The "Hike On!" thread of Hiking and Backpacking


I asked this question in the interesting pictures thread and got no response, nor did I find a thread about this topic, so thought I’d start one. This is the place to give hike reports, give tips, discuss pack load-outs, post pictures, and generally talk about being outdoors on your own two feet.

I’ve always enjoyed hiking, but wasn’t an avid hiker until a few years ago during my divorce when I found I had a bunch of free time and also found that the mental and physical benefits of hiking were pretty great. I hiked most of the major hikes in San Diego County over a few months, and then did a few more remote hikes (in LA County and San Bernadino County) with a buddy from my boardgame group (who has now gone full blown uber-hiker: runs a local Meetup for challenging hiking/backpacking excursions throughout Southern California and into the Sierras, and is out almost every weekend on some hike or another.)

I don’t have time to go out every weekend, but I try to do a long hike (15+ miles) about every other month and fill in shorter (6+ mile) hikes/trail jogs at least once a week. Last summer, I did my first backpacking trip (a 3 day/2 night, 32 mile trip through the High Sierras in the Cottonwood Lakes area, including a summit of Mt. Langley, one of California’s 14ers.) I love it all.

I’ve got couple of PCT section hikes coming up next month, aCactus-to-Clouds push in May, hopefully a Mt. Whitney ascent in August, and then I’d like to plan a 3-4 day backpacking trip in the fall (currently I’m thinking either the Trans Catalina Trail or the Timberline Trail in Oregon.)

Some photos:
Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego. I regularly jog a 10k loop here with some calf-murdering ascents.

Half-Dome cables from last summer

Cottonwood Pass


This is a great thread idea. I will add information as I’m able. If anyone is interested in hikes in Wyoming (and some other states, but especially WY), I can give some great tips, as I’ve done over 1,000 miles in the mountains there. I’m currently making a website for my own memories, so I can crosspost info here.

Now, that said…if you’re hiking and don’t have an ultralight tent, you need to invest the money there. Also in an ultralight sleeping bag. Makes all the difference in the world.

That Cottonwood Pass picture is beautiful, BTW


Well I won’t be doing any for another 3 weeks, but when I get back I’ll be sure to post up from somewhere above 3000 feet


My base pack weight is down around 15 pounds. (Say about 25 pounds total with water and food.) I could go lighter, but it would be both expensive and deny me small luxuries like my JetBoil system. I haven’t done any truly long hikes, so I might change my tune if I was out for a couple of weeks, but I feel now like just lightweight (as opposed to ultralight) is ok for what I do. That said carrying a bear canister in the Sierras, ascending passes at 12,000 feet really kind of sucks and it would be nice to offset that weight with some UL gear.

Lately I’m rocking a down sleeping quilt that weighs about 28 oz, and I just ordered a Lanshan UL tent from China that weighs just under 3 lbs total with footprint and stakes.


I’m interested in hearing your favorites. I’m willing to fly to backpack.

Which do you use? Here’s my current pack setup for a short trip (1-2 nights.) I can easily gain/lose a few items, i.e. rain jacket if forecast is good. If you have any other tips to lighten my load, let me know.


I am by no means an UL backpacker, and having tried UL, found it to be stressful and just not for me as a style, especially as I notice weight less than I notice discomfort from some of the poor suspensions of the UL packs. My base pack weight is 14.5 lbs for a 70-mile trip when I’m going bare-bones, but I tend to add a lot to that base pack weight so that I can have the fun I want. :P What I really notice, though, is my pack space being taken up with items which are unnecessarily bulky.

Also @Matt_W the tent I bring depends on the forecast and whether or not I’m hiking alone. When I don’t hike alone, I bring my larger Big Agnes Copper Spur UL HV 2, which I think is great for most people. It’s still light-weight and can be compressed down to just-about nothing. My total weight for a 70-miler usually ends up at 30lbs, but that includes my DSLR, extra battery, and gear that I’ll usually carry for whichever gal is going with me, as well as all the food, sat-comm, etc.

