out things that were bad in the past...and forgot that one because it was miserable for a night or 2. We were up there for 6 days. When I went up to drive marines to the fires in our area back 15 yrs or so ago, they were selling tiny oneman tents for about 40 bills. Wish they would have had some at the exchange there, I would have snagged one. Nice, small and well contained with seal so the wind or breeze could not get in. Also take a balaclava with you. You lose most of your heat through your head. When I am up camping/hunting in my tent during the cold days, I wear one at night.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 15, 2014 9:33 am
  • Those aluminum emergency blankets really do hell all for warmth. They're designed mostly to shield you from wind and water, which are factors in temperature control, but they'll do about zilch actually keeping you warm from a strictly temperature standpoint. I've used them on a trip where we were stranded overnight on one of Hawaii's active volcano craters. It was a little chilly that night, but we camped so that the heat from the nearby underground lava cut the cold coming in off the ocean, and the aluminum blanket protected us from the falling rain. Careful that you don't let water pool in a dent in the blanket though. It's a bitch when you shift around to get comfortable and end up with a face full of water.

    In a situation where you're out with less-than-adequate gear, a good knowledge of survival techniques comes in. If you're snow camping, using an emergency blanket or two, you can create warmth at night by piling snow over your bedding. Light, fluffy snow is far preferable, and I'd even advice not using snow at all if you have nothing but heavy, slushy snow, as the moisture in it will do worse than the protection it provides from the elements. If you're camping in better conditions, use the surrounding detritus to pile around your bag. You can create a warm pocket by layering and stuffing leaves and pine needles between your bag and an aluminum blanket or even branches and pine bows.

    Pine bows are probably the best insulator you'll find in the woods. A trick we always used was to find a particularly dense pine or spruce tree with branches hanging low to the ground. Underneath you'll find a small, low pocket, protected from the elements and layered on the bottom with pine needles. If you cut the bottom rung (or even two) of branches, you'll open that area up enough to camp under. Cut them tight to the trunk, with a couple cut a few inches out to provide hanging hooks for your gear. Use the branches you removed to weave yourself a tight wall, leaving open only a single, small entrance on one side. You can gather the bottom rungs from surrounding trees to build your wall thicker and more insulating. Do it right, and you'll add tens of degrees of warmth to the inside of the shelter. And the great thing about doing this is that you'll never see where you cut branches from when hiking by if you do it right. Ideally, the cut branches are taken from up and underneath the remaining drooping branches and are completely hidden from sight. You thus ruin nothing in the wild, and create a natural, almost undetectable shelter for yourself.

    We've done this using several trees clumped together, where we wove the shelter into the base of all three or four trees. From the outside, it looks like one giant tree, but with four tops extending up at a certain point. From the inside, it was almost a tent, with walls and a roof that provided a fully waterproof place to camp. That one was even large enough for a fire, and the area inside was warm enough even in -20 degree winter to sit around in jeans and t-shirts playing cards. That's an excessive scenario designed for longer-term camping, but even a simple bivvy-style shelter over your bag will add a lot of warmth.

    One thing to add to a sleeping bag is a canvas bivvy sack, especially if you camp where temperatures can become an issue. Not only does it provide extra warmth and protection from the elements, it's also tougher material and will protect your sleeping bag from sharp things poking into it like branches and sticks and pine needles.

    You have to be careful using an aluminum blanket with this sort of thing, as they puncture and rip easily. Once they snag on a branch or sticks, they can get awfully worthless awfully quick. Best is to keep them tucked around your sleeping bag and build an air pocket between that and your protective cover. If you have the aforementioned bivvy sack, put the aluminum blanket between the bag and the bivvy sack to protect it from getting torn or punctured.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 15, 2014 2:59 pm
  • For fishing: Collapsible pole kits include a reel. There is a backpacking fly rod combo you can get too. Bring and extra fly rod tip.

    I have hiked the Grand Canyon a bunch of times. If you aren't used to altitude, keep your pack as light as possible. Where you are going, a 25 degree bag should suffice. The size and weight of a bag all depends on what you want to spend.

    You said you have water covered. good. Good light wool socks are a damn good idea too.

    Make a load of jerky, a couple pounds, if you like that kind of stuff, it is protein and will give you awesomely awful farts. If you eat jerky, drink extra, or you will get bound up like a nun at Woodstock. Freeze dried fruit is the beez knees on a hike. Freeze dried meals are kinda pricy, but you will be happy as hell you aren't carrying the weight after the first hour goes by. I hate raisins, but I eat them when I hike because they are light and filled with energy. Powdered gatorade too.
    Don't buy powdered eggs, that shit is awful.
    If you can bivy sack instead of tent, do it, but if you do bring a tent, make sure it is light. It has been mentioned, but a good blow up pad is a must.

