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Thread: Camping, backpacking, hiking, etc. page

  1. #1
    Jokaman70's Avatar
    Jokaman70 is offline Senior Member
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    Camping, backpacking, hiking, etc.

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    Anyone here into this sort of thing?

    I've relocated back to the Denver-area promised myself I'd enjoy Colorado this time around. I went out and spent $300 on misc. backpacking gear - emergency stuff (water purification, rope, fire starter, crank power radio/phone charger, flashlight, whistle, water-proof matches), a heavy-duty Gregory Spire backpack (scored it for $50, cost $499 new), compass, Leatherman Supertool 300, etc. All I need is a sleeping bag and tent, maps...? As for cooking gear, which all seems like more than I'd want to lug around in a backpack, I don't even where to begin.

    The only problem is that I don't know what I'm doing as I didn't grow up doing outdoorsy stuff. Shit, I don't even know where to go as it seems everywhere's private property or even if you can camp there you have to pay a fee and/or there are "too many" facilities and most of them you can't even build a fire. What kind of camping is that? I was thinking about Rocky Mountain National Forrest as it's only an hour away and there seems to be some "back country" camping options. Also, as far as navigation goes, how the hell is a compass supposed to help you if you're lost in the woods? "OK, I was heading South and now I'm lost, fuck! If I head North I should run back into the trail I was on, right?" Where does one learn to navigate by natural landmarks or learn to use a map?

    I told you, I don't know what the hell I'm doing!

    The positive thing about being in the upper-200's is that at least if I get lost and run out of food I'll last a good, long while before starving to death. Regardless, there's a 24% chance I'm eaten by a bear or die of exposure while trying this stuff out.

    Any tips are appreciated!
    I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

  2. #2
    kenn's Avatar
    kenn is offline Senior Member
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    This is going to sound crazy, however, find some large property owners and go introduce yourself and ask if it would be possible to camp on their land
    Starting Date: Dec 18, 2010
    Starting Weight: 294 pounds
    Current Weight: 235 pounds
    Goal Weight: 195 pounds

  3. #3
    Mud Flinger's Avatar
    Mud Flinger is offline Senior Member
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    Join a meet up group in the area that does outdoor stuff. They can introduce you to some great areas based on your experience. Most places have trails and maps so you won't get totally lost. Get an emergency thermal blanket - they weigh almost nada and can def. save your life. Listen to the warnings about the area you are going as storms can strike w/o notice and strand you. Start small and work up from there. You might also like going w/ a hunting group as they can teach you a lot also. This is some beautiful country here but it can also be unforgiving. Also, get a fishing liscense as it includes a back country rescue. If you need rescued, it costs $$$ and I understand that they will bill you for it outherwise. Start w/ day hikes (short 2-4 hrs at a time) to acclimate to altitude and then your pack w/ crap in it. Practice cooking w/ your stuff at a park somewhere so you aren't trying to figure it out in the wild. Better yet, bring shelf stable stuff and don't cook at all - it's very dry out now and fire is a huge danger.

    Bring lots of water - the altitude is very drying - esp. for low landers!

  4. #4
    kenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud Flinger View Post
    Join a meet up group in the area that does outdoor stuff. They can introduce you to some great areas based on your experience. Most places have trails and maps so you won't get totally lost. Get an emergency thermal blanket - they weigh almost nada and can def. save your life. Listen to the warnings about the area you are going as storms can strike w/o notice and strand you. Start small and work up from there. You might also like going w/ a hunting group as they can teach you a lot also. This is some beautiful country here but it can also be unforgiving. Also, get a fishing liscense as it includes a back country rescue. If you need rescued, it costs $$$ and I understand that they will bill you for it outherwise. Start w/ day hikes (short 2-4 hrs at a time) to acclimate to altitude and then your pack w/ crap in it. Practice cooking w/ your stuff at a park somewhere so you aren't trying to figure it out in the wild. Better yet, bring shelf stable stuff and don't cook at all - it's very dry out now and fire is a huge danger.

    Bring lots of water - the altitude is very drying - esp. for low landers!
    Do something, Learn something, Share something, Change something - Meetup
    Starting Date: Dec 18, 2010
    Starting Weight: 294 pounds
    Current Weight: 235 pounds
    Goal Weight: 195 pounds

  5. #5
    Paleobird's Avatar
    Paleobird Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Mud Flinger View Post
    Join a meet up group in the area that does outdoor stuff. They can introduce you to some great areas based on your experience. Most places have trails and maps so you won't get totally lost. Get an emergency thermal blanket - they weigh almost nada and can def. save your life. Listen to the warnings about the area you are going as storms can strike w/o notice and strand you. Start small and work up from there. You might also like going w/ a hunting group as they can teach you a lot also. This is some beautiful country here but it can also be unforgiving. Also, get a fishing liscense as it includes a back country rescue. If you need rescued, it costs $$$ and I understand that they will bill you for it outherwise. Start w/ day hikes (short 2-4 hrs at a time) to acclimate to altitude and then your pack w/ crap in it. Practice cooking w/ your stuff at a park somewhere so you aren't trying to figure it out in the wild. Better yet, bring shelf stable stuff and don't cook at all - it's very dry out now and fire is a huge danger.

    Bring lots of water - the altitude is very drying - esp. for low landers!
    All of the above plus find the local chapter of the Sierra Club. They will have meetups and classes for novices.

