Jul 9, 2009 at 9:41 pm #1237653
my non-backpacking, yet very supportive of the habit and patient about the gear conversations, wife has decided to go on an overnight with me as a birthday gift. sweet!
in the past she has shown much distaste for the idea of walking around in the woods for a few days, but is going to put that aside to enjoy a couple of days doing something i enjoy. its a really big deal to me and i am very excited, so i needed to share. thanksJul 10, 2009 at 7:58 am #1513101
My Wife and I backpack together, and after she got comfortable with the initial discomfort she has really embraced the feeling of freedom and strength that comes from climbing peaks and being self sufficient.
The best advice I can give is to let her help guide the pace, keep her pack light and comfortable, make sure she is involved in the navigation and camp duties.
I handle all the "boring" (to her at least) details like planning, packing, stuffing, gear-shopping, weighing, bearbag hanging, dishes, water pumping… and get her involved in the meals, photography, tent setup/bedding, etc.
Hope you both have fun… Here is to many future hikes!Jul 10, 2009 at 8:04 am #1513103
@aidamoneLocale: Washington D.C. metro area
Keep it fun and comfortable. I would include a few extra comfort/treat items – whether it be a coffee, smores, or wine. Maybe she will find out that it isn't so bad and actually enjoy herself and want to do it again. :)Jul 10, 2009 at 8:14 am #1513106
For a first trip make sure you go somewhere spectacular and that it doesn't rain. If the forecast is so so think about postponing. make that first trip a great one and she will likely want to go again.Jul 10, 2009 at 8:50 am #1513116
@beepLocale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Simply stated, she should enjoy her first outing. The key for most people in their first encounter with backpacking is that their pack is too heavy and/or ill-fitting so that the hiking part of backpacking becomes a struggle.
1. Keep the pack weight low with a pack that fits her.
2. Keep the distances moderate.
3. Take along a luxury or two (food/drink treat).
4. Slow the pace to make it more relaxed.
5. Depending on your area, make sure you have insect repellent and/or bug headnets.Jul 10, 2009 at 8:56 am #1513117
"Simply stated, she should enjoy her first outing."
My wife's first time backpacking was a nightmare… She went on a week long trek when she was about 13 years old, carried maybe 45lbs, it rained constantly, LA Gear brand *hiking* boots with cotton socks.
It took alot of convincing to get her out into the woods for that first backpacking trip. But even though it rained on us she really enjoyed the trip.
Smartwool socks, sub 20lb pack and decent raingear changed her entire outlook.Jul 10, 2009 at 10:29 am #1513132
Sounds fun Ben!
Rules when with my main squeeze:
1) Fully enclosed shelter AND seperate shelter to hang out in.
2) red wine
3) no freeze dried foods
4) nice fire
Rule #1 really turned things around for her. I bring my MLD Duomid (11 oz.) as an extra shelter to hang out in in case of bad weather, play games, store gear and whatnot. Sounds crazy but it is worth it to make the trip all that much better. Of course, the more of rule #2 I bring along, the less rule #1 and rule #3 matter.
Rule #4 is a must. No fire = No camping…so I always have to camp in designated fire areas…again, not a problem up here.
Enjoy!Jul 10, 2009 at 10:34 am #1513134
Oh, and she loves to navigate! She really gets excited when I give her a map, show her where our camp is and she has to get us there. I just follow her around all day, she asks me questions from time to time when she's not sure, but she is in charge, except when we are way of course – but we don't like to talk about those trips ;)…maybe your wife would enjoy that aswell. It can be quite satisfying.Jul 10, 2009 at 10:40 am #1513137
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
– Nice chocolate(s) for dessert is always a good idea.
– Avoid rain & bugs if at all possible
– Take a camera (and small tripod?) to document this adventure. It can be a very sweet post trip present to mount a picture of you two or her in a backpack in an attractive frame.
– A foot & back rub in the evening would get you added points, but might set a bad precedent for future trips.
