Jump to content
Engineer Boards
​ ​
Road Guy

camping / backpacking thread...

Recommended Posts

okay so heres the story.. My sons Boy Scout Troop has been doing a lot of backpacking the last couple of months, I had forgotten how much more fun it is to backpack and not have to bring the entire kitchen sink with you when you camp..

When I was a kid our scout troop section hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail and I beleive we never got out of Georgia but we did do about 40-50 miles of it over a couple of years...

I always wanted to thru hike the entire thing (Ga to Maine) and It was something I always wanted to do and told myself I would do either right after college and before I got a real job, of course life always gets in the way so that never happened..

But im putting together a week long hike on the AT this summer for the older kids in our scout troop, trying to find some of the better sections in either Tennesse or North Carolina areas if any of you all are familiar with that section? Would love to go further north but its "not in the budget"

also found this video on line and found it post worthy :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My cousin attempted the AT start to finish as a way to figure out what he wanted to do with his life...he only made it half way before ending up in the hospital with an appendix rupture which caused other issues because he kept going for awhile before seeking medical help.

The part he did he said he loved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not much help since I've only hiked 0.05% of the AT. I.e. 1 mile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a few guys that have hiked a good portion of the AT in NC. Let me see if I can find some info for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My cousin attempted the AT start to finish as a way to figure out what he wanted to do with his life...he only made it half way before ending up in the hospital with an appendix rupture which caused other issues because he kept going for awhile before seeking medical help.

The part he did he said he loved.

Did he end up becoming a doctor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG! That video is hilarious!!! 'Your boyfriend is going to find a new girlfriend who showers..." HA HA HA!

I have actually hiked a lot of the northern portion over several summers between 1994 and 2000, then I started to tackle the Adirondack 40 peaks that year. As you said, life got in the way. Our girl scout troop only had me and one other girl that was really into the camping, and our one leader's husband was a boy scout leader... there were a lot of joint trips as we got older so that they could justify the cost for just two girls.

I still to this day utilize some of the skills I learned back then when I go backpacking. Wish I could help with the planning, but I'm not too familiar with the southern part of the trail.

What part of the budget is tight? I may have some ideas that could help reduce the costs associated with food, and equipment if you want them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My cousin attempted the AT start to finish as a way to figure out what he wanted to do with his life...he only made it half way before ending up in the hospital with an appendix rupture which caused other issues because he kept going for awhile before seeking medical help.

The part he did he said he loved.

Did he end up becoming a doctor?

nope...a chicken farmer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got thinking about this again...

Check out http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?51265-Week-long-hike-starting-and-stopping-suggestions the second post actually seems pretty informative and has some possible solutions and suggestions for you.

I'm sure you have thought of everything below, but just in case...

How many kids you got going? I know to save a little bit of headache as far as start and stop points, they would break our group into two, utilize two vans, and each group would start at a different location meeting up halfway for one night, helps with the pick ups and drop offs since you don't have to worry about transportation for one large group. They would break things down into skill level, and often the more skilled kids (faster) kids, would do a loop off the main trail, or spend some time doing some extra activities during the hike to slow them down so that every one could meet up at the end together.

Also, as far as cost, don't buy all that fancy backpacking food for the whole trip... the first day you can have normal food and there really isn't a need to spend a lot of money on fancy stuff. Some of my favorite menus included boiled blueberry (or corn) muffins (jiffy muffin mix, mix it up as directed in a plastic bag and suspend it in boiling water), grilled or fried pork chops (freeze them before the trip, and they thaw the first night... only works for the first day, but still!), with some fresh fruit; oatmeal packets (also made with boiled water, and make sure the kids don't rip the whole top off to prevent the little piece from becoming litter... helps teach the younger ones about the concept of leave no trace) with dried fruit and jerkey; ... you really don't have to spend any extra money on special breakfast food.

I'm sure, you are aware of all the tricks, but I've got a bunch of inexpensive lunch and dinner ideas... and if equipment is your issue, then I would even be willing to send some stuff on loan if needed... I know my stuff is dated, but it's what I've been using for the last nearly 20 years and still serves it's pourpose. Scouting was a really important part of my life and I never would have followed the path I did if it hadn't been for it, so I would be willing to help out if I could.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info EG!

