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Backpack feels "bulky"

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2018, 03:39:11 PM »
And Yes, I too "drink a LOT of fluids even sitting on my couch"   :beer_chug:   but whiskey is much lighter on backpacking trips!

 :rolling:

+1 on ditching the Nalgene bottles. One of the best decisions I ever made. They are insanely heavy. Most soft bladders will mate with most filters. I use MSR Dromlites of various sizes if I need to carry a lot of water. Otherwise I just use a re-purposed Smartwater bottle, or large club soda bottles, or some other off-the-shelf grocery store brand. But I always try to avoid carrying a lot of water if I can, and instead look for local water sources (creeks, springs, tinajas, man-made impoundments) that I can pull from as I go. The Chisos mountains usually have a few natural sources, and the desert below has tons of choices. Nothing is heavier or more unwieldy to carry than water. I also ditched my filter a few years ago and now use only disinfecting pills and cloth pre-filters to strain out the big stuff (bandannas work fine, or you can buy or make one).  This is also waaaaay lighter than filtering. But, yes, DEFINITELY drink up, often and well. One trick I use, is to really pound it down at any natural water sources - overhydrating - and then carry a reasonable amount away.

I've gone no cook a few times. El hombre's right - all you save in weight is the stove, cookset, and fuel - in my case, significantly less than a pound. Still, a pound is a pound. you're going to drink or use the water to digest either way. But I really like a little hot food, and maybe tea, each day for dinner. It's a real picker-upper for me.

Everybody's going to have their own preferences and priorities. You're on the beginning of a wonderful, exciting, and challenging journey to figure out what those are for you, and you alone. Experience is the best teacher.  The real bottom lines of backpacking are:

1. Maintain safe body temperature
2. Stay well-hydrated (and to a lesser extent, well-fueled)
3. Keep your legs and feet working well
4. Don't get lost or incapacitated, and if it happens, make sure you do - or have already done - what it takes to get found
5. Don't do anything stupid

Being too hot is just as bad as being too cold and being wet in the wrong weather is one of the fastest ways of getting too cold. Lack of water in the body will kill or incapacitate you much faster than lack of food. If you can't walk out at a reasonable pace, or at all, you're screwed. Know how to self-rescue or SOS if possible, and always let others know your plans so they can help rescue you if you can't. The best way to survive is to avoid doing anything stupid. Wisdom is your best asset in avoiding stupidity, but wisdom usually comes from surviving your own previous stupidity. Take care of these few basic things, and all you'll have to worry about is a little pain and inconvenience.

Like El hombre, and Mule Ears, I don't really carry spare clothes except a pair of underwear (in case of an unfortunate accident) and a pair of spare socks (I switch 'em out to keep my feet fresh and blister-free).  Other than that, I expect to wear everything else I bring with me at some point during my trip. If I don't wear it, then I brought too much. I layer my clothing, one layer on top of the other, to keep me warmer, and strip it off, one layer after the other, to cool down.  I don't use long-johns other than in sustained frigid winter because stripping them off to cool down means taking everything else off first. Instead, I use light fleece pants on top of my hiking pants. Putting rain pants on top of that is pretty darn insulating and warm. I also often sleep with most of my clothes on, which allows me to take a lighter sleeping bag. Adding a balaclava and/or gloves makes for much warmer sleeping in cold weather. 

A word about weather in the Bend. Anytime between October and March, you can expect anything from swelteringly warm weather (sunny 80's or even 90's) to bone-chillingly cold and wet (teens and rain, even snow and blizzards).  Be prepared to maintain your body temp in all of these kinds of weather. For reference, check out my BBC trip reports, Round the Bend in 14 Days (the days 1-9) and Round the Bend in 16 Days (the days, December 4-8). You might be shocked at how fast conditions can change and how severe they can become.

That said, the Bend is a fantastic and wonderful place, and you, Losthiker, seem to have everything you need - physically, mentally, and equipment-wise - to take it on.  You're going to do well. Good luck on your adventures!!!!!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 04:48:04 PM by House Made of Dawn »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Losthiker68

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2018, 03:53:36 PM »
ElHombre,

The practice run is exactly what I'm planning to do.

