- Nov 21, 2017 at 8:12 pm #3503332
Resupply often if possible, every 3 to 4 days, eat a good meal in town.
Chuckle – doesn’t work in Australia! There are no towns in our wilderness areas – which is why we go there. I suspect there may be many areas in USA which are similarly devoid of Mammon.
CheersNov 21, 2017 at 8:50 pm #3503345
Roger—That’s a breath of fresh air and good to know. We’ve all been to a town.
And to MJH who wants to know, “What are your doing in town?” Simple answer: gearing up for the next trip (although rural TN shouldn’t be considered “a town”).
To Greg—A 240 day trip sounds fantastically awesome!!
For some of us it’s not about high mile days and punching out a long trail; it’s about getting outdoors and backpacking every day and exploring a vast backcountry, or what’s left of a vast backcountry (sob, the vanishing American landscape). We’re talking about retirees, right? Plenty of time to hike. And not so irrelevant to the OP.
Just think, if you did the AT at 7 miles a day with one zero day a week it’d take you around 350 days to do the thing. What a trip! You’d get to see all four seasons. And still carry a tremendous amount of food so your town-glomming resupply trips would only have to happen about once a month. Now that’s a trip report I’d like to read.Nov 21, 2017 at 8:52 pm #3503348
Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
If you’re hiking the PNT, you’ll be hard pressed to resupply every 3 – 4 days through the Pasayten Wilderness once you get West of Oroville (even if you’re doing back-to-back 30 milers).Nov 21, 2017 at 9:03 pm #3503355
If I had to resupply every 3 to 4 days to pull a backpacking trip I’d just hang it up and sleep out in the carport by the house every night.Nov 21, 2017 at 9:18 pm #3503357
Why do we equate mileage with happiness on the trail? I can enjoy the 5 mile days just as much, and often more, than the 25 mile days. Standing still for a bit in the wilderness can be a tremendous experience.Nov 21, 2017 at 9:38 pm #3503363
Arthur—You ask a very pertinent question—Why do we equate mileage with happiness on the trail?
I think it can be answered in different ways. Maybe your question should be the start of another thread? Or heck just stay in this one as I’d like to hear the answers. Here’s some hints—
** Fast & Light mantra.
** Logistics. (I.e. only have a weekend, must punch out the planned loop/section etc).
In fact, the whole quest for miles could be the foundation for ultralight backpacking.Nov 21, 2017 at 9:49 pm #3503365
So much to ponder here. You all are very helpful. Organized conceptually—
For reference, here is my current packing list https://lighterpack.com/r/65yh3q , which has also been discussed in this other thread https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/3-season-gear-list-review/ .
Availability of help from other hikers. Reasonable in the American West on maintained trails. Not to plan on, but perhaps to ease nervousness about remoteness. This last summer I was up in the eastern Weminuche with the Camp Fire kids, camped above the long meadow south of Piedra Pass, no other hikers for days, when we encountered two different groups of CDT section hikers wandering down the same unmapped spur trail from the same, apparently ambiguous junction some miles to the west. We were able to get our our maps and show them where they went astray and also direct them to the obscure track that would take them up the valley to Piedra Pass to rejoin the CDT. If we hadn’t been there they would have wandered considerably longer.
Remoteness. In thinking carefully, I find that for me this isn’t so much that I am afraid of it but more that I think I *ought* to be more worried about it than I am. We own a Spot 3 that we send on the youth trips with Camp Fire but it needs to go with them during the summer seasons. It is not 2-way but I chose it b/c it is smaller and supposed to work for that dire emergency. I’ve hesitated to go for those 1/2 lb. devices. Colorado Trail 2018, more traffic, less of an issue than PNT 2019 would be. By 2019 maybe there will be better/lighter devices? Also have a Garmin Dakota 20, somewhat useful on past trips but it is now malfunctioning so I am ditching it. The phone with Gaia sounds good but even on airplane mode I have trouble with battery life especially on chilly mornings. Adding a backup charger stick? More stuff/ounces, doesn’t solve dead-when-cold problem. My current packing list, I don’t even bring the phone. Adding phone and battery stick means bringing more stuff not less, so it would have to work well enough to be worth it.
Cooking and food. Yes, we, like some of you all, like a warm supper especially in the mountains, and that warm coffee. I am willing to consider no-cook if necessary, but not with alacrity. Currently I am using a Soto Windmaster canister stove. I used to take a Caldera Cone (not the Tri-Ti) & have several for different pots, or the Bush Buddy Ultra which weighs 5 oz but eliminates fuel weight. But recently we’ve been running into so may burn bans that I’ve sort of given up on the lightweight options that don’t have an off switch. I make most of our backpacking food at home with the dehydrator and some ingredients ordered. We get much better food that way. However, as noted above we have not ever been out for long enough to get sick of our usual favorites. We still have some work to do on accurately planning quantities. We find we eat less than the standard recommendations, more like 1 lb/person/day instead of the usual 1.5 lb. We still end up with leftovers at the end of the trail, which means we carried some of the weight for nothing.