    A few items that can be handy, light but strong rope, and a plastic painting drop cloth, not too thin of a mil (it's both light and water tight, never know when you might need that. I one time had to swim a slot canyon I had not expected to be full of water, I just put all my gear in my plastic drop cloth, tied it up, and everything was dry when I left the water)

    Clothes? You probably have that covered, but several companies make good zip off pants, and weather proof ponchos are cheap and light, and will cover your backpack. IDK if there will be ice where you are going, but if there will be, get some cheap over the shoe crampons. Bring some blister treatments too.

    I don't know if you are going to make this kind of stuff a regular thing, but if you are, the pack, the tent, and the sleep bag are worth investing coin into. And good footwear, nothing will make you hate life like 20 miles to go and really bad blisters.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 15, 2014 3:11 pm
  • Do NOT forget Moleskin and a small pair of scissors to cut it. If at any time you fell a hot spot forming on your foot. Stop and check it out and apply the Moleskin you can save painful blisters from forming.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 15, 2014 3:46 pm
  • Another must to take along is 550-cord. Don't get the 50 ft. of the stuff in your local camping store or suchever for $7.99. Rip off. Get to a surplus store or decently large outlet and get a big ol' roll of it for cheaper. You'll end up using 550-cord for tons of stuff, and if you have a lot of it, you won't have to worry about cutting smaller chunks off it. Some people make or buy bracelets of the stuff to have an easy carrying method for it in survival situations. Pro tip: not only is it good as is, it can also be pulled apart. The middle contains seven smaller strings that can be used for smaller stuff, and the outer shell can also be used without the center for lighter tasks.

    Fishing line is another good thing to bring, whether you're fishing or not. Get a fairly sturdy gauge of it to allow for more uses.

    Like Rob said, moleskin is a very good thing to bring. I put mine in my first aid kits.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 15, 2014 5:17 pm
  • Seahawk Sailor wrote:Another must to take along is 550-cord. Don't get the 50 ft. of the stuff in your local camping store or suchever for $7.99. Rip off. Get to a surplus store or decently large outlet and get a big ol' roll of it for cheaper. You'll end up using 550-cord for tons of stuff, and if you have a lot of it, you won't have to worry about cutting smaller chunks off it. Some people make or buy bracelets of the stuff to have an easy carrying method for it in survival situations. Pro tip: not only is it good as is, it can also be pulled apart. The middle contains seven smaller strings that can be used for smaller stuff, and the outer shell can also be used without the center for lighter tasks.

    Fishing line is another good thing to bring, whether you're fishing or not. Get a fairly sturdy gauge of it to allow for more uses.

    Like Rob said, moleskin is a very good thing to bring. I put mine in my first aid kits.


    550 cord....I still have about 100ft of it in my ruck...if I can find my ruck. You may want to go online and get a roll of it. and cut what you want out of it. But an Army/Navy store will handle it pretty well. I may go there tomorrow in Boi too. :idea:
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Re: Backcountry camping
Fri May 16, 2014 7:07 pm
  • Thanks for all the help gents.

    After I cross the Rockies off my to do list, where are some other great places to go?

    Beaches outside of La Push? The Cascades? The Gorge? The Wallowas? Hells Canyon, hell, the Grand Canyon?

    Where do you guys go to escape? Thinking of making a few man trips each year, I know I will love this
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sat May 17, 2014 6:47 am
  • The Enchantments up in Icicle Canyon. A helluva grunt to get to but is one of the awesome places I have ever been to.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 18, 2014 9:30 am
  • A lot of good info in this thread. The only two things that I swear by that I have not seen mentioned is bear spray and new-skin.

    Bear spray does work on almost all large predators and is designed specifically to stop a charge. Most of the large predators can be scared away by making yourself as big as you can and making loud noises, but there is no reason not to have the backup of the spray.

    New-skin is basically the replacement for heavy bottles of rubbing alcohol and small bandages (you will want to have large ones with you).
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 18, 2014 5:25 pm
  • Yea, BASF, both good things to bring along. Also might want to bring a compass and a good set of topos of the area. Topos are very handy, in more than just emergency situations. You can go to some of the larger outdoor gear stores like L.L. Bean and print your own topos of a specific area you want covered. Money!
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 19, 2014 8:42 am
  • Hawk Strap wrote:Thanks for all the help gents.

    After I cross the Rockies off my to do list, where are some other great places to go?

    Beaches outside of La Push? The Cascades? The Gorge? The Wallowas? Hells Canyon, hell, the Grand Canyon?

    Where do you guys go to escape? Thinking of making a few man trips each year, I know I will love this

    Look up the Thunder River in the Grand Canyon. The loop I did last year was a real ass kicker, starts on the North Rim (helluva drive just to get to the trail, but the payoff is worth it). Hat to portage an extra 2.5 gallons of water to where I would camp the 4th night on the first day, it's a dry camp that last night. Ten miles in the first day you come to the Thunder river, the purest water you have ever tasted springs out of the canyon wall from an underground aquifer. Farther down Thunder river is some of the most incredible brook trout fishing, I got into some two pounders with a fly rod, they were delicious (Thunder river is in the 40's, Air temp in October was in the 90's at the bottom of the Canyon, was a nice way to spend a couple of days, air temps can vary 40 degrees from the top of the Canyon rim to the temp at the bottom). The third day I fished the Colorado, and then spent the 4th day at Deer Creek, which is a little creek in a slot canyon that makes a spectacular fall into the Grand Canyon. Then it was another 2 days out. 5 days, about 18,000 feet of vertical all total.

