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Grannyhiker
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 9:58 am 
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From Paul Magnati's (PMags) website:
"My unoffficial outdoor guidebook"

Lots of excellent info for beginners here.

Also lots of info on Andrew Skurka's website.

Both run workshops for beginners and have written excellent books.  Their websites contain all you need to know.

Practicing skills in your (or a borrowed) backyard or a nearby car-camping venue is important.  You want to be able to put your tent up and take it down easily, even in bad weather, without needing the instructions--you don't want to be attempting to set up an unfamiliar tent on a dark and stormy  night with instructions in one hand and flashlight in the other!  Coping with wet/cold/nasty weather is better learned where you can retreat to your warm dry house or vehicle should things go completely amiss.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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jimmymac
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 10:00 am 
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Gear?

Take your day pack, and add only those few items needed to sleep comfortably overnight. If it won't fit inside, or can't be easily lashed to a reasonably-sized day pack, you don't need it for a fair weather overnight hike.

For meals, you can get as basic or as elaborate as you want.  Under dry summer conditions, I find that healthy snacks suffice for dinner and a food bar or two for breakfast is fine.  Even if I have a stove and the capability for a hot meal, I often don't bother with it.

My philosophy is to bring as little gear as I prudently can.  My goal is not to approximate the comforts of home; I'll be back home sooner than I'd like.  I'm out there to soak in the unfamiliar.  By hauling in a lot life's familiar non-essentials, a person can find themselves fussing and fiddling with a lot of "stuff," and in the process, missing out on what is unique and fleeting. 

It's only natural to want to extend into multi-day backpacking trips.  Or, you may want to get out on most weekends, regardless of weather and visibility.  When your rain gear, shelter, and hot meal needs expand beyond just emergency provisions, it's likely to move you to a larger pack.  The risk of a larger pack, is that we tend to fill them up.

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mp8251
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 2:50 pm 
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I plan on carrying food that is “just add water” and either use a MSR stove and Stanley cook set or I considered a Jet Boil to heat water and make coffe.
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Ski
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 10:34 pm 
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I have an MSR "Pocket Rocket". up.gif
Easy peasy. Fuel canisters can be had cheap if you look around.
Usually run an MSR "Dragonfly", but the smaller "Pocket Rocket" works dandy for short jaunts and day trips.

You may wish to check out this place if you're looking for deals on equipment.

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Pahoehoe
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 11:14 pm 
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Repackage things so you are only bringing what you will actually use and arent carrying excess packaging.

Learn to tell the difference between wants and needs.

Ask yourself how likely you are to want/need something and what are the consequences of not having it if you end up wanting/needing it.

You're the one carrying your pack, so it's ok to bring some luxury items if you want. The key is balance and figuring it all out.  It takes time.
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moonspots
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 6:30 am 
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mp8251 wrote:
I plan on carrying food that is “just add water” and either use a MSR stove and Stanley cook set or I considered a Jet Boil to heat water and make coffe.

The Jet Boil works great, and fast, but is heavy (relatively) and bulky. For enough hot water for coffee, I use a small PocketRocket, as Ski mentioned. MUCH smaller, but you do have to shelter it from the wind a bit. I have a piece of aluminum (might be a piece of roofing flashing) that works well for this.

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Songs2
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 8:31 am 
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For rodents, I use a Ratsack (stainless steel knitted mesh). Learned the hard way in B.C.

I carry energy-dense food: cheese, PB, chocolate, trail mix are staples. I add 1/2 piece of fresh fruit per day because. Electrolyte tablets.

I have tried cold-water camping and almost succeeded: through-hikers say they put couscous in a plastic bag in the morning and carry it exposed to the sun during the day; by night it is ready to eat with some packaged meat or tuna. (It is not always a substitute for cooking, in my experience.) Some freeze-dried coffees are almost palatable with cold water.

Kind of depends on what you want and where your joy is.
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Ski
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 8:37 am 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
"...it's ok to bring some luxury items if you want."

Sometimes little things make it all worthwhile.

Dark chocolate is great if you can keep it from melting in your pack. (Trader Joe's 3-pack of dark chocolate bars seem to work the best for high heat conditions.)

Other delights that make it all worthwhile:

Fresh apricots or grapes (find a small lightweight "Tupperware" type of container so they don't get squished.)

Hard-boiled eggs pack amazingly well.

If you're just doing an overnight, you'd be amazed what you can get away with packing without worrying too much about refrigeration.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Pahoehoe
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 4:07 pm 
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Yeah, if you arent overly worried about weight which on an overnighter, I am often not, you can freeze meat.  It will usually be thawed out but still icy cold by dinner time.  Of course, then you have to cook it and deal with the mess that entails...  many camp stoves are designed just to boil water, not actually cook things and cleaning a greasy pan with burnt on meat in the backcoutry isnt always feasible.

I always bring a ziplock that I can completely fit the pan in and expect to hang it if I try anything that might be messy/burn and not clean out well.

It's generally best to do as much prep ahead of time as possible.

