Apr 10, 2006 at 3:02 pm #1218292
Hello everyone. I am new to texas as well as new to this site. I will be mostly going backpacking in west texas, hill country texas, oklahoma, and arkansas. i moved from socal.(dont ask why) i am making my gear list to post as i type but would like some info on tarps and sleeping bags. anyone know about bugs and summer weather around these areas?Apr 10, 2006 at 3:27 pm #1354579
@crazypeteLocale: Above the Divided Line
OK basic Texas info here we come
Summer = hot and miserable
Night temps above 80
Bugs: mosquitos- average, but there are ants everywhere(they arent so bad in primitive campgrounds)
I suggest using a fleece blanket on summer nights because a plastic shell is really miserble when it is hot outside.Apr 10, 2006 at 4:14 pm #1354582
I sometimes use a “Sea to Summit” cotton mummy liner in the summer. Although it might be 80 deg. when you wake up, it could be mid-90’s when you turn in. With a cotton liner you can spritz it with water and get the evaporative cooling.
Don’t mean to scare you, but it can get pretty oppresive in July and August. Be sure to include plenty of water containers! Water is by far the heaviest thing that I carry.
Concerning bugs, it is true – it really is all about the ants. Always look carefully at the ground before you pitch your tarp. By the way, in Summer I set my tarp to catch the breeze instead of shield me from it. Also, when it rains I take off my shirt instead of putting on any rain protection.
You’ll get used to it. There really is some pretty country in Texas and the surrounding States. You just have to learn to adapt a little. (Sticking your head in a 350 degree oven is great training)Apr 10, 2006 at 6:31 pm #1354595
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Welcome to hell. But, hey, it ain’t so bad. Lots of us nailed GTT (Gone-To-Texas) on the cabin door when things got too hot back home. That way no one will prosecute us… Not after we picked our own punishment. Like Kipling said, “The scenery is good if you’re in trouble.”
Fire ants: OK if you have the gumption to not camp on nests. If unavoidable, put out sacrifices of cracker crumbs with tablespoons of cooking oil at corners of camping area. I don’t bother with a floored tent except in developed campgrounds. Wouldn’t get caught dead in one of those. They are not much trouble in the backcountry except canoe tripping and staying on sand bars.
Mosquitoes: Even one mosquito is bad, so the fact that they aren’t as bad as Canada or Main or Minnesota is no help. Except near the coast. Nothing short of mayhem stops a saltwater mosquito. Not DEET for sure. Some folks swear by rancid alligator fat. Others use bug suits treated with permethrin. Kill them suckers. Bug net is good.
Snakes: Don’t worry about them. I’ve seen more per trail mile in NY, Penn, and even New Jersey than in Texas. Just carry an Extractor kit. Rattlesnakes are favorites. They go off like smoke alarms when you get within 20 feet. That’s pretty exciting. Can’t tell where they are at first.
Heat: Hammocks make it practical to backpack in the summer east of the 98th longitude (Dallas to Corpus Christi, more or less). Otherwise, the humidity and heat will kill you. Really. Hammock siestas in the afternoon – until 3 or 3:30 are highly recommended. In West Texas and New Mexico the humidity is not a problem. That’s good because there is nothing tall enough in West Texas to hang a hammock on.
The neat stuff: You can backpack all year round. 3-seasons for everyone else is 4 seasons for us… except we don’t have seasons. A 40 degree bag is 3 season here. You can leave the sleeping bag at home all summer. But take a hammock. Rain doesn’t last long…15 minutes is about average. Of course, that rain will be a monsoon with tornados and hail, but the farmers always need it. I’ve seen snow, I think.Apr 11, 2006 at 9:16 am #1354610
Haven’t had too much trouble with critters while on the trail. Had some trouble with some skunks at Lake Whitney near Hillsboro – they wanted a loaf of french bread that I had. Had some mosquito trouble on the 4-C Hiking Trail near Crockett – lots of brackish water. Actually had some wild pigs enter my camp at Fairfield State Park once, but scared them off with rocks. Not much in Texas that will hurt you that doesn’t travel on two legs!
I swear that I saw a UFO one evening at Palo Duro Canyon!!!! Wonder how many legs they had.Apr 11, 2006 at 11:04 am #1354623
Ex Rio/Bike/BP guide here. Forget the tent and sleeping bag in the summer. In the Big Bend area the main concerns are the heat and Kissing Bugs. Snakes, Scorpions, Mosquitoes, Centipedes and Mice will generally sidetrack a sweat-scented human.
I like to have a cotton sheet or bag liner soaked in water, a puncture resisting groundcloth (the heavier space blanket works great), and a poncho for late afternoon storms and warmth if the night gets chilly. Rocks tend to be sharp in the desert, so I’ve always preferred the ridgerest over any pack-able inflation pad.