Looking at your list, it all looks pretty nice. It’s always pretty much impossible to really critique someone’s setup, because it can vary so much based on season and need. In general, though, here are some things I skip:

-Coffee. There are other caffeine delivery systems which are more effective.
-Sunscreen and Bug Wipes. Combined wipes are better, like SunSkeeter. These days I usually just use permetherin on my clothing. (Yeah, yeah, I know…)
-I use the lightest pair of flip-flops and have abandoned water shoes entirely.
-No travel cup for me, but I know that some people require them.
-No rain cover for my pack. Instead I use a large, cheap ($.99) poncho that can go over the pack and me. Works well. I only use waterproof pants and coat in the very worst seasons.
-I carry less clothing in general. During the summer, I can holdover for bad snowstorms. Caveat: during winter ski-packing trips, obviously I’m loaded with warm gear, but even at -7F I tend to be warmer than I need with just a few well-chosen layers.

Also, I carry padded moleskin in addition to the leukotape, but I don’t carry magic sticks. Along with this, I’ll usually bring nu-skin in a pouch.

Now, with all that said, there are times even in the summer when my base-weight is 5-lbs more than you have there, so that’s a really nice setup you have!


PS-Which types of hikes interest you? Peaks? Lakes? Historical points of interest? Here’s an overview of the ones I’ve hit up in the past 18-24ish months. Well, not all of them, but ones that are fresh in my mind and worth it.

Immediately, I think that the following should be considered for 1-days excursions:
-22-miler/+4508’ (did it with my mom in 8-hours) in the Tetons that’s worth it towards the end-of-season.
-Darby Wind Cave and Fossil Mountain in the Tetons at 7.5 miles and +2786

For longer ones:
-Easy 2-3 days in-and-out with a loop attached (22.8 miles, +4365’) to Temple Basin and Cirque of the Towers in the Winds. You can break this up and just do either drainage as a day-hike.
-Elkhart Park to Green River Lakes with Titcomb Basin (45 miles, +9232/-10523’) in the Winds in 4-days but best done in 5.
-In the Cloud Peak Wilderness, the Middle Cloud Peak Basin is worth it, at 20.1 miles and +4834’. Best for 3 days.

The Winds beat any other mountain range in North America.


And I guess I’ll go ahead and post a trail/trip report, since Matt had the idea. This is for the Middle Cloud Peak Lakes area near Buffalo, Wyoming.

—Date of Visit: Jul 10-12, 2018

—Notable Features: Grace Lake, Solitude Lake, Cloud Peak Cascade, Cloud Peak Lakes

—Total Miles: 20.1 miles (sans excursions)

—Elevation Gain/Loss: +/-4837 feet

—Elevation Min, Avg, Max: 9096, 9596, 10,440

—General Route: Battle Park Trailhead—>Tr 164—>Tr 038—>Off-trail—>Tr 038—>Tr 164—>Battle Park Trailhead

It was going to be my 30th birthday, so what was I going to do? Obviously, I was going to go hiking. I’d been thinking about it since Fiji, and I decided that I’d go to Middle Cloud Peak Lake in the Cloud Peak Wilderness. I’d hoped that perhaps someone would accompany me, but my family and friends ended up being pretty busy with unexpected tasks. Still, I always do have my buddy, the esteemed justice John Hodgman with me, as well as Kelly Wand, Tom Chick, and Dingus Murawlski.

The route in general:

The route up to the lakes and my camp there, as well as back out.

I worked the night before the big trip, and I wasn’t home until 10:30PM. The distance without stops to the Battle Park Trailhead is over 350 miles from my door.

Not only did I get something of a late start, but I got multiple calls from my next facility requesting documents, so I had to stop in Casper and spend a lot of time working on my phone, and then verifying that everything was copacetic. This killed hours of my trip and set me far behind, though I did do Crazy Woman Canyon at least, which is a beautiful little drive. The valley floor was 99F.

Crazy Woman Canyon

Following driving up CZI Canyon came the paved road, and then the very long dirt segment to Battle Park Trailhead.

I arrived at the trailhead around 5PM, and was on the trail, swatting mosquitoes, by 5:30, in a pleasant temperature of about 72F. But crap, no way I was going to make Solitude Lake this night (around 7 miles in), so I revised my plan and decided that I’d head for Grace Lake. Finding the actual trailhead was remarkably difficult, as multiple, well-worn paths head off into the woods. I elected for one that looked right, but wasn’t, and I wandered past a cabin that I think was used for backcountry stuff by the USFS, as it had water and a little corral. Coming back, I’d also take a wrong turn, follow a great path that petered out into nothing, and end up going by the same cabin, re-orienting myself. Weird place.

