Rally's voyage to survival and section camping

Discussion in 'The Rumble Strip' started by Rallywagon, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. Rallywagon

    Rallywagon Premium

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    So, ive been glamping for a number of years now. We had a pop up that we used. We sold it last season as my wife was pregnant and camping was/is out of the picture for the next couple years. We aren't going to be the campers we hated, bringing a crying baby to the camp grounds, screaming its annoying face off.
    With that said, ive decided to take this time to get into real camping and thru hiking. The plan is to familiarize and condition myself this year and next un the woods and paths around MI. Eventually the idea is to do some proper trips up in Canadia and Alaska and to thru hike trails like the APT and PCT.
    Ive started conditioning already, and honestly im not that bad out of shape, being a fairly active fellow. Once my ruck arrives (decided to go with a slightly smaller ruck than my old army mollie kit, which is huge and heavy) i'll be piling in some weights and hoofing that a few miles every other day.
    Outside of this, is there anyone on the forum that does this kinda stuff? Any pro tips and advice? What kinda gear do you use? How much are you packing? I am not obsessed with weight savings. I am used to rucking 15+ miles a day with nearly 100 lbs of gear at about 5k ASL elevation. I havent got a base weight yet, but I am guessing it'll be about 30lbs ish.
    All that said, i hope to do some good documentation of my adventures and look forward to sharing them.
     
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  2. SPhilli911

    SPhilli911

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    My dad has been hiking all his life, mostly in the Northeast area like VT, and NH. 2 years ago he did the Appalachian Trail heading North… a dream of his that he accomplished. After that he did the Long Trail in VT and is currently heading out to Yosemite to do something new. He is 61 years old and in better shape than me!

    Anyways, for the Appalachian he used (and would strongly suggest, probably) a 65 liter pack. He carried no more than 25-30lbs on the trail. Course he carried only what he needed during each stretch and he had all ultralight gear. We would mail him supplies along the way. I could get more info, for sure, as he was very meticulous in the planning of that hike. 25-30lbs may not sound like much but over the course of days, weeks or months it will feel like a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  3. Rallywagon

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    More info would be great! I think once I work up to a trail like the Appalachians, I'll likely have the experiemce to better pick my gear and have moved on from the ruck I have now. Anything I am doing right now will be long weekend trips so I am not needing quite the pack requirements. But like I said, I am not hard up on weight, at least not yet. I've rucked 15-20+ miles a day for weeks with around 75 lbs of gear, in full uniform and combat gear. Doing it with a total load around 40, in shorts shoes and wearing a hat instead of a kpot, that will be pretty nice honestly.
    To be frank, my worry isnt my endurance, its my feet and making sure my pack is right. I definitely dont wanna pack something ill never use while missing out on something I'll need frequently.
    Thanks for the reply though, i look forward to any info you may be able to glean from your father.
     
  4. Roo

    Roo Premium

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    I can recommend Bill Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods, where he attempts to hike the AT. It was published back in 1998 so some of the practical details will have changed (there might be better maps nowadays, for example), but as a description of the experience I don't know of any better.
     
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  5. Rallywagon

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    Went on my first hike this weekend. Me and a friend traversed North Manitou Island. All told we pumped out a bit over 20 miles in under 48 hours. Got on the island around 2 pm friday and were headed back to the main land noon Sunday.
    The hike wasnt to extreme. The maintained trails were easy to follow and the terrain wasnt to bad. The island itself was beautiful as well. All told it was a positive experience and definitely built up my confidence to start doing bigger section hikes. I'll definitely be visiting the island again. Probably annually in fact. We only got to a few of the old historical ruins as we were worried about how much progress we would be able to make.
    Here are some pictures from the journey. Time for an overloaded, anyone still on dial up?
    Here was our planned route. Stuck to it too.
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    Here is South (left) and North (right) Manitou Island's.
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    Getting to North Manitou
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    Various pictures of the island and some of its ruins
    I see you!
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  6. Joey D

    Joey D Premium

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    I've been to North Manitou a couple of times, pretty cool place to hike around. Although all I really remember is getting eaten alive by bugs. Same with South Manitou as well.

    Not sure if you've been to Beaver Island, but that's worth a visit too. It's not nearly as remote as the Manitou Islands though, but it has an interesting history. Back in the 1800's it was known as the Mormon Kingdom. That alone made it worth the visit for me since it's just so off the wall. It's mostly a place to bike and camp though with a few day hikes here and there.

