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#14443 - 03/28/03 06:09 PM backpak choice
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1753
i'm going for a 5 day hike in the belgium ardens in about 1.5 months from now, but i don't have a backpack yet and i have zero experians with long distanse multi day hiking, so what are the points you have to look for wenn buy a large hiking backpak, exsept that it has to big enough and fits comfitable ?im on a low budget so any good tips of some good cheap packs ?
any tips over hiking would be nice 2....

the trip will be made with 20 other non-experians folks and 5 guys who has 20 years experians....

Edited by PC2K (03/28/03 07:39 PM)

#14444 - 03/28/03 06:25 PM Re: backpak choice

I hope that you are going with someone with more experience. A 5 day trek for someone who has no experience is quite an undertaking. IIRC you are a youngster and probably in good shape so the physical demands shouldn't be too problematic. Carry more food than you think you will need - somewhere around day 2 you will start consuming 1.5 to 2 times as much as usual. Carry less gear than you want to. Everything you carry is a burden! Don't skimp on essentials - multiple socks makes more sense than an extra shirt. An ultralight umbrella is a good way to save weight - if it replaces a heavy poncho or rain-suit.

Pack clothes for how warm you will be while walking vigorously. If you aren't walking you will be in your sleeping bag. Don't pack the type of clothes you would for walking around town while poking in and out of shops and cafe's. You will be exercising. If you carry a heavier pack you will be working harder and be even warmer. A lightweight pair of long underwear will be more useful to you than a heavy sweater.

As for the pack. Remember it only carries stuff it has no other functional use. Once you setup camp for the night it is useless. Make it as light and simple as you can without sacrificing carry comfort.

I used to carry a medium alice - now I am making my own. Going from 7 pounds to under .5 pounds. That would allow me to carry 6 more pounds of gear or walk 6 pounds lighter. I am actually shaving weight everywhere. For example my 4 pound tent has been traded for 14 ounce tarp.

#14445 - 03/28/03 07:02 PM Re: backpak choice
Hutch66 Offline
new member

Registered: 10/12/02
Posts: 148
Loc: Virginia, USA
The best advice I can give you is to not spend too much money right away. After you go a couple times, you'll get a better feel for what you want and like about certain items, and what you don't like about them. Then you can start figuring out what new gear to buy. If you're going with more experienced hikers (and I, too, hope you are for a trip of this duration) they probably have old gear lying around that they can loan you until you figure out what works best for you. In fact, it woud probably be a good idea to go on a couple weekend trips before this outing to get a better idea of what you do and don't want to take with you for a longer trip. Like most things we talk about on this board, it really comes down to personal preference.
If you're going to buy a new pack, go to every store you can that has packs in the size you're looking for and try a bunch on. Don't get locked into a specific one too early, because as I'm sure you've already found out there is an endless variety of options. Wear them around the store for awhile with a load similar to what you plan to carry and see how they feel. Once you find one you like, you can look on the internet to see if you can find a better price, but don't buy one online without trying it on.
As a sidenote, I read an article recently that had polled AT through hikers and reported that those who used expensive high-tech tents reported the same satisfaction with them as those who used inexpensive pup tents or tarps.

Good luck,

#14446 - 03/28/03 10:35 PM Re: backpak choice
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Sounds like fun!

Is there anyway you can ask your experienced group members how large (liters) and heavy (kg) your load will be for this trip? If not, here are some questions that would help us figure out an effective and economical solution for you:

1. How far will you be walking each day?
2. Will you shelter in huts, hostels, or on your own in the forest? If on your own, what will you use and is it just for you or shared with one or more others?
3. Will you carry all your food for the trip or will you purchase food along the way?
4. How much cooking equipment/fuel will you carry/share (group cooking, individual, or...?)
5. What kind of weather do you expect to encounter in May (keeping in mind what a wierd winter it has been for Europe especially)?

Can you rent a pack?



#14447 - 03/29/03 04:52 AM Re: backpak choice

I agree with Ayres, definitely try to rent, or borrow. Also, get some help at the store or from one of your experienced friends in adjusting the pack properly. This can make a huge difference.