If you are doing something basic for dinner like couscous or instant mash potatoes or ramen a veggie like broccoli or a zucchini goes a long way towards making it feel meal like and will usually do ok for a couple days, especially if its local and really fresh when you start.  Don't precut veggies except maybe for an overnighter.

You can also be creative... freeze dried ground beef makes super easy tacos.

Instant rice plus instant black bean soup can be a base for yummy rice and bean burritos.

Summer sausage will fry up for spaghetti or with some rice, peppers and beans + cajun seasoning.
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contour5
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 6:08 pm 
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If you’re going to prepare elaborate meals in the back country, it might be a good idea to test your cooking system at home first.
Personally, I tend to utilize freeze dried meals when backpacking, because they are simple and convenient. I am often pretty frazzled after a long day walking.
I triple bag my food in Ziplocks and keep it in my pack away from the tent. I jet boil and dump the boiling water right into the Ziploc bag. As a bonus this is a very clean way to eat in the back country. No dishes to wash; just a dirty Ziploc to seal up and nest inside the garbage system.
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Grannyhiker
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 8:10 pm 
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This thread seems to have taken a turn towards food, a vitally important subject among hungry hikers!

If you start with 1-2 night trips (a great idea!), there are  lots of ideas in the previous posts.  I'd keep it simple, though--you'll have enough to keep you busy without the complications of gourmet cooking in the wild!

Trailcooking.com is an excellent website, by our own "Sarbar."

I strongly recommend trying out new items at home to be sure they are edible.  I remember once dehydrating a chicken casserole with peas, without a home trial.  No matter how long I cooked it, the peas remained the consistency of buckshot.    Of course the rest of the casserole turned to mush after 20 minutes of cooking (although it still tasted good).  Since then, I have bought freeze-dried veggies (available in bulk from PackitGourmet or JustTomatoes) to add to my home-cooked dehydrated meals. 

I personally cannot digest the preservatives found in most commercial freeze dried meals, so I make my own.  Most people, of course, don't have this problem and do fine with Mountain House or other commercial brands.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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Songs2
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PostMon Aug 12, 2019 1:54 am 
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To return from the always interesting food talk, the OP asked for "recommendations on locations and gear."

My chief gear recommendation would be to rent or, better, borrow for a while.

Others may suggest locations (I am not a local). A commitment of 2 nights would make it more real.
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rossb
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PostThu Aug 15, 2019 8:43 am 
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mp8251 wrote:
Thank you everyone for the information.  What about bears, mountain lions, and cougars?  Do you all carry bear mace and/or bear canister?

As mentioned, bear spray is overkill for the Northwest. You need it in grizzly country, but they are rare, or simply not found around here.

As for bear canisters, people tend to use them when they are required. They are heavy and bulky, which is why people typically hang their food. Hanging your food is probably the biggest skill involved with backpacking. You put all of your food in a sack (typically the sack you used for your sleeping bag or tent). The tricky part is finding a good limb high enough and long enough, so that the bag is high off the ground and away from the trunk. Even if a smart bear (e. g. a bear from California) would get your stuff, it may be good enough to keep the raccoons and rodents away (your more common worry). Some folks manage to wrap the cord around a rock and throw it over the limb -- others put a rock in a bag, and use that. I think that is easier, as you don't need to find the perfect rock. Anyway, you should be able to find plenty of tips on that.

Other than that, I think you will be fine. Food that requires simply pouring boiling water into a bag is very common -- it is all I use, and all most of my friends use. That greatly simplifies things. Canister stoves are simple, easy and much faster than alcohol stoves. A small stove like a pocket rocket is fine. A Jetboil is also good. It is bulkier, but very fast and efficient.

In general, I wouldn't sweat it that much. Make a check list and make sure you bring everything you need.

After you are done, take a critical look at what worked, and what didn't. If you want to reduce the weight of what you carry, I recommend you weigh everything, make a spreadsheet and start looking for alternatives. One of the fastest ways to do that is to share your list. Folks will be happy to come up with suggestions. There are trade-offs with everything, so don't assume you are "doing it wrong" if someone else has a lighter pack. It is your choice. I would say, though, that folks who are aware of the choices tend to have lighter, more comfortable packs. My big point is that it should be an evolution -- your trips should get easier over time -- as opposed to simply getting the "right" gear or the "best" approach the first time.
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Aug 15, 2019 8:59 am 
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We use a Ursack in the NW as you do not have to find the perfect tree. In alpine areas I can usually find a cliff to hang it off with a chockstone. Bear spray in the Rockies and Canada.

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Pahoehoe
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PostThu Aug 15, 2019 2:58 pm 
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rossb wrote:
You put all of your food in a sack (typically the sack you used for your sleeping bag or tent)

This is a horrible idea/bad advice.

If your food leaks or even you have some food residue on a bag or even if your food is just smelly then the sack will smell like food.

Next you put your tent/sleeping bag back into its sack and now it will smell like food.

Then you attract rodents or maybe a bear.

Use a separate sack.
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