Camping/Backpacking

Ao-

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I searched and searched and couldn't find a thread about camping, but I'm also bad at forums.

I'm trying to plan a camping/hiking trip, but also need to make sure I have the basic equipment and skills to do such activities. I've gone car camping previously, and some limited same-campsite camping with coolers and stuff, but never any of the true hiking or UL style camping.

Anyone have any recommendations on a UL 2 tent, backpack, and other necessities I might need?

Any recommendations on where to go hiking?
 

CaughtCross

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You don't say it but sounds like you plan on backpacking. I go on several backpacking trips a year in California and Southern Utah. Best advice is to go to REI and get fitting for one that's good for you. One size does not fit all for backpacks and usually the folks and REI know what they are talking about. Buying a really good sleeping pad and sleeping bag is important. I really like the inflatable sleeping pads as they pack up small and are super comfortable at night, can sleep on rocks and not really notice it. Big hats that provide as much coverage from the sun as possible are a must.

As for where to go don't know what part of the country your in but Southern Utah is amazing. I'd say some of the most beautiful and unique outdoor experiences in the country. The only down side is that its only good in fall or spring, too hot/cold in summer winter. In the summer I hit up the Sierra's in California as there is a lot of lakes so its easy to get water for backpacking(and I live in California so not too far for me). For having a better backpacking experience be in as good as cardio shape as possible. Do a lot of stairs and hills to help carrying the weight and the elevations gains you will face if your backpacking in the mountains.

If you have any more specific questions id be happy to help answer them. But REI is your friend and the people there can be really helpful and don't try to upsell you and get you to buy things you don't need.
 
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Ao-

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I've been looking at this sleeping pad: Massdrop: Bringing Enthusiasts Together Mass drop has a special but it'll take months to get delivered.
I have a 29degree sleeping bag (from REI), so I guess backpack is the last thing if I get that sleeping roll.
 

CaughtCross

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That sleeping pad looks a little thin with the gaps that don't have inflatable parts. I use this one Big Agnes : Air Chamber : Insulated Air Core Ultra and sleep great on it over any surface. The insulated part is nice for when its cold as the ground really sucks heat away from ya.

You gonna have water sources where you plan on going? Typically you need water filters. I bring tablets as an emergency backup but prefer water filters... nothing like drinking water from mountain lakes without having to add the chemicals from tablets when you use a filter. This is the one I use Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter

Might want to get a small backpacking stove and utensil/bowl set. Hot food after a day of backpacking plus the ability for tea/coffee makes for a much better experience. And for during the day these are really good Amazon.com: Epic All Natural Meat Bar, 100% Grass Fed, Bison, Bacon and Cranberry, 1.5 ounce bar, (Pack of 12):
 
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Kiroy

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You don't say it but sounds like you plan on backpacking. I go on several backpacking trips a year in California and Southern Utah. Best advice is to go to REI and get fitting for one that's good for you. One size does not fit all for backpacks and usually the folks and REI know what they are talking about. Buying a really good sleeping pad and sleeping bag is important. I really like the inflatable sleeping pads as they pack up small and are super comfortable at night, can sleep on rocks and not really notice it. Big hats that provide as much coverage from the sun as possible are a must.

As for where to go don't know what part of the country your in but Southern Utah is amazing. I'd say some of the most beautiful and unique outdoor experiences in the country. The only down side is that its only good in fall or spring, too hot/cold in summer winter. In the summer I hit up the Sierra's in California as there is a lot of lakes so its easy to get water for backpacking(and I live in California so not too far for me). For having a better backpacking experience be in as good as cardio shape as possible. Do a lot of stairs and hills to help carrying the weight and the elevations gains you will face if your backpacking in the mountains.

If you have any more specific questions id be happy to help answer them. But REI is your friend and the people there can be really helpful and don't try to upsell you and get you to buy things you don't need.

This is solid advice, go ask your local REI employees to help you out. My wife and I both met working at REI and still go overnight backpacking multiple times a year up and around Tahoe. One thing, if you're heading into the highlands / mountains, even if it's warm out make sure and be aware of how cold it gets at night. I've been burned a couple of times and froze my ass off at night.

For water filter I recommend this, it's tiny, light and easy to use. Attaches right to a plastic water bottle which you can then feed into canteens or whatever (I just have a belt sleeve for the water bottle):

MINI Water Filtration System | Sawyer
 
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Kiroy

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Also if it's a warm night we'll use hammocks (max comfort), but if it's gonna be chilly we have an REI Quarter Dome.
 