The path soon becomes easier, as all the little trails merge and begin the uphill climb to the first, big park area (aptly named “Long Park”), which, IIRC, is around mile 1. There is no actual lake here, though my map showed one—perhaps there’s a meltpond during the spring? The park goes on forever, undulating, and there’s supposed to be the Lily Lake Cutoff trail once you’re past the creeks, which is a trail that heads off the the east-northeast on my map toward the Bomber Peak/Mistymoon area. I wanted to do a loop and come back on this trail, but par for the course, that trail never became apparent. I think that I may have spotted it on what I thought was an outfitter’s trail about a mile off of where the maps said it should be, but it was also heading the wrong direction…hard to know. Anyway, the temps were pleasant with some broken, cumulus-filled skies, and a gentle breeze, but the mosquitoes loved the temps as much as I did.

It’s the park that never ends. It goes on and on my friends.

Going through the park, you descend and cross a creek—my phone beeped! Oops, it wasn’t on airplane mode. I turned it off and kept going. At the edge of the park as one approaches the forest, some tarn-like lakes are below the trail. I stopped here for a snack as rains occasionally fell on me, eating some Krispie treats, sour gummy worms, and Woody’s Smokehouse beef jerky, which is the best jerky in the world. Quick aside about that: I was once flying British Airways and United back to America, and connecting through Trinidad and Tobago. The terminal at Piarco is quite modern and there was a shopette open until 2AM, so I got something to drink prior to my late-night boarding. While having a beverage around midnight, I overheard a couple people talking about one of them having to fly to Houston for business. The other, having visited the area, but only being a transit passenger, immediately started talking about Woody’s Smokehouse and how it’s worth the drive to get their jerky. (IT IS.) I certainly include it in every trip.

Elk Mountain with ponds.

As thunder began to rumble, I packed up and pushed on, entering intermittent forests and climbing a bit more. Soon enough I could tell I was at the highest point before going down, and I began the trudge—the path down this section seemed much longer than coming back up for some reason.

Heading down. Vividly verdant.

Regardless, I reached Grace Lake with about 90 minutes of light left, but struggled to find a good camping area…at least a good one that was responsibly far from the water, because many good places existed on the trailhead-side of the lake. I went down exploring all of them and saw what appeared to be a lot of outfitter use, and then to my horror realized that I’d lost my sunglasses! OH NO! I can’t tell you how bad I hate the bright sun in my eyes. Luckily I backtracked and found them only 200-feet back, when I’d left the trail to head down to the edge of the lake. Whoo!

Shucks I’d like to be naughty and camp here.

I then made the mature choice to continue on, cross the outlet (saw a leech), and then head up and to the left, putting my camp on a hill between two rock features. Because it was my birthday, I chose to carry a heavier pack than normal, so that my nights would be utterly luxurious.

This location was also very nice and hidden from view, plus it had some easy places to sit and a very old fire ring. I fished for a while, but had no luck. It looked like it would be mostly brookies, so no big loss. Then I returned and made some dinner, ate it, strung up the bear bag, and washed myself in the dark, when the mosquitoes were less terrible.

Sunset at Grace Lake. Special angling restrictions apply. (There are signs about this in case you forget.)

I had brought some reading material on my phone, as well as some movies, which I watched until I was ready for sleep, which was around 11:30PM. It sprinkled briefly overnight, which I noticed when I woke up to pee, and really noticed all the more as I hadn’t put on my rainfly. I elected not to bother, though, as it was very light. Speaking of waking up, I didn’t wake up with dawn, but rather woke up with the sound of a bear attacking my tent. Ever wonder if you’re fight or flight? I’m fight, and was reaching for my bear spray as I was waking up. Turns out that the loud banging against my tent was an angry squirrel literally throwing itself against the walls. Why? Dumb animal.

I quickly got ready for the day, had a brief munch, and took off into the increasing heat. Down, down, down the trail went, until I approached a park with a river at the opposing end, where another trail went down to the left and off into the lower lands. What is the name of this river, you don’t ask? Well I’ll tell you! It’s Paint Rock Creek, and you run into it about 5 1/2 miles into the trip. I fished in this area and caught several brook trout, then began the slog uphill, now on trail 038.

This section is far too long to make anyone happy, at least around noon on a hot day, and it seemed to go on and on. I stopped to fish at a few promising pools, and the catch was fine. Then it was up and up and up, and finally I saw Solitude! What a pretty lake.


