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Questions tagged [backpacking]

Questions related to backpacking equipment, routes, safety concerns, or issues related to traveling on foot while carrying all of one's equipment (such as accessibility of certain regions to foot travelers, weather affecting backpackers, etc.).

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32 votes
6 answers
5k views

What precautions should I take to protect myself and my camp from bears?

Most of my prior hiking experience has been in areas that are not home to bears, so what precautions should I take to protect my camp (and myself as I am hiking) from bears. I am aware of a couple of ...
pkaeding's user avatar
  • 858
122 votes
18 answers
63k views

What is the most efficient food to take a for a 12-15 day hiking trip?

Last summer I spent 15 days hiking with my boyfriend, in Sarek National Park, where there are no places to restock with more food. The food issue was a major part of the pre-planning, as weight was ...
victoriah's user avatar
  • 2,331
33 votes
1 answer
2k views

How are sleeping bag temperature ratings determined?

One things that has always troubled me when buying a sleeping bag is the temperature rating. When looking at a bag that claims to be a +15°F bag (for example) how do I know that it is really good ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
21 votes
6 answers
1k views

What are some proven methods of training for week long backpacking trips at high altitude?

I'm going to Colorado to visit a friend and we will be going on a week long trek across a couple of 14'ners. I'm looking for some ways to help prepare my body for trip.
Justin Self's user avatar
  • 3,265
45 votes
7 answers
8k views

What are some good tips and techniques for packing a backpack?

How do I pack a backpack to prevent injury to my back and keep it comfortable while hiking?
Reverend Gonzo's user avatar
65 votes
8 answers
25k views

What are good knots to know for camping and backpacking?

I once tied a bear bag with a haphazard bundle of knots, and despite being seemingly impossible to untie, it came loose when lowering the bear bag and nearly smoked my friend standing under it. What ...
whatsisname's user avatar
  • 10.7k
28 votes
8 answers
22k views

Why do people who backpack sleep in tents instead of tarps?

I know that this has been debated for some time (whether it is better to sleep in a tent or a tarp) but recently this debate came up between my friends and me, and I am just feeling out this possible ...
Carlos's user avatar
  • 466
25 votes
7 answers
17k views

Cheese and eggs on backpacking trips

I have taken some hard cheeses onto backpacking trips quite successfully without spoilage, but I have not dared taking more than I can eat in about 3 days. Eggs I have not dared to take. I am ...
DudeOnRock's user avatar
  • 7,491
16 votes
1 answer
616 views

How well does solar recharging work when strapped to the backpack?

This answer recommends solar cells to recharge batteries. However, this likely works best during a layover day. I usually don't have those. For a nice-to-have situation, how well does it work to ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

How are backcountry campground reservations enforced?

It seems that in the backcountry of Canadian parks, one may only camp on campgrounds, and reservations are required. For example, in Jasper National Park, one must camp on campgrounds to be reserved ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 27.3k
13 votes
4 answers
2k views

Stove/fuel setup for harsh conditions

We already have topics on fuels here and here which give quite an overview. Also REI gives some info how to choose your stove and fuel properly. Still I would like to know what are the best options ...
Wills's user avatar
  • 12.2k
12 votes
1 answer
15k views

What is the best way to re-waterproof a nylon tarp?

I have a ProForce All Weather Shelter, which is listed as being "210T rip-stop nylon". On a recent outing, we had four hours of rain overnight and it leaked on me the entire time. Upon closer ...
Jeff W's user avatar
  • 1,813
11 votes
1 answer
7k views

What kind of Tyvek is suitable for footprint material

When buying Tyvek online, there appear to be a myriad of options and numbers. Which numbers are suitable for making a tent footprint? Known numbers: 1443R, 1622E, 10G, 10GX, 1460, RV, 14M... (may ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
38 votes
10 answers
203k views

How much should your backpack weigh?

For a multi-day backpacking trip, what is the ideal weight of a backpack? And what is that max weight that no sane human should go over?
PBeezy's user avatar
  • 483
30 votes
5 answers
7k views

What to do if you are above timberline and your descent is cut off by a large forest fire?

The situation: you are backpacking and are above timberline. Streams are ubiquitous, you are well equipped so exposure is not a problem, the entire party is uninjured and healthy. But a large, ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
24 votes
3 answers
928 views

As an experienced backpacker in the Eastern US, what should I know before hiking in the Western US?

