New to all of this!

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by TheArchyBunker, Jul 14, 2018 at 12:36 AM.

  1. TheArchyBunker

    TheArchyBunker Tracker

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    So I am looking at doing a section of the Maah Daah Hey in Western ND later this fall with a group. I've never done any backpacking so doing the short leg of the three that the groups splitting into. I'm looking at some short trails in the area and just trying to figure out, for my very first time out what type of pace should I shoot for and how long should I look at setting for a total length?

    I was looking at a 13.5 mile one not far from my house, and was debating if I should just have my wife drop me off, push for the full 13.5 in a day, camp for the night return to the start the next day and get picked up, or even go super slow and have a pick up at the end of it and just be lazy and set up a camp over night. 13.5 is not long at all by any means, but never having been on a trail before. Was looking at baby baby steps.

    Thoughts? Advice?
     
  2. Crusher0032

    Crusher0032 Appalachian Arthfael Supporter

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    I think a lot of this depends on what kind of shape you're in, how much your pack weighs, your skill level, and the steepness of the terrain you hike in. 5 miles can be a very long way if your pack isn't fitting right, or you're in some rough terrain.

    You might start a little slower and try a couple 5-8 mile day hikes with the load you plan to overnight with later to see if you have your gear packed right before you try a longer trip. I day hike often but carry everything I would take for a few days, using the day hikes like a training event to help determine any problems I have with my pack or load. HTH
     
  3. GoKartz

    GoKartz Sharpaholic Supporter

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    Hey Archy,

    I think it really depends on your terrain, your fitness, and your experience hiking. Sadly, I’ve never been to ND, so I have no idea if there’s a lot of flats or a lot of hills or a nice mix. More hills or steeper hills will slow even the fittest person down.

    I think a 13.5 mile trail is very doable in a day, but I would treat it as you will your hike in Maah Daah Hey - I wouldn’t try to fly down the trail or go super slow, go at a pace you think is sustainable. I would try to start earlier in the morning so you have the most daylight possible - we have something like 13hrs of daylight right now, which should be plenty of time to do the trail, even if it means hiking past when you’d rather stop. But definitely camp out that night - partly because it’s a blast, and partly so you can use your gear and get experience packing and unpacking/setting it up.

    Have fun! It’s addicting. :)
     
  4. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    That's definitely doable. Try it, camp out one night and see how it goes.

    You might love it but you might also hate it.
     
  5. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    Assuming you have cell reception, then I would just go at a leisurely pace and play it by ear. If 6.5 miles in a day is comfortable, then get picked up at the end of the 13 miles the next day. If 10 miles is comfortable, hike 10 out and 10 back and get picked up at the start. Spend your time practicing camp chores while leaving no trace - water purification, cooking and clean-up, take a shower, how to poop in the woods, how to avoid bug, etc.... you'll probably learn more about camping and what gear you need/don't need, than about hiking (other than how weight slows you down).
     
  6. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Still going Supporter

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    Baby steps are good brother.
    You can make more than one trip.
    In the beginning don't get hung up on making big mileage.
    Have fun not a death march.
     
  7. bosque bob

    bosque bob Scout

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    Lots of good advice already. Sounds like a reasonable start on a great way to see the world - or at least part of it. You might consider loading your pack and see how it "walks" before hitting a trail for real. An hour or so on flat ground at an easy pace may tell you how the pack carries and you feel about it. Avoid concrete and asphalt if you can though. Staying out is a good plan as others mentioned. One thing to keep in mind is that while distance is an important consideration terrain can't be overlooked. Have fun in any case. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.
     
  8. SideshowRaheem

    SideshowRaheem Tracker

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    Really all depends on what kind of shape you are in and the terrain like others have mentioned.

    Not a bad idea to stick close to home though just until you get your gear and your packing locked down. I know I looked back on when I first started and just shake my head, carried a whole outdoors store on my back it seemed and made awful pace as a result.
     
  9. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Give yourself a trial outing(s).
    Get out with everything you think you need for a few miles. Adjust your load and discard all the stuff you don’t really need.
    After a few trips you’ll figure out what shoes, pack, pack setup, even hat works better.
    Be prepared to have a lot of fun, be sore, get blisters, wish you could stay out there forever, wish you’d stayed home.
     
  10. Skruffy

    Skruffy Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I started backpacking as a lot of beginners do, full loadout and bad footwear, etc... I couldn't hike more than 2 miles without a full stop and rest. It was a painful learning experience. Then I started going on local neighborhood walks with my wife (2-3 miles), wearing my pack (yeah, I got weird looks), but I learned what I could carry comfortably and made a lot of adjustments to my gear. After a lot of research I spent a decent amount of $ on good hikers (it's a good idea to visit several outfitters and get competitive pricing). I figured out my pacing and now know I can do 15 min miles without getting overexerted (depending on the terrain). For my age (55) and physical condition (overweight), I think 4 mph is a good clip. It may take several trips, but you will get 'tuned in'. I can comfortably hike 12 miles/per day and still have energy to set camp and enjoy a good part of the day just enjoying being wherever "there' is. If I really pushed it, I could probably do 20 but I think (for now) that would be pushing beyond what is enjoyable. Backpacking and hiking has been one of the greatest improvements I have made in my life recently! I've lost 44 lbs just since Jan and I feel better than I have in years.

    Try not to get frustrated, there is a learning curve. Listen to your body and the great advise people here at BCUSA can offer. Best wishes on your future adventures!! :)
     
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  11. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    I'm with everyone else, it depends on the terrain and the shape you're in. I did a 14mile loop as an overnighter recently which kicked my butt. I'm not in great hiking shape, but not the worst either. Each day was a bit over 7 miles each day and just under 2k in elevation gain and loss each day. Flater terrain I think it would have been a walk in the park.
     
