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Backpacking gear

So while on the Smokey Mountains, I hiked around with 35 lbs on my back. There was a drought in the area, the worst drought recorded.. so in the first day we had to bring all our water (about a gallon).

I had been excited about my 25 lb weight, but after the water and group gear, it got really heavy.

I rented a pair of trekking poles, and oh my goodness, there was so brilliantly awesome! With such a load on my pack and the trail being so hilly it was helpful.

Each time I took off my backpack and started to walk, it felt like I was moonwalking, very light and bouncy.

So I was inspired by "Ultralight backpacking". There are groups of people who eschew expensive backpacking gear and just carry a shower tent and sew their own gear.  Or you can buy expensive ultralight gear.

On Backpacker magazine, I saw a really light backpack, read the phone number and saw that it was area code 512. Turns out that Gossamer Gear, one of 4 lightweight manufacters.. was right here in town, operating out of a house. I dropped by the place and got a new backpack (crazy light: 1 lb 4 oz) and a foam sleeping pad (8 oz) and trekking poles (2.4 oz each). *beam*
Oh. And a tiny alcohol-based stove.

So the only ultralight thing I don't have is a sleeping bag, the ones I saw that I liked were over $300. So, I'll stick to my cheaper and heavier one, it's only about 2 lbs.  And a tent. My backpacking tent is 6 lbs and for 2 people. Ok for 2 people. Not ok for one person.

I seem to always dive headfirst into a hobby. Like my first year doing improv, I was going to the Chicago Improv Festival and Keith Johnstone's workshop. 

Tonight Andy and I hiked the greenbelt and I'm looking forward to a bunch of backpacking since it's nice and cold in Texas right now. 

I am eating fast food for lunch to offset my gear buying. KFC today.


Oct. 30th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
Trekking poles + tarp == lightweight shelter, for 1 or 5 depending on tarp size. If there's trees around you don't even need the poles.

(I wouldn't consider eating fast food a way to save money -- it's still $5 or so for a single meal. When I was in college I think I was trying to keep my per-day food costs at about $1.50. I didn't quite succeed but I came close. These days with real money I still consider $4 per day a good cheap standard that I don't keep to at all, but is doable.)

As for diving into a hobby -- I hear you there. I used to do that, too, though lately I've been trying moderation and I think it helps a lot. For one thing it saves money as I don't buy a lot of stuff only to abandon the hobby in a year or two. For another, as marathon training taught me, moderation and slow increases are the keys to life. :-)

Up north, winter is the best time to backpack, because there's no bugs and there's no one else out. In fact, the folks who love snow camping a lot like to call the summer time camping "dirt camping". :-)
Oct. 31st, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
ah well. i don't suppose you can go backpacking sometime? :) since it's winter in TX and great weather. maybe for one night?

As for the tarp thing, as much as sleeping in the open air sounds appealing, I don't know about the whole insect/snake thing.
Oct. 31st, 2007 10:43 am (UTC)
Yeah, the tarp thing always made more sense to me somewhere without scorpions.

I'd love to go camping but I don't think the missus wants to be on baby patrol all night without me for at least another year. Although my mom is coming between Christmas and New years, maybe I can get away for a night then.