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  • Striders $1,500 challenge.

    *update* Many people seem to be interested in my trip so I decided to keep a bit of a journal of the journey on here. I hope this will make it easier if I write a guest post.

    For those of you who didn't read the original thread of this road trip it can be found here: https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/forums/topic/spending-1500-on-a-vacation-before-starting-med-school/

    Upon the advice of everyone on this forum and consulting with my travel buddy I have come to the conclusion that we can either SEE a lot or DO a lot.

    We have decided to do a lot, and that our goal of this trip is wilderness immersion & isolation. This means more backpacking and less driving which means we are eliminating the Tetons and Yellowstone, spending less time in Oregon, and more time in Washington in the Cascades and time in Montana in Glacier. We will probably be backpacking Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho as well.

    Doing more and seeing less= less gas and less driving which can help keep cost down as well.

    I had some PM's about backpacking and people who wanted to get into it because it seems to be a frugal hobby but did not know where to start. This is what I am bringing on my 23 day trip. I am sort of a minimalist and pride myself on lightweight items. These items have been acquired over many years of backpacking and none of them are particularly cheap. I would say there is at least $1,500 worth of gear which I don't count in the cost of this trip. I have some gear passed down, some from a long time ago, and some I bought new.  I do not go cheap on gear because I put my life in the "hands" of this gear. I am also a bit of a weight weeny and you pay for lightness in backpacking. My pack is going to be less than 25 lbs on most of my backpacking trips with food and water. Also, I find that buying the right thing once that will last many years is more frugal than buying crappy gear multiple times (or maybe I just like nice gear).

    Here is the stuff I am taking:

    http://imgur.com/a/yy37u

    Clothing

    - 5 pair wool socks (1 lightweight, 3 mid weight, 1 heavy)

    - glove liners, mittens

    - fleece hat (compliments of my brothers time in the US Army)

    - 5 pairs underwear (2 exerocisio antimicrobial) 3 pairs synthetic underwear

    - mamut wool bend base layer

    - smart wool base layer// lightweight mid layer

    - the north face mid layer

    -  The North Face Buff ( got it free when I went to watch my girlfriend run a 5k)

    - REI Down Jacket

    - Columbia light weight sun shirt (got it from my friend cause it doesn't fit him anymore)

    - 3 hiking wool blend tee shirts.

    - polartec long johns

    - 2 pairs hiking pants (1 Columbia convertible to shorts, 1 LL bean pant- only)

    - 2 pairs hiking shorts (1 rugged LL bean hiking shorts with many pockets, 1 ultralight & comfy)

    - Rain gear (hand me down from my dad back when he was skinny)

    - Saloman trail shoes

    - Bedrock Cairn sandals

    - “True blue” patagonia hat--This is the baseball cap I always wear on all my trips. Things seen countless miles.

    - rain hat

    Gear

    -Enlightened equipment 20 degree down quilt

    -Hyperlite mountain gear pack organizers, 1 doubles as a pillow that you put your clothes in, 1 food bag w/ roll top, 1 super small one for toiletries, 1 for first aid quit and gear.

    - hyperlite mountain gear pack

    - sleeping bag liner that I use to cover my sleeping pad

    -sleeping pad (sea to summit ultralight)

    - daypack (Gregory)

    - neck pillow for driving and the flight (found in a closet in my house)

    - travel wallet (actually my brothers army badge holder thing...works great as a travel wallet tho)

    - REI black diamond headlamp

    - multi tool

    - compass (Still have the first one my dad bought me back from the boy scouting days)

    - camp stove/ pot & pan (ultralight titanium evernew)

    - Journal

    - GPS (It is actually my travel buddies, I just had it in my house for some reason)

    - Toiletry bag (toothpaste, biodegradable soap, TP)

    - First aid kit/ survival pack (bandaids, alcohol, glide anti-chafing, string, Waterproof matches, moleskin, ibuprofen, cortisone, Neosporin, gauze, tape, that stuff you put on babies for diaper rash)

    - mosquito net for my face

    - brush and dust pan for tent

    Food 

    - 2 Good to Go dinners (Indian Korma, Herbed mushroom risotto)

    - 2 mountain house dinners (chili Mac, Beef Stroganoff)

    - 2 breakfast meals (granola packets)

    - 1 backpacker’s pantry Katmandu Curry Dinner

    - 4 Clif Bars

    - 2 Gu packets

    - 2 energy block chews

    - 2 snickers

    - 2 coffees

    - 16 chamomile tea bags

     

    I had this food from a trip to the white mountains that I had to bail on due to blizzard like conditions--I'm not counting this already purchased food I had sitting in my drawer as cost of this trip which I guess counts as cheating but in my mind it makes sense.