    But I'm guessing if you're really looking into more wilderness stuff, you're probably considering Isle Royale? It's a place I always wanted to go but driving from the Detroit area to Houghton Hancock seemed awful.
     
  7. Rallywagon

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    Isle royal, governement island, the porcupine mountains. Got an exhaustive list around MI. Hoping to get them all done once in the next year or two, then when my son is old enough, take my two kids out as well. I have a few field guides but I'd like to learn how better to forge while on the trail and to have a better idea of the flora and fauna types. Maybe just improve my overall survival skills.
    I also want to do a better job photographing and chronicling these trips. This trip was quite amazing and I am doing a fairly inadequate job conveying its awesomeness.
    Probably should retitled this post now though...
     
  8. TexRex

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    Probably easier to just bring a spare knife in case your first one splits...

    :sly:
     
  9. Rallywagon

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    Errr, forage....:dunce:
     
  10. TexRex

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  11. Rallywagon

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    Well, it's that time of year again. Time to get a pack on my back and miles under my feet.
    This year already on the docket is heading back to North Manitou in August. Have a 3 day kayaking trip planned for mid July as well. The big one though, is going to be hitting up a portion of the Northern Country Trail. Likely just a stretch through the northern lower peninsula or the UP.
    In the mean time though. Its back to running abs hiking local spots with a weighted pack
     
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  12. Rallywagon

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    It's not exactly section hiking or survival camping, but it is our camp spot for the next few nights.
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    We will be heading out to the river shortly for some kayaking.

    That being said, I should be starting a portion of the Michigan section of the NCT soon. A friend and I are looking to smash out as much of the southern stretches as possible this summer and fall so we can get started on the more beautiful areas come next spring.
     
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  13. Rallywagon

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    Welp, it's about that time of year again! The same friend from the NMI trip and I are.going to be hiking from Mackinac city to Petoskey beginning of Oct. Got somewhere around 50 miles to cover in 4 days. Not so bad. Been working on my pack this past week trying to decide how I want to fill it, and what gear to bring. Decided I wanted to get my old ALICE pack some new life. So recently I picked up the frame and a MOLLE belt system. The struggle I am having though lies in the fact that I use a hammock instead of a tent. One of the main issues with hammocks is that, since your body compresses the fillers in a sleeping bag, you tend to get quote cold on the bottom half of your body. You can combat that by getting a quilt that is designed to fit around the exterior of you hammock. I havent made that investment yeah. I was toying around with idea of forgoing the hammock and sleeping just in my bag and its bivy cover but the weather is supposed to be quite wet for this trip. The forecast in fact is showing rain for most of it. I am not keen on being in the ground without a tent in such conditions.
    So the hammock it is. Now, on a previous kayaking trip I had taken an old Coleman sleeping back and wrapped it around my hammock and that honestly wasn't so bad, but its bulky and doesnt really compress down much, unlike the bags for my sleeping system, so I think what I am going to do is use my intermediate bag (this is the thickest bag of the set, good for temps well below 32°f on its own) along with my body to help trap heat, and a foam exercise mat. I am hoping the mat will be just enough insulation that I dont lose an uncomfortable amount of heat.
    I also have a second issue. That being I dont actually have a rain fly for my hammock either. I do have a lot of rope though. I always bring a tarp, and I also have a large piece of visqueen just in case. I think all told, I should do alright.
    Now to find my shovel and canteen set and start gathering my food supplies.
    Here are a couple pics of my setup ATM. Its am old army ALICE pack. I put the MOLLE belt on. Much more comfortable than the ALICE belt. I am thinking of getting the MOLLE shoulder straps as well. However, my buddy just picked up a 55L Osprey. I think I may ruck out a few miles with his pack to compare. If its worlds better (being damn near 300 bucks, I sure hope it is) I may forego the straps and just move right into a new pack for next year. I suppose miles will tell.

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  14. W3HS

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    When I was touring northern China and regularly slept in a hammock in low temperatures I would use a cheap foil blanket like Nasa or paramedics use to insulate my body. Even with frost on the ground, I was too warm if anything; the foil blanket wrapped around my sleeping bag liner, no bag though. We did keep a fire close by so that helped but I’m sure you could grab an emergency foil blanket for next to nothing and it folds up to practically nothing too.

    Edit: I should mention that this set up was used in conjunction to an insulated tarp which I hung at a very small angle to cocoon myself as much as possible.
     
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  15. Rallywagon

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    That's not a bad idea. My buddy was a paramedic, bet he's got one I can try out. I am interested in seeing how the pad works out too. It rolls up with my tarp, so it's not taking up space either.
     