I'm going to do a 10-15 mile day hike with my full pack at Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway next weekend. I'll carry everything I'm planning to have with me on the OML, including food and water.

In October I'm going to do an overnight at either LBJ Grasslands or Colorado Bend also with full pack. I've hiked CB before so I'm leaning toward LBJ, but open to suggestions of anywhere within 2-3 hours of Granbury (45 minutes SW of Fort Worth).

In November I'm going to do a 2-day hike at Caprock Canyons. One of the two will be at North Prong campsite, primitive.
Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. - John Muir

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Offline Hookim

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2018, 05:55:36 PM »
ElHombre,

The practice run is exactly what I'm planning to do.

I'm going to do a 10-15 mile day hike with my full pack at Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway next weekend. I'll carry everything I'm planning to have with me on the OML, including food and water.

In October I'm going to do an overnight at either LBJ Grasslands or Colorado Bend also with full pack. I've hiked CB before so I'm leaning toward LBJ, but open to suggestions of anywhere within 2-3 hours of Granbury (45 minutes SW of Fort Worth).

In November I'm going to do a 2-day hike at Caprock Canyons. One of the two will be at North Prong campsite, primitive.
I've only driven through CC in August. Let us know how that one is. Have wanted to return...

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2018, 08:21:57 AM »
If you're looking to lighten your load on a budget, you can find some lightweight/ultralight gear lists purchased exclusively from Walmart. This was 8 years ago, but this guy put together his big four (shelter, bag, pack, sleeping pad) at 10 lbs. for less than $100. Might give you some ideas anyway.
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
   To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
   And all around me a voice was a'sounding
   This land was made for you and me

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2018, 09:18:11 AM »
ElHombre,

The practice run is exactly what I'm planning to do.

I'm going to do a 10-15 mile day hike with my full pack at Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway next weekend. I'll carry everything I'm planning to have with me on the OML, including food and water.

In October I'm going to do an overnight at either LBJ Grasslands or Colorado Bend also with full pack. I've hiked CB before so I'm leaning toward LBJ, but open to suggestions of anywhere within 2-3 hours of Granbury (45 minutes SW of Fort Worth).

In November I'm going to do a 2-day hike at Caprock Canyons. One of the two will be at North Prong campsite, primitive.

Have you done Mineral Wells Trailway before? I've done a large section of it and it was REALLY flat and kind of boring. The trails actually in the state park are pretty good to me though.

Dinosaur Valley in Glen Rose has some good trails. Some with some semi decent elevation gain for around here. (I'm in Cleburne)
Cleburne has decent trails for hiking but no backpacking sites.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2018, 10:36:10 AM »
I agree with Wrangler88 on the Mineral Wells Trailway. It’s awfully flat (former railbed). For that matter, the LBJ Grasslands are pretty flat, too. However - for my money - they’re much prettier than the Trailway, and a great place to go birding. But for a local trail system that is a little more like Big Bend, I think the suggestion of Dinosaur Valley SP is spot on. AND you get a nice river to cool off in when you’re done!!!


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"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Losthiker68

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2018, 11:23:31 AM »
Wrangler,

Actually the flat and boring is kinda the point of doing it first.

First test-run with the full pack on a path with virtually no challenge.

Second run on some actual trails with a primitive overnight.

Third run - add in some elevation changes.
Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. - John Muir

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2018, 03:09:48 PM »
Wrangler,

Actually the flat and boring is kinda the point of doing it first.

First test-run with the full pack on a path with virtually no challenge.

Second run on some actual trails with a primitive overnight.

Third run - add in some elevation changes.

Smart. Like I said before, you got this.



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"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Losthiker68

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Re: Backpack feels "bulky"
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2018, 05:03:51 PM »
In the past I've had a bad habit of taking too big of a bite when trying something new.  Now that I'm married, to quote my lovely wife, I'm "not allowed to do that stupid crap anymore".  So now I'm more about baby steps.
Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. - John Muir

 


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