3 day hike: lessons learned

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by phishi, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    First, let me apologize for not posting this sooner. School has started back up for me, and I have not had much time.

    Second, let me get on with this....

    Location was the Smokies. Three of us did about 25 miles (5 the first day, 10 the second and third) over three days and two nights. Melbo has the topo, so I don't know the elevation change. Weather was hot and humid, with the second day having a pretty decent down pour lasting from mid morning to mid afternoon.

    I estimate my pack weight being between 40-50 lbs. When I weighed it at home it was just over 40, but that did not include H2O or food. Below is posted my gear list as I remember it:

    -Osprey Highlander pack: modified by adding a panel of pockets/PALs webbing (done by a local stich-witch), on each side were 2 Kifaru long pockets, a Kifaru Tailgunner II on the top (my new med kit ;) ), and a SOE hydration sleeve clipped to the back, holding a Camelbak 100 oz. bladder. Rain cover included and used to good effect.

    -Mountain Hardwear Haven 3 tent: 6 lbs for a single person is not the best weight to guy ratio. It is what I have however, does keep me dry, and its fricking palacial inside by yourself! Would be better split between two people which is what I originally bought it for. I am currently researching tarps in an effort to reduce the weight of my gear.

    -Mountain Harwear Tranga 25 sleeping bag: Semi rectangular, I'm not sure of the weight. Originally purchased with another because the two bags could be mated together. This one got wet during the down pour, still not sure why as rest of my gear was dry and it was packed in the middle of my bag. Great summer bag, I have found it a little cold during late fall, early spring. As a result, I am researching a better, warmer, lighter bag that could be pressed into service while backpacking/camping solo.

    -Thermarest pad & chair set up: This combo is fast becoming my favorite piece of gear. I packed the pad into the chair sleeve, compressed and folded it a couple of times, and placed in my pack right up against my back. When I got to camp I reinflated the set up and sat my weary bum on it to rest/eat/be social. When it was time for bed I took the pad out and placed it under my sleeping bag. In the morning I just repeated the whole process. I found this to be a versitle and protective way to carry and use this item.

    -Nalgene/Cup/Spoon: This was my cookset for the three days. Melbo was kind enough to supply and carry a Jetboil, and he had a similar set up. The cup was needed for morning coffee. The spoon needed to eat with. The nalgene I found myself questioning.
    The first day we both carried water in our bottles, thinking we might need the extra fluid. That was a heavy mistake that we won't make again [footinmouth]. The next two days we found ourselves with a big empty bottle that took up space in our packs. I ended up putting my spoon, tooth brush, and toothpaste inside, but it still felt like empty space.
    For the pro side of the ledger, we did need two full bottles to cook with, at every meal, for three adult males. It helped that we could fill up, measure what each meal pack took, and pour it into the Jetboil. Ideally, I would like to find a cup that fits around the bottom of a Jetboil, with measuring levels etched on the inside, so that I don't have to take the Nalgene. I would just fill with water from my bladder and be good to go.

    -PUR Hiker H2O filter: Worked well, just like it has every other time I've used it.

    -Clothing: Included shorts, two synthetic/cotton T shirts, two pairs of Smartwool hiking sox, one pair of Patagonia capilene briefs, one pair of Under Armour boxer briefs, a well aged Patagonia R1 zip top, Mountain Hardwear winter wander pants, two bandanas (one BuzzOff), Tilley hat, Patagonia Super Pluma rain jacket, Helly Hansen packable rain pants, and Vasque boots.

    -Personal: Wallet. 750ml Bottle of Jamison. Yeah, I need to slim this down to ID and some emergency funds. That would shed some weight and still allow me to feel like my body could be IDed. 6 more words here, Snow Peak Nine Ounce Titanium Flask. Yeah its overkill, but it looks nice, and I'm worth it.

    -Hygiene: Toothbrush/paste, pack towel. This is the lightest that I can get this, in fact I want to add some 2 in 1 soap. The towel worked especially well. It wiped rain off gear, off my feet, off everything. I actually believe that I need two, one for my gear, and one for me.