    I have done a few Grand Canyon trips on a bunch of trails. You have to reserve with the Park Service months ahead. Some of the more popular trails don't have to be reserved, but they get a bit crowded. You can order a book from the Park that details every hike. If you want to travel to the Southwest to hike and escape some Northwest winter, I also recommend a book called Slot Canyons of Arizona.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Mon May 19, 2014 12:00 pm
  • The Enchantments are also by permit or day hike.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Wed May 21, 2014 5:07 pm
  • It is important to remember the Rockies are not the Cascades. The altitude can be a serious issue. Hydration is an important part of acclimation. You probably can't drink too much water. Also, lightning is deadly in the Rockies. A general rule of thumb if you are doing any peak ascents is to start early and be off the top by noon or earlier. Afternoon thunderstorms are a daily occurrence. Temperatures will also be much cooler at higher altitude.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 25, 2014 6:18 am
  • Plainshawk wrote:It is important to remember the Rockies are not the Cascades. The altitude can be a serious issue. Hydration is an important part of acclimation. You probably can't drink too much water. Also, lightning is deadly in the Rockies. A general rule of thumb if you are doing any peak ascents is to start early and be off the top by noon or earlier. Afternoon thunderstorms are a daily occurrence. Temperatures will also be much cooler at higher altitude.

    Also, should you bring booze, it hits you like a damn hammer at high altitude. You will have the booze tolerance of a girl scout at 10,000 ft.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 25, 2014 1:20 pm
  • Scottemojo wrote:
    Plainshawk wrote:It is important to remember the Rockies are not the Cascades. The altitude can be a serious issue. Hydration is an important part of acclimation. You probably can't drink too much water. Also, lightning is deadly in the Rockies. A general rule of thumb if you are doing any peak ascents is to start early and be off the top by noon or earlier. Afternoon thunderstorms are a daily occurrence. Temperatures will also be much cooler at higher altitude.

    Also, should you bring booze, it hits you like a damn hammer at high altitude. You will have the booze tolerance of a girl scout at 10,000 ft.


    For my hike....I brought a bota bag of peppomint schnapps. The dudes I was with thought it was water. I should have brought water. er uh more water. But the schnapps was pretty good tasting.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Sun May 25, 2014 6:21 pm
  • Don't forget to give your itinerary to someone who's not going so that if you don't return on time, (God forbid) people know where to look. Seriously.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 29, 2014 8:26 am
  • Sailor, your recommendation list reads like my packing list: SteriPen, Camelback, Jetboil....

    I also have a Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar set up, which I use to charge batteries for the SteiPen should they die out. Thus, almost no end to my ability to make good water.

    Just got a new Backpack myself, REI XT 85 - replaced a 23 year old Kelty Red Cloud. Be a byatch when fitting your shoes and your backpack - take the ones that fits you best, other opinions be damned.

    Too bad I saw this thread late.

    Just came back form a section of the Wonderland trail where I test drove the new pack and a new sleeping bag - REI Flash - that thing is so friggin light and small it blows my mind.

    Huge amounts of good advice already here - I am paranoid, so I always have:
    a second way to start a fire,
    a second way to make good water (specifically: http://www.amazon.com/Sawyer-Products-S ... r+purifier and tabs) ,
    a second knife,
    and I use a survival tarp (tarp with reflective material on one side: http://www.amazon.com/Rothco-G-I-O-D-Ca ... vival+tarp) for many things - extra protection over or under whenever needed.

    Always have duct tape and 550 cord, and I always have gloves - mechanics gloves from home depot - because you could need the protection for heavy work in the woods (I drive a keyboard now...) or just extra warmth.

    And if any of you have not seen this, they are the coolest thing i have seen in awhile, helps balance the load and allows easy access to items (thus no need to remove your backpack or have a buddy rummage through the back); http://www.ribzwear.com/

    I will be trying to do Enchanted Valley and/or some of the Hoh Rainforest with the family this year
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Re: Backcountry camping
Thu May 29, 2014 4:57 pm
  • 550 cord is gold. 550 lbs of parachute cord. Gotta love it.
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Re: Backcountry camping
Fri May 30, 2014 6:36 am
  • ChiefHawk, your packing list reads like my recommendation list because your packing list is solid, reliable, and generally kickass.

    And speaking of 550 cord, I was once told the (not so) secret components to a true Special Forces "Mister Fix-it" kit: a roll of 550 cord, a roll of duct tape, and a bottle of Scotch. Drink the Scotch, and you can damned well fix anything with the remaining two components.
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