  • #2
    You've got about twice as much clothing on that list as you need and 1/10th the food! I hope you're not planning on carrying all that while backpacking. You're leaving most of it in the car, right?

    Here's the secret to backpacking- you take one of everything except socks. Take two pairs of those. When you finish the first trip, if there's something you didn't use that isn't emergency gear, you take it off the list. If there is something you really, really wish you had, you put that on the list.

    Ditch the GPS and compass and get the Gaia app for your smartphone. Works even better. Ditch the dustpan and broom and just shake the tent out upside down before you take it down.

    Why do you need a sleeping pad cover AND a tent?

    You probably don't need the mittens this time of year unless you're going to be spending time on snow. Ditch the rain hat and just pull your raincoat hood up over your baseball hat.

    You don't need anti-chafe stuff AND diaper ointment. One or the other is probably fine.

    Just seems odd to be buying "hyperlite" gear and then take so much extra stuff.
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Strider_91, I hope that you have an amazing trip. Backcountry camping trips have always been one of our favourite vacations.

      Now that my wife and I are into our 50's, the backpack seems to feel heavier every year. We found the solution last autumn on a trip through the Tetons .... llamas! The llamas made excellent hiking companions: they carried our gear, and we could savour our time in the great outdoors.

      Comment


      • #4
        ou’ve got about twice as much clothing on that list as you need and 1/10th the food! I hope you’re not planning on carrying all that while backpacking. You’re leaving most of it in the car, right?

        --yes I am leaving most of those clothes in the car, I am not bringing a change of clothes except for sox on each backpacking trip. Just want to be able to change in the car and substitute things out since I am going to be out for 23 days. We are buying food when we get there, I just happened to have that food left over from other trips!

        "Here’s the secret to backpacking- you take one of everything except socks. Take two pairs of those. When you finish the first trip, if there’s something you didn’t use that isn’t emergency gear, you take it off the list. If there is something you really, really wish you had, you put that on the list."

        --thats a great idea

        "Ditch the GPS and compass and get the Gaia app for your smartphone. Works even better. Ditch the dustpan and broom and just shake the tent out upside down before you take it down."

        --I have never heard of this...how does it work if you don't have cell service?...I can see ditching the dust pan. Id never bring it backpacking but may be useful if I car camp. It may be getting axed though, thats a good point. what minimalist has a dust pan? lmao

        "Why do you need a sleeping pad cover AND a tent?"

        --I like having a comfortable material between my skin and a sleeping pad if it is a hot night and I need to sleep with my shirt off. I know...I'm soft. But hey, It is a nice luxury. I've never actually used one before but got it for this trip because the last time I camped on a hot night I wished I had it.

        "You probably don’t need the mittens this time of year unless you’re going to be spending time on snow. Ditch the rain hat and just pull your raincoat hood up over your baseball hat."

        --Thats a great idea. Didn't think of that. I'll axe the mittens and just bring the liners.

        "You don’t need anti-chafe stuff AND diaper ointment. One or the other is probably fine."

        ---I have a super small tub of that anti-chafing stuff. It's like an 2oz--I'm def bringing both in the car but I won't bring the diaper rash stuff actually into the back country. I have had the WORST experience with chafing.

        "Just seems odd to be buying “hyperlite” gear and then take so much extra stuff."

        --I see your point but this isn't ONLY a backpacking trip. I will be in the back country a lot, and I will be light while I am. I want to have some changes of clothes as a courtesy to people in cities when I stop in for a lunch and such and while I am driving. Also I feel like I will be in many different climates between olympic, bend, the gorge, glacier, the cascades, Idaho etc. I just want to be prepared.