Lighter packs generally. I don’t want to go off too far on this because of the other thread but I have done some hypothetical shopping and have a list of lighter options, including DCF offerings and higher-end sleeping bags, that, *if* the items were to turn out to work in terms of personal fit, adequate warmth, etc., would save about 1.5 lbs off my kit and cost about $1,000. We haven’t done that analysis for Robert’s kit yet. I think he still has lower-hanging fruit but this is a process. This discussion—I need to focus on his kit more. Diplomacy. Sharing equipment? This we do, although I tend to carry all the shared stuff. Double sleeping bag? Not so much. Robert is, let us say, an “active sleeper” and also a snorer, so it is end-to-end with him confined in his own mummy bag, for me to get any sleep at all.
Physical conditioning. Lots of potential here, I hope. Thank you all for bringing that up. We walk a lot near home and I jog some and Robert goes to the gym (I would rather do my stuff outside) and we ride our bikes. But we ought to ramp it up. I am 5’ 3-1/2” and 115 lbs so not needing to lose weight myself; Rbt maybe could lose ~ 10 lbs, the gym is helping. Controlled landing off a high step is a great suggestion, I tried that this morning and it is harder than it sounds. Argues for a lot more squats and lunges. We have both benefited greatly from physical therapists, and have less knee and back trouble now than we used to when we were younger. Robert doesn’t have much back pain now because his surgeries were lumbar and cervical fusions for discs not herniated but actually completely gone. Supposedly genetic. We don’t want to risk loss of more discs up the line by overloading him. He used to use an Exos 58 but had trouble with it rubbing his collarbone; now we both have Mariposas and he is happy with that. We tend to go about 15 miles per day on good trail in the summer. There is one PNT stretch that would take about 9 days at that pace, or more if a lot of blowdowns, so that is a lot of food at once but fortunately food shrinks by the day. We do use trekking poles. My Lekis at 15 oz for the pair could be lighter but I gave up on the UL CF ones after they kept breaking (high water, trunk of car).
Huts/supported/short day loops/base camping. We have done some of this and definitely expect to do more of it as our abilities wane. We’ve been to Europe once, with some day hiking in France on ancient cross-country foot trails, very different from US, you can stop in a village for lunch and keep going. The OR/WA part of the PCT sounds great. I have already given up on full long-trail thru-hikes; we just aren’t that fast. But really what’s the difference, if you spend 4 months on trail hiking every day and make 1,500 miles or 2,600? It’s still 4 months living out there and moving across the landscape. Border-to-border is a historical artifact.
Demands of the trail. Shorter 7-day or more practice trip in similar conditions. Good suggestion! CT doesn’t have the remoteness or sketchy maintenance of some parts of the PNT, but we hope will be equivalent in physical demands. And easier to bail from if necessary. I kind of like long uphills, somehow they feel energizing. Robert not so much. Downhills, especially steep, we go slow to avoid accidents. When we hiked the Wonderland Trail we were advised it was too hard, too much steep up and down, but that turned out to be part of the enjoyment of that trail. We took 10 days. Some people were running it all in one go (93 miles). They would pass us in their shorts, not even a water bottle.
Other older hikers. Very encouraging! I am hoping that since we have learned that keeping going is more important than going fast, we still have a long future in this!
This post has run pretty long, sorry about that, I keep thinking of more…
P. S. Composed before the last few posts, posting now. Before catching up on the thread.
Nov 22, 2017 at 2:04 am #3503403
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by Mina Loomis. Reason: Soto is Windmaster not Windburner
Andrew SrnaBPL Member
.Nov 22, 2017 at 2:57 am #3503411
“Roger Caffin and Tipi, you guys as always are definately good for a laugh, on my part anyways, good luck with those 80# packs, and your garage tinkering projects! Not sure what either of you actually offer a site like backpacking light. I would definately love to hear you both put forth some real advice for people to share some wisdom, instead of just cutting in with your smart remarks.”
You must of missed the points I made in previous posts but I’ll summarize—Tips for Older Backpackers—
** Haul more food.
** Stay out longer.
** Do shorter mile days.
** Do loops in one backcountry area or wilderness instead of straight-line thruhikes if desired.
** Avoid commerce and resupplies and towns as much as possible.
Your comment “Not sure what either of you actually offer a site like backpacking light” . . . is strange but expected from a forum that once had the tag line “Pack Less. Be More.” And remember, the first word in the title is “backpacking”—and then “light”. I assume we’re all backpackers first and foremost . . . or maybe dayhikers.
