Jan 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm #1284643
I have an idea! I know, thats a dangerous thing. Anyway, I got accepted to an SCA internship working with a trail crew in the Adirondacks this summer (I'm incredibly excited!), and since we're going to be carrying heavy, bulky, sharpish stuff, I figure an external pack would be the way to go. Then I had my idea. Why not just a frame, like the Kelty Cache Hauler, so I could roll up equipment bundles in the blue tarp, secure it with a few bungee cords, and strap it to the Hauler. When we get to camp, I could use the blue tarp as a shelter, but more likely I will use it as a groundcloth as I'm thinking of a Mountain Laurel Designs tarp tent setup. When the blue tarp starts to wear, I'll replace it. I would secure some sort of small pouch to the outside of the Hauler to carry a compass, snacks, etc, and a clip on "shovel pocket" to keep my rain gear within reach. Thoughts? Anyone have experience with anything like this? Maybe a frame that is cheaper but still strong and comfortable? The Kelty hauler is $100 on amazon.
Thanks!Jan 25, 2012 at 12:59 am #1829340
@truenorthLocale: San Francisco, CA
Years ago I used a similar design to hump heavy loads into remote areas (wild land firefighting) and the external frame with shelf was a fantastic way to carry tools, pumps, hose, etc. Just don't expect to be the most comfortable person in your crew. Why? Because with that massive load hauler you'll wind up carrying all the "extra" stuff! Blue tarps work well and are super cheap. Have fun ground pounding your summer is going to be a blast. Most trail crews are supported with mule trains to carry the really bulky/heavy stuff maybe you'll get lucky. Don't forget an extra file to put an edge on that Pulaski…Jan 25, 2012 at 7:30 am #1829403
First of all, congrats on getting accepted onto a SCA trail crew. It's hard work, but very satisfying.
If the SCA trail crew works the same as the SCA crews working on the PCT, you won't have to carry that many tools. That said, I have wished for a backpack that's mostly traditional, but with loops and clips to make it easier to carry tools. Ice axe loops work okay for pulaski's and pick/maddocks, but it'd be great if there was something in the middle that could hold a couple loppers. However they're secured to the pack, it must be very quickly attached and removed, otherwise you'll just end up carrying the tools in your hands.
You don't need to buy a tent, but I suppose that would help you carry less weight. Even so, you usually only carry it on the first and last day unless you have pack support.
Btw, learn camp hygiene and share it with your trail crew.Jan 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm #1829585
Thanks guys! I can't wait to be a part of the experience.
Good point, because when I camp solo I think long and hard about the botchalism risk factor versus the effort it takes to clean dishes haha. As far as the amount of tools we will carry, I don't know yet, but I do know we will be in four-person crews and no mention was made to mule trains in the job descrip. or the interview, so my guess is we will carry everything we need. I figure the external frame hauler will allow me to carry all sorts of construction materials as well, rocks, cement, gravel, whatever. When you say I won't need a tent, what does that mean? I was told we will be living on the trail for the duration of each 5 or 10-day hitch.Jan 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm #1829591
The SCA crews I worked with were provided (Sierra Designs) tents. Chances are that if you hike in more than a few miles, you'll have pack support. Trying to carry 10 days of food and tools more than a few miles is tough, and I doubt they'd do that to you. Saving weight can be nice. You can make up that weight with hand sanitizer for 4…you'll see what I mean. ;)Jan 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm #1829600
Free tent? Sweet! Although I do like tarps better for several reasons (ventilation, can cook under the tarp during rain, and more open and free than a tent).Jan 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm #1829604
I'm sure there will be plenty of tarps for those purposes, and also for caching tools. If you bring a blue tarp, you run the risk of it becoming a 'community' tarp, and that tends to put lots of small holes in it. One of the crews I worked with got into the habit of sleeping on one tarp and putting another tarp over their sleeping bags. They claimed it kept them drier than their tents, but if you saw how poorly they pitched their tents you'd understand why. If you do bring a blue tarp and hauler pack, you can use the tarp as a burrito to hold the rest of your gear.
