TIPS ON BACKPACKING
"At the gates of the forest,
the surprised man of the world
is forced to leave his city estimates
of great and small,
wise and foolish.
The knapsack of custom
falls off his back."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson--
- Ever run into biting spiders on the trail? We did in the Smokies. These
clever critters run a single strand across the trail, which when broken
allows them to swing around and grab onto the person or horse or whatever
broke the strand. It then climbs to a skin area and takes a chunk out of
you. We solved the problem by having the lead hiker carry a 4 foot long
branch vertically at arms length in front, breaking the strand and preventing
the critters from getting onto us. If a hiker comes from the other direction,
you can discard the stick since the strands ahead have been broken by the
Repairing a hip-belt on the trail
- My hip belt on an external frame pack broke at its attachment to the
frame while I was in a particularly rugged section of the AT in the White
Mountains. My first try using duct tape failed miserably. Then I remembered
that I always carry about 5 feet of picture-
- hanging wire (which I had never had to use, but kept in the pack repair
kit) and with the pliers I carry, I made a quick fix which made the pack
as strong as ever.
Hollow tipped tent poles clogged?
- Ever find the hollow tip of the tent pole clogged with dirt, preventing
insertion of the tent pin? You do carry a Swiss Army knife, right? That
corkscrew you were certain you'd never have a need for works perfectly
for cleaning out the opening.
Boot laces loosening or untying?
- At the first open clasp hook you reach, instead of going around the
clasp from underneath, come from the top and go around and then up, encircling
the clasp. This slight change of direction anchors the tension on the lower
part of the lace.
- Instead of one single overhand knot before tying the bow, put 2 or
3 over hand knots. This serves as yet another anchor to keep the lace from
slipping and loosening.
- Finally, double or triple knotting of the bow prevents the knot from
undoing, but is still easy to untie due to the larger diameter of the lace.
- If you stop on the trail to retie a loose knot on one boot, you might
as well retie the other also. The tightness of the newly-retied boot will
give the illusion that the other is looser and you may find yourself stopping
again to make the tension on both equal.
- It's always a good idea to hang your food bag. Only twice has
doing so kept my food from a bear's stomach, but every night it
keeps my food from the raccoons and other night varmints. One young man
I ran into at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore had decided not to use
the provided bear pole. Instead, he hung his food bag from a nearby tree
which was closer to his tent. Unfortunately, he did not allow the food
bag to dangle from the limb, but rather the bag nuzzled up against the
limb. Of course, the acrobatic raccoon had an easy time reaching and raiding
the food bag, creating a mess and cutting the backpacker's food supply
perilously low. This novice hiker had also failed to pack a flashlight,
so he heard this raid just 10 feet above his head, but was unable to watch
or forestall it in the 2 A.M. darkness.
Disclaimer: Anything posted to this Home Page
are the opinions of the individuals who posted them
and are not the views of Scouts Canada.