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Old 08-25-2009, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Currently in Oscoda!!
274 posts, read 560,520 times
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I am planning a 7 day hiking trip next year. I am going to start buying my gear now.

Can anyone recommend a back pack? I looked at Gander Mountains website and they had a decent amount to choose from, but don't know what type to choose. I am looking for something between 4,000-6,000 cubic inches.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,659 posts, read 9,391,450 times
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I've got an Osprey Aether that I like. But you don't need to go for high-end stuff. I've also got a lower-end Jansport Big Bear that works just as well. The primary concerns in choosing a backpack are:

- comfort
- big enough to hold your stuff
- material that won't rip or tear when scrape rocks or trees

It doesn't need to be water-resistant - that's what rain covers are for.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:03 AM
 
2,437 posts, read 7,259,686 times
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There's a little company in So Cal called Jandd that makes great bags and packs.
JANDD

They'll even make you a custom one if you want. I have an older non-custom model of theirs and it has been the sturdiest, most ergonomic pack I've ever owned. Worth checking out their site at least.

Before you go on your seven-day trek I highly recommend you rent some gear (from REI or wherever) and then go on a shorter trip, even just an overnighter. You know, to sort of work out the 'bugs'. Seven days is a mighty long time to be stuck on the trail with sub-par gear.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,409,203 times
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I agree with 80. The most important thing is comfort and fit. If you can, go to a store that specializes in backpacking and fitting (REI is really good for this) and spend at least an hour with the salesperson. They will help you to find the right pack in your price range, that fits you well, and is comfortable on you. Don't just buy one online, as they are all very different in fit.

I also agree with treedonkey. It's really important to get yourself ready for a 7 day trip by taking some smaller trips first. 7 days backpacking can be pretty difficult, especially if you're not used to carrying all your gear for days on end.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Currently in Oscoda!!
274 posts, read 560,520 times
Reputation: 143
Thanks for the responses so far. I really appreciate it. I forgot all about REI and I am going to take a look at Jandd. I see REI has a store in ATL which is about 30 mins away, and they have a store back close to my hometown of MI which I am stopping at to pick up my cousin for the CO trip.

I plan on doing a 3 and 5 day trip before my 7 day. I won't be going to CO for these ones, but trips closer to home. I live GA right now and I plan on taking my 2 test runs up in and around Gatlinburg, TN for starters. I definitely need to get my cardio up and make some practice runs.

I was born and raised in MI and have spent my whole life camping. I am used to going hunting/fishing for 7 days in a tent etc, but that's different than hiking and always moving. We would just walk to a certain place and put up camp for the entire trip. But we would not bring much food, just a lot of water. We would eat fresh fish, and always had some MRE's just in-case.

Any good survival/backpacking books you guys could recommend? Books that help with things like preparing water, and the 'must haves' to take with me? I saw on Gander Mountains site about water filtration filters, but I have never had to prepare my own water as we always took water with us.

I am going to spend the next 9-11 months planning, researching, reading and looking for advice from experienced people.

Thanks again.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,659 posts, read 9,391,450 times
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yes I have a little survival book at home which I can recommend. When I get back I'll take it out and write you the info on it.

Here's some stuff that I carry:

* I use a Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter.
* My first aid kit consists of the usual stuff plus prescription IBprofen which I find useful when doing a lot of physical activity outdoors.
* long range walkie talkie with weather channel.
* Etrex Venture HC handheld GPS. You don't need any fancy GPS. This works fine.
* waterproof matches and small lighters
* waterproof my boots and jacket before going out
* some lengths of parachute rope in case I need it for something
* headlamp. cheapo Walmart brand is just perfect. extremely useful for freeing up your hands to cook, set up camp, etc.
* scrubbing brush to clean your cooking utinsels
* camp soap. I use it for everything from washing dishes to washing myself. I usually buy it from campmor.com or cabelas, i don't get the "Walmart" brand because I don't like theirs
* rain cover for your backpack


It's important to stay dry and warm in the mountains, that's why I make sure to spray my boots and outer clothing with water repellant before leaving

If you're going to be putting a lot of miles hiking, moleskin is useful.