I'm pretty sure the tents are loaners…Jan 26, 2012 at 2:03 am #1829842
Congrats on getting accepted. I'm also applying for the SCA this year.
+1 to everything Eugene said, especially on hygiene. Haven't seen anyone in SCA actually bring their own tent, it's always the blue SD ones mentioned above.
And here's an early goodluck, Eugene.Jan 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm #1830263
Shucks. I dont want to stick out, but like I mentioned above, I don't like tents for reasons beyond additional weight. My sleep is my one luxury when I camp (I even bring a pillow, gasp!), so I like to be comfortable. I wouldn't see it being a problem though unless the tents are multi person and are carried by multiple people? Even if that were the case, I'd be happy to help carry the group tent but just sleep under my tarp. Who would turn down that deal? I'll carry the weight, and there will be extra room in one of the tents for the others!Jan 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm #1830289
The crews I've volunteered with were working a couple miles in from the trailhead, so basecamp was always near by. My friend worked with a couple crews in the backcountry, and like Eugene mentioned, they had pack support. These were crews that were working on the PCT, which might not happen this/next year due to funding.
As for tents, everyone had their own tent. They looked like 2 person versions.Jan 26, 2012 at 7:38 pm #1830291
Don't bring the tent if you don't want to.
In one of the PCT crews, one person used a hammock and another used his own tent.
In the second crew, they rarely bothered with tents even in the backcountry, instead opting to "puddle" under a tarp. They used tents in one front country hitch and a break, but I can't remember why. In the break I think it's because rain got the best of their "puddle" and in the hitch I think it's because they were getting sick (hygiene).Jan 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm #1830353
Was the hammocker a volunteer or part of the crew?Jan 27, 2012 at 7:16 am #1830409
He was part of the crew.Jan 27, 2012 at 8:40 am #1830454
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I first saw SCA and thought, "Society for Creative Anachronisms", the guy wants to ask about titanum chain mail for mock sword fights?
Yes, I know the other SCA and greatly appreciate their trail work and always say so when I hike on by.
Yes, I have used that exact technique – external frame without packbag to move stuff. I agree with you that you are better able to move bulky stuff and of course save the weight and cost of the packbag. I also instructed in its use decades ago when one Boy Scout Troop and one BSA summer camp had packframes for loan but no packbags. In fair weather, they'd toss everything in their sleeping bag. For rain in the tent or a garbage bag. Then use a diamond or spider hitch to secure it to the frame. Here's a link on the diamond hitch:
The Spider Hitch is similar but less formal concept. You start with a 9-12" diameter loop in a long cord with the loop positioned in the center back of your load. Then take the loose end and loop each corner and each side of the frame, returning to pass through the loop each time. Then snug it up.
A few cinch straps are quicker but less versatile (you could use that long line to rig your tarp). Cinch straps are great for single, bulky loads like generators and chainsaws.
Another helpful trick is a lash a plastic kitchen trash can (largest that fits under the sink cabinet) to a frame (especially a "freighter" frame that has a lower shelf for that purpose). Then you can toss chainsaws, oddball stuff or bulk goods (firewood, sand, gravel, deer quarters, geotech fabric, etc), in there quickly and dump it quickly.
For convenience on the trail, secure a fanny pack to the back of the backpack. Or secure the fanny pack backwards on your waist (like in the inner city for concealing a gun) and then you can access repellent, water, snack without stopping. Or put a pocket on your backpack waist belt.Jan 27, 2012 at 10:17 am #1830480
Fanny pack! Excellent idea! I've been wanting to get one anyway (in the most horrible 80's colors I can find). I wanna bring it back, fashion wise.
@ Christopher: Well thats good that they are one sleepers, I sleep best when Im alone since I toss and turn a lot and dont want to disturb others. And a two person-ish tent probably clocks in at 3-4 lbs anyway, so yea, I'm psyched on my pack and tarp idea! I'm going to talk first with the guy who hired me before I make any gear purchases, but I think this will suit the bill. Thanks everyone!
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