– Pack some moist wipes to help her remove some grime at the end of the day…you may remain filthy.Jul 10, 2009 at 10:45 am #1513140
@beepLocale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Chuckling at Steven…
My wife insists we ALWAYS take a big tarp as a rain/cooking/"hangout" shelter. I resisted a bit when our "old" tarp was 2 1/2 lbs…and easily give in with new Spinnaker fabric (<10 oz). We have spent more than one evening spread out under a tarp in the rain, resisting the idea of being elbow-to-elbow in a smaller tent (if that were the only choice).
Wine is always nice, especially on the first night out, but not quite as weight-efficient as single malt scotch whiskey (Lagavulin or 18 yr old Glenlivet come to mind)!
The other advantage of having my wife along is that I don't feel compelled to pull big mileage but rather focus on enjoying a less-than-compulsive hiking pace. We can still cover decent distance, spend a bit more time in camp and enjoy our surroundings. My solo trips are bit more goal-oriented and satisfying in a different way.Jul 10, 2009 at 11:36 am #1513152
thanks for all the replies. i'm taking some of the advice to heart. i will be bringing a fully enclosed shelter and borrowing a BA IAC for her. i use a z-lite. i am thinking some smores would ne nice and she doesn't drink so i was thinking of some martinelli's sparkiling cider, which she really does like to have on special occasions. and definately will be bringing the camera. i think i will be carrying the majority; tent, stove, food, etc. and just leave her with a sleeping bag and clothing, and personal items. i had her try on both of my packs this morning to see what is more comfy, it turned out to be the lighter one which is nice for her.
thanks again for the advice.
ben-Jul 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm #1513156
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Slow pace. On uphills, ask frequently enough if she would like to rest.
Assure her that there are no creatures around to hurt either of you.
Before sitting down for a rest, visibly look around for bugs/snakes… at least let her think you are making sure nothing is around to bite.
Have fun.Jul 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm #1513166
I know you want a wilderness experience… but you may wish to find a place that a facility can be found at some point. My friends wife has been with us many times and she finally pooped in the woods last time, we both cheered. It is a very uncomfortable thing for most woman that aren't very "outdoorsy" so that is also something to think about.Jul 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm #1513174
@hammer-oneLocale: Walking With The Son
My wife is also very supportive of my love of the outdoors, but has no desire to camp in the woods. She does, however, like to hike. I wanted to do a weekend trip with her so the compromise I struck was this; We "camped" at a B&B, and the owner shuttled us each day so we could do day hikes. It worked out that we stayed in Tyringham, Mass, and hiked back to the B&B each day, since it was less than a mile off the AT. We had a great time.
Jul 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm #1513205
My wife loves the backcountry: wipes with moss, has a jrb quilt, bpw 8 lbs, she says stuff like "taut pitch." So if your gal has any not for the public questions PM me bro.Jul 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm #1513846
thanks rick! ha! anyhow, the trip went really well. i think she may be in for another if i am careful. she likes the hiking but not all day, and she prefers the comforts of car camping. i.e. bathroom, chairs, coolers, etc.Jul 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm #1515789
@lenchik101Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
wow you guys are funny: chocolate, wine, and no bugs. add a spa treatment …and this sounds like a cruise vacation to me:)
I wanted to make two points. First, i guess i'm a little shocked to see that here in the US, where women aspire to be like men in every aspect of life, you are making such gender specific suggestions on hiking (this is from a viewpoint of non-US born woman). Second, i really think both men and women have similar problems outdoors, and their ability and desire to pursue these experiences is really a matter of taste. Both men and women have varying degrees of attachment to outdoor activities, so lets not write this off to gender only and say because she is a girl lets keep her pack weight low! Everyone deserves a light pack, good companionship, mutual respect and understanding of one's abilities, in addition to a piece of yummy chocolate. I personally was the one who introduced my husband to multi-day lightweight backpacking, and i also deal with "adjustment" issues, despite the fact that he is a guy and i'm a woman (according to your theory this should be opposite?). However, i don't think giving him a gun or bringing a bottle of whiskey would fix it! And my last thought… You can't just dress up something and make it right, no matter what your efforts are, if your loved one lacks a pure inner desire to pursue a certain activity, not on the same "wave" with you, and/or doesn't want to please you, sometimes, you just have to accept the fact they never will. My husband loves hiking, however he doesn't care about climbing mountains in the snow and ice, regardless of the weight of his ice-axe. and i accept that.Jul 22, 2009 at 8:44 pm #1515797
I've got a question for the OP. What are you going to do for her? This was the first question my wife asked. My idea of a perfect weekend, out hiking. Her idea is a weekend of no telephone and some great classic movies accompanied with some light gardening. 20 years together, so far. Works great cause I can leave the dogs at home.Jul 22, 2009 at 8:46 pm #1515798
@creachenLocale: East Bay
My wife is good for two trips a year…She has a few rules that I must ad here to: She needs a a very comfortable sleeping pad-she likes the new Neo-Air…She wants chocolate to always be handy….She wants sauteed Asparagus in a pan w/ Olive oil and spices…and finally she needs a bottle of Chardonnay(1 ltr Platy). The one thing she dislikes in the Great Outdoors is having to go to bathroom–so I always volunteer to dig the cathole before she does her business…My wife is a trooper and puts up with Backpacking Obsession and is truly starting to enjoy the great outdoors… I need to plan a Backpacking trip to the Big Island—that is a Win-Win situation!!!!!
