The most eccentric item in your pack.

2:52 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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We've all got one. That one item we tote around that everyone else questions.  I carried Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" and a weirdly flavored tea ball around for more than 1000 miles on the AT.  A friend of mine carried a pair of swimmers goggles. I've seen stuffed animals, extra stoves, a galvanized steel bucket, among other items.

What's your most eccentric item?

3:01 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmm ....well I don't carry this all the time because it's a two season accoutrement but I like to bring my Baby Taylor when the temps allow:

 

 

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5:20 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Pass the Pigs

5:32 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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My kids' friends, but that was only once and I promised myself to never do that again.

5:48 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Seth said:

..I carried Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations..."

Patman said:

..I like to bring my Baby Taylor...

Pat and Seth:

Hey guys, I thought the topic was most eccentric, not most classy.  Nothing is more gratifying than sharing a campfire with a musician, except perhaps one that can wax intelligently on the state of affairs.  I would find you both welcome in my camp any time.

Now, as for exocentric…  There was the time I tried inventing a backpack sun/rain awning, to protect me without resorting to a hat.  Picture plastic coat hangers bent up, stretching a space blanket between the spans.   Or the tent I designed one time that converted from a tall shelter for headroom, to a squat shelter when the winds kicked up.  Heavy and a total farce.  How about a small kite used to cast a fishing lure way out to mid lake?  TMW.  Does a full size keg of beer count?  Yea, hiked one of those into base camp a couple of times, including a Sierra destination at 11.5K' with a 2K' elevation gain.  What was I doing?  How 'bout an 8' X 12' Persian rug for said base camp?  WHAT WAS I DOING?  How 'bout a six rib beef roast, or ten pounds of yams?  A case of champagne.  How about a 20 gallon metal trash can filled with food to establish a food drop for an upcoming snow season thru hike?  How about smoke flares on solo trips, and M-80s to scare off bears?  How about a slide rule (used to orient when only one landmark can be sighted)?  Toys for the girl friend - ok TMI...

Ed

5:56 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I do at times carry a kite. Just for fun and fishing

6:03 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Jeff,

outstanding....I clicked the yes button on your post.:)

Ed....um, well...... you are clearly master-class in eccentric backbacking; A standard-setter it seems.

Wow...I'm digging on that list. In fact, I must take some time to fully absorb the implications of bringing a Persian Rug with my kit.

6:55 p.m. on May 21, 2012 (EDT)
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If I had to pick one it would be an ice cube tray.

1:38 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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OK Mike, perhaps a stupid quesiton but I must ask: was the tray brought in winter? If not,what did you do with it?

2:05 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Ed makes me laugh. 

i once carried a ridiculously heavy camel hair rug up Mt. Sinai because my girlfriend and i had our foam pads disappear.  not the expensive, soft camel hair you might imagine, but something i bought cheap at a souk - large, rolled up rug that smelled like a camel that hadn't taken a bath in a while. 

 

2:55 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:

If I had to pick one it would be an ice cube tray.

 WHYYYYYYyyyy ?

6:47 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman said:

OK Mike, perhaps a stupid quesiton but I must ask: was the tray brought in winter? If not,what did you do with it?

 Not a stupid question at all.

This is a trick I learned in a course with the EPA.

Ice cube trays are used as mini aquariums for aquatic bug sampling along trout streams.

Once you net one of the little macro-invertabrates you place them in the ice cube tray with a little stream water for observation. You try to collect as many different insects as you can placing each one in a different "cubicle".

The types of insects you find is indicative of stream quality, the type of fish to expect, and what the fish are likely eating.

It's also great for campsite "bug in an ice cube" pranks in winter I guess.

Mike G.

10:30 p.m. on May 22, 2012 (EDT)
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At a trailhead last year an artsy lady client from England gave me a miniature book of poetry, may a dozen pages long with one short poem about the outdoors on each page. It's bound in soft kid leather and hand-printed on handmade paper.

I don't read poetry much, but it's so beautiful (and TINY, maybe 1.5" x 1.25") that it stays in my pack all the time. Great for picking up romantic outdoorsy girls, too.

But I sure like the bug-in-the-icecube-trick.

2:21 a.m. on May 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Briar pipe and tobacco.  Usually a couple different blends.  It's relaxing to pass the pipe when with the best of friends.

