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What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby markskor » Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:53 am

Carne writes,"Other than car keys and license, I can't think of anything other than a few first aid items that have (thankfully) never been needed."

Same as above, other than a few "never used" pain pills, (always carry a few percocet oxycodon, if - spelling?), as well as Rolaids and Imodium AD, mostly everything else usually gets used regularly. Also carry something called Glide for chafing...(learned that lesson the hard way).
Pill case also has Excedrin Migraine (one daily) and a few Aleve.

In the spirit of this post, should mention that once always carried rain pants but in 10 years, never used them, other than a pillow...now carry fleece fishing pants.

Everything has a place in my pack and I can feel it, if it is not there...unless I lost or forgot something...
BTW, Russ - bite me!
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby quentinc » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:27 pm

The Sierra Club and its ten essentials always amuses me. Below is the Angeles' chapter's list (which one is theoretically required to comply with even to go on their day hikes). Of the ten, I have never once carried a compass and never regretted it. I no longer carry a knife (I used to for cutting moleskin, but now know that duct tape is much better. Also, if my arm got trapped under a boulder I would just chew it off like a coyote :) ). I no longer cook, so I don't bring a "fire starter" or matches (why do those count as two separate essentials?). I've also lost/broke sunglasses on many a trip, and while I would have liked to have had them, did just fine without. So I find 40% of the list completely inessential, and another 5% optional.

What's worse, this list is missing two of the absolute essentials: duct tape & iPod.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. Map
2. Compass
3. Flashlight (with spare batteries & bulb)
4. Extra food and water
5. Extra clothing
6. Pocket knife
7. Fire starter
8. Matches (in waterproof container)
9. Sunglasses and sunscreen
10. First aid kit
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:58 am

quentinc wrote:The Sierra Club and its ten essentials always amuses me. Below is the Angeles' chapter's list (which one is theoretically required to comply with even to go on their day hikes). Of the ten, I have never once carried a compass and never regretted it. I no longer carry a knife (I used to for cutting moleskin, but now know that duct tape is much better. Also, if my arm got trapped under a boulder I would just chew it off like a coyote :) ). I no longer cook, so I don't bring a "fire starter" or matches (why do those count as two separate essentials?). I've also lost/broke sunglasses on many a trip, and while I would have liked to have had them, did just fine without. So I find 40% of the list completely inessential, and another 5% optional.


All well and good, it's your prerogative to bring what you need... but some food for thought.

Having had cataract surgery in my early 30s, I absolutely find sunglasses an essential. Sun exposure was the only cause the docs could come up with... previously I had the same attitude, that I didn't need to wear them. I have a different attitude now. Huge medical bills or sunglasses. Loss of eyesight or sunglasses. Hm. Easy choice.

Duct tape slides off my feet and so I use athletic or leukotape instead - in fact leukotape has replaced my duct tape. I like that I can tape up once and hike for four days without needing to re-tape my foot. Duct tape doesn't stick to hydration bladders but leukotape will. Fixed a pinhole leak in a bladder so well with leukotape that it didn't leak for the duration of the pack trip, even when under pressure of the rest of the gear in the pack.

I always carry a knife and firestarter, always carry a compass, but since I know exactly why I would need them and how to use them if I had to - that makes sense. Just because I haven't used something doesn't mean I don't carry it. I know that if I do need it, I will be sorry to have left it at home - this is why it's an essential. First aid kits and that extra pair of socks also fall into this category.... It's been a rare occasion that the first aid kit comes into play but when it does, everyone's glad I brought it.

Some people I've hiked with have carried a compass and had not a clue how to use it - they didn't even have a map. They may as well have not brought the thing. So yes, the 10 essentials aren't necessarily essential - if you don't know why you have them, they aren't going to be much use. The 11th essential is skill and knowledge - knowing why this should be in the pack, and how to use it. When your dayhikes are the length of most people's backpack trips, the essentials related to keeping you warm and hydrated are even more essential. The unplanned night out can happen to anyone, however.

