Thursday, January 31, 2013

L.Dog's SP2 Formula

Hikers use a variety of simplified formulas to determine how much food one needs to pack for a given time or distance to meet 4500-6500 calories per day requirements, depending on age, gender, level of effort, temperature ...

NOLS developed their PPPPD (Pounds per person per day) formula for expedition planning. Their experience showed that backpackers need 1.4 to 2.0 PPPPD depending on all those variables.

Garlic08 on figures 1 lb per 10 miles. If the next resupply point is 50 miles away, pack out 5 lbs. Whether you bang out the distance in 3 days, or stretch it out to 6 days you'd theoretically have the food to support the level of effort. Ymmv.

But that's not really what this post is about. What it's really about after the break.

GSMNP Permit Process for Thru-Hikers

NOTICE - In 2013, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will implement a new system for obtaining backcountry permits and will also begin charging fees for permits. Backpackers and equestrians will need to plan in advance to obtain a backcountry permit for any overnight stays in the backcountry. At this time, the new process for obtaining permits has not been finalized. Updated information will be added to this page as it becomes available.

As of this writing, this is all the information made available on the GSMNP Backcountry Camping web page about a new online reservation system that is scheduled to go into effect on 13 February. Lots of often conflicting bits and pieces of info and conjecture about how this is expected to affect thru hikers is surfacing in online forums - and lots of phone calls being made to park officials, but there still isn't an official policy published. And with hikers already heading for the Smokies, this isn't good.

What I found after the break ...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rethinking My Pack - Charging System

Since I started thinking about the AT, I've been struggling between wanting electronics with me on the trail, and the weight penalty for packin' em. With an Android smart phone, a battery-hungary camera, and an iPod Nano, I need a charging system to keep all that going. In previous articles I wrote about why I wanted those devices, how I planned to keep them charged, and how I lightened the charging system by 5 ozs by swapping out a few items.

The system currently weighs 12.4 ozs. It includes chargers, cables, extra battery capacity, and the bag I put it all in. It's what I carried during my southbound section, and with judicious use of the electronics, it kept everything going for the 12 days I took to climb Katahdin, and transit the 100 Mile Wilderness. That suggests excess capacity considering I'm probably not going to do another 12 day transit on the AT, and that means opportunity for further weight reduction ...

What I'm packing, and what I'm thinking about changing after the break.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rethinking My Pack - First Aid Kit

Back when I was first thinking about a backpacking first aid kit, I wrote about my background in first aid, what I assessed to be the risks, what I thought I'd need to deal with those risks, whether I'd be happy with a pre-built kit, and what I put together. See that post [here].

Back then I was packing for two and my kit weighed 13 ozs. Since then I've hiked 644 miles of the trail, and used the kit to deal with blisters, cuts, aches and pains. I swapped out tools for lighter ones, added stuff to better prevent and deal with blisters, but I never really tossed anything out. I figured I could find weight savings without impacting my ability to care for myself or others. When I pulled it out of my pack and put it on the scale, it weighed 12 ozs. So I dumped the contents on the counter, and broke out the scale. What I found after the break...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rethinking My Pack - Sawyer Squeeze v Aquamira

I hiked 644 miles last year. I left my old, heavy MSR filter at home and used Aquamira to treat water. It weighed a lot less than my filter, and had no moving parts to fail. It adds a slight flavor to the water which I did not find disagreeable. A few times I was running low, and had a hard time finding it in town, but I never ran out and it never failed me. - On the other hand, it seemed a shame to bespoil pure mountain spring water with it, and treating nasty tasting, tannin-stained water out of slow-moving streams made me pine for a filter.

Later in the season, I started seeing these Sawyer Squeeze filters. Folks used different bags and bottles to feed them. They squeezed into water bottles, they placed them in-line with their pack's bladder system, and they set up gravity systems to work while they ate. With an advertised 3 oz field weight, I was pretty excited about them, and I vowed to look into them when I got home.

Sawyer Squeeze vs Aquamira after the break ...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lessons Learned - Water Treatment

When I started thinking seriously about long distance hiking, one area that concerned me was how best to keep myself hydrated - Collecting, filtering, treating and carrying it, how much to carry, and other questions I didn't know to ask. I had an MSR Sweetwater Microfilter, Nalgene bottles, a Camelback bladder system, a folding bucket - It all added up to a lot of weight ...

I delved into the resources of the intertubes to see what people were packing, and spent way too much time on Backpackinglight and WhiteBlaze. I found the Ultralighter, gram-weenies lurking therein to be invaluable resources.

To a person, they advocated leaving the filter behind, and using Aquamira drops as a 3 oz solution to the issue of treatment ... (More after the jump ...)