I have done a good deal of hiking and backpacking in the Eastern US (mostly in New England), but I recently moved to California. What are the major differences in terms of preparation or equipment ...
pkaeding's user avatar
  • 858
23 votes
10 answers
2k views

How can I boost morale on long backpacking trips?

Not just children can be whiny on long backpacking trips. I am interested in learning how to boost morale with both, adult groups, or when hiking with children.
SierraCalifornicus's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
5k views

What do you do if the fire does get "out of control"?

Let's say you are camping with a large group, and someone starts a camp fire. You're away for a bit and come back to find everyone panicking and the fire to be much larger than actually planned (ie, ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
2k views

Bear bags vs Bear canisters: which is better?

Most people I know and myself store food in bear bags. However, I have heard that some parks have banned bear bags and require canisters. I've also heard there is a bear in New York that has figured ...
whatsisname's user avatar
  • 10.7k
18 votes
11 answers
35k views

How do I fold in / tidy up the straps on my rucksack?

I bought a new rucksack. However, how can I tidy up and hide away the myriad straps so they don't flap about and get caught in things?
Andrew Welch's user avatar
  • 1,337
17 votes
5 answers
23k views

Are there any low sodium freeze dried meals?

For health reasons, I usually try to keep my sodium intake fairly low. However, most freeze dried dinners offered in camping stores contain an more sodium than I'm looking for. I consider 800mg a ...
17 votes
6 answers
13k views

What is the proper way to tarp tent to avoid condensation?

I tried pitching a tarp instead of a tent this weekend. In worked well, kept off the rain etc, except for the condensation. It was far worse than any condensation I've ever had in a tent. We had ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
16 votes
3 answers
13k views

How can I locate the leak in a inflatable pad

I went camping last trip and my nice inflated pad... deflated. I always carry a patch kit but I discovered another issue: I couldn't find the leak. The leak was small. It took quite a while of me ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
710 views

How much experience is needed with llamas to hike with a llama, on one's own?

I've seen people on multi-day hikes with a llama, and the llama seems docile and easily led. It seems too good to be true. I would never go out with a mule or a horse on my own. If my husband and I ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
15 votes
7 answers
7k views

Is a type of walking trailer a good alternative to a heavy backpack in off-road conditions?

Heavy backpacks can spoil the pleasures of being in the outdoors. There are two ways to resolve this: Carry less Find an alternative to the backpack While the first option is usually the best one, ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 890
14 votes
6 answers
11k views

What are the pros and cons of air pads vs foam pads for backpacking?

Backpacking sleeping pads come in two basic types, foam and air, with some of the air pads being self-inflating. What are the pros and cons of each and how would one decide which type to get?
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
1k views

Advantages to hammock camping on multi-night trips

This question asks what the downsides are to hammock camping, but doesn't really address the reasons why you would want to sleep in a hammock to camp. Let's say I'm backpacker new to the idea of ...
montane's user avatar
  • 5,585
14 votes
3 answers
6k views

Solo-backpacking in mountain lion country

I've read that to take precautions in mountain lion country, people should hike and camp in groups. Does that mean solo-backpacking is not advisable in mountain lion country (Rocky Mountains in my ...
Kyle Cureau's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
1k views

How should I pack for a week of backpacking in the rain?

So, next week I will be leaving on a hiking trip, which was supposed to be in the middle of summer whilst it's at its hottest, but instead it will be raining all week. Luckily there are public use '...
David Mulder's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Does a pound on your foot equal 5 pounds on your back?

I have heard a number of people say that a pound on your foot equals 5 pounds on your back. Is there any hard evidence to support this claim and how does the terrain affect it?
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 10.7k
11 votes
3 answers
967 views

Proper food storage against black bears on a LONG (e.g., 14 days) trip, partly in black bear country? (enough bear canisters not practical)

This question is prompted by the replies to Questions about specifics of black bear encounter with mother and yearling cub. That question was about an encounter over 30 years ago, before the era of ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 23.9k
11 votes
2 answers
6k views

Combining a Frontpack with a Backpack while hiking

There is a current trend to carry babies in a pack on your front (Wikipedia does not show it but Google images has lots of hits 'front baby carrier') If you are hiking with a backpack, is including a ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

How much does it cost to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail?

It's been a dream of mine to thru-hike the AT ever since I first discovered it. I'm hoping to plan a trip one of these days, but honestly don't even know where to start as far cost. I imagine it could ...
montane's user avatar
  • 5,585
9 votes
1 answer
525 views

How do you predict weather with an altimeter while mountaineering and or backpacking?