Some people take the 10 essentials so seriously that they have a separate hip pack just to carry them in, so if they step away from the backpack, they have them. Having been on search and rescue missions for the car camper who wandered away from the campground and vanished, I'd say that's not such a bad idea. You just do not know when and where something may happen. It might not happen to anyone you know. It might not happen to you. But it does happen, which is why the 10 essentials are still called essentials.
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby oldranger » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:50 am

AlmostThere

Great Post! 10 essentials are the best way to deal with Murphys Law!

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby Hetchy » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:53 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
quentinc wrote:Some people take the 10 essentials so seriously that they have a separate hip pack just to carry them in, so if they step away from the backpack, they have them. Having been on search and rescue missions for the car camper who wandered away from the campground and vanished, I'd say that's not such a bad idea. You just do not know when and where something may happen. It might not happen to anyone you know. It might not happen to you. But it does happen, which is why the 10 essentials are still called essentials.


This brings up a great point. Never leave your pack without taking enough gear to survive the night. On the long trails i never leave my pack at all. For instance the only time I was more than ten feet from it was when i was buying food for a resupply in Lincoln Montana. The cashier said "no backpacks in the store" so I stashed it behind the register and gave her the whole "My entire life is in this pack" speech.
It funny, that i have seen people leave their packs, presumably with food inside, beside the trail when they went off to answer the call of nature. Personally my pack goes with me.. always.
In fact even though I finished the trail in August and i am not due to hike again till March my pack is sitting right next to me, loaded! Once started it is a very difficult habit to get past.
Anyhow i know this thread is about what we bring but don't "need" in the backcountry. It just occured to me that my city "sensibilities" are something I occasionally bring with me and don't need. Things like my Ipod, or email device.. I really don't need them. When i reach a town i can do "town" things. I really don't need to bring town buisiness into the wilderness. In fact since you started this thread i have thought I might just leave some of these things behind next time!
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:19 pm

I think a part of a conversation about what you need vs. what you want should be "what is a need" - for someone who doesn't know what to do with a map or compass, do they still need one? The real need is "a way to navigate" - if they feel comfy with the notion of relying on another person they are hiking with to fill that need, well, okay, but he better be someone you trust implicitly to not only stay with you but stay healthy and mentally capable... my perspective on having a single navigator for a group is a little different, as twice I have come across folks looking for one of their group who had no navigational skills and somehow - as against the odds as it was, and as careful as they tried to be - got separated from the group. And where do you need these skills? Do you need navigation somewhere like Yosemite's valley floor, with all the paved and clearly signed "trails"? Well - you need something if only to not embarrass yourself, as one fellow did when I met him meandering around Mirror Lake (a paved, tourist-y not-quite-a-hike that's actually part of the road system) asking "is this the trail to Half Dome?"

What you need varies and depends a lot on your skill level. What you actually get depends on your perception of what you need. That may or may not correspond with some gear list posted on the internet, or your actual needs....

There's also a subset of needs that fall on a line between safety and comfort - one person's hiking chair may be a comfort. Another with some degree of physical handicap who cannot get up off the ground may find it more of a necessity. I think of a good night's sleep as a need - I simply don't find that I am capable of functioning well with an hour's sleep, and value a quality 6-8 hours of solid sleep pretty highly, and my gear expenditures reflect this. So does my ongoing concern over hydration and avoiding becoming chilled. Anything that affects my physical or mental wellbeing rates pretty high on the "need" list.

I need my hammock and my expensive down gear. I need my trail runners. I probably don't need the trekking poles - tho I am sure had I not had them, I would have been injured or wet numerous times, but without them I probably would have been moving more carefully up the trail or seeking branches or other supports for stream crossings. I probably don't need a fancy kitchen setup - could use Esbit and a small stainless cup, after all. I probably don't really need the camera... definitely don't need the fishing gear! Unless I think about the reason I go out there, to enjoy nature and de-stress, and the quality of that experience is partly based on the things that I find enjoyment using, and the pictures and the fishing definitely enhance that experience.