I think Roger and I offered our wisdom from years of outdoor experience although if these opinions differ from yours they are called “just cutting in with your smart remarks.”Nov 22, 2017 at 3:00 am #3503412
80 lb packs – that’s Tipi, not me! I don’t think I could any more.
garage tinkering projects
Stoves maybe? Yeah, I ‘tinker’ – with a $30k CNC machine. It’s fun.
CheersNov 22, 2017 at 3:08 am #3503414
Andrew SrnaBPL Member
.Nov 22, 2017 at 3:19 am #3503419
And to address some of Mina’s points—
** Home dehydrating is where it’s at! I got into it seriously about 10 years ago and now prepare all my cooked meals for backpacking at home. My daily food load is more in line with Jardine’s recommended 2+lbs per day. I think backpacker Lawton Grinter also recommends 2lbs per day—see this great article—
But either way it’s okay—1 lb or 3 lbs a day, what could it matter?
** As far as sleeping arrangements—I have found thru long trial and error with my wife that separate tents are the answer for our long term mental health. She doesn’t have to hear me snore, and tossing and turning doesn’t wake each other up—and she can read all thru the night if desired etc. I think individual humans need some significant alone time esp on backpacking trips. Voila, separate shelters.
** I like your quote “What’s the difference if you spend 4 months . . . hiking every day and make 1,500 miles or 2,600 miles? It’s still 4 months living out there and moving across the landscape.” Amen, pass the gorp. (Although in my case I’d be happy to pull a 4 month trip and do 600 miles).
Nov 22, 2017 at 3:24 am #3503421
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by Tipi Walter.
Guys. I believe you are all being helpful. Sometimes these forums have some banter. It might not always be substantive but that’s human interaction for you. And sometimes folks get a little off point; I can read around that just fine. I so appreciate having this community, quirks, misfires, and all. You all are how I’ve learned enough even to consider what we are hoping to do.Nov 22, 2017 at 3:30 am #3503423
I have found thru long trial and error with my wife that separate tents are the answer for our long term mental health.
Which just goes to show that different people can have really different approaches. My wife and I do sleep together in our tent – usually touching somewhere. If I start to snore – it won’t be for long!
That way she gets her meals prepared for her as well – smart girl!
CheersNov 22, 2017 at 7:52 am #3503455
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Yep Roger, in our tent or in bed at home I am not allowed to snore for long! ;o)Nov 23, 2017 at 12:27 am #3503586
Lots of good advice, so I’ll be brief. The gear part is pretty straightforward. Google a few of the suggestions and purchase what makes sense to you and fits your budget. My only suggestion would be to at least take a look at the Zpacks Duomid. It’s expensive but is, IMO, by far the best 2 person tent I have come across for the kind of trip you are contemplating. The hard stuff will be training and food, simply because both are highly individualistic, and will force you to do an honest evaluation of your individual capabilities and tastes.
My thoughts on training: Hills and distance, with gradually increasing loads, distance, and in the case of hills, repetition. As far as squats and lunges, take care not to go below 90 degrees to avoid stress on the meniscus and quadriceps tendons. Aging tendons lose their elasticity, and once damaged are notoriously difficult to repair, due to poor blood supply. Don’t ask how I know. :( Make sure you allow adequate recovery time between training sessions for recovery(checking your resting pulse rate each morning before getting out of bed is a good indicator), and above all be consistent.
Food: You almost certainly have an enormous reserve of calories stored as body fat that you would be wise to make use of in the early stages of your PNT odyssey. You might consider having your body fat measured to determine how much of your body weight is fat. Take the difference between your body fat percentage and 10%, convert that to pounds, multiply by 3500, and you will have the calories available to provide energy for your hike. This can reduce the amount of food you will need to carry in the initial phase of your hike, while you are adjusting to the rigors of long range hiking. I would suggest reading up on Ryan Jordan’s writeup of the Arctic1000 trans Brooks Range traverse for an excellent explanation of the logic behind this approach. Beyond that, take bottles of water to bed with you each night. The warm water produced will reduce your fuel requirements for breakfast coffee and oatmeal/muesli. Consider using a Zelph Starlite alcohol stove. It is highly efficient and is totally spill proof. I have a few other possible comments to make, based on your response, if any, but will leave it at that for now.
For the record, since this thread seems to be an age related show and tell, I am 77 and still pulling occasional 19 mile days at 11,000-12,000 feet. For whatever the hell that is worth.