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  12. TheArchyBunker

    TheArchyBunker Tracker

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    AMAZING! You all are GOOD TO GO! Thank you all so much. I appreciate all of you taking the time to post and comment. Sound advise. I'm gonna load up my pack as best I can. I live on the outskirts of town and got miles upon miles of gravel roads right outside my back door. Footwear oh yeah I am in DIRE need of a good pair for sure. That'll be down the road though, I'm used to blisters and bloody feet. I did basic in the black leather boot days.
     
  13. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    If you went through basic you have all the skills needed for backpacking! It's basically the same as a ruck march, minus the forced rapid pace and with a much more pleasant gear load out to carry haha. I came along after the black leather boot days but I heard many a tale about the agony they caused both walking in them and having to shine them :dblthumb:
     
  14. TheArchyBunker

    TheArchyBunker Tracker

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    Haha! Walking yes a nightmare, I'm odd I took a lot of pride in getting those bad boys to a mirror finish! HOOAH!

    Just stuffed my backpack full of gear and added fillers and tossed in a couple of dumbbells (2x3lbs) for added weight. I don't have high speed ultralight weight gear but as it is it weighed in at 33.5lbs. Lighter than a ruck but not as light as I hear they can get. So Today or tomorrow I'll toss it on and get out and walk some gravel with it on. It's an old old backpack gifted from a friend and one of the anchor strap hinges broke on it as I was adjusting the height (Ugh).
     
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  15. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    A liter of water weights in at 2.2 lbs. Generally depending upon the water sources along the way and the temperature outside you might carry between 1-3 liters at a time.

    Food you generaly end up carrying about 2 lbs per day is what they say. So for an overnighter you should be between 2-3 lbs but I swear I'm always heavy there. On my last hike I was just over 20lbs with food, fuel, and a liter of water. I ended up cameling up and picking up 2 liters at a shelter after climbing over the fist mountain since it was a little ways till the next known water source.

    That should give you an idea of how much weight to add in order to simulate the load you will be carrying. Just be sure to not leave your sleeping bag compressed while using your pack to workout.
     
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  16. TheArchyBunker

    TheArchyBunker Tracker

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    Why not compressed? I'm a poor man my sleeping bag is one of those MMSS (military modular sleep systems) just have the patrol bag in there now as I don't need the whole get up this time of year.

    I figured over weight it to be safe.
     
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  17. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Storing a sleeping bag compressed will perminatly compress the insulation reducing the bags effectiveness. Your sleep system and shelter are pretty vital pices of gear so well worth spending good money on and taking the time to take good care of them. I'm with you on the poor man, I'm in the process of saving my pennies up to purchase a new quilt. The upside is that I'll be able to leave it to one of my sons in my will if I take halfway decent care of it ;) I've taken care of my budget bags as well, heck my very first sleeping bag from when I was a kid is still in service for kids sleep overs, though after 25+ years it's got a seam coming loose.

    Anyway generally we compress our bags for when we load our packs up. Just didn't want you to leave it sitting in the bag compressed. I use stuff sacks for mine and then large storage bags for long term storage on a shelf in my closet.
     
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  18. TheArchyBunker

    TheArchyBunker Tracker

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    Makes total sense! ... and that is awesome about that old bag. I agree I want to be able to hand down some of my gear to my kids. One just went into the Marines and the rest are talking service as well... so they'll get squared away and probably wont need any of my gear by then haha!
     
  19. TheArchyBunker

    TheArchyBunker Tracker

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    Well I loaded up my pack yesterday. As I was making final adjustments to all the straps for height one of the retaining pieces for one of the height straps snapped like a twig. Not sure how that'll effect everything in the long, called the company about it waiting to hear back. But I slapped it on went for a short 3 mile walk around my area and after a while it felt like it was listing to the left (effected strap is right side) not sure if related to the break or just unbalanced load out. But did discover there are some hot spots on the padding and my back. So I have to adjust it some more I found wearing it higher up than the suggested sweet spot i guess helped a lot with that. Comfort first right? But damn that lean I got to sort out that I feel in my shoulder today.
     
  20. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    Everyone seems to have the same thoughts as me. Fitness, terrain, pack weight and footwear. I will add your age to the fitness and pack weight formula. When I was 20. 30. 40, it didn't matter what I carried as long as the pack fit me, I could pack it with relative ease. In my 50's and 60's, I needed to trim every pound and ounce I could to make hauling possible.

    I suggest walking, with or without the pack and definitely buy some decent footwear that feels comfortable. I once took a new pair of boots on a 36 mile hike and luckily had brought my running shoes. I changed into the running shoes after about 5 miles and wore them all the way in and out. I tied the boots to the bottom of my pack so they could kick me in the ass all the way. While I have had my share of blisters and torn up feet, I can say without a doubt that having comfortable feet is far more enjoyable. Break in is very important and work them in before heading out on a long trip. Take some moleskin and spare socks too.

    Bottom line, have fun, be safe and always keep an open mind.
     
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  21. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Was this hight adjusymead for the shoulder straps? Some packs have the ability to raise and lower the shoulder straps to adjust for different hight. That would definitely cause some issues. Otherwise I find making sure the shoulder straps are tensioned evenly is key. When I was still getting back into better(ish) shape I used to switch back and forth between loading weight on my hip belt by tightening it down and loosening up the shoulder straps or the opposite. It was a good way to give your shoulders a break. A lighter load out definitely makes a huge difference though. Part of that is adding the ability to carry more food weight so you can be out longer without resupply. Eventually I'd like to start doing 5 + day hikes family permitting.
     
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  22. TheArchyBunker

    TheArchyBunker Tracker

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    Yup it was one of the shoulder height straps that broke well the buckle thing for it.
     

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