I guess my main concern with budget was just transportation, Im thinking at best we'll have 8-10 kids go, which is a good number and maybe 2 adults, 3 if I am lucky. I didnt want to have to drive to far and have to stay at hotels, which is probably what will drive the cost up. most of us adults can only take a week off so my plan was to leave at 0 dark 30 one Saturday and drive into the area where NC/TN/GA all meet up. I wanted the kids to be able to be able to utilize the shelters at least one or two nights and then use their tents for the other nights, I hear that in the summer time on the weekends the shelters are all pretty full. I'd also like the kids to be able to hike into one of the towns along the way and get the experience of resting at one of the hikle restaurants, having some food mailed to them at one of the towns, etc..

when we do just a weekend trip I normally get one of those backpakcing foods for dinner (which are actually pretty good) and then I just eat jerky and trial mix along the way for lunch and then oatmeal for breakfeast (which i personally hate, but for some reason it taste good on the trail on a chilli morning) But for a week I will need to do some more research and get more creative..

most of the kids have the basic equipment, most of us take too much on weekend trips so we were gonna do a good gear shakedown.. up until recently muy backpack was the large infantry rucksack that I was familiar with from my army days, and then I broke down and got one of the newer models, man that thing is so much more comfortable than the military stuff, and about 3 lbs lighter!.

most of the kids have their own cooking stoves (jetboil, etc) and we usually have enough water filters to make the trip.. Some of the best tasting water I have ever drank came from the mountain streams (through the filter) I know the hardcore backpackers use the tablets to not take so much weight but I can suffer a half pound to have good tasting water on the trip!

I havent used it yet but in february we have a hike and Im gonna try out my ENO backpacking hammock with rain fly and see if its comfortable, I got it for my bday but havent slept in yet on the trail. ive heard some people say they are the best and others say they cant stand them...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RG - When I've gone on all day long hikes, I've done stuff for meals and snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, apples (they don't smash), trail mix, etc. What I like to do for a meal is bring along the vacuum sealed bags of tuna or chicken and put them on crackers. If you make a sandwich in advance the meat gets slimy and the bread gets squished in your bag.

Some way to purify water along the way will seriously cut down on how heavy your backpack will be. Nothing like two Nalgene bottles full of water and a couple 32 oz Gatorades in your pack to weigh you down, trust me, I've done this. I do like bringing some of the powder along so you can get hydrated and get some of the electrolytes back.

I love the AT. I've been on day hikes on parts of it in several states. I couldn't imagine doing the whole thing though, I'd get so sick of it after a few weeks I imagine. I've run into hikers over the years that will do a week on a stretch of it which sounds great. (I love chatting with backcountry hikers, they're all so friendly because they haven't seen a human in 3 days.)

I would be up for doing something regional like the Long Trail which is about 300 miles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know an older gentleman who hiked the entire AT going South/North, then biked it back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to do the entire trail and studied up on it during the end of my senior year of college. Right after graduation I spent a little more than a month from MA to the NH/ME border (I forget w/o checking/finding the journal how many miles, but it was ~ 400ish). These sections were tough, but temperature was easy. I heard fgrom 'thru-hikers' doing the entire trail that the south was so hot that they would recommend starting in the north and heading south. They said it was easiest to hike at night. It must be great to hike sections in the Autumn with leaves and everything down there.

That's awesome RG that you get to do that stuff. I have a 3 yr old and should look into the scouts. I was a cub scout, but we never went camping so i quit. I only joined to go camping and back-packing. Unfortunately I know nothing about the southern section (other than what I noted above) b/c I broke my promise to myself and never went back to do it. I moved to CO right after I left the trail and never moved back east. After Seeing parts of Ak and the Rockies, I had to get a "real" job and settled in CO. I would love to do the AT with a dog maybe after retirement (assuming I can still walk - and retire). Maybe the Continental Divide Trail or CO trail will have to be my new b-p goal?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are awesome books on the various sections. At least there were at REI in 1993-94.

FWIW, I remember folks doing sections and a parent hiking in ahead of time to cache food and supplies along the way. I'm sure it made it easier for the little ones. There were also cool huts and shelters in some sections. This eliminates the requirement for tents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If any of you ever venture out west there's a pretty sweet trail to check out called the Pacific Crest Trail. http://www.pcta.org

pct_map_medium.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear in Virginia guys on the AT got shot at by moonshiners.

Edited by cdcengineer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The freeze dried backpacking food is great, I've never had a bad one, but they can get expensive if you are buying for a group. More meal ideas for you!!!

A fav dinner of mine, buy some Velveeta shells and cheese (it doesn't require milk or butter, so it's good for the trail)... most grocery stores have smoked meats that don't need to be kept cool, like summer sausage or peperoni... cut up the meat and mix the two together and you have a high carb, high protein meal for the masses. Dump out the shells and cheese boxes into a double ziplock bag and it makes it easier to pack. Also you can pair this with some wasabi peas or purchase a freeze dried veggie pack, but the cost is much cheaper than a regular pack meal for each kid. This is a goood warm meal for later in the trip since it's based off of all non-parishables. (They also have those funky meals that say just add beef, but the smoked meat works well in them).