Nov 23, 2017 at 9:28 pm #3503713
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by Tom K.
The zpacks Duplex (the tarp part) is one of the things on my hypothetical list mentioned above. We like the silnylon Haven 2 we have but the DCF Duplex saves about 9 oz. We have the separate net inner for the Haven 2 but we rarely use it.
I agree about the training and food. Training, Robert is doing better than I am currently but I have a few months to ramp it up. Need to get back on the Pilates routine and make up a practice pack with unopened bags of cat litter and water for every time we take the dog out. This morning I went on one of those 10K Turkey Trot events and jogged the whole way, no walking, about a mile more than I usually manage. Progress! I understand that after about the first couple of weeks on the trail a hiker’s appetite increases so we need to be prepared for more food as the hike proceeds. But by that stage we should also be fitter than at the beginning. We are hoping the Colorado Trail will give us a better experiential fix on how we respond to this process we’ve only read about.
I’ve looked at the Starlyte. The only thing that’s held back my “gear acquisition disorder” on it is that in Texas it is still not permitted during a burn ban. But that varies by jurisdiction so I will probably end up with one pretty soon.
And it is encouraging that all y’all older BPL’rs seem to think this hiking dream is a possibility for us!Nov 23, 2017 at 9:52 pm #3503716
“And it is encouraging that all y’all older BPL’rs seem to think this hiking dream is a possibility for us!”
Definitely possible. If you design your fitness program to meet the demands of the PNT, and don’t get injured by overdoing it, you will almost certainly turn that possibility into a probability. You’ve got more leeway with the food, but the closer you are to having that dialed in, the more enjoyable your trip will be. The CT should go a long way toward sorting both those areas out. Best of luck! Us geezers will be rooting for you. And anticipating a trip report. ;0)Nov 23, 2017 at 10:55 pm #3503721
don’t get injured by overdoing it
That is both the single most important thing to remember, and equally the single hardest thing to resist.
CheersNov 24, 2017 at 12:33 am #3503741
One good thing about getting to be a backpacking geezer is my tendency to NOT overdo it. Testosterone now dribbles out of my medulla about one drop per month so I have nothing to prove to Miss Nature or myself— and Her backcountry is looking more and more like a retirement home.
Getting befuddled also has its advantages as I can backpack a series of trails one month and come back the next month and do them again and they all seem brand new to me.Nov 24, 2017 at 2:04 am #3503747
“Getting befuddled also has its advantages as I can backpack a series of trails one month and come back the next month and do them again and they all seem brand new to me.”
You’re not alone. ;0)Nov 24, 2017 at 2:26 am #3503753
” That is both the single most important thing to remember, and equally the single hardest thing to resist.” + 1
The need to balance the yin of desire and the yang of restraint is all too easy to lose sight of when training for a sought after goal, and the consequences can be severe, especially for aging bodies. There is an inborn tendency in highly self motivated people to put one nickel too many in that training “piggy bank” instead of quitting when they have already achieved an adequate level of fitness. I have seen it put a lot of fit people on the sidelines down through the years. My hypothesis is that older people have a tendency to overcompensate for their declining capabilities by increasing their training load, all too often to the breaking point. I know I have gotten into trouble that way on a couple of occasions, as have several friends/acquaintances.Nov 24, 2017 at 5:28 am #3503775
@ryanLocale: Northern Rocky Mountains
+1 — incredibly wise advice – one of the best posts in this thread.Nov 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm #3503821
Tom K—You mention older people increasing their training load, all too often to the breaking point. Are we still talking about backpacking? Or swimming the English channel? Or attending a Spartan event? Or attempting the Tour de France?
I’d like to keep it to backpacking, which is not a competitive event and is not a sport for endurance athletes. At least for 99% of us.
So with this said I’d say the best training for backpacking is pulling frequent backpacking trips. Let’s say you go out for 15 days backpacking every month—that’s enough training in itself—the actual trip. In this case, what’s the breaking point?
Another corollary to this would be: Why ruin your aging body with excessive training when you can ruin it with excessive backpacking? Meaning: All bodies wear out eventually. Isn’t it better to wear it out on actual trips into the backcountry—and not in done-in-a-day training events?
This I would call a reasonable strategy for older backpackers.
Nov 24, 2017 at 7:18 pm #3503878
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by Tipi Walter.
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Wellll… I had to train for backpacking the Grand Canyon this November 6 – 9 and still I came away with some left knee soreness from two days of downhill hiking. And that was with a lot f hiking pole use. My very 1st time to ever have knee problems on a backpack.
So at 74 I guess even dedicated training can’t cope with all physical stresses.
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