         

        Thanks for the advice though, I definitely consider it seriously with all of the backpacking/ camping/ hiking you have done. The way you live your life makes me feel like EM is the specialty I should go into.

        Comment


        • #5
          You just download the maps while you still have cell service, just like with a GPS device. It is really pretty slick. So slick I ought to short the stock of GPS manufacturers.
          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm looking into it. Have you had an issue with it draining your battery of your cell phone? I have little faith it will handle a 3-day backpacking trip when I am using my phone for photos as well. That is really my only skepticism.

            Comment


            • #7
              @neuro-doc llamas sound awesome!!! When I get up around your age I will be sure to consider that option. I know it is how they get supplies up to the top of Mt. Leconte in the great smoky mountains.

              Comment


              • #8
                The problem with llamas is they can only carry 75 lbs a piece. So you're still basically backpacking. It's not like you're now "car camping." Plus, if there's nothing for them to eat they have to carry their own food too. And now you've got the hassle of taking care of a bunch of llamas in addition to whatever else you were doing on the trip.

                However, I have seen people use horses and llamas to allow them to carry more food, essentially allowing a trip that would have had to be less than a week to be two or three. They used an entire llama load just to pack out the used diapers at the end.
                Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

                Comment


                • #9




                  The problem with llamas is they can only carry 75 lbs a piece. So you’re still basically backpacking. It’s not like you’re now “car camping.” Plus, if there’s nothing for them to eat they have to carry their own food too. And now you’ve got the hassle of taking care of a bunch of llamas in addition to whatever else you were doing on the trip.

                  However, I have seen people use horses and llamas to allow them to carry more food, essentially allowing a trip that would have had to be less than a week to be two or three. They used an entire llama load just to pack out the used diapers at the end.
                  Click to expand...


                  Other than being made a pack animal myself, I've never used a llama or a horse...but 75# sounds like the rope, rack, big tent, cozy pad, firewood, and room left over for beer and smores!

                  Comment


                  • #10







                    The problem with llamas is they can only carry 75 lbs a piece. So you’re still basically backpacking. It’s not like you’re now “car camping.” Plus, if there’s nothing for them to eat they have to carry their own food too. And now you’ve got the hassle of taking care of a bunch of llamas in addition to whatever else you were doing on the trip.

                    However, I have seen people use horses and llamas to allow them to carry more food, essentially allowing a trip that would have had to be less than a week to be two or three. They used an entire llama load just to pack out the used diapers at the end.
                    Click to expand…


                    Other than being made a pack animal myself, I’ve never used a llama or a horse…but 75# sounds like the rope, rack, big tent, cozy pad, firewood, and room left over for beer and smores!
                    Click to expand...


                    You're dreaming man, or you "run it out" a lot more than I do. Put a tent, pad, bag, clothes, 3 or 4 days of food, a liter or two of water, stove, and fuel in a backpack and weigh it. You're already at 35-40 lbs. Now add a rope, rack, shoes, and helmet. 55-60 right there, and that's a slog to haul. The llama gets you 15-20 more lbs. You're not going to blow that on firewood. Now if you're willing to haul 60 lbs AND take a llama, maybe you can make a case for a luxury trip, but I've never seen anyone with a llama with anything more than a daypack on their back.
                    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

                    Comment


                    • #11




                      I’m looking into it. Have you had an issue with it draining your battery of your cell phone? I have little faith it will handle a 3-day backpacking trip when I am using my phone for photos as well. That is really my only skepticism.
                      Click to expand...


                      Airplane modes does wonders. They have little solar options, or we use a 20,000 mAh usb battery charger. Charges a phone 3-4x fully.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My biggest issue with lightweight backpacking is that I bring my nice camera set up with me on most trips.  I do landscape photography as a hobby and I can't stand being out in such beautiful places without my camera.  I usually only bring one lens and I have an ultra light tripod.  So, no matter how light my pack is I end up with probably 5-6 additional pounds from all of that.  I just clip it to the front of my pack in a small carry case so it's easy to access.