Remember, once you cross the Pecos, you’re in a whole other country. Pack like a mojado – little gear, lots of water.Apr 11, 2006 at 7:23 pm #1354645
You make a most excellent point! Most backpackers use a sleeping pad in winter to shield them from the frozen earth. In Texas, a sleeping pad in summer will shield you from the hot, sandy ground. Can really make a difference in July & August.Apr 13, 2006 at 12:40 am #1354743
JT, I live in Arkansas & I was just wondering where you hike here – if you want, I can show you my gear list for three season hiking in ArkansasApr 13, 2006 at 5:43 am #1354746
Where in Arkansas do you live? I’m in Memphis.Apr 13, 2006 at 7:06 am #1354750
so far it looks like hemmed in hollow and mount magazine are the only trips on the list. dont know anyone from that area to give insight, just looking on the internet. so any trip reccomendations would be appreciated. I would also like to see your 3-season gear list. email@example.comApr 13, 2006 at 7:33 am #1354751
ozark highlands trail is really pretty. Get one of the books by tim ernstApr 13, 2006 at 8:56 am #1354756
@dfliednerLocale: North Texas
I too am likely moving to Texas in a few months from So. California (I’m tired of million dollar tract-homes)and so I had posted a thread in general backpacking discussion called “Texas Backpacking?” and got some nice replies there from some of the locals. BTW, I find it interesting that Gossamer Gear is headquartered in Austin (at least they appear to be from their website, I could be wrong about that, though). Anyway, you may want to also check out that thread for some hike info (wasn’t too long ago).Apr 13, 2006 at 11:39 am #1354774
Texas is hot, not to many places to cool off either unless you are willing to drive a half a dozen hours. From Wichita Falls where I live I can be in at South Eastern Colorado trailheads in about 6 hours.
The Guadalupe Mountains are nice way way in West Texas. Guadalupe Peak is a nice long hike in the Spring, Winter, or Fall. At about 7000 feet there is even a nice patch of Pine forest.
To many bugs and too hot for me anywhere in the summer to sleep outside.Apr 13, 2006 at 11:41 am #1354775
The Wichita Mountains, 45 minutes for me, are very nice. In the summer still gonna be blazin’ hot. Watch out for the free range buffalo, them boys are big.Apr 13, 2006 at 10:42 pm #1354819
since it is so warm at nite, do you use a sleeping bag at all? if not what do you use (liner?)Apr 14, 2006 at 7:03 am #1354831
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Even in the summer, Oklahoma can get chilly around 3-4 a.m. You will appreciate a light cover of almost anything that can be pulled up. A surplus GI poncho liner is about right.Feb 7, 2010 at 11:34 am #1570814
Thanks for the insight, this will come in handy as I begin my backpacking ventures in Texas this season.Feb 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm #1958322
@ramboLocale: sandiego ca
i made the move from socal a few years ago and i only take a sheet that i sewed a foot pocket in for the summer like a bp'ing quilt. and even that goes untouched most of the time i think skeeters are your biggest enemy around here. people in texas are great but i tend to adapt very well cross timbers trail is worth a look and i like black creek lake for a quicky escape lost maples in austin. spirit airlines also has round trip tickets to lots of cool spots for 150 roundtrip if ya got the time.Feb 27, 2013 at 7:31 am #1959203
@vintagegentLocale: Galveston TX
Here are a few thoughts:
(1) A quilt is never a bad idea. Three years ago, I did a mid-February thru-hike of the Lone Star Trail. The week before I left, the lows were in the 20s. The five days of my trip saw highs in the low 80s and lows that rarely dipped below 65. At the time, the lightest bag i had was a 30 degree half zip. A quilt would have been a much better option.
(2) In West Texas, water is an issue. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, for example, requires that you carry your own water.
(3) For some of us, Texas backpacking season ends in early April and doesn't start up again until the first northers in October. I use the summer months to go backpacking in more northerly latitudes.
(4) Some of the best backpacking in Texas coincides with deer hunting season, so don't forget to wear your orange, particularly if you venture onto the trails in the piney woods of East Texas.Feb 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm #1959403
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Us Texas BPL members need to form a support group of "Mountain Deprived Hikers." I love Texas except we are short on mountains.Mar 10, 2013 at 8:34 pm #1964087
@ramboLocale: sandiego ca
since this has a few texan's attention i read a review a few years ago where some people camped on a river not far from north dallas hiked following the river for a few days and even floated in tubes for a few miles! this sounded like such an awesome trip and all of my kids are carrying there own this summer and we are ready! so any advice on this or similar hike give me a heads up. thanksMay 19, 2013 at 6:16 am #1987496
I had to giggle when I read this. It kinda depends on what you call not far. To hike in Texas, I drive 5 1/2 hours to Lost Maples or 6 1/2 hours to Palo Duro….if I want to hike close then I drive to Arkansas which is only 4 hours away :)
Reliable tubing is probably around Austin/New Braunfels area. You can sometimes tube up here in North Texas but it helps to do so right after a flash flood. Luckily, New Braunfels is only 4 hours away…which is really only just a hop skip and a jump for Texas driving.May 19, 2013 at 9:53 am #1987535
Jennifer MitolBPL Member
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
I'm going to be spending a few months this fall/winter in Austin while I get ready for my PCT adventure and while Austin is great for running, I'm a bit worried about keeping up with my backpacking adventures.
Where in the world does one backpack if one lives in Austin? And does anyone actually backpack who lives there??May 19, 2013 at 10:09 am #1987537
Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
slip over to bigbendchat.com and you will get lots of feed back. While mostly focused on the Big Bend they also discuss areas all over the state.May 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm #1987773
Jen, I might be moving there in the fall, so I am also interested in if there is any hiking in the general area. If There is, I'd be happy to hike with you sometime.
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