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What are you doing RIGHT NOW to get ready for Big Bend Backpacking Season?

  • 44 Replies
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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 2522
The "shoulder months" are nearing.  What are you doing right now to get ready (equipment purchases, equipment prep, personal prep, and etc.)?
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline DesertRatShorty

  • Diamondback
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  • 280
    • Who was Desert Rat Shorty?
Too many things to list here, it'll have to wait till the next trip report. But I will share one item I've picked up that may be useful to others. The hip belt bottle holder from Jandd Mountaineering. Much better balance and hip transfer than carrying water in your pack.
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 dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2522
Too many things to list here, it'll have to wait till the next trip report. But I will share one item I've picked up that may be useful to others. The hip belt bottle holder from Jandd Mountaineering. Much better balance and hip transfer than carrying water in your pack.

I have never adjusted fully to the immense water load required in the Bend.  I like your hip belt idea.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline wrangler88

  • Coyote
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  • 247
I may try to do the OML or a trip to BBRSP this fall/winter. Haven't really decided for sure. It's been about 10 years since I've backpacked at BB.

Been reading a lot on the forums. And started walking on incline on a treadmill almost everyday. (I know its not hiking but I need that ac when its over 100!)

Just about to start to get into backpacking season. I have my first over night trip since early spring tomorrow. Then have another planned at Guadalupe Mountains National Park at the first of September. Have a couple new pieces of gear I want to try out. Got a Six Moon Designs Gatewood Cape and Net and one of the 1oz canister stoves that I haven't used in the field yet.

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Offline Hang10er

  • Black Bear
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  • 561
  • "Do what you want before it's too late"
I've started prepping for my Oct trip by posting my itinerary on here both for suggestions and the therapeutic benefit of writing it out.

I've begun the packing list in my mind and will start getting it on paper really soon (although it's months off).

I've also kind of started a physical assessment in my mind of not only my equipment but of my personal health and ability.  I'll decide on a plan of action to address any found deficiencies, i.e., tent to heavy, leave it or get a lighter one, belly too big, eat less, run more or do both. 

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Offline GaryF

  • Coyote
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  • 151
My goal for this winter is a 6 day trip down Telephone, up the Strawhouse, and across Ernst Basin. Toward that end:

Backpack - My little Zpacks pack is just not up to the loads that will include 3 gallons of water at a couple of points in the trip. I've been playing around with my old pack, an almost 20 year old North Face Thin Air, trying to decide if it's still a viable option. If not, the Seek Outside Divide is my leading candidate for a new pack that will be able to handle desert water loads.

Kitchen - I've never been big on the freeze dried meals. Not that they aren't good, but they are expensive, and they have a lot of packaging compared to grocery store alternatives. I'm rethinking that, at least for desert hiking. I like the water savings for one thing, no cleanup required.  Thinking along those lines, a smaller, lighter cook pot would be sufficient, maybe a Toaks 650ml. I also need a longer spoon to get to the bottom of those freeze dried pouches. Maybe the MSR Folding Spoon, or the Optimus extendable spoon.

Sleeping Pad - On my OML hike this past Jan, I didn't sleep very well. A Thermarest Prolite small pad, on top of a 3/8" closed cell pad, seemed good in theory, but after 2 nights of tossing and turning, my hips were sore and felt almost bruised.  I found a good deal on a Thermarest Xtherm pad, which should solve the issue, but I'm still trying to come up with something reasonably lightweight to put under the Xtherm to protect it from thorns.

Fitness / Weight loss - If I don't get my act together, this trip may be out of my comfort zone. The OML pushed my limits more than I like to admit. Part of that was because of almost zero training carrying a loaded pack. Part of it was because I need to lose some weight, and I'm behind on my targets for weight loss. Aerobically I do ok, I got up Juniper Canyon without too much trauma, but walking down Blue Creek the next day with the brakes on just about did me in. Across the Dodson, all I could manage was about 1 mile per hour, on average.  I will not attempt this longer hike unless I'm about 30 lbs lighter than I was in January.

My other challenge may be getting the time off work. The little IT services company that I work for just landed a contract that will more than double our size between August and October. With that will come a lot of challenges, and it may be difficult to take a full week off.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 05:15:29 PM by GaryF »

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Offline Jalco

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1107
So, I ran across this "poor man's" training regimen, involving potatoe sacks

Week 1: Put a 5-lb potato sack in your backpack.  Walk about 1-2 miles every day.
Week 2: Increase distance to 2-5 miles.
Week 3: Put a 10-lb potato sack in your backpack.  Walk about 1-2 miles every day.
Week 4: Increase distance to 2-5 miles.
Week 5: Go back to the 5-lb potato sack.  This time, put in 1 or 2 potatoes.......
 8)

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Offline horns93

  • Roadrunner
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  • 87
Training - I've upped my running to 10-15 miles per week. Try to get out for day hikes at least once per month. Once the weather cools off a bit I plan on day hiking with a full pack.

