Wouldn't leave home without...

3:54 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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What is a something you wouldnt head into the backcountry without? It could be anything from the ten essentials (however I would hope everyone would bring those anyways), to a sleeping bag or maybe something that you enjoy to have along or always comes in handy.

Personally I have a tiny wooden cribbage set that my grandpa got for me that I always bring rubberbanded to a deck of cards. As far as gear my Jetboil and Katadyn Hiker filter are always double checked before heading into the woods.

What about you?

4:17 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I would guess it would be maps of some sort and my compass. I still use a compass I got in Boy Scouts about 40 years ago. Never used a GPS style one. I carry my folded maps in Ziploc bags to keep them dry from rain and pocket sweat.

4:23 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I wold have to say one of the things on my got to have list is my GSI coffee press. But then again for the most part my gear is the same from trip to trip depending in the season.

4:36 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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for the most part my gear is the same from trip to trip depending in the season.

I can agree on that as well the same for myself but figured it might be fun to see some of the stuff that not everyone carries 8). Coffee press is something I would love to get for my dad as a gift one of these days.

4:41 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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which leads me to ask what sort of coffee press would you recommend mike? not being much of a coffee drinker myself I have really no experience with coffee let alone in the backcountry. (my dad just drinks some instant when we backpack)

4:53 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Coffee. Even as hot as it gets here in the summer I have to have coffee in the morning. Instant is fine with me, but I have to have it. Also, extra socks. I never use all the socks I take, but they make a good pillow inside of a dry sack, and IF I need them, I have them.

5:15 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Hmm. That's a tough one, but above everything else I would take a good knife.

I am sure it wouldn't be possible in many places, but in the regions I frequent, I am able to use what nature has to offer to survive comfortably in three seasons, and potentially uncomfortably in the fourth. But not having a knife makes that MUCH more difficult, if not impossible, with my current level of knowledge and ability.

But presuming I have all of my backpacking kit with me, extra socks, and coffee are certainly up there on my list. I am definitely a bit of a coffee snob- I can readily admit it- so instant just wont cut it for me. I like to grind a freshly roasted estate coffee, maybe Ethiopian Harrar or Unwashed Sidamo, just before I pack. I either use self-fill tea bags or a tea-sleeve for the grounds, and brew it in one of my Kleen Kanteen stainless bottles.

6:14 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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For me it's a paperback book.

I like the idea of a mini cribbage board and deck. I love the game. I learned to play it in an old lodge/bar up in the Gallatin Canyon in Montana.

Tulley, I like to make stuff as well....... Could you post a pic or two or a dozen of the board your Grampa gave to you?


I have also become very attached to little homemade pop-can alcohol stoves and a small pot even for day hiking. I can have a hot drink without carrying a thermos.

6:38 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I would not leave home without that black and white furry bundle of energy and love to my left

<----Points at Juno, my 10 month old Siberian Husky

Second would be my coffee, I am a coffee lover and can't go one day without a nice fresh cup of java to start off the in that crisp mountain air. Far from the best coffee I have ever had, but if you have not tried the Starbucks Via instant coffee I recommend you give it a try. For being instant coffee it is $$. You can go to a local starbucks and ask them for a sample and they will usually give you a pack or two. I bring fresh beans to grind if my trip will be a few days or less. Otherwise I bring Via.

10:53 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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which leads me to ask what sort of coffee press would you recommend mike? not being much of a coffee drinker myself I have really no experience with coffee let alone in the backcountry. (my dad just drinks some instant when we backpack)

Well that question brings me to a question for you. If you would like to get a coffee press for your dad I will recommend this press A GSI Personal Java Press and its only $19.95 its not a bad price for what you get. Now if you need or want a larger press GSI makes 2 larger versions 30oz & 50oz.

Also Note: For a typical coffee press it is recommended that you use course ground coffee but my GSI personal press works just fine id the standard grind you buy in the store for a regular coffee maker.

gonzan

I agree I never leave home with out a good knife as well but a good knife is part of my essentials and to add to that I carry 2 one small folding lock blade about a 2 3/4" blade and a larger fixed blade 5 1/2" blade. Add extra socks are a must, you can where ware them in many ways feet, hands, neck etc.

11:25 p.m. on July 1, 2010 (EDT)
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I once left my sleeping bag in the truck amongst the other items that were in the back of my truck, I simply forgot to strap it to the bottom of my pack as we left the vehicles.

I was very embarrassed, by the time I realized it I was more than half way to camp, fortunately it was late spring and I got by on extra clothes & a couple items borrowed from the other guys.

A real defining moment!

So I never leave without my sleeping bag.

I always check my check list one more time now.

8:38 a.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Nice one trout!

9:11 a.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Well normally I never leave home without my 15 shot .380 auto and a spare mag. After being a cop near Pittsburgh Pa., I have seen people at their worst and there are quite a lot of them out there. That being said, the limited experience I have would force me to carry a good strong bowie knife and a fire started kit. I live by the Boy Scout motto....Be Prepared.

