Backpacking Prep

My backpacking weight worklist…
(it’s a work in progress…)

Stuff

Put all your backpacking stuff together in a tubby or something that you can easily grab the whole thing if you want to just run off on a moment’s notice (well, with a little prep) and not wonder what you did with (insert name of fiddly tiny equipment here).
The other part of this equation is that after getting back from a hike you promptly clean your gear and put it away to be ready for the next time as well…

Depending on how big your tubby is, you can store all your camping stuff (tent, cooking gear (stove, cookwear, shelf stable items-though I tend to avoid storing much more than salt and tea bags in there because I want the stuff I take to be moderately fresh and there’s little chance of ants/bugs invading the storage)) as well as the larger bottles you use to refill the tiny sized containers in your pack.
Things like Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (I get at Trader Joe’s in the monster size for the same price as one of the smaller at REI-although the almond version is heavenly), bandaids, Purell, matches for the waterproof container, bandaids and stuff that you can generally refill the smaller packets of I leave in here as well to keep it all together.
If you use Nikwax or other restoratives you can keep that in here, too.
(I am finding that all the refill stuff as well as the camping stuff starts turning it into a 2 tubby affair though probably best to do 2 and then just grab 1 on the way out the door.)

Sleeping bag, sleeping pad and backpack need to be out and hung up after you wipe them down/wash them.

Food

If you have a dehydrator you can make lots of cool snack foods and ingredients for soups or dinners instead of buying those pre-made dinners. (Just make sure to write the instructions on the ziploc bag of how much water and what order to load everything into the cookpot when you are on the trail.)
Dehydrated mushrooms work fantastically in soups and other foods and dishes (and provide some potassium for your body after hiking all day) though you can get these in the grocery store as well.
I like the instant mashed potato mixes with cheese-you can make a potato cheese soup with mushrooms and chicken boullion or actually make the mashed potatos… I’m generally too impatient. I also like to look for sales on the stuff that is ‘just add water’ (soup mixes, potato mixes, boullion, drink mixes, etc) since they can be a bit pricey.
New foods should be test driven. I just sit out on the porch with the camp stove and test drive. Anything that needs to be gotten from inside the house either needs to be taken into consideration or written off the list as a possibility.
Other items that take a bit longer to rehydrate or require simmering can sometimes be soaked in water ahead of time. Take an empty Nalgene bottle and fill it with a bit of water, then about halfway through the day or at the break before you get to camp (or even right before you set up camp), put in the item (beans, noodles, etc.) and let them soak until you are ready for cooking. Its best to test this before hand to see how long each item needs to soak…if you let it soak too long, it can turn into glop which is gross.

Preparations

Another thing you need to do is get a map of the trail you are hiking (well, if you know the area, this might be optional-but I’d still have it in the pack).
Trails.com has downloadable maps for a yearly fee or there are kiosks to print out special maps if you can find the right one for your area.
Printing out your own maps on an inkjet and waterproof paper is a super geeky thing to do (so you know I love it.) I also tend to create a single page (front and back) of tent instructions, first aid stuff, clever knots, etc.
I’ll post it eventually when I PDF it.

There are loads of other things that you can do to prep for a packing trip, but really, get everything together as you go along and you can just run off for the weekend (my advice is to escape cell range (or fake that you aren’t in cell range) when another department tries to get you do do their work on a weekend…)

So, what are your hiking preps?

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I changed my mind, I want this bag for COLD weather

I’m a side sleeper… I need the stretchy.

MontBell America, Inc. U.L. Super Stretch Hugger #2 Sleeping Bag: 25 Degree Down
[Backcountry.com]

Description:

The MontBell U.L. Super Stretch Hugger #2 25 Degree Down Sleeping Bag provides warmth in sub-freezing temps at an incredibly low 1lb 11oz. Though it weighs less than your 1L bottle of water, this 800-fill down sleeping bag uses stretch stitching to hug your body and eliminate dead air space. Multi-Box baffle construction ensures the Super Stretch Hugger Sleeping Bag has no cold spots, and its bottom eight-inch baffle seals to fit smaller users. This down mummy bag’s warmth to weight ratio make it ideal for three season backpacking or rock climbing trips.

Bottom Line: A three-season sleeping bag that weights less than a full water bottle? It’s called the MontBell Super Stretch Hugger #2.
MontBell U.L. Super Stretch Hugger

Technical Features:
Material: 15D Ballistic Airlight nylon
Insulation: 800-Fill down
Shape: Mummy
Draft Collar: Yes
Max User Height: [Regular] 5ft 10in (174.8cm); [Long] 6ft 4in (193.1cm)
Shoulder/knee Circumference: [Regular] 45-59 / 34-45in (113-151 / 86-115cm); [Long] 48-64 / 38-51in (122-163 / 98-130cm)
Stuff Size: [Reg] 6 x 11.9in (12.5 x 30.22cm); [Lng] 6.3 x 12.4in (16 x 31.5cm)
Stuff or Storage sack: Stuff
Degree: 25 (-4C)
Weight: [Reg] 1lb 11oz (764.8g); [Lng] 1lb 13oz (921.5g)
Recommended Use: 3-season backpacking, camping, climbing
Warranty: Lifetime

DUH-NUH-NUH NUH-NUH-NUH-NA!

YOU SAY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!
DUH-NUH-NUH NUH-NUH-NUH-NA!
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, TOO!
(no, really.)

Thank you all for your emails, your text messages, your cards and mix cd’s, phone calls and ecards on my birthday.
It was pretty dang good.

I argued with verve and sass on matters at work, I got free ice cream at BR (and also at El Rancho where the waitress had a sister and an aunt with today as their bdays as well(pobresita.)) and my order at REI came in and I packed up my ultralight backpack with its ultralight gear and it came to maybe 15 pounds without water and food.
Very satisfying day.
=)

Sleeping Bag:Big Agnes Pomer Hoit

Here’s the bag I want:

Big Agnes Pomer HoitBig Agnes Pomer Hoit Sleeping Bag: 0 Degree Down

Product Description
Weighing in at 2lb 10oz (Reg) with 725-fill down, the Big Agnes Pomer Hoit 0-Degree Down Sleeping Bag is ideal for lightweight alpine climbing and winter camping. By taking out the insulation on the bottom of the bag, which becomes useless when compressed, Big Agnes significantly dropped the weight of this winter bag. A sleeve on the bottom of the Pomer Hoit holds a Big Agnes REM mummy-shaped pad (not included). This system uses every ounce of insulation to keep you toasty at a winter camp and keeps your pad under you no matter how much you move at night. Stuff your jacket into the Pomer Hoit’s integrated pillow sleeve, and get the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had in the outdoors.

Product Features

* Material: WRM water-resistant shell
* Insulation: 725-fill down
* Shape: Mummy
* Draft Collar: Yes
* Max User Height: [Reg] 5ft 10in; [Lng] 6ft 6in
* Shoulder/ Hip/Foot Circumference: [Reg] 67.5/64/NA in; [Lng] 72.5/69/NA in
* Stuff Size: [Reg] 7.75 x 7.5in; [Lng] 7.75 x 8.5in
* Stuff or Storage sack: Stuff
* Weight: [Reg] 2lb 10oz; [Lng] 2lb 14oz
* Warranty: Lifetime
* Degree: 0F, -18C
* Recommended Use: Winter camping and climbing