VT had a good idea about the tunafish packets. Another dinner idea is to take these and some instant rice (either minute or boil in bag or etc), throw in those freeze dried veggies and a can of cream of mushroom soup (at home, you may use milk, but screw that when on the trail, just use water... or you can find the freeze dried soup for kinda cheap if you pay attention) and then you have one of EG's famous mush meals that is awesome!!!

Another mush meal is to do the chicken packets, grab a taco seasoning pack, cook that up with some of the instant rice, corn, black beans, jalapenos... you get where I'm going... this is a better one for earlier in the trip...

Chicken ala can can (EG's version). Canned or chicken packets, egg noodles (pasta is actually lighter than rice so I lean towards these kind of meals), gravy packets (you pick what kind), freeze dried or canned veggies (which you choose really depends on the skill and weight your campers can carry), this is a good meal for earlier in the trip since it's a little heavier depending on what you pick... and of course, I'm not sure what the other stuff you are packing.

Of course, you can always hit up your local military surplus store or contact various connections and gets some MRE's. Based on my estimates, you could get a whole entire box of MRE's for less than $25 if you know the right people.

OHHHH... and lunches...

since you will be summer camping, that just depends on if you want to set up stoves. jerkey, granola and fruit; ritz crackers with smoked meat and vac packed cheese; sandwiches with more stable meats earlier on in the trip; peanut butter sandwiches (and yes, I have done this and can tell you how to pack them) with dried fruit; tuna vac packs and stuff like VT suggested

needless to say, I really couldn't afford the 'backpacking food' when I did a lot of backpacking, so I learned to scale down on other weight (ie. during the summer, I only used to carry a fleece sleeping bag) so that I could carry more food.

Let me know if you want any exact measurements for the meals... it really depends on who's going, who can carry what and what you have to cook it with.

ALSO!!! tell your boys parents to start stocking up on packets of salt, pepper, hot sauce, honey, jelly, pretty much anything and everything... lots of that can get used!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My strategy for food for backpacking trips is to find someone like EG ^ and invite them on the trip to take care of the food planning.

Although I often end up doing breakfast and lunch on my own. . . for breakfast I find english muffins don't squish too much in the pack, and bring a bit of peanut butter for some protein in the morning. Lunch I'm with VTE with canned chicken, tuna in foil, some crackers, nuts, trail mix and/or cheese. If you buy the Babybel individual wrapped cheeses they can last several days. I'm constantly hungry as it is, let alone when I'm hiking 10+ miles per day so I bring a lot of high-protein foods in an attempt to keep my stomach satisfied.

My next camping trip is after Thanksgiving, bicycling the White Rim trail in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. We have vehicle support so food won't be an issue. Weather might be an issue though--my dad was out there last month and it was already dipping into the low 20s.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm jealous. I loved Canyonlands when I went. Sadly, I was passing through on a road trip, and only had half a day, so I couldn't explore much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My strategy for food for backpacking trips is to find someone like EG ^ and invite them on the trip to take care of the food planning.

Although I often end up doing breakfast and lunch on my own. . . for breakfast I find english muffins don't squish too much in the pack, and bring a bit of peanut butter for some protein in the morning. Lunch I'm with VTE with canned chicken, tuna in foil, some crackers, nuts, trail mix and/or cheese. If you buy the Babybel individual wrapped cheeses they can last several days. I'm constantly hungry as it is, let alone when I'm hiking 10+ miles per day so I bring a lot of high-protein foods in an attempt to keep my stomach satisfied.

My next camping trip is after Thanksgiving, bicycling the White Rim trail in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. We have vehicle support so food won't be an issue. Weather might be an issue though--my dad was out there last month and it was already dipping into the low 20s.

Gets cold in the desert at night. You could see a dusting of snow which would make for great photos.

Another easy BP food idea. Can of chili, corn tortillas and oil. Heat and serve tacos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

your right i need to just invite EG on the trip! Ill let you know when it gets scheduled!

I like all those ideas, I dont mind the $7 meals backpacking food but I imagine after a few days they get very very old.. they are not bad for a one night trip though, and really easy to deal with...But Im printing your suggestions and putting in my planning folder for sure!

Ive done mre's in the past also, even with breaking down the packaging it still leaves a lot of trash to hike out, the aluminum foil in the mre packs dont burn and I guess were supposed to teach scouts to not leave any "trace"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

man, I spent some time over the weekend looking through som AT and other "backpacking" forums.. I always forget how many forums get overun by trolls and assholes (i didnt even post, just reading) I forget how civil all you guys and gals are so just wanted to say thanks to you all!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I talked to a buddy of mine, and he hiked the AT starting at the Southern terminus and coming off the trail just this side of the Smoky Mountain National Forest. He has not commented back as to how the hike was terrain-wise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×