  6. #6
    dado's Avatar
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    typical of this nation, you go and drop the many cash on things you think will make you expert just by purchase.

    you gotta go and relax, experience it, suffer, and learn from the universe, man.

  7. #7
    Jokaman70's Avatar
    Jokaman70 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dado View Post
    typical of this nation, you go and drop the many cash on things you think will make you expert just by purchase.

    you gotta go and relax, experience it, suffer, and learn from the universe, man.
    Fuck that, I've seen too many shows on the Discovery Channel to go out into the Rocky's without at least some basic safety equipment. I find this to be especially important as a.) I don't have the skill necessary to get myself out of many a bind, and b.) I'm going alone.
    I began this Primal journey on December 30th, 2009 and in that time I've lost over 125 LBS.

  8. #8
    brighthorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    All of the above plus find the local chapter of the Sierra Club. They will have meetups and classes for novices.
    Ditto on that!

  9. #9
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    Leanne is offline Senior Member
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    I don't know the area so I can't really tell you where to go. That said now that you have all this new equipment learn how to use it. Practice using your fire starter (is it a flint or what?) If you get a little tent practice setting it up and taking it down in your back yard a few times rather then setting it up for the first time when you are tired and alone after a long day of hiking. If you have a little portable stove or cooking burner know how to light it safely and how to turn it off and pack it away. Bring something to keep you entertained. Be it a pocket fishing rod or a book etc. When you go camping by yourself you need to be comfortable being alone without external entertainment. Some people have this image of going on this amazing solitary wilderness outing only to find themselves bored out of their mind alone at night. Your first few times out don't try to totally rough it. Take easy to cook meals, or heat and serve food. Don't rely on catching your dinner or picking edibles, have a back up plan.
    Other thoughts: bring more socks then you think you will need. Wet/damp feet will keep you cold and uncomfortable and result in blisters or infections. Wearing a toque (thats a knitted wool cap for you non-Canadians) at night will keep you warmer then an extra blanket will. Put something between you and the ground that will insulate and reflect your body heat while keeping away the damp. Dress in layers. Materials that wick away damp are going to be your friend in hot or cold as it will pull sweat as well as rain away form your skin. Have at least one good shell that will block rain and wind. Jeans are not ideal for hiking. They don't have a great range of movement, they are heavy and uncomfortable when wet and take forever to dry again and they are not very warm on cold days.

    Right... that should at least get you started.
    The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. - Thomas Edison

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  10. #10
    zoebird's Avatar
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    also, a lot of places -- like REI -- actually have a meet-up board. it talks about all of the events that they have to teach you things, as well as different excursions. usually, you just pay the kitty cost (cost of shared food). it's a good way to meet people, get out there, and get some skills.

    the main thing, though, is really just to start day-hiking with a minimal pack. to be honest, i'm quite happy with this particular practice, and am well practiced in it. it's nice to do easy to challenging loop trails that bring you back to your car, then a quick drive to some comfy accommodations. i also like hut-to-hut hiking, which is essentially a day pack plus extra clothes, food provided. there are parts of the AP that are like this, and it is *quite nice*. other places are more like hostels, so we buy our food for the next day the night before, arrive early at the hostel to prep the meal (so that all we have to do is heat and serve), and ask questions about the trail we'll be doing. This is always a great idea -- and also a great idea to talk to local rangers -- bcause they can tell you when a trail is washed out or has some problems, and recommend alternative trails as well.

    it's a really great way to get used to nice, long walks. i'm used to doing fairly rugged, 14 hr days, then sleeping in a nice comfy bed after a shower and a meal. nice stuff.

    Our next endeavor is to carry in through hostel-like (yet unattended) huts here in NZ. to my knowledge, there are no staffed huts with hot meals (like the AP in the white mountains), and I haven't yet seen a B&B dotted trail either (eg, the West Highland Way in scotland). But, what we do have are layers of various huts at various levels of rustic-ness. Some are quite modern -- with electricity, running water, and so on -- and large bunk houses and full large kitchens. Others are more rustic -- wood burning stoves, bed platforms with vinyl covered mattresses (to avoid issues of damp in between uses), and no electricity, a well pump at the sink, and an outhouse and solar shower. others are simply huts -- no wood burning stove, possibly a fire place, basic platforms for beds, a fire ring outdoors, possibly with a grill for coooking. and some are protective shelters/lean-tos.

    obviously, we would need to work our way up, as NZ gets rural about 30 seconds at the edge of town. And by rural, i mean *r*u*r*a*l* -- as in, it makes me nervous because if i run out of gas or have a car issue, and am unlikely to have cell service (it happens!), then i'm SOL. seriously. until the next person shows up, which might be hours. So, always pack some food, some basics, KWIM?

    anyway, we're working our way up toward the hostel, carry everything in and everything out, styled tramping. This is partly because we have a little kid, and i'm not sure how "rough" i want to go with him at this point. Also, he can do about 7 kms of hiking before he looses his cool, and that's not very far. luckily, there are several trails where it's about 7 km from parking lot to hut, and then you can do a loop trail that's about 7 km that goes from hut back to hut, and then walk out on day three, and you have 21 kms and dinner and breakfast under your belt. So, it's a start.

    but, yeah, take it nice and easy.

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