- Jul 22, 2018 at 2:07 pm #3547906
Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
What are the strangest things you have found in a beginner’s backpack (and hopefully convinced them not to bring).
For a three night trip to the Enchantments in Washington State in the early 1980s I did a backpack check on a beginner the night before we left. He pulled out a pretty large plastic bottle of kitchen dishwashing liquid, a package of sponges, and another smaller sized bottle of dishwashing liquid (just in case, I suppose). I think I got him down to the small bottle and one sponge. The small bottle probably could last for months.Jul 22, 2018 at 2:18 pm #3547908
I went of a trip where we hiked up from the Yosemite Valley floor to little Yosemite valley camping area. A friend had a ton of trouble with the hike up — i.e. exhausted, wobbly legs. At the top as we were unpacking he pulls out a framing hammer which he was told by another person to bring for tent stakes. Cause there are certainly no other hard and heavy implements to use for such a thing in the mountains…
On a different trip from Tuolumne to the valley floor I was given a surprisingly heavy bear can (for only 2 nights out) to carry as my group gear. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was full of fresh veggies. The best part was that there wasn’t even a plan to use them all… I finished the trip with at least one large cucumber uneaten…Jul 22, 2018 at 6:26 pm #3547948
On a BSA trip in the Superstitions a few years ago the “adult patrol” decided to have tacos for dinner. One of the adults was tasked with “bringing some salsa”. At dinnertime, the person in question pulled a Costco-sized gallon jug of Pace Picante Salsa out of his pack for the tacos. I think there were maybe 8 adults sharing tacos that night?Jul 22, 2018 at 8:22 pm #3547959
Table top sized glass bong.Jul 22, 2018 at 8:47 pm #3547962
Table top sized glass bong
Uh…some would cosider that a bare necessity :)
But to answer the question, an approx 8” x 8” square fan that ran on 8 D cell batteries. Thinking back, that trip was so hot and miserable at night, he was probably the only one of the group who slept even remotely comfortably.Jul 22, 2018 at 10:02 pm #3547972
Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
I saw a group pull out a #10 size can of spaghetti sauce (106 ounces) for dinner. They forgot to bring a can opener.Jul 22, 2018 at 10:03 pm #3547974
Justin BarrettBPL Member
On a BSA shakedown hike preparing for Philmont, we had one boy constantly complain about his pack being too heavy. Stopping for lunch, we decide to go through his pack and see what could be eliminated the next time we head out. Come to find a 2L Mountain Dew bottle and a large tub of hot chocolate powder among other things
How he was able to sneak that past us adult leaders when we were heading out that morning is beyond me.Jul 22, 2018 at 10:38 pm #3547979
MJ HBPL Member
But to answer the question, an approx 8” x 8” square fan that ran on 8 D cell batteries.
I have a 4″ x 4″ fan (2 D cells) that I took when camping when the boy was in cub scouts. It was the best thing ever on still, hot nights when camped less than a half mile from the car.
Best thing ever except a giant bong, of course. But I was always one for following rules.
Jul 22, 2018 at 10:58 pm #3547982
- This reply was modified 9 months ago by MJ H.
Barry CuthbertBPL Member
@nzbazzaLocale: New Zealand
Over the years I’ve run some introduction to tramping (hiking) and basic skills trips/courses in New Zealand through my tramping club. We go through the gear needed and what’s not needed beforehand in a show-and-tell and everyone gets a recommended gearlist, but not everyone follows that. There’s always a shakedown at the carpark before we start. Some more memorable things I’ve seen are below, they all seem stereotypical, but a lot of people really have no idea about tramping/hiking (which is why they sign up for the introductory course):
Plug-in hairdryer (with matching large bag filled with makeup, we were heading to the club hut but no electricity)
A large family sized car camping dome tent
5kg bag of rice for a weekend trip (but no cooker or pot)
2x 10kg weights (“the pack wasn’t heavy and I wanted an extra workout”. I did manage to substitute the weights for rocks, which promptly got dumped at the first decent climb…)
The fully prepared bushcrafter (big knife, axe, saw, miles of paracord, full camo) has come along more than once too.
Conversely the number of people who leave important stuff behind like a sleeping bag or a shelter or something warm is also fairly high (good teaching opportunities – using a rubbish bag as a raincoat, foil survival bags are pretty miserable, sometimes making fire is harder than you think).Jul 22, 2018 at 11:23 pm #3547988
Kenneth KeatingBPL Member
@kkkeatingLocale: Sacramento, Calif
30 years ago, a full size glass bottle of Chardonnay in MY backpack, found at the the end of strenuous hike. I made the mistake of using the restroom at the trailhead and my “buddies” tucked it into my pack without me knowing. With no Backpackinglight thirty years ago, hiking with +40 pounds of gear and a huge exterior framed backpack, they probably could of hidden a couple of bottles without me noticing.Jul 22, 2018 at 11:55 pm #3547990
When my son was a Webelo and about to transition to the BSA we joined the troop he was going to transition to on a trip to Havasupai. The requirement for joining that trip was a series of four or five training hikes with full packs. He was very surprised after the last training hikes to find about six cans of beans in his pack.
