After reading this
thread, I started flirting with the idea of just what it
would take to "disappear" for awhile. As a former guide I came up with a fairly detailed list of items you would need to get out of town with what
is "on your back," and just exactly how to make sure everything that is on your back is going to give you the most comfortable time while you're
Internal frame back pack
I would recommend something over 80 liters if you're planning on an expedition style trip (A few weeks or more). 65 liters up will be good for short
excursions, but will only really hold the "necessities." If you plan on packing anything extra around, you'll definitely want to buy something
upwards of 80 or more. At 110, like the linked bag, you could probably fit most things in your house in a back that big. Having that extra space in
your pack comes in handy, especially if you're picking up things a long the way to make your outing a little more comfortable. Most of these bigger
bags come with compression straps and a detachable "day pack" making it good for all those things you might need to do without a cumbersome pack on.
Most people recommend your pack to be half your weight, I usually carry up towards 60%+ on lengthy expeditions.
The brand new one from MSR is as cool as it gets. It's the fastest flowing hand filter on the market, washable reusable ceramic filters, and along
with being the fastest pump:volume, it is also the smallest. These hand filters will clean out all bacteria and viruses up to 99.8%. The only thing it
won't do is filter out the minerals within the water that in excess can cause diarrhea. In an emergency, you can pump straight from a water source
with a filter right onto a wound to flush out anything foreign, replacing a need for a syringe pump.
Can't go wrong with a quality sleeping bag. Montbell, Mountain hardwear, and Wiggy's are all incredible, though I'm partial to Mountain Hardwear.
There's a few tricks you can use with a good solid set up for any occasion, especially if you live in an area with ever-changing conditions like I
One is, always just go with a synthetic bag. Most quality bags maintain their insulation qualities up to 50 - 80% if wet! If you get a down bag and
it's wet, you're screwed. It won't hold any heat and it takes forever for the goose down to get dry and move organically again to fill dead (cold)
Two is, you can buy two different temperature rated bags for varying conditions. For instance, you can get a 0 bag and a 20 degree bag. You can put
one in the other on cold nights if you need anything that can withstand -0 temperatures. This way, even if you're gone awhile or the temperature
heats up at night, you can sleep comfortably in a 20 degree bag.
Double check to see if this comes with a Sam splint in case you need to set a bone out in the wild, or stabilize a dislocation or sprain. Make sure
all your basis are covered, as well! Sutures, needles, epinephrine pens (adrenaline, comes as a prescription, but they're easy to get a hold of and
have a shelf life of 2 years.), dressing, medical tape, band-aids, a syringe pump (probably the most commonly used! As you'll use it on just about
any situation that deals with open wounds.), Benedryl (antihistamine), IBProfin (anti inflammatory), Aspirin (You can not only take this for pain, but
if you break one in half and apply to a wet surface, it can actually cauterize a small wound if need be), and various other things. The one posted
above should be more than sufficient.
I don't really believe in camp fires except if there is no alternative to becoming dry. This little thing is easily the most impressive piece of
camping equipment I've ever bought in my whole life. You can fit the propane, stove, spoon, lighter, and towelette in the pot of this thing. It's
super lightweight and it doesn't give off a flame(light) when the pot is over the stove, unlike most stoves. Fires(light) will bring unwanted
visitors or attention, not only by rangers or authorities, but also raccoons, bears, or even cougars. They don't like fire, but if they've
associated fire = humans = food, than it becomes a pain in the ass, especially if they gnaw through your gear to get to somethings you didn't put
away correctly. If you pack 4 propanes
in that huge bag, and especially with this stove. You
should be good for up to nearly two months without having to refuel.
"Cotton kills!" Stick to nylon or other synthetic materials. They dry fast and wick the elements fairly well. Wool does an incredible job and has
proven itself for years. It also holds up way better around fire than synthetic materials do. Wool does have it's drawbacks, as it's heavier,
doesn't dry as fast, and doesn't compress as well in the pack, but it's not a bad choice for socks and the like. A month trip out should be a
breeze with two pairs of trail pants, a reliable shell, cold coat, gloves/glove liners, a beanie/hat, thermal tops and bottoms(I suggest neoprene),
and some undies if you want, but I don't really bother if I'm on trail. I'm a minimalist, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
I prefer an 8x6 heavy duty tarp, as I can adjust my shelter for weather, but one man tents are an option for those who don't want to tie knots. A
small tent is perfect for someone who just wants to find a plot and crash. Not nearly as versatile as a tarp and good shelter building knowledge, but
perfect for expedition camping.
There's a bunch of little stuff that can and will absolutely save your life. Headlamps, compass, GPS, iodine (back up water purification), water
bottles, cordage, butane lighters, etc... All the little things come together in a big way.
Headlamps will be a huge help at night, and as they are around your head, you can easily use your hands for whatever need be. The only drawbacks of a
headlamp is it can be seen for miles given the right circumstances and battery life is fast, especially on long night hikes avoiding the heat in the
Water bottles are the ultimate survival essential. Nalgene IS the ultimate outdoor water bottle. It's nearly unbreakable (and you even get a free
shirt from them if you manage to break one!), plastic, and is made so that whatever liquid you had in the bottle before you dumped it out or got rid
of it does not bind to the inside.
A compass is the backbone of any trip. As long as you're checking your map and backing it up with your compass, any trip should go smoothly. Iodine
tastes like metal, but it's better to stay hydrated with pool tasting water than to not have any potable water on hand.
GPS is a godsend every now and again, especially in canyons or hilly terrain. The only drawbacks are the battery life. They're constantly pinging
off satellites while you have them on, and that takes a lot of energy out of it's supply. I usually use these intermittently (5-50 miles depending)
if I'm feeling iffy about my route, but I know some people who walk with their eyes fixed to the thing just in case. I'm not sure on the logistics
of GPS tracking, but I would like to know if the signal from the unit could be triangulated by a third party, like a cellphone. You know how big
Cordage is just glorified string. It's heavy duty stuff, similar to parachute chord. You can set up shelters, string traps, tie useful nots, hang wet
clothes, etc... A little piece of cordage can go a long way in keeping a person alive.
Butane lighters are incredible. You can refill them, thus, carrying your gas with you and the flint won't burn out. They also light under harsh
conditions, so you're not there turning it over with frozen hands for 10 minutes before you can get your stove started. Cheap BIC lighters are fine
too, as I pack a few of those away just in case.
Obviously besides water, the most essential. The best way that I have found to eat on trail without wasting incredible energy looking for berries or
setting traps for small rodents (not my style anyway.), is to buy bulk dehydrated foods! It's not only cheap, but with a few gallon bags of beans,
soups, rice and oatmeal, along with a bunch of snack foods is the most efficient way to eat "out there." Since they're dehydrated, you save a
considerable amount of weight. That is what the game is all about! Packing to get the best bang for your buck/pound. A month supply of food should run
no more than 15-20 pounds. If you wanted to stretch out your expedition a little longer, carrying 30+ pounds of food shouldn't be too cumbersome,
either. Snack foods should consist of carbs, proteins, and sugars. Fruit leathers, Jerkies, granola bars, fruit snacks, Tuna packs, etc... Drink mixes
are good to have around as well. Powder Gatorade, fruit drink mix, Taang, lemonade, tea, milk, and the like will also be perfect for an outdoor
scenario. Any powder or dehydrated food won't go bad because it's dehydrated, so as long as it doesn't come into contact with water, it should last
you for however long you're out on the trail.