Gear Stuff – testing the limits

Had a chance to go backpacking this last weekend & since it was arranged at the last minute we ended up going to the section of the Pinhoti trail near Dalton that I’ve posted a map of before.

It was cold. Not Northern winter cold, but cold none the less.

I’d replaced my leaky self-inflating pad with a z-pad. They came as full length and so I shortened it to 3/4 length to give me more room in the pack and because I use clothing and the other pad from my pack for my feet anyway. That worked well. My very lightweight summer bag (REI Nooksack – they don’t make it anymore for good reason!) finally has met its temperature match. It’s fine with a silk liner & polypros & a fleece to about 32F (0), but then you have to be careful about stretching it as you move. If you stretch it thins the insulation and then you are sort of chilly.

The trip was a first-time backpacking trip for a couple of young scouts (70-80lbs 11-12 years old). They had a good time. It is critical to check their packs and ruthlessly remove extra weight.  One of my bette noirs about normal youth packs is the weight.  If  the pack itself weighs 4-5 lbs then the youth only has weight-room for another 5 lbs before they are overloaded.  I wish there were an ultralight pack sized for youth.   It is also good to let them set the pace and keep an eye on their tiredness. If they seem to be dragging – guess what – the adult should say he’s tired because they will only admit tiredness when truly exhausted (and that’s no fun).

We saw lots of persimon trees, but none with any fruit.  Found some bear droppings and they were full of persimon seeds.  So that explained a lot.

I also demonstrated  freezerbag cooking which mostly worked, but can be a real mess if the food is too gooey. I was reading the “as the crow flies” blog and the author uses a different technique with a spatula to clean her pots. I’m thinking that may be better in the end.

Written by Rob in: backpacking,scouting |

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