He also thanked me for the stunt when we hiked out of Havasupai and he was able to dust many of the older scouts on the way out of the canyon.Jul 23, 2018 at 1:07 am #3547996
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
A fondue pot.
Downhill skis to ski on sand dunes.
A basketball backboard, hiked in 6 miles.
An 8-inch reflecting telescope.
A hot tub (carried by several people.Jul 23, 2018 at 3:20 am #3548008
When I was pretty new to backpacking (or at least responsible for my own gear for the first time), I packed a lot of books – bird guide, flower guide, tree guide – it never occurred to me to memorize the species I would find locally, or record the description in a journal for later consultation. I also packed a book to read, without really considering the weight of it, or the fact that I was so tired after group dinner and evening chatter that I wouldn’t read anyway.
Once I packed a large yellow onion for a two night trip, ostensibly to add to our dinners – for only two people! We were in heavy bear country so we ate it all. I won’t describe the tent aroma later…Jul 23, 2018 at 3:22 am #3548009
Dave HeissBPL Member
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
Years ago as a Boy Scout Scoutmaster the thing I enjoyed most was the monthly backpacking weekend trips. One month our outing was a miserable rainout and keeping a camp fire going was impossible. The next month we’re out again and when we reached our camp one of the boys pulls out a 2.5 gallon ziplock bag STUFFED full of homemade sawdust and wax firestarter blocks. I remember looking at him and saying “well, if we can’t get a fire going tonight, we’ll just burn these”.Jul 23, 2018 at 9:56 pm #3548114
Erik GBPL Member
@fox212Locale: Central Coast
4 massive ribeye steaks. And a 5lb bag of charcoal.
Didn’t mind helping him with a drastic pack weight reduction on night 1. :)Jul 24, 2018 at 12:41 am #3548148
Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
“Downhill skis to ski on sand dunes.”
Well, just how are you supposed to ski the dunes without them? (I have done that at Sand Dunes Nat’l Monument, now Park.)
When I was in high school, our trip leader carried in a 5-lb cast iron skillet five miles for cooking stuff over our fire. He stashed it in a pine tree, and for all I know it’s still there. Those were some pretty darn good pancakes.Jul 24, 2018 at 12:49 am #3548151
That pork loin was a great first nights dinner.Jul 24, 2018 at 1:43 am #3548166
Tipi WalterBPL Member
One of the strangest things I ever saw coming out of a pack was a set of tuning forks carried by a guy who was into some kind of sound meditation. Took a pic while we talked.Jul 24, 2018 at 3:33 am #3548181
that’s kind of cool in a weird wayJul 24, 2018 at 4:28 am #3548185
Jeff PatrickBPL Member
Jean shorts, a braided leather belt, and a polo shirt, and spare shoes.
I also found a Halloween size bag of Starburst’s in my pack that I didn’t know was there that trip, with the worst part being they were flavors I didn’t like.Jul 24, 2018 at 4:36 am #3548187
Franco DarioliBPL Member
On a 4 day walk a mate had a full size pillow.
I mean the type of pillow you have at home on your bed.Jul 24, 2018 at 12:05 pm #3548206
…a set of tuning forks carried by a guy who was into some kind of sound meditation
Can you imagine walking through the woods and suddenly hearing dood’s tuning forks in the distance? Especially after having just packed up that “table top sized glass bong”. :)Jul 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm #3548221
Brad PBPL Member
On a 4 day walk a mate had a full size pillow.
I mean the type of pillow you have at home on your bed
I was told when preparing for Philmont, after loading your personal gear, you should have enough space left over for a full size home pillow since that’s the space that crew gear and Philfood occupies.
Perhaps someone heard this and forgot the part about removing the pillow.Jul 24, 2018 at 5:36 pm #3548234
Jo P.BPL Member
@sedimentaryLocale: Denver, CO
I didn’t strictly find these items in a beginner’s backpack, but…
While doing the four-pass loop, we made camp at a site below Frigid Air Pass. There was a ton of junk at the site, including a big plastic tub of instant coffee, giant stick of deoderant, toothbrush in the original packaging, food items, and a bunch of other stuff. I am guessing these belonged to a beginner. I’m just imagining the conversation in that car on the way up:
“Dude, I just realized I forgot my toothbrush.”
“No worries, dude. We can stop and buy one.”
“Maybe we should get some coffee too. How much coffee do you think we need?”
“No idea, dude. Hey let’s get some gummy worms too…”
We packed out a bunch of stuff, but I admit, we left the tub of coffee, placing it way down the trail so it at least wasn’t smelling up the campsite.
And, this past weekend I did a little trip in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. I passed by a couple other backpackers who had twin-size air beds strapped to the outside of their packs. The packages were about 3′ long by 8″ diam.Jul 24, 2018 at 7:05 pm #3548255
Tipi WalterBPL Member
Did a trip into Pisgah NF (NC) about 30 years ago to Upper Creek and followed the tough trail 2 miles in to camp with some friends. Did I mention it was a tough trail? Heartbreak Hill. They pulled some strange things out of their packs—(this was not car camping!!)—
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