I do take a few things I don't need for being out there... the wallet and keys, simply because I have this awful tendency to put things in a "safe" place and promptly forget and end up spending a lot of unnecessary time hunting for them! And the iPod, which is a nano and weighs so little, and so rarely gets used... but it goes toward a good night's sleep if someone in the vicinity is snoring like a hibernating bear, or my brain refuses to join me on vacation.
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby Cross Country » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:46 pm

After several years of backpacking I became overconfident and stooped carrying a compass although I nearly always went off trail. One time I was hiking back from Miwok lake to the trail to Hetch Hetchy. It was overcast and drizzling and we were hiking up the last draw to the trail going South to Moraine Ridge and then on to Hetch Hetchy. I was making it a point to hike to the right of the draw because it was very wet in the draw. I kept to the right and kept to the right. It wasn't steep at all. We should have gotten to the trail before we got to anything steep but we never crossed the trail and here we were looking down into the Canyon (I thought) between Vernon and Branigan, but using my topo nothing looked right. Eventually, my friend Mike who had never been backpacking before told me that this canyon looked like the canyon we saw two day earlier. I turned my map 180 degrees and sure enough we were looking down into the canyon of Kendrick Creek. I had kept to the right so much that during a half hour of walking I had turned us 180 degrees. We then turned around and hiked to the trail on Moraine Ridge and out to the car.

I carried a compass for another five or ten years, became overconfident again and stooped taking it. Later, on a trip with my two sons, coincidentally in the same area, we were hiking from Avonelle Lake to the trail that intersects Tiltill Valley with Jack Main Canyon. It was the middle of the day in late June and the sun was of no help direction-wise. When we hit the trail we needed to turn left to head to Tiltill Valley. We crossed the trail in a very rocky section where the trail was all but invisible. That part of the trail made an S (we noticed on out way back) and by turning left the trail shortly took us right toward Jack Main. Upon arriving down the trail far enough to see the ridge on the other side of the canyon in front of us, looking at my topo, none of it made any sense. I eventually turned my map 180 degrees and of course could make out everything including the knowledge that I had just made us (MIke - 7, Jim - 12, and me) hike an extra 1 - 2 hours.

A note: I was always very good at orienteering. Without a compass, I still got "lost" twice.

Mike and Jim in Jack Main Canyon.
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M & J in Jack Main.jpg
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby Hetchy » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:59 am

You guys are killing me talking about Jack Main Canyon and Hetchhetchy. That is "milk and honey" wilderness back in there.. shhhh! :D
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby quentinc » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:26 pm

AT, sorry to hear about your eyes. Despite my propensity for losing or breaking sunglasses, I still end up wearing them at least 90% of the time. But I've come across a surprising number of backpackers who don't wear sunglasses at all (because they prefer natural colors I guess?). I wonder how prevalent cataracts or other eye problems are for them.
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby LMBSGV » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:41 pm

This thread is very interesting. I'm one of those that has never worn sunglasses due to being so nearsighted (20-200+ each eye) that no clip on sunglasses will work on my glasses and a prescription pair would cost a few hundred dollars and have to be replaced at least every two years. I've always carried a compass even though I've only needed it a few times. The compass goes in my camera bag and the camera is another essential. Also matches (separated into a couple of plastic bags) and a bic lighter. I also agree with the good night's sleep and duct tape - I wrap a couple of feet's worth around a pen since a 6x9 notebook is another essential (plus a couple of spare pens). And a stove and fuel. Plus my wilderness permit, credit card, car key. and Kaiser card (I figure proving I can pay for a medical emergency makes good sense). And to keep my family happy or should I have that emergency a SPOT messenger (in the camera bag since it's the one thing I'm never separated from).
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:04 am

Actually, the medical insurance card becomes an essential if you hike anywhere where the local SAR takes its cues from Yosemite SAR - they want to bill your medical insurance for any medical care rendered.

The surgery was a good thing, tho expensive... corrected my wacky eyesight to 20-20. So once it was done and I could see everything clearly again, the bills didn't hurt as much. Had no idea my eyesight was that bad. Probably on the verge of losing my driver's license.

There is another way sunglasses are a necessity - spend a lot of time in high alpine with lots of granite or snow and you end up squinting a lot, or possibly snowblind. Friend of mine found this out going over a high pass. She got a headache. Never hikes with glasses.
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Re: What do you carry that you don't need in the BC

Postby Strider » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:32 am

:\ Lately I've been carrying about fifteen extra pounds in my midsection that I certainly don't need.
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