New Hiker

1:59 p.m. on July 16, 2010 (EDT)
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What is the best way to prepare for a 5 day mountain hike for someone who has little to no overnight hiking experience?

2:11 p.m. on July 16, 2010 (EDT)
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Take a look at this thread first.

Also, we have an entire forum section called "Beginners" that has an abundance of useful information.

4:15 p.m. on July 16, 2010 (EDT)
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Are we talking prepare gear wise, or physically, or both? Or are we talking starting from hiking square one with no experience or gear what so ever?

Basically what I am trying to get at is the more information you can give us the better we can help you. What kind of experience do you have, do you do dayhikes? Do you have any gear, or are you just beginning to look?

What geographical area are you going to be hiking in? The mountains in Maine are different than the mountains in Arizona etc.

Let us know your experience, your gear, your general geographic location for a starting point so we can offer you the best advice and assistance.

6:58 a.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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Best take a couple of overnighters first with someone who is experienced. What a travesty it would be to get into a situation that ruins your trip. Trial outings of shorter duration will illuminate many of these kinds of issues, so you can take that extended trip without the unnecessary risk that comes with inexperience. First hand experience really helps.


8:04 a.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I decided last fall to get back into backpacking after about a 20 year lapse in judgment. Being a little older than most of the people here, It was important for me to get into decent enough physical condition to enjoy an extended trip before trying one.

Started working out on a total gym and stationary bike to strengthen old muscles and help conditioning. Numerous day hikes with a load that equaled a weekend trip helped me gauge how I was progressing. Then a few overnighters to get a feel for what should be left behind or discover what needed to be added to the pack.

Once I was confident I wouldn't endanger myself or others, I made my big trip that I had always wanted to do. It was a blast. I'm now have a few other things in the pipeline.


11:32 p.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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SIMULATION: Since you have experienced basic hiking then the major effort will be the bivouac - the camping experience; preparing your sleeping area, food, latrine and water supply. Prepare by simulating the bivouac in your backyard or other site. Set-up your tent, prepare, cook, eat, clean-up and go to sleep. Also prep your following morning meal and water supply for the day. Think of ways to reduce your prep time after each of the prep experiences. Your mind needs to store and improve on the experiences. Reduce the time required for each task if practical. Then you'll enjoy the bivouac having experienced and minimized the tedious processes.

7:48 a.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Guess I'm a little more laid back. It's not about performance for me, it's about fun. I will stop to smell the roses, take a photo of the wildlife, and enjoy the event as a whole. The stopwatch is not running because I didn't bring it. Got out into the woods in the first place to get away from that very thing. If I only cover a mile one day, I've still achieved a goal. Something must have been worth more than that next campsite further down the trail.

Yes, it's good to develop a routine that works well for you. It's good to develop clean habits in camp to limit wildlife from diminishing the experience.

I learned a smart old squirrel will gnaw through a rope where it goes over a limb to get to a pack with food in it. :-) Couldn't learn that in my back yard. Time to invest in a bear can.

10:28 a.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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How about using one of those steel cables covered in plastic as a bear rope????

11:06 a.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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How about using one of those steel cables covered in plastic as a bear rope????

An idea worth considering. I still need a bear can though. There are places I want to go soon where they are required.

11:23 p.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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You just put food and shelter on your back and walk. Not a big deal. if it gets to be too much you just go home.

May 25, 2018
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