The right side of the lake looks impassable, but the Forest Service has done incredible work in making this trail. It’s a real feat of engineering. Right before leaving the forest, there’s a stream, so I filled up with some water and then continued on my way for a few minutes.

I ended up stopping because the fishing looked tempting, and I ate a snack as well…at one point, my hook caught my graze-bag and tossed it into the water! GAH!!! I managed to recover everything and all my vacuum sealing was a godsend, as nothing got wet. Talk about freaking me out! BTW, the lake is VERY deep right along the very edge. No way to see the bottom.

Leaving from my fishing endeavors, I reached the far end and angled to the left, crossing the creek (you have to cross no matter where you are going), which was very cold and swift. I used a magic stick that I found to keep me from falling. By the north corner of the lake were a couple of tents and hammocks. I chose to make my ascent near this area, climbing through the rock piles, and found indications that others had done the same. I had a developing headache, and stopped about every 300 feet. I also ate a Reese’s and a gummy worm about as often…

It’s steeper than it looks.

Ugh. Finally I had climbed about 700 feet and decided to angle to the right, aiming for the low-lying depression that seemed to intercept the river. I ended up having to descend a little bit, and walked through beautiful, flower-laden meadows, with small coniferous trees all around. Gorgeous. I reached the lake/river hybrid and tried my hand at fishing. No joy. Saw some tents in prime camping space on the eastern edge of the lake. From what I can tell, if people are ever in the area before you, you’ll find them inhabiting this area. I wasn’t so blessed, so I headed off on the Western edge. By this time it was about 6 or so, and I just wanted to take my pack off. I found an angled spot that wasn’t great, but it kept me out of view of the other campers, and it was also as far from the water as it was supposed to be. Would have been much nicer closer to the lake.

Getting closer. You have to cross to get to the one spot with really good campsites.

But there were people already there, so…This is where I ended up:

North there were spots with views like this, but too close to the water.

So I had a view more akin to this.

After setting up camp, I explored around the lake, fished, and then climbed up and around the western edge of the adjoining river and lakes, up to the Middle Cloud Peak Lake. The route I went on was obviously not preferable, and there was no way to cross the river, either, without one heck of a swim. This meant that I had to walk a lot farther, and through more brush, than if I’d crossed immediately and gone through the camp of the hooligans I’d seen earlier. Still, it has a spectacular waterfall exiting it, and I climbed the smooth granite dome down which the water flowed, until I got to the lake—I will be back, and with more time to spend in the area. When I do go, I’ll also make a break for Summit Lake, which is close by.

From a little hill, looking toward the MCPL outlet falls.

Had to skirt around this entire little lake to climb the granite slope in the center…with thunder rumbling in the distance. Very pleasant evening, though!

Now this would be the ultimate campsite.

The falls before the falls.

Can you see my tent?

Sun sets at my camp.

I fished Middle Cloud Peak, caught the sunset and 10,000,000,000 mosquitoes, and headed back as it grew dark with distant thunder grumbling, getting to my camp at the edge of usable daylight. I filled my water up enough so that I wouldn’t have to get any overnight and then ate dinner. I watched A Quiet Place with Emily Blunt and her husband, which I found more quizzical than scary, but enjoyable nonetheless. Emily’s too pretty. It ruins any fear that the movie tries to instill.

I woke up a year old, a ripe-old 30. A birthday by myself with no one around…a strange feeling, but certainly blessed. I don’t even know when I conked out, but I was up early enough, packed in great time, and fishing on my way down. I decided to descend the main waterfall, which is more treacherous, but dang if I didn’t catch some great goldens before the falls. Shh, don’t tell anyone…

This is the main trail, anyway, though at times hard to find, and slippery. Use caution, especially if you’re alone. I was soon to the main trail, and I thought about climbing up to Mistymoon and back that way, but elected not to, just because I had work the next day, and I’d been behind this whole trip, plus the extra miles didn’t encourage me—I’d do Mistymoon and the rest later on this summer, anyway.

The hike out was pretty dang quick, and the climb back up the mountain was great. I got to the top of the mountain on the way out and Facebook-video-chatted with Kristi, who wished me a happy birthday. What a gal! Then I said goodbye, as I still had miles to go, followed by 351 more miles to drive, followed by going to bed to get up for work. And of course I got “lost” and had to re-orient myself with this:

Ok. The cabin.