2:49 a.m. on May 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Not particularly eccentric, but on one trip in NZ into one of the huts at Arthur's Pass I carried in frozen steaks, potatoes and some other fresh food. It wound up raining, so instead of climbing, we just sat around and ate all weekend. One thing I usually carried down there was fresh butter. It was usually cold enough and for some reason, unlike butter in the US, a block of it wrapped in tin foil wouldn't melt at all. We also used to buy these little loaves of dark bread, about the size and consistency of a brick. That and boil in the bag Chinese food. Never seen anything like it here, but I imagine someone must make it.

12:37 p.m. on May 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Clear battery operated christmas lights. Used inside a tent. LOL  Rotissery chicken and fried potatoes on a long trail hike, with apple pie bought at the store...

1:10 p.m. on May 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Well, I carry a hair brush with me on the trail. Typically by day 3 my hair is a big ol rat's nest so unless I want to take a garden rake through it when I get home I gotta do something about it on trail.

I swear my dad was part alpaca. 

2:11 p.m. on May 25, 2012 (EDT)
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(electronic cricket )It is the size of a quarter. IT just goes off at randem . Someone in my camp always gets one under the rain fly or close by. Still nobody  found it yet, but they are suspicious.

moonshine from grandpa to forget about the cricket

9:18 a.m. on May 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Typically by day 3 my hair is a big ol rat's nest...

 Those of us who are follically-challenged are envious.

4:37 p.m. on May 27, 2012 (EDT)
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hhhhmmmmm...eccentric...I suppose that would be my Swamp Rat Wakizashi, though when I do bring it I leave my other fixed blades at home, so I suppose it's "purposeful" as well; as purposeful as a short sword can be anyway...

Seth, you are in good company; I often bring my copy of Wittgenstein's "Blue and Brown Books" as well. I just can't justify the weight of my hardbound "The World as Will and Idea"...and most of it's permanently lodged in my head already...

Ed, I'll say it again: I love the way you brain works. I look forward to the day we meet on the trail. I haven't touched a drop of alchohol in some ten years, but I'd have a whisky drink with you.

1:34 p.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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denis daly said:

Clear battery operated christmas lights. Used inside a tent. LOL  Rotissery chicken and fried potatoes on a long trail hike, with apple pie bought at the store...

 I got the same denis and love. OK, the color ones make in sometimes to lol.

Also, at times, a small oil lamp. It's just nice.

Is a 12 pack of beer eccentric?  If so, let it be!

1:35 p.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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A colored picture from my kids.  Reminds me that I need to return safe.

4:02 p.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

A colored picture from my kids.  Reminds me that I need to return safe.

Never thought of such a photo as eccentric.
I always have a small photo of my wife and daughter with me.  I have only once been in a really serious mountaineering predicament; it was on a high climb in Peru.  Gazing upon that photo and wondering if I would ever see them again was a strange, very powerful, indescribable, experience.  It was nothing like I imagined such an experience would be, and I can’t conjure the words that do justice to that experience.  There are emotions the normal person will never feel, unless they have lived through extraordinary experiences, such as standing on the balance of one’s mortality for days, and feeling it totter back and forth.  The experience was so disturbing, I have replaced that photo, and stashed the original away.  Perhaps someday I will feel more comfortable gazing upon that image, but presently I have no desire to revisit the mindscape it recalls.

Ed

6:55 p.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for sharing.  Sounds like you, as well as I, have our priorities straight.

4:59 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmmm.... between the flasks of liquor, I'd have to say... usb speakers to rock away @ night while drinking said liquor and playing Fluxx/Phase 10/Uno/Apples to Apples with hiking buds...

12:04 a.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I am trying to implement these into my journeys on trail...

missile-balloons.jpg

3:01 a.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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As related in this thread from a few years ago, at various times I have carried my share of a 100 lb. folding two-person kayak and a watermelon or two. In the line of duty (trail work) I carried an entire wheelbarrow on a pack frame, and another time I carried a gasoline powered jackhammer in a wooden crate (about 115 lbs total as I recall) -- both short but steep carries while doing trail and hut work in NZ.

But nowadays I seem to be pretty conventional, haven't taken anything really absurd in a long time. Have to work on that. Maybe I'll get one of these lawn zombies to place along the trail or around the campsite...


e557_garden_zombie_inuse.jpg

7:46 a.m. on June 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

missile-balloons.jpg

 Hysterical!

Backcountry version is sow w/cubs.

Ed

 

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