I personally don't shop much at REI except if I need special performance stuff. REI gear is very good quality but it's very expensive and it is not necessary for most items. I can stay just as warm and dry with a $7 polypropylene shirt from Walmart. I bought my sleeping bag there because for backpackign you need something with a good compression ratio. I also spent more on my jacket and thermal tops and bottoms (Cloudveil) because if you get good quality material you don't need to layer as much and it lasts a long time.

But most of my camping and backpacking stuff comes from campmor.com, cabelas, and good old Walmart. I'm also partial to Cochlan equipment.

Preparing yourself makes the overall experience safer, easier and more comfortable. In colorado you don't have to worry about bugs or insects (unless you're in an unusual place like the Grand Mesa) so you can safely ignore the parts of the survival books that talk about "biting flies" and black gnats, etc.

You can also not worry about animals. Just take the usual food preparation precautions. Maybe carry a big stick or hunting knife if you want to feel better. But chances are quite good you can go on countless hiking and backpacking trips over the years and never see a bear or anything other than deer and elk. Especially in Colorado. When you get into vast untouched areas like the Bitterroot in Idaho, you'll see the wildlife but even then it's nothing to be concerned about. Once they see you they spook and run away.

Feel free to email me or message me. I grew up in the West and spent most of my life camping, hiking, backpacking. I'd be glad to give some pointers.

Last edited by 80skeys; 08-25-2009 at 01:39 PM..
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Canon City, Colorado
1,331 posts, read 4,512,534 times
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I would suggest.......Sailor Soap!!! Google it, it is a must have for boaters and hikers, etc.!!!!
My oldest son was (until 3 weeks ago) a professor at Johnson&Wales University in Rhode Island. He also worked part time at REI(again until 3 weeks ago) just to get bikes, packs, gear, etc., at an employee discount but, although pricey, well worth it.
I will ask him about your questions when I hear from him again,....probably within a day or two as, he just moved to Antarctica 3 days ago!!
He is with the Raytheon Polar Team so...he knows his stuff...especially about Polar Gear!!HA!!
My other son is on a ship and he says that the Sailor Soap is the best stuff on the planet ( it even lathers and rinses off in salt water!!) Very enviroment friendly!
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:23 PM
 
229 posts, read 670,188 times
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I second the recommendation for the Katadyn Hiker water filter - but the regular is fine and cheaper than the Pro. Water filters are extremely useful. No recommendation for the backpack - maybe find something light in the size range you want that happens to be on sale. A light and compact backpacking sleeping bag is also a must. If you live in the east, you might want to think about a synthetic instead. I prefer down, but we're in a dryer climate.

Don't bother with Gatlinburg unless you like sleeping under the neon lights. If you are in GA, Blood Mountain by you on the Appalachian Trail is a good test run and probably much closer. Or get a permit and do the AT inside Smoky Mtn National Park. A really great and unique trip is also Cumberland Island - its completely different than much of the backpacking you'll find in the rest of the US (and can do in Winter easily).

7 days out here for you will be a killer trip. I'd probably look at the Chicago Basin area - but that will take some planning and is a little harder to get to. And don't plan to hike too many miles per day. A heavy pack will make you go much slower than you'd think and will wear you down.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,659 posts, read 9,391,450 times
Reputation: 2886
Quote:
Originally Posted by movementarian View Post

7 days out here for you will be a killer trip. I'd probably look at the Chicago Basin area - but that will take some planning and is a little harder to get to. And don't plan to hike too many miles per day. A heavy pack will make you go much slower than you'd think and will wear you down.
And also the altitude difference
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,659 posts, read 9,391,450 times
Reputation: 2886
Interesting. I just ordered some. Let's see what it's like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SheridanL View Post
I would suggest.......Sailor Soap!!! Google it, it is a must have for boaters and hikers, etc.!!!!
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