The Better Half doing the hard miles to Young Lakes!!!Jul 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm #1515805
@cbertLocale: N. California
i'd happily go on a trip with you – and i don't mind if you carry a little more weight than i do: but i won't go on those icey trips either :)
there are women like you here in the usa, but they are rare, at least in my experience; are you saying there are more like you at home?
if my marriage doesn't last, which country should i be visiting?
as always, my tongue finds cheek meat, but it does seem ironic that most of the men here seem to have to coax our women into the back-country, and yet you also seem to have similarly coaxed your man :)Jul 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm #1515813
I consider myself extremely lucky…my wife loves backpacking & hiking almost as much as I do. In fact, when I go without her, she is bummed. Here she is recently at Zion Narrows using her Miniposa as a floatation device…
The gear is mostly my job (and passion), and her 7.2lb base weight definitely helps make it more fun for her!
I think the key for any of us is to ease into new ideas and keep an open mind. We recently went to a Spinntwinn tarp, saved a ton of weight, and added floor space. Rain test has been good, but in our neck of the woods, there aren't many bugs to deal with.
At the end of the day, if you find a person the you can share your passion with, consider yourself lucky.Jul 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm #1515819
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The one other thing I would add is that the destination can make a big difference. If your wife likes swimming choice a destination with a lake. If she thinks waterfalls are pretty… choose a destination that takes you past one or more. One of the most popular features with the women I know are natural hot springs. There are a number in back country of California and Nevada. No idea in the southwest but I might be worth looking into.
–MarkJul 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm #1515823
@cbertLocale: N. California
are we all totally whupped or what?Jul 22, 2009 at 10:59 pm #1515825
My wife-to-be and I mostly hike together. We have a very civilised arrangement. I carry the tent and she makes the choc chip and macadamia cookies (and the rest of the food) for the hike. I set up the tent while she makes dinner. she's faster uphill and downhill, I'm faster on the flat sections. It all works wonderfully well.
We both bushwalked before we met so neither of us had ot be indoctrinated – it was something we had in common from the start.
AlliecatJul 23, 2009 at 10:16 am #1515907
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
He just wanted to share and he gets an outpouring of advice on making it tolerable for her?
Do guys make Monday night football parties tolerable for us? Because I would wayyyy rather carry 30 lbs of gear over a high Sierra pass than be trapped in an apartment with a bunch of football fans.
If the guy I'm with becomes too pandering I find it offensive. I just expect to be treated like a rational adult when it comes to stuff like this – I know I'm hardly representative of the entire female half of the species, but geeze, he didn't say his wife expected bon bons on her Thermarest every night. I'm more than happy to do whatever with the guy even if I'm not particularly interested in whatever, because the important thing for me would be that he's sharing something he values and enjoys with me, and that in itself makes it enjoyable. I doubt a guy I'd find compatible would force me to do something I don't care for, every time he does it, because I wouldn't expect a non-backpacking guy to do more than a trip or two with me.
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