I arrived at my vehicle earlier than I’d left and met a man in his 70s, who was doing a 77-miler rather imminently, and as I changed, he asked me for some route-finding tips for the area, which I gave him; I also told him of the mosquito flocks, which he decided to prepare a bit better for, as well as told him some nice locations to cache food near the trailhead. In return, he told me about the Powell Lakes and the excellent fishing that they have. WHAT A TIP! I was concerned about these lakes as I could find no reviews, and they’re off-trail in a hanging valley, so whether or not they were worth it was an unknown. For information on that trip, see my report!

Easy, gorgeous hike with a killer payoff in the form of peaks and cascades!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)

With love, always,


Detailed explanation:

—Beauty. From dense forests to verdant parks to soaring spires and cold cascades, this hike has it all, and in a very short distance.
—Camping spots. There are no difficulties finding campsites, but during busier times (weekends), I think that you might have a harder time getting the choice places to park it.
—Crowds. This is a moderately high-use trail system. Expect to see multiple backpacking groups on the main trail. I went mid-week and saw 2 large groups (3-5 people), though I did not encounter anyone else.
—Difficulty. I believe that this is an moderately-strenuous hike. The climb up to the MCPL area is abrupt and very steep. If you’re under the weather or have a headache, it won’t be fun. This section is entirely off-trail. That said, the return out of the wilderness seemed stupidly easy to me, so I believe that my cephalgia was partially responsible for my ranking.
—Fishing. Heh heh.
—History. I saw one interesting, old fence…not much here!


Wow, that’s an awesome AAR. I’ll try to put one together for my Cottonwood Lakes trip in a bit.

I’m not quite a peak bagger, but I do like hiking uphill. I hike for exercise and views, and peaks satisfy both. But I also like any hike with natural scenery. I jog a flat 8 mile loop up in Mt. Laguna, 40 minutes east of San Diego, that circles a meadow, and love it:

I lived in Gillette for a year when I was a kid, but have never been to the Tetons, so I’m very interested in one day setting up a trip there. It might be a few years though.

That’s quite a claim! :) I hope I can put it to the test.


This is a timely thread for me. I haven’t done backcountry for 7 or so years and I just signed up for a 30 mile, two-night trip in Jasper, Alberta, for my wife and I in July. About two-thirds of it are above the treeline. I’m excited but a bit worried about the fitness level and gear. Lots of organizing to do still.


Jasper is so gorgeous. That should be an awesome trip. If you want us to look at your gear loadout, post it here. It can help to make a list at, which not only helps you track your pack weight, but also functions as a checklist to make sure you’ve got everything.


Wow, so you are telling me it may be my 45lb pack and not just my old tired legs that is making it harder to get out there… I am such a packrat I probably carry more than 15 lbs on an afternoon park hike.

Even using craigslist and ebay it’s hard to find really affordable and durable lightweight gear that can replace the old heavy stuff as it is wearing out. I have tried to homebrew some of my own bits like silnylon, but you have to be really crafty and having good crafting tools is not cheap either.


What are you looking to spend? You can probably a brand-new set of LW gear for your big 3 (sleeping bag, tent, and pack) for well under $500. My quilt was about $100 on Amazon, tent was about $100 on Aliexpress, and Pack was about $200. And there are even cheaper options out there. Triple Crown hiker Dixie recently reviewed a $50 lightweight tent and found that it was perfectly adequate:


Trip report: Cottonwood Lakes Loop, including Mt. Langley ascent - August 2018

Total trip length: about 32 miles. Online hiking profiles show 24 miles for the loop and 5 miles round trip for Langley (from the loop). We measured 32 with GPS, maybe due to some unnecessary backtracking and faffing around near the top of New Army Pass.
Elevation: minimum 9900’, maximum 14,026’ (Langley summit)
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights hiking. We also camped out at the trailhead the night before setting out.
Location: Eastern Sierra mountains in northern California. Mt. Langley’s summit is less 5 miles as the crow files from Mt. Whitney’s summit. (Though hiking from one to the other is 20-30 miles of hard hiking.)

The hike: The loop itself is outlined in red. I don’t have GPS fixes for the hike up Langley, but the map shows the summit. We did a clockwise route, starting at Horseshoe Meadows.

I hiked with two friends: James and Andrea. This was a first backpacking trip for both me and Andrea, so we learned some lessons. We all left work early and drove the 7 hours to Lone Pine on Friday afternoon. We drove up the mountain, arriving after midnight and set up camp in Horseshoe Meadows at the trailhead.