    -Tools: Gerber hatchet, Al Mar Sere Operater, Gerber Multiplier, folding screw driver set. I would like to change out the Al Mar, little too large of a blade. I'm thinking something between 3-5 inches. Other tools preformed as asked. Screw driver set could be left at home, especially if you have nothing with screws.....note to self.

    -Survival: AMK Ten essentials was taken. Used primarily as a repair kit, duct tape was used successfully to treat some blisters on my heel, tinder used to start a camp fire the first night. Good piece of kit. Surefire L5 was my flashlight. It really does well in reaching out to strange noises in the dark, but is slightly larger than I need. LED headlamp is on my list as a result. Esbit stove could have stayed at home, next time it will. Compass, back up LED, and firestarter round out the list.

    -Food: 3 days worth of Mountainhouse freeze dried packs. Good assortment, and good food. It not only tastes like a real meal, it looks like the real deal. One of our discussions was that these could be a moral booster in a survival situation, especially to spouses/kids that are having a hard time dealing with the situation. I suggest you get some.

    Lessons learned:
    -Boots need to be tried on in the store with hiking socks, not the thin dress socks that you have on because you just came from work. If they are a half size to small, get some new ones. Other wise you will pay for it with blisters and a bruised toe.

    -Boots that have GoreTex lining will still fill with water if the rain is heavy enough. Imagine walking along and suddenly finding yourself stepping into two 5 gallon buckets. Gaitors might solve this problem without making you too hot.

    -Our rain strategy involved walking in the down pour with only our hats as protection. I believe that had we put on rain gear, our clothing would have been just as wet from sweat. Since most of our clothing was nylon or wool, it would dry pretty fast. When we reached camp, we changed into dry clothes (that is why I had two of everything) and put the wet stuff on a line to dry. I believe that had it still been raining at camp, our raingear would have been needed to keep our dry stuff, well, dry.

    -The trail that you walked out in the rain, is not what you will remember coming back the next day.

    -We averaged 2 miles/hour over some pretty rough terrain. Keep that in mind if you are thinking about bugging out under similar conditions.

    -Trekking poles are starting to look like a good idea. They could double as tent poles for a tarp, improve your balance crossing streams thus saving you from a second day of walking in buckets, and will help your knees both up and down hill.

    -Finally, we are not what we used to be. Melbo and I are about the same age. Our third companion was a 19 year old family friend who kicked our behinds going up and down those hills. Our loads were realistic, and did not include weapons or weapon related gear. Currently I do not believe that I could bug out under what I would list as a combat load. I need to get back into shape, as well as lighten some of my gear. Keep that in mind when you are making preps.


    PS: I hope that melbo will feel free to chime in here
  2. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member


    I enjoyed my 1 mile hike and 3 mile hike in the mtns with the 4 and 6 year old kids. One thing I noticed, even on this short hike, is the humidity caused that spot on the inner thighs that rub together to get a little "chaffing". Nothing bad on my slow hikes, but I can only imagine having a real problem on a long hike. What is the best way to prevent this?

    I considered this upon my return and thought a pair of nylon biking shorts under the shorts would solve this problem, but add some heat to the 'satchel' area. Nothing that can't be fixed with a good evening airing out around a camp fire.

    Your thoughts?
  3. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    On our LRRP's in the early 80's we used nylon's. Of course that was in the day before the spandex.
    You could get them wet waist deep in water and they would dry out on the move ina short time.
  4. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Most chafing I have, I've always contributed to heat/friction in the area, and/or wetness/sweat that was trapped, or lack of support. In the end the result is always the same.

    The first day out I wore the capilene briefs with great results. I was bone dry by the end of the five miles, even though my t shirt was drenched in sweat. I was so impressed, that I choose to wear them the second day. Between the rain and the greater distance I found that I had developed a spot about 1" wide by 3-5" long, but only on my left thigh. I attribute this to a seam that wasn't sewn as well as it could have been.
    The third day, as a result, I wore the UA boxer briefs. I first tried these under my scrubbs at work without much success. I'm on my feet, moving, most of the day. I have had similar issues with cotton boxer briefs and though that the UA would solve the problem. To date I have had little success and feel that it is due to my scrub pants slipping down, taking the UA with them, thus eliminating all protection.
    True to form, I found that my pack waist belt pushed my nylon shorts down, taking my boxers with them. The result was a long hike with thighs that were rubbed fairly raw. Currently I am still looking for a good pair of underwear that would protect that area and be durable.