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Ao-

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Also if it's a warm night we'll use hammocks (max comfort), but if it's gonna be chilly we have an REI Quarter Dome.
I was looking at the quarter dome 2 for a tent to start with, and for summer camping a hammock (and bug screen... the upper midwest is lousy with mosquitoes).
 

Dandain

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My tips are get some super nice wool socks, even in the summer. Merino Wool Undergarments are light and provide a ton of warmth. Its pretty common to see 40-50 degree swings at elevations from day night temps, and if you get caught in rain or a storm its that much worse. It goes without saying but always have an amazingly sharp and useful knife. There are a million moments where you might need or want a good cutting tool, and also times where you might not ever pull one out.

I highly recommend a head lamp if you do not have one, I've used the black diamond storm, and its green/red night modes preserve your vision in the dark but still let you root around and for 50 bucks its a good buy. I just take an extra set of recharagables. If you're anywhere with more bears don't forget bear spray. It goes without saying but wind/waterproof outer layers take your bad weather comfort from miserable to fine. The less you have to give a shit about your own comfort, the more you can focus on the doing and the hiking the seeing. Don't forget some kind of limited first aid if you're really going out far from others.
 
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Feien

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For a UL tent I'm a big fan of Big Agnes Copper Spur

Like mentioned above REI is your friend, and you should go there to get measured and fish for some advice. But as far as backpacks brands and style go my favorite is the Osprey Atmos

Also, the type of shoes you wear is very important. Many people swear by wearing hiking boots, but I'm a big fan of wearing trail runners or "hybrid shoes" if I'm not going to a snowy area. I've been currently using La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX Men’s Ultralight Hiking Boot

I'll post more stuff tomorrow, these are just on the top of my head.
 
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BrutulTM

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Unless you're a real weakling, don't get too hung up on weight. You don't want to carry 20 lbs of shit you don't need, but I think for a lot of those ultralight guys it's more of a religion than any practical reason. If you're cutting the handle off of your toothbrush to save weight you're doing it wrong.

I personally hate cooking in those titanium pans. They are super thin and it's really easy to burn shit and also stuff sticks to them. I have one I got as a gift and used it on one trip and won't again, even though it was fucking expensive. I would carry a mini cast iron pan rather than use that thing. Now I just carry a jet boil and some aluminum foil. I really like putting shit like Ramen noodles, instant mashed potatoes, Instant oatmeal, couscous etc. portioned out in freezer bags and then just dumping boiling water from the jetboil into the freezer bag, wrapping it up in a t-shirt for a few minutes, and dinner is served. People get really elaborate with this but I'm usually happy with just mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and couscous. Just google freezer bag cooking if you want to see the fancy stuff. Carb heavy but you can supplement it with nuts/trail mix, beef jerky, etc. I usually have some candy bars too, but as I said, I will go for more food and carry the weight vs. trying to be ultralight and eat poorly. There is also the prepackaged backpacker food. I hear it's pretty good if you don't mind the price.

If you are in California, you have to carry your food in bear proof containers. It's probably not a bad idea other places as well. My backpack has a detachable day pack and I always just kept all the food in that and then hung it in a tree away from camp but in places that isn't legal now.

Some people go to an indian grocer and buy ghee to cook with instead of butter because it's shelf stable. If it's only a couple days though, you can get by with regular butter or margarine. If you're worried about it going rancid, you can put it in a ziploc and stick it in a creek at night but really that's probably not even necessary if it's just a weekend trip.

When you get a sleeping bag, don't think that if it says it's a 30 degree bag it will be comfortable to sleep in at 30 degrees. I have a zero degree bag and have slept in it at 30 degrees and spent half the night shivering. The degree rating means that you won't die at that temp, not that you will be comfortable.

I've never been into hiking boots and mostly just wear tennis shoes but i have gone places where you're walking on rock most of the time and by the 3rd day my feet were killing me so know what your terrain is going to be like.
 
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Heriotze

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It's tough to go wrong with REI gear. It's not top shelf but it'll get the job done and will hold together for a really long time. I upgraded almost all of my gear over to Big Agnes when I went UL and probably dropped about ten lbs. from my gear load.

love this cookset combined with this stove, weighs very little and packs everything packs into the big pot so it's a really small footprint in your bag:
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist
Snow Peak Giga Power Stove

For packs remember that if you go big you'll tend to pack big, or be forced to pack big in order to keep the center of gravity consistent other than that grab something that is comfortable, whichever brand. I've always liked Gregory and haven't looked back since getting my first one when I was 14. Just keep going back to them when I need a new one.

Dandain is spot on, you're going to either have a great trip or a terrible trip based on your socks. Even heading out in Summer you might catch an errant storm or have to cross a stream and if you've got shitty socks your life will be miserable afterwards.