The next morning, we had to drive back down to Lone Pine (30-40 minutes each way) to pick up our backpacking permits from the National Park visitor center. The views out over the Owens Valley as you descend the mountains to Lone Pine are pretty breathtaking:

Got back to the trailhead at around 10am and started hiking. Here are my hiking companions, James and Andrea. Note: in the Sierras, you’re required to bring a bear canister if you’re backcountry camping. The canister is huge and bulky and weighs about 4 pounds on its own. We were able to fit our food (and toiletries) into two of them that James and I carried. (Andrea took some of our gear.) But that sucked.

We ascended Cottonwood Pass and hooked up with the Pacific Crest Trail at the top

Ate lunch at Chicken Spring Lake, which is a popular stopping point for PCT hikers.

Then we hiked alongside a ridge, arriving at our first night’s campsite, Soldier Lake, by about 6pm.

Campsites there are on a rocky promontory at the bottom of a bluff on the lake shore. There isn’t a huge amount of space, and when we got there, there were only a couple of spaces left. But, when we tried to set up our tents, we got gruffly chewed out by an older guy who said he was sick and didn’t want anyone near him. We acquiesced then and fit our tents in and around other campers, but in the future I’d tell the guy to pound sand.

So, I was pretty cold that night. Temps were in the mid 30’s, and I didn’t have much experience keeping warm. It was a rough night’s sleep. Now I’ve got that system all worked out. No change in gear, just a change in how I sleep and what I keep nearby.

The next day was our big hiking day. We had a long ascent up the backside of New Army Pass, and then an ascent of Mt. Langley. There were no water sources until camp that evening, so we filled everything up and carried about 5L each up the pass. 5L is 11 pounds of water. Ugh.

Trudging up the back of NAP. The pass is actually off the image to the right.

View from the top of New Army Pass. (I have this image printed on a 24x36 canvas hanging on my kitchen wall.)

So, we made a tactical error here. There’s a saddle between NAP and the trail to Langley. It’s about 300’ lower than the top of the pass and the trail to ascend from the saddle is about 1/2 mile. We had climbed the pass to dump our packs at the top, but that meant we had to descend back to the saddle, then reascend when we got back from Langley. We could have just dumped our packs behind a rock in the saddle. It wasn’t a gigantic deal, but none of us were happy to climb that 300’ trail again.

NAP is at about 12,300’, so by this point we were well above the tree line. About half-way up to Langley summit, all the other vegetation disappeared as well. The trail itself petered out, and we were following a series of giant rock cairns erected by the forest service. There’s no permanent trail because the ground cover is loose rock and gravel that probably shifts around constantly. It’s very steep, hard hiking at quite high elevation

Finally summitted though. My first 14er. (Both James and Andrea had hiked Whitney earlier that summer, so not their first.)

We trudged back down to our packs, collected them and hiked down the front of the pass to our campsite on Long Lake (in the middle of that stand of trees you see down there.)

We camped and cooked and got up early again the next morning to knock out the 6 or so miles back to our cars. Passed some nice lakes on the way

And back to the trailhead

As a first backpacking trip, this was great: difficult, but not too long. The altitude wasn’t a problem. (I took Diamox to prepare and it seems to have worked.) I tend to prefer more trees in my hikes, but the High Sierra has its own charm.


Thanks. I like the idea of bouncing ideas here. We’re decently capable and fit enough, and I’m not too concerned about making it / survival, but there’s a difference between making it and enjoying it. A lot of our stuff is from the days we had more time and less money so I don’t mind spending a bit, but I also don’t see myself as showing up with all new gear either.

My tent was something like $200 in 1995, a Kelty two person with full fly, a decent mid-range backpacking at the time. It has poor ventilation by today’s standard. I’d guess about 6 pounds. I’ll probably put up with it.

Footwear - I personally like good hiking shoes with a stiff sole more than boots, and never bothered with trekking poles. But now we’re 10 years older, should think about it.

Stove - I have a propane cylinder backpacking attachment, also heavy.