Equipment - I have been researching quilts to switch from a sleeping bag. I find a sleeping bag too confining considering how much I turn at night. Been looking at the Themarest Corus HD and will probably purchase it as soon as it goes on sale. If anyone has any good quilt recommends in the 200-300 range I would appreciate it.

I'm doing my first OML in November and plan to be ready for it. I'm planning a couple of weekend backpacking trips in the fall. I would like to hit Colorado Bend and Garner SP if I can work it out.

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Offline Cookie

  • Golden Eagle
  • Diamondback
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  • 376
  • "you never slow down, you never grow old" T.P.
Equipment - I have been researching quilts to switch from a sleeping bag. I find a sleeping bag too confining considering how much I turn at night. Been looking at the Themarest Corus HD and will probably purchase it as soon as it goes on sale. If anyone has any good quilt recommends in the 200-300 range I would appreciate it.



I can't say enough good things about these quilts https://enlightenedequipment.com/quilts/
Me and El Hombre both have the "Revelation"  and it has performed in the teens to  20 degree temps and opened up for those warmer nights. We even bought one for our 13 year old that she will use for many years to come. BUY IT!!!!

~Cookie

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Offline Talusman

  • Black Bear
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  • 535
The "shoulder months" are nearing.  What are you doing right now to get ready (equipment purchases, equipment prep, personal prep, and etc.)?

Why, going backpacking and logging miles and vertical on rough terrain! Just got back from Big Bend. It's green and beautiful with lots of water. Rained three times, hard, from Friday to Saturday night, Go NOW!
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline Homer Wilson

  • Black Bear
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  • 562
Stairs and uphill runs! Also, it's already backpacking season!  Talsuman and I were there this weekend and it was amazing weather.  Even in the desert, it was much better than the weather in Austin!

Desert Rat - I'm intrigued by the hip pack for water.  I too hate all the water weight on my back.  I strap two one liter bladders to the front straps of my pack.  Works great but it's hard to keep them from flapping around.  Having water on the waist seems a little more stable, and completely removes the load from your shoulders instead of just balancing it better.

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Offline dprather

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2522
The "shoulder months" are nearing.  What are you doing right now to get ready (equipment purchases, equipment prep, personal prep, and etc.)?

Why, going backpacking and logging miles and vertical on rough terrain! Just got back from Big Bend. It's green and beautiful with lots of water. Rained three times, hard, from Friday to Saturday night, Go NOW!

I love the Bend in August - I just can't get free right now
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Flash

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2097
What are you doing right now to get ready (equipment purchases, equipment prep, personal prep, and etc.)?

Mental:
Trying to shake off the between trip doldrums.
Still kind of processing my last two trips. Good trips: One solo and one with my wife.
Younger son has declared his interest and willingness to do the OML with me next spring break (might try to switch this to winter break).

Physical:
Mowing the St. Augustine on our corner lot weekly with a push mower.
Taking our lab for his evening walks.
Using stairs at the work place most the time.
Trying to get motivated for a bit more serious exercise (see spring break OML above).

Equipment:
Putting Bilstein 5100 shocks on the Tacoma. Did the rear shocks myself. Now either doing the fronts myself or may pay a shop to stick them on.
Adding to my onboard tire repair gear.
Backpacking gear-wise I am currently pretty content to work with what I have, but perhaps just figure out how to utilize it better.

- Flash

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Offline horns93

  • Roadrunner
  • *
  • 87
Equipment - I have been researching quilts to switch from a sleeping bag. I find a sleeping bag too confining considering how much I turn at night. Been looking at the Themarest Corus HD and will probably purchase it as soon as it goes on sale. If anyone has any good quilt recommends in the 200-300 range I would appreciate it.



I can't say enough good things about these quilts https://enlightenedequipment.com/quilts/
Me and El Hombre both have the "Revelation"  and it has performed in the teens to  20 degree temps and opened up for those warmer nights. We even bought one for our 13 year old that she will use for many years to come. BUY IT!!!!

~Cookie

Awesome! Thanks for the recommend. I've heard good things about their quilts.

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Offline Homer67

  • Passionate Backpacker
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 825
  • Be Amazing.
Re: What are you doing RIGHT NOW to get ready for Big Bend Backpacking Season?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2017, 12:30:42 PM »
I have a Corus. I love it.

Right now I am mulling over a 6- or 7-night return for a Quemada Loop.  I'd love an extended hike with only myself for my 50th. I am considering a new pack; I think I want an Osprey Exos 58 for trips that I do not have to haul camp for 3 - Osprey's AG system is tops.

Ah Big Bend, we will soon return to reacquaint ourselves in our ritual of blood, exhaustion and dehydration. How can we resist the temptation to strip ourselves of the maladies of civilization?

 


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