I do know that if your elevation rises while staying in the same position, the pressure is decreasing and that it is a sign of bad weather incoming and a decrease in elevation means that the pressure ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
10k views

Frequency of crime/assault on the Appalachian Trail

I don't think of myself as being a paranoid individual, but I am cautious about people I meet when hiking. For example, if I am eating lunch at a site less than a mile from an infrequently used trail ...
StrongBad's user avatar
  • 10.7k
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

How is the maximum legal altitude for campfires determined?

In most national parks in the United States, campfires are prohibited above certain elevations (9,600 ft for Yosemite,10,000 ft for Ansel Adams with exceptions). This is a good thing because after a ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
52 votes
9 answers
11k views

Are there any advantages while backpacking to hike during the night and sleep during the day?

This is something I have pondered on multiple occasions, when the light of the full moon and the altitude induced insomnia kept me awake long into the night. I realize that this would be an unusual ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
48 votes
12 answers
16k views

How do I make people not be afraid of me and my dogs?

I like to hike, and I have two large dogs (German Shepherd, Presa Canario). After a long hike I look reasonably homeless (long hair, unshaven, muddy). Combined with two large, potentially dangerous ...
Censored to protect the guilty's user avatar
41 votes
12 answers
13k views

Is it poor etiquette to ask fellow backpackers where they have been/where they are going?

I got a comment here that said, Please omit the "Where have you been?" part of your social interaction. That is going to set me more on edge, not put me at ease. It sounds "stalker-ish", which is ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
40 votes
6 answers
3k views

Backpacking or hiking in areas open to hunting

A lot of areas that are good for hiking or backpacking are also popular hunting grounds. I am an avid backpacker and hiker, but I do not know much about hunting. How do I find out what is the ...
Jan Hlavacek's user avatar
  • 2,678
34 votes
4 answers
3k views

Handling feminine hygiene on multiple-month treks?

How can I handle multiple months of menstrual cycles on a long trek like the Appalachian Trail? I am asking about how to handle the mess. Here are my personal considerations: Using hormonal birth ...
Clare Steen's user avatar
  • 1,404
32 votes
5 answers
33k views

Tent and sleeping bag: pack inside or strap outside a backpack?

When I bought my pack, we were told to always pack the tent and sleeping bag in the pack. Since then I have seen a lot of articles and hikers doing the outside. What are the benefits on packing the ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
31 votes
12 answers
15k views

Toothpaste in the back-country and the principle of leave no trace

I am a staunch proponent of leave no trace. I don't carry dish detergent (sand and small rocks work much better on stainless steel anyways,) and I don't use soap or shampoo, not even of the ...
DudeOnRock's user avatar
  • 7,491
29 votes
7 answers
1k views

How to cheaply introduce someone to backpacking

I meet a fair number people who would like to try backpacking. Unfortunately the initial cost seems to be pretty high. Even an overnight requires a lot of big ticket gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc). ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
2k views

How to calculate backpacking food requirements for a dog

So I know how to calculate how many additional calories a day I need while backpacking. My question is how do I calculate how much food my dog will need while backpacking. I'm hoping for a general ...
Justin C's user avatar
  • 3,515
28 votes
7 answers
4k views

How safe is it for women to hike alone?

Should a woman legitimately fear to be assaulted or raped on popular backpacking trails in the US when hiking by herself? How common are attacks of that nature? How does it compare to residential ...
SierraCalifornicus's user avatar
27 votes
14 answers
9k views

Are there any situations while backpacking that would require a watch?

One of my favorite things about backpacking is the absence of time constraints, you eat when hungry, sleep when tired and sort of track how much time is left until dark. Would there be any situations ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
25 votes
14 answers
14k views

Am I packing too much for a 2-3 day hike in the forests?

I have decided that I would like to hike. I have read a bit on hiking, and bought some gear and a backpack to get started. I want to start with backpacking through mostly flat forests, and later ...
K.L.'s user avatar
  • 353
25 votes
2 answers
1k views

What to look for in a durable, 3-season sleeping bag?

I'm looking to purchase a camping sleeping bag. I'd like one that's high-quality, durable, and suitable for weekend hiking/camping trips during spring, summer, and fall in New England. (Most of my ...
Laura's user avatar
  • 1,365
23 votes
5 answers
12k views

Why don't we apply the principles of layering when it comes to pants?

Whenever I see clothing articles geared toward hiking and backpacking that discuss layering (base layer for wicking, mid layer for insulation, etc.), they always seem to discuss these things in terms ...
Ryan Jarvis's user avatar