Jun 20, 2008 at 10:04 pm #1229722
I am a recently retired physician fortunate enough to now live in Red Lodge,Montana. Want to get into backpacking eventually but think it wise to start with dayhikes to get some experience and improve my conditioning. Would like reccomendations re: essential gear to take along. Would like to go reasonably light (bad back/fused neck). Will be hiking spring, summer, and fall. Weather very changeable in these parts – snow in August.Jun 21, 2008 at 5:21 am #1439397
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
Hi Edward. I suffer from back problems too. I've found that rigid framed backpacks are a no-no for me. They tend to concentrate the load onto just a few areas and cause me pain and discomfort. Simple frameless packs that mould to my back work for me. The two i'm using the most are the ULA Conduit, and the Mountain Laurel Designs Zip/Exodus. Also, i've found that a few nights sleeping under the stars works wonders on my back! Enjoy your hiking.:)Jun 21, 2008 at 3:57 pm #1439456
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Welcome to BPL! Your weather in Montana dictates a conservative approach to gear, IMO, at least until you gain experience and a level of conditioning that enables you to take calculated risks in selecting your equipment for any given hike. With this in mind, I would offer a few suggestions based on what I would start out with.
1) Upper body base layer: Patagonia Capilene 1 LS T neck
2) Upper body insulation: Polarguard Powerstretch LS T
neck shirt, Patagonia
Micropuff vest or jacket, etc
3) Windshirt with hood: Montbell, Patagonia, etc.
4) WPB rain jacket: Many choices, e.g. Golite,
Integral Designs, Montbell
5) Hat: Wide brim sun as offered by
Tilley or Outdoor Research or
baseball style with
Legionnaire style neck flap as
offered by Outdoor Research,
Ex Officio, etc
6) Head insulation: Powerstretch balaclava as
offered by Mountain Hardwear,
7) Pants: Long legged, quick drying
8) Rain/wind pants: Either lightweight WPB such
as Golite Reeds, or windpants
from Montbell, Montane, etc
9) Gloves: Powerstretch insulating
gloves and WPB shells. IMO
Outdoor Research offers the
10) Lightweight footwear: Many choices in low top and
mid ankle. Montrail and
Inov8 are two favorite
companies with the lightweight
11) Socks: Coolmax liner and Merino wool
outer(or other wool).
Smartwool and Darn Tough socks
are among the top choices.
12) Hiking Poles: Many lightweight choices, both
adjustable and fixed.
Titanium Goat, BPL, REI, and
others to choose from.
13) Backpack: Since your back is a question
mark, I would suggest a light-
weight pack with removable
stays so you can experiment
and find out which way works
best for you. Six moon
Designs and Gossamer Gear both
offer excellent packs with
14) Sunglasses: A must in my book. Many,
many choices. My personal
favorites are from Julbo,
but Native eyewear, Oakley
and others offer excellent
15) First aid: It would be presumptious to
make suggestions to a doc.
16) Hydration: I would start out
conservatively and take 2
liters, either in Nalgene
type bottles or a bladder;
make sure that at least half
of the liquid is a
balanced electrolyte solution
(sodium, potassium, calcium,
and magnesium). The only
commercial variety that I
have found so far is
Electrolyte Fuel System(the
1st Endurance(the company).
17) Food: A very personal choice, but
should emphasize easily
digestible carbohydrates on
day hikes. Multi-day back-
packing trips are another
18) The 10 Essentials: Some are covered above;
you can add the remainder.
Well, that should be enough to get you started, and I am sure many others will be adding to your information base. Best of luck, and I hope you have a great hiking season.
Oops, almost forgot underwear: Either boxer or briefs in
synthetic fabric(nylon, Capilene, etc).Jul 10, 2008 at 11:03 am #1442353
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
You are making a great choice starting out with day hikes. That's what we did and it made the transition to backpacking easier. While my back issues weren't as serious as what you have mentioned, I did have sciatica and with that having an adjustable pack was extremely important.
BPL has lots of great info to get you started and Tom has given you an awesome list.
One thing – for blisters – I personally like Compeed and have had great success with it.
Have a great time out there!Jul 11, 2008 at 9:48 am #1442494
I don't know if this is common but I tend to get blisters in the same exact spots every time, namely the side of the Achilles tendon/ heel area. I find the easiest way to mitigate this is either a piece of moleskin or duct-tape before I start walking. A (half) ounce of precaution…
So, to answer your question, I would bring along duct-tape. As we all know it is ridiculously versatile and helpful, for even the most unusual tasks. One of the tiny tubes of superglue isn't a bad idea either (random repairs, wound sealing, etc).Jul 11, 2008 at 10:38 am #1442513
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
in the words of my husband….
"duct tape is like the Force. it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together"
not sure where he got that saying fromJul 11, 2008 at 4:53 pm #1442564
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> "duct tape is like the Force. it has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together"
Well, I think it post-dates Star Wars …Jul 15, 2008 at 10:09 pm #1443120
@terraLocale: Sydney, Australia.
Welcome DrEd or is it now MrEd (a Doc is a Doc of course, of course).
For day hikes you will find yourself needing very little – As the list above (and others) show. Essentials vary widely depending on person, season, locale etc. For some the essesntials will fit in a cigarette tin.
Food/water (not a lot needed for a day hike)
Navigation (map, compas)
Insulation (ie clothing items if needed).
Recovery gear (the firstaid, whistle, firelighter etc)
Just start small and grow into the hobby, perhaps find a group to head out with for a few trips.
I'm not sure of the extent of your back injury, but perhaps looking into a waist pack (lumbarpack) as used by ski patrols and some adventure racers. These sit on the hips and apply no load above the waist which could bring ease to a cervical/thoracic injury. They may not be to your liking but for day hikes are worth investigating.
You have come to the right place to learn how to reduce your pack load. Good luck with your walking and your wellness.
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