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Brewmeister

Outfitting a troop for backpacking without bankrupting everyone

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When I used to go backpacking alone three decades or so ago, I woke up and hiked five miles before stopping to make some hot chocolate.

 

I made up a bag of ham 'n cheese sandwiches before leaving which I ate twice a day for several days, cooking mac 'n cheese or something similar for dinner. All intensely calorie dense foods.

 

I could easily get along without a stove at all.

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how many scouts did you have along when ya did that seattle??????

 

I imagine your trek was uphill both ways and you shared your three day old ham and cheese sandwiches with bigfoot.....

 

The machismo factor needs to be checked at the door....

 

All this testosterone isn't being all that helpful(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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Just a comment about the tent vs. hammock situation. You can set up a tent anywhere. You can't set up a hammock anywhere. Thus, if it's situation where units will be investing in hammocks OR backpacking tents, I would recommend they get tents. We could not have used hammocks in ANY of the backcountry sites we camped in at Glacier NP this August. As with many of the National Parks, Glacier requires that gear be set up only on the designated tent pads. Lots of places outside National Parks have similar restrictions. Plus, only one of our sites had appropriate trees that would have worked for even a couple of hammocks, let alone for our larger groups.

 

 

 

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Oh there's LOTS of places you can't set up a tent.

I had a Hennessy Hammock that could be pitched as a tent with two trekking poles and a few stakes.(This message has been edited by Eagle732)

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Yeah, I overstated my opinion on that one. Ok, how about this: IMO, based on what I've seen and heard, you can set up numerous backpacking tents in a higher percentage of backpacking campsites that you can set up numerous hammocks.

 

 

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Yeah, you can set up your hammock as a bivy if there are no trees. Not as comfortable though.

 

Only restrictions we've ever encountered were Rangers saying "just as long as you don't damage the trees." Which is why we use straps and don't let anyone rig their hammocks with just lines.

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Without derailing this into a hammock discussion :) there is truth to both viewpoints. There are spots where hammocks will work and tents will not and vice versa, but in most cases both will work.

 

I just use it for comfort. Other than that it's a pain to store your gear or even get dressed versus a tent.

 

Well, it's also kind of fun to be "that guy who's sleeping in a hammock"....

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I'm thinking a lot of this discussion revolves around the varying definitions of words.

 

Camping: Go somewhere set up camp and enjoy the event.

 

Hiking: Walking from one place to the next. Camping may or may not be involved.

 

If camping and hiking are incorporated together, it may or may not be backpacking. For example, day hikes from camp are not in the backpacking definition.

 

If one carries their camp equipment/food from one place to the next on the hike, then it's backpacking. However, once they remove the pack and begin to set up camp now they are camping.

 

The percentage of time "on the trail" makes a big difference in the definitions and how they are blended.

 

This percentage falls into what mathematicians call "fuzzy theory".

 

On the one end if the backpacker is up up at dawn, hikes for 2 hours before breakfast, hikes until lunch, then hikes the afternoon and then has supper and then another hour to just before sunset and then meadow crashes for the night. That is one end of the spectrum.

 

But if the backpacker is up an hour or two after dawn, makes breakfast and is on the trail by 10:00 am, just to stop 2 hours later for lunch, back on the trail for another 4 hours before stopping for supper and setting up camp.

 

And then there are those who think that if they carry their gear from the parking lot 2-3 miles to camp it's a backpacking trip because they "carried in their gear" on their backs.

 

There's a lot of "grey" area between the two extremes that get generically defined as backpacking. The responses in this thread all seem to address much of this variance. Before the trip one has to first define the degree of backpacking that will be involved. For the newbies, maybe the 2-3 hike in from the parking lot will be all they can physically and mentally handle. But the experience is necessary to begin the learning process. What can my body handle, what gear am I really going to need if the next time is a 5-7 mile hike in from the parking lot, etc. Over the years one can expect to push their envelop further and further into the backwoods, eventually running lean and hard into areas most never reach. The level of grey area a person can handle will vary throughout the lifetime of any individual.

 

The point being is that one is not to judge which is better/worse than the others. It's just that people differ in their personal levels. The newbie scout may start out with a lot of "junk" in his pack, but with time and experience, he'll make the adjustments necessary to get out of it what he wants. A 12 year old might struggle with a 5 mile hike to camp from the parking lot, but maybe the 17 year old wants the 100 miler of Philmont. And then there was the Venturing Crew at Philmont the year I was there who was trying to see how many miles they could get in in one trek. They jogged by us at a rather rapid pace. I thought they were nuts, but maybe if I was 18 I might have thought it a pretty neat idea.

 

At all the different levels of backpacking, people can find enjoyment. The thread seemed to be asking the question: what's the next step? How can we push the envelope with what we have and what is going to be necessary to take it to the next level. That is what scouting is all about, the challenge, the adventure.

 

Stosh

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>

 

 

As I noted in my post, Basement --- this is when I was backpacking alone, which I did for 3000 miles or so of backpacking over about ten years time.

 

And it wasn't to show off, since I had no one along. It was simply the cheap and efficient thing to do --- the distillation of experience.

 

jblake 47s post makes a lot of useful points I think.

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Look into Federal Surplus for some of you needs. Contact me by email and I can navigate you through it. Backpacks, Sleeping systems and many other items. Our Troop is set up and we save $$$.

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Look into Federal Surplus for some of you needs. Contact me by email and I can navigate you through it. Backpacks, Sleeping systems and many other items. Our Troop is set up and we save $$$.

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"Many of the discussions on this thread attempt to find happy ground . . . we're going backpacking, but we can only cover 10 miles a day because we're going to need to stop and cook 3 times a day..."

 

For a Troop's first experiment, I'd go for that happy ground: No more than one (1) mile in each direction, and at least one (1) cooked meal per day.

 

A couple of years ago, I introduced "backwoods fishing trips" to our town's only local Troop: Just a half-mile, but at once they saw the potential of replacing a Troop Trailer with backpacks, as if viewing the world for the first time through night vision goggles.

 

I overheard one of the Patrol Leaders say "We could do this ourselves."

 

At Sunday's Thorns & Roses, one of the natural leaders announced that he was going to go to Philmont some day, and another said he was going to start overnights with his little brother on the Appalachian Trail near his family's cabin. Both them them started saving money to buy their own equipment.

 

The Scout who went to Philmont is 18 now, so he and another age-peer can take their self-selected ad hoc Patrol out without linking back up with the rest of the backpacking Patrols at night.

 

We tried a no-cooking trek once, but almost everyone picked as a "thorn," the strangely depressing lack of a cooked meal at the end of the day.

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

http://kudu.net

 

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The no cook meal was a thorn?

You must not have been feeding 'em Pop-tarts. That and Snickers Bars will get a troop down the trail in at top speed. :)

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We tried a no-cooking trek once, but almost everyone picked as a "thorn," the strangely depressing lack of a cooked meal at the end of the day.

 

We encourage a no-cook lunch and a fast cleanup breakfast, but I'm going to have a hot dinner after a day of burning energy on the trail. And we'd like the Scouts to develop the skill to feed themselves something enjoyable and nutritious at the end of the day. It's up to them, of course, but we try to set an example. Of course, lay days are a great time to have an elaborate breakfast.

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