By all means, get in some preliminary trips before hand - even an overnighter with negligible hiking will get you used to sleeping out and dealing with your gear. Other than hiking, distance running will help your wind and legs a lot.

Buying a pack of this type is a big investment - not just the cost, but also in getting a suitable pack with the right features which will feel comfortable and not beat you up. You are not likely to spend less than $200, and probably more, for a decent pack.

The last time I bought a pack like this, I tried on several models in stores, and rented two models for actual trips, taking about three months to make a selection. But the one I chose has served me well for over a decade.

#14448 - 03/29/03 08:56 AM Re: backpak choice
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1753
we will be walking 20 km a day and stay the first 2 nights on rather primitive campings and the last 2 days on some farmers land. We don't have to carry much food with use, a person is gonna drive the cookingware and food to the next location everyday, just some food for the trip.
the weather can vary very much, it can be as cold as 0 degrea celsius cold at night and up to 25 degrea Celsius during the day.
we are trying to get the packs to weigh about 10 kilo's

i haven't found a place were they rent pack, i did search for used ones, but havent found one yet...

#14449 - 03/29/03 04:22 PM Re: backpak choice

You will be carrying much lighter packs than I had envisioned from your first post (In North America, "backpacking" usually requires carrying all food, cooking gear, etc. self contained for the entire trip). I should have realized that most campaigns in the Ardennes have used verhicular support!

A ten kilo load should do fine in a quality day pack. Will you carry your sleeping bags and tents or are they taken ahead to the next spot as well?

I would pay particular attention to your boots, as well. Blisters and other foot gear related problems can turn any hike into misery. Walk in them lots beforehand..

#14450 - 03/29/03 04:38 PM Re: backpak choice
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1753
well usually people do have to carry there food and stuff with them, we are just lazzy <img src="images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> its a school organised trip so they make it a little easyer for the bigginers ( like me ).
we do have to carry a sleepingmat, bag and tent. its only the cookware, gastanks ( the big onse ), food and jerrycans of water that are verhicle transportet

the feet issue is no problemo, have read and heard enough about that.

Edited by PC2K (03/29/03 04:50 PM)

#14451 - 03/29/03 05:41 PM Re: backpak choice
Biscuits Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 114
Loc: Central Colorado
I understand from the other posts that you are going on a 5-day trek. You will experience temps between 0 and 25 C. You will have to hump your sleepingbag, a mat, a tent (or your share of the tent because you and your partner can split up the weight and bulk), and your personal gear. You want to keep the load below 10 Kg. It has already been suggested that you rent or borrow. I'd offer the same advice. Choosing a pack is easy compared to picking the right boots, because if you are wrong the consequences are not nearly as bad. Carrying an ill fitting pack is no fun, but wearing the wrong boots or new boots is torture. There are all kinds of packs out there that are high quality and some junk too. I'll discuss features and let you research a particular brand's quality. The different features that make one pack better than another is largely a matter of preference. When you buy, rent, or borrow you will be bombarded with all sorts of choices that you will have to make. Having said that these are my preferences.

TOP LOADING. I like being able to shove stuff into a single bag and tighten the lid onto my load. Other people prefer a front, or panel, loading pack because they can organize their gear better.

A GOOD SUSPENSION SYSTEM. I like my weight to ride on my hips. I have a buddy who hurt himself in a car wreck; he likes his weight on his shoulders.

EXTEROIR POCKETS. I look for one in the lid and one on each side. This way I can separate my rain gear and fuel bottles away from the rest of my load. I want to do this because I want to get to my raingear without having to open my pack and fuel bottles make everything in my pack smell like fuel. I also hang a water bottle holster and accessory pocket off my hip belt for water and little things like lip balm, a compass, and T.P.

SIDE COMPRESSION STRAPS. I like these because they keep the load tight and I can slip my sleeping pad in on one side and a large knife or tent poles in on the other.

I wouldn't get too worked up about the pack you pick, because as you become more experienced your needs will change. Just find one that will work for this trip, learn from it, and have fun.



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