                        Comment


                        • #13







                          I’m looking into it. Have you had an issue with it draining your battery of your cell phone? I have little faith it will handle a 3-day backpacking trip when I am using my phone for photos as well. That is really my only skepticism.
                          Click to expand…


                          Airplane modes does wonders. They have little solar options, or we use a 20,000 mAh usb battery charger. Charges a phone 3-4x fully.
                          Click to expand...


                          Oh yea, it's all about airplane mode. I can get a week out of an iphone in airplane mode. But if I need to make a lot of calls from mountain tops it's best to bring a solar charger or just one of those tiny little battery things.
                          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

                          Comment


                          • #14










                            The problem with llamas is they can only carry 75 lbs a piece. So you’re still basically backpacking. It’s not like you’re now “car camping.” Plus, if there’s nothing for them to eat they have to carry their own food too. And now you’ve got the hassle of taking care of a bunch of llamas in addition to whatever else you were doing on the trip.

                            However, I have seen people use horses and llamas to allow them to carry more food, essentially allowing a trip that would have had to be less than a week to be two or three. They used an entire llama load just to pack out the used diapers at the end.
                            Click to expand…


                            Other than being made a pack animal myself, I’ve never used a llama or a horse…but 75# sounds like the rope, rack, big tent, cozy pad, firewood, and room left over for beer and smores!
                            Click to expand…


                            You’re dreaming man, or you “run it out” a lot more than I do. Put a tent, pad, bag, clothes, 3 or 4 days of food, a liter or two of water, stove, and fuel in a backpack and weigh it. You’re already at 35-40 lbs. Now add a rope, rack, shoes, and helmet. 55-60 right there, and that’s a slog to haul. The llama gets you 15-20 more lbs. You’re not going to blow that on firewood. Now if you’re willing to haul 60 lbs AND take a llama, maybe you can make a case for a luxury trip, but I’ve never seen anyone with a llama with anything more than a daypack on their back.
                            Click to expand...


                            Nah, I probably just end up smelling worse than you and eating lousier food.  For summer alpine trips and for ski touring, I have a 43L pack (and external water bottle parkas if needed)...if it doesn't fit, it gets left at home.

                            FWIW, if you are offering to carry the stove, fuel, tent, rack, and rope, can I be your climbing partner?

                            Comment


                            • #15













                              The problem with llamas is they can only carry 75 lbs a piece. So you’re still basically backpacking. It’s not like you’re now “car camping.” Plus, if there’s nothing for them to eat they have to carry their own food too. And now you’ve got the hassle of taking care of a bunch of llamas in addition to whatever else you were doing on the trip.

                              However, I have seen people use horses and llamas to allow them to carry more food, essentially allowing a trip that would have had to be less than a week to be two or three. They used an entire llama load just to pack out the used diapers at the end.
                              Click to expand…


                              Other than being made a pack animal myself, I’ve never used a llama or a horse…but 75# sounds like the rope, rack, big tent, cozy pad, firewood, and room left over for beer and smores!
                              Click to expand…


                              You’re dreaming man, or you “run it out” a lot more than I do. Put a tent, pad, bag, clothes, 3 or 4 days of food, a liter or two of water, stove, and fuel in a backpack and weigh it. You’re already at 35-40 lbs. Now add a rope, rack, shoes, and helmet. 55-60 right there, and that’s a slog to haul. The llama gets you 15-20 more lbs. You’re not going to blow that on firewood. Now if you’re willing to haul 60 lbs AND take a llama, maybe you can make a case for a luxury trip, but I’ve never seen anyone with a llama with anything more than a daypack on their back.
                              Click to expand…


                              Nah, I probably just end up smelling worse than you and eating lousier food.  For summer alpine trips and for ski touring, I have a 43L pack (and external water bottle parkas if needed)…if it doesn’t fit, it gets left at home.

                              FWIW, if you are offering to carry the stove, fuel, tent, rack, and rope, can I be your climbing partner?
                              Click to expand...


                              Often we've each got a rope, and half a rack. One guys gets the stove and fuel and the other the tent. But you get my point. No way would I do a backpacking climbing trip with a 43L pack. More like 80. The suspension that comes on a 43L pack would kill me with a load like that.
                              Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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