  16. Rallywagon

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    Sadly the NCT trip did not go as expected. A number of things culminated in what turned into a 21 mile, 1 day endurance march.
    After a near 4 hour drive, we arrived to Mackinaw around 8 am, spirits high, but with the weather anything but delightful. It was dreary 52°f with a light rain that was suppose to clear up by 9 am. So we do some quick last minute pack adjustments and set out on what was to be a 60 mile, 4 day hike to Petosky. The first hour in, I am noticing my pack might be a touch on the heavy side, amd the rain hasn't let up. But we persist. By mile 2.5 we have reached French Lake. This is where the trail goes from flat, crushed limestone, to a proper game trail sized hiking trail. The terrain also gets very hilly with lots of elevation change. It's also at this point that I really begin to feel the weight of my pack.we progress for the next couple miles and get past the lake. We get to mile 8 and hit Cecil Bay rd. Here we rest for a bit. I drop my pack amd noticed that the hip belt is starting to tear where the mounting straps on the back attach it to the frame of the ruck. A sure sign that my pack is way over weight. My body now is really feeling the strain, my right leg is near cramping, and I am starting to feel a cold sweat coming on. We decide to push on. We march out another 2 miles and hit a camp site right off the trail. 10 miles in, we decide we might try to set up camp.
    At this point, the rain has not stopped, but seems to fluctuate between a sprinkle and a down pour. This is when my buddy noticed his cheap Amazon Camelback knockoff has leaked all over his gear, soaking his cloths and sleeping bag. While setting up my hammock (I took you advise btw W3HS, and got one of those emergency blankets, just never got to try it out properly) the rain really started coming down. My tarps were to far to one side, and my bed and sleeping bag got fairly wet as well. By 2 we had camp set and were taking a good long break. We had some discussion in that time, and reviewed our plans as well as the weather's. The rain wasn't to let up, amd high winds, heavier rains and nightly temps were predicted to be in the mid to low 30s. By 3, we had decided that it was probably best to walk out of this one and head back to the car. I had been shaking and unable to warm myself in that hour. Our gear was soaked, and didnt want to push on and put ourselves in a situation that forced some sort of rescue. So we broke camp and trudged the 2 miles back to the road. At this point, my gear must have gained another 5-7 pounds in rain water and by time we got to the road, my shoulder was wrenched and my legs shaking and nearly spent.
    We decided to drop our packs off here, hidden just off the road in the woods amd walk the flat, smooth road back to Mackinaw. The route added an extra mile, but avoided the very hilly and rough terrain around d the lake, so that's the way we decided to go. After a near 4 hour, 9 mile walk back we finally made it to the car, completely drained, worn, cold and wet. But alive. We drove back, grabbed the packs and made it home by 11:30 PM.
    Damage report, my right shoulder has a torn muscle, my hips are bruised and blistered from where the frame rubbed through spaces in the padding of the hip belt. The mounts seem to line up right were spaces are to allow for the belt to fold around the body. And ultimately, I have either started out sick, or caused myself to get sick. Running a bit of a fever and a touch queasy.
    All told, while I am disappointed we didnt end up making the whole trip, indont regret the choice to pull out. I think had we tried making it through the night and persisting on, I would have exacerbated my illness worse than it is now and with the weather staying wet and cold through the rest of the weekend, I would have quickly been in dire straits.
    We both had a lot of lessons learned. I personally will be investing in some proper, lightweight camping gear, shifting from my hammock to a tent, and working to restrict my pack weight as much as possible. We will also be working our way up, the ol crawl, walk, run methodology, to longer trips next year. We are planning to don NMI in May next year, and doing a lot of day trips along the southern portions of the NCT. We also plan to cut the season in September rather than trying to push on into October. At least until.we have more experience and endurance. All in all, this was both the worst and yet most informative trip I have been on yet. It hurt, it sucked, it left my disappointed. But I am glad to have had the humbling experience, and had it in a manner that didnt leave us stranded miles and miles out in the middle of the woods.
    Oh, through all the agony, I did manage to take some pictures. I am fascinated by fungus, so most of my pictures are of the mushrooms found along the way. There were some really great shots I did miss out on though because I just wasn't in the mental state to take a moment and capture them. Enjoy.

    The beginning of our journey. Looks like its gonna be an easy hike here.

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    Then we get to the trail proper. This was as we were getting to and walking around French Lake.
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    And here are all those funguys!
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    And finally, this is Cecil Bay in Lake Michigan.
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