    -Purchase a pair of nylon boxer briefs like you proposed. Get ones with as much support as you can find. Make sure that they have flat seams that aren't out of true. Thin waist band would round out what I think is important. Companies to consider might include Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, Duofold, Under Armour, etc. Wool might work also.

    -Sportslick Lubricating Gel. This product, or other similar, should be available at outdoor or running stores. Coat it where you think you are going to have friction and off you go. Uses besides your crotch include your feet and your armpits. I'm seriously thinking that this and the nylon boxer briefs are the way to get around this problem.

    Hope this helps,
  5. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Thanks for the post Phishi. It seems like we all have lots of bags stuffed with goodies, but actually carrying all of that stuff is just about impossible. With a wife, two kids and another on the way I think that bugging out, unless by vehicle is not in the cards for us.
  6. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member


    I agree with EL. With small children, there ain't gonna be no backpacking unless you want to hike 2-4 miles a day with all your stuff on your back for a family of 4-5.

    I switched to the bugin mentality until I have a potential retreat.
  7. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Hahahahahaha... to those "Walk 200 miles with a full load" guys... Hahahahah

    NOT gonna happen!!!

    I had thinned myself down to a backpacking load and it was one of the first times I went into the woods un armed.

    Had problems with my feet, and my groin chafe.
    Kifaru Navigator was just fine. I've got some more in the way of reviews but I'll put up these pics for tonight...
    DSC01087.JPG DSC01102.JPG DSC01108.JPG DSC01111.JPG DSC01114.JPG DSC01116.JPG DSC01128.JPG DSC01133.JPG DSC01138.JPG
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    and a few more pics
    DSC01140.JPG DSC01142.JPG DSC01153.JPG
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yeah I figure a 100 mile hike to our alternate location if we HAD to BO would be the LAST resort and would be hopeing for 2 weeks to get it done but wouldnt be surprised if it was closer to 3 or 4 weeks.
  10. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Nice pics....

    Looks like it was a good time and some good lessons learned.....

    Wish I was there...:)
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I (in a way) envy those that willingly load up a 40 pounder and hit the trail. These days, 40 pounds gets humped 6 feet at a time over a long period. I think I could manage 20 for a long day. A bit out of shape would be a charitable description of my conditioning --. That is some gorgeous country
  12. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Nice pics man. Great looking hills.

    At 8K high feet up a mountain here, we always get a kick out of the hunters from the valley of our state here trying to hike up here and hunt. Non smokers look like smokers at 8k in altitude.
  13. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Great pics. I can see where a lot of lessons were learned during your trip. Full loads and long walks are just not in the cards for most of us. I don't have any misconceptions of bugging out on foot with the entire family. A baby under each arm, water, food, clothes, arms, ammo and diapers...........:eek: nope. For the near future my home would have to be the Alamo, or bugging out by vehicle as a second option. I am sure y'all enjoyed the trip, good for you, I also wish I could have been there. It's always good to get away outdoors, enjoy the company of friends, and learn something in the process.
  14. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    That's a fact, Quig!

    We low-landers have an acclimation period to consider. Even just a few thousand feet of elevation gain had me breathing a little heavier to climb the terrain this last week.
  15. ricdoug

    ricdoug Monkey+++

    It takes constant conditioning to prevent blisters and other wear on the body. I wear a 60 pound pack (40 for my wife) once a week for a 2 mile walk with our dog. The neighbors already think I'm nuts, so it also keeps them entertained. Humping the Smokies without a pistol is not the wisest thing to do. Plenty of Bears to prove that. Looks like you all had a good time. Thanks for the report. Ric
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