A good fixed blade knife is a must and I've always gone old school with my filter and used the First Needs Water Purifier. It's not always necessary to have to purify water but it's nice to have the option and it doesn't cost much more than a straight up filter.

I ended up grabbing a Petzel rechargeable headlamp and buying a portable solar charger so that I can always keep it topped off. Lash the charger to the top of my pack during the day's hike and I've always got a fully charged headlamp when we get to camp.
 

Oldbased

I'm a lead farmer!
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At one time I had hiked all but like 17 miles of Smokey Mountains. Lots of trails have opened and closed since the 90s though. Also did much of the APT. Never went out west but my father did several times.
Depends on where you are and what is reasonably close to you. Depending on that I'm sure we could easily tell you the gear you'll need. If you do foothills it will be entirely different than high elevation/cold stuff.
 

lurkingdirk

A Dirk who Lurks
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I can't speak highly enough of the benefits of the big agnes tents. Super easy/fast set up, even in high wind. Very light; very durable. Pack up small and offer plenty of vestibule space for packs/gear. Incredibly rain resistant. We put a family of seven in two 3-person tents (some are small kids), no problem.

Also, there's lots of wisdom in this thread already. Get the right socks and the right shirts/pants. Right down to moisture wicking underdaks. It is expensive on the front end, but worth it. And when you are three days deep in the bush, scrambling over boulders and mountains, having not seen another human for more than a day, and you sit at the camp and watch the sun set against the mountain in front of you, you'll totally understand why people do it.

Also, pretty much everything tastes amazing after covering 10 KM on a mountainous trail.
 
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CaughtCross

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For help staying warm before bed boil water and pour it into a Nalgene bottle or something similar and throw that into your sleeping bag. It makes a big difference on those below freezing nights.
 
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Kiroy

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I can't speak highly enough of the benefits of the big agnes tents. Super easy/fast set up, even in high wind. Very light; very durable.

Also, pretty much everything tastes amazing after covering 10 KM on a mountainous trail.

Truth. Best meal youll ever have is some freeze dried pre pack, jerky and granola after a full day hiking.

Gonna hafta check out big agnes in x years after our quarter dome dies.
 

Big Phoenix

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Powdered Gatorade or similar mixes.

If you need a good sleeping bag, can't go wrong with surplus 3 piece military bag.

If you're not doing any cold weather and don't need a tent look into a hammock.

And baby wipes. Can never have too many of them.

Make sure your pack is properly packed and fitted. Use the waist strap if it's a larger pack, keep shoulder straps snug tape slack down, heavier gear lower in your pack and close to your back lightest stuff on top. A snug balanced pack is a world of difference compared to a unbalanced and loose one when going over rough terrian.
 
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Oldbased

I'm a lead farmer!
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Powdered Gatorade or similar mixes.

If you need a good sleeping bag, can't go wrong with surplus 3 piece military bag.

If you're not doing any cold weather look into a hammock.
Back in my day a container of Crystal Light was a lifesaver and Tang. Not even sure they still sell those haha.
I still remember my 3rd trip where I took tubber ware and some fried chicken. Bear jumped about 30 feet to take down my pack from a tree. Ruined most of my gear but appears the freeze dried eggs stopped him. Found the leftovers of my pack at the river.
Never do that.
 

Kiroy

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Back in my day a container of Crystal Light was a lifesaver and Tang. Not even sure they still sell those haha.
I still remember my 3rd trip where I took tubber ware and some fried chicken. Bear jumped about 30 feet to take down my pack from a tree. Ruined most of my gear but appears the freeze dried eggs stopped him. Found the leftovers of my pack at the river.
Never do that.

Reminded me, if you're going to be in bear country either get a bear bin or hang your food shit like 30 ft off the ground via a branch about 100ft away from your sleeping / camp area.

And what big phoenix said, 90% of the weight of your pack should be resting on your hips / ass / lower lumbar. If you've got any kind of wait on your shoulders you're doing it wrong and gonna have a bad day.
 

lurkingdirk

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I was in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons parks last summer, and at every single back-country site they had put up a bar where you could hang your food pack. It was freaking awesome. No more searching and searching to find places to hang your food in the burned zone.
 

Borzak

Karazhan Raider
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I used to backpack and camp quite a lot. Last real backpacking trip was the Teton crest trail of about 45 miles over several days. A lot of my equipment is geared more towards hunting as well so not really the ultra light gram weenie stuff. I normally save weight just in the convenience type stuff rather than the titanium spork with a cut down handle.

Used to buy quite a bit of stuff on closeout from Sierra trading post or in person at their outlet store in Cheyenne. Not a big fan of REI for a variety of reasons.