That’s probably fine. You can split that weight between two packs if there are two of you using it. Modern 2p tents have a dual opening so either can get out without climbing over your partner, good size vestibule for cooking and storage, and some pockets for storing glasses/phone/etc. 3F Gear’s Lanshan 2 is gaining a reputation as a great mid-range dual-layer tent for about $100 shipped, though it does come from China so takes 3-4 weeks. It also requires using your trekking poles for supports:

I know I have boots in those images up there, but I almost always hike with shoes rather than boots. Some local hikes have lots of rattlesnakes, so I use boots for those or anything where I expect to be scrambling a bit. (The Salomons I’m wearing there are very lightweight and extremely “grippy” on rock, almost like approach shoes.) For many years I wore the Adidas Kanadia 7 shoe for hiking/trail running. It still might be my favorite shoe ever. Alas Adidas “upgraded” the design to the Kanadia 8 and no longer make the 7. The 8 is far inferior; I have a nearly new pair, and still prefer my 7’s with the cleats worn down to almost flat over them.

But, I recently bought a pair of Altra Lone Peak 4 trail runners and I really like those. They have a no-drop profile (the heel is at the same level as the toe) and a giant toe box. I’ll be hiking in them all spring/summer.

I was a trekking pole scoffer until recently. I still don’t use them on every hike. But I find they really help when:

  • Coming down a steep trail to save your knees
  • Wearing a heavy pack to take some of the weight off your legs/hips
  • Negotiating unstable terrain, as when fording a river
  • Poking at rattlesnakes. My poles have been struck several times and probably would be dead if they were alive.

If I’m going to be day hiking mostly uphill or over flat terrain, I don’t tend to bring them.

You can buy a lightweight stove for about $15. It screws onto the 100g butane/propane cylinders and works fine. I splurged on a JetBoil Zip ($80), which is only a bit heavier than a lightweight stove+camping cup. The Zip can boil a 1/2 liter of water in about 2 minutes, can be used when it’s windy, and is far more efficient than the lightweight stoves, so requires carrying less fuel on longer trips. It might be my favorite piece of camping gear:


I’m appreciating this thread. My son is Boy Scout and does about 6 backpacking trips a year. I have trouble getting his pack under 25 pounds and for a kid that only weighs 70 that is really tough. Luckily the hikes don’t go over 3 miles one way usually. Amazingly he never complains and loves going.

Right now he has a rei half dome 2 which he splits with another scout. This seems fine, it’s reasonably light and Most of the rest of the scouts have them so spare parts are easy to come by if needed.

His bag is huge and fairly heavy|404_186810|1299700001|none|f479d72f-5161-48a3-a591-3d524b6cd1c3|aud-553371945779:pla-455305243599&lsft=cm_mmc:PLA_Google_LIA|404_186810|1299700001|none|f479d72f-5161-48a3-a591-3d524b6cd1c3&kclid=f479d72f-5161-48a3-a591-3d524b6cd1c3&gclid=Cj0KCQiAk-7jBRD9ARIsAEy8mh6n-G97l5OIsF3Qf0GRWW61hPwLR_wUjiUdpted14bYumDXC8r3jkYaAh8REALw_wcB
But seems like a good compromise and I didn’t want to spend a ton on some thing I’m fairly sure he will destroy.

Here is on a recent trip where they backpacked and snow shoed at the same time.

Google Photos


Hey that’s up on San Jacinto! We’re considering trying to do some cross-country skiing up there in the next couple of weeks. I was just up in Idyllwild doing a little snow-shoeing myself.

Yeah, that’s tough because 25 pounds is hard to get under without spending a bunch. But a 3 mile hike with that weight should be ok. I haven’t gotten my kids into backpacking yet, but I’m working on it. Looks like your son is having a blast!


Yeah they had a great time, some of the older scouts even managed to pack a couple of sleds.


That was a fun read, @Matt_W but a shame about the grumpy old goat. Also, talk about hauling some serious water! Wow! How much do the hiking permits cost?

Also, regarding the Tetons, I have two hikes in them that I like for beginners, with one being on the Idaho side and the other in Wyoming.

@Scott123 I’d love to hike Jasper…take lots of pics, please!

@sillhouette 45 lbs!?! Good heavens! I can’t even imagine doing that over a bunch of miles. The gear can be expensive, that’s for sure, but I got my backpack brand new for $200, my tent with footprint for ~$300, and my sleeping bag for about $200. Keep in mind that I hike about 400 miles a year, so for me the investment is worth it. But as Matt has pointed out, some of the Chinese gear would probably cut your weight in half if not more, and for quite cheap.