9:45 a.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Ooh all very good suggestions. If my dogs were young enough to hike I would love to take them and when I graduate from college I plan on getting a dog to hike with 8)

and definatly need a knife, often bring a knife my grandparents brought back from sweden. My grandparents just seem 2 know what little things to give.

thanks for the suggestiong Mike! I will look into that 8).

Noddlehead I can post some pictures and some dimensions for you. It would be very simple to duplicate. Cribbage is such a great and simple game for on the trail.

Another thing I often bring is a bag of skittles, it has just enough pieces to play a game of mancala on a piece of paper then can be eatin!

Last but not least that is pretty funny trout! I will always check my sleeping bag but I have forgotten my swimtrunks when we hiked to a small lake with my youngest cousin...for the sole purpose of swimming :P. I made due but it was a pretty humorous moment.

9:47 a.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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by the way noddlehead I will try to get those pictures tonight but it is possible I may not be able to get them posted until monday. I will be taking it with me on a quick overnighter tomorrow so i'll give you some pictures of it in action!

10:12 a.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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I bought a Tool Logic knife which has a fire steel striker inside the handle. It also has a decent whistle on it. I carry it around my neck with some parachute cord. Once in a great while I will go out without a shootin' iron but I NEVER go anyplace without a decent knife and a way to start a fire. I sound like a salesman but if you haven't considered this tool, its worth a look: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/tool-logic/sl3-fire/review/19815/

10:35 a.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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I never hit the trail without a camera. A recent addition to that distinction is my new tripod.

10:47 a.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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Geez, you mean you guys might just leave home without the single most important item? I see lots of "things" mentioned above that, frankly, are not important at all. But no mention of the one thing that a lack of all too often leads to disaster - having your brain in gear with a plan of where you are going and associated plans B, C, and D.

I see people at trailheads all the time chattering away, putting the backpack on, and heading up the trail, apparently not having more than a vague idea of where they are going and what they are going to do (or whether they have the sleeping bag, or in the case of a friend of mine, heading up the trail toward the snow for a backcountry multiday ski tour, with backpack, skis, and no ski boots - he did it more than once, leaving the boots back at home in the Bay Area).

Sometimes my plan is simple - wander along the trail until I find a spot that looks inviting to head off-trail, maybe camera in hand, maybe just to find a random solitary aery to sit and meditate. Sometimes it is more complex - after re-checking the gear list at the car, head off into the Howl of the Teething Gail (for you Feghoot fans) for a week of surviving whatever Nature throws at me.

2:17 p.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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I guess it would fit in with what Bill S said, but I wouldn't leave home without telling someone where I was going and est return time.

6:06 p.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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I think Bill is suggesting we waste valuable time at the trail head thinking things through. Haha.

A good practice, and sometimes we are so glad to be hitting the trail we don't stop to do that.

6:43 p.m. on July 2, 2010 (EDT)
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My American Express Card of course!

Rather than regress into another “important”gear list, I will assume this thread addresses must have superfluous items. My smokes and whiskey, bivi style bug netting, and sometimes my fishing tackle.
Ed

12:14 a.m. on July 3, 2010 (EDT)
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On whomeworry's note,

I generaly like to take a lightweight hammock for short or long term trips, I think it's a nice way to relax after some ground pounding.

2:46 a.m. on July 3, 2010 (EDT)
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I normally have a very basic idea of where im going but im almost always solo and no one would miss me if I was 2-3 days late it would be more like 4 - 5 days before someone would miss me a 1-2 day extension would me a normal thing for me.

12:52 p.m. on July 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Firesteel/tin of fat wood.

7:59 a.m. on July 4, 2010 (EDT)
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by the way noddlehead I will try to get those pictures tonight but it is possible I may not be able to get them posted until monday. I will be taking it with me on a quick overnighter tomorrow so i'll give you some pictures of it in action!

Much appreciated! Hope it was a good trip!

8:25 a.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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My personal (non-essential) essentials are my camera (a Canon G9) and a small notepad in a ziplock, with a writing implement. I have a very small notepad and pen stashed in all of my packs, bags, the car, etc.

10:28 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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alright noddlehead here is the board. was a good trip this weekend and I think this should be a pretty easy little project for ya.

DSCN1319.jpg?t=1278383535

the dimensions lying flat of the board are

7 1/4" long

2" wide

1/2 " thick

when you fold it in half it is

3 5/8" long

2" wide

1" thick

holes are 3/16 i believe, this way you can use a 1/8 in peg

the small hole in the back is about 3/8" thick, centered and maybe 1 1/2" long.

if you need any more descriptions or pictures just let me know will be glad to help.

ps im tryin to get these pictures to work but it may take a few tries

10:39 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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10:42 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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My personal (non-essential) essentials are my camera (a Canon G9) and a small notepad in a ziplock, with a writing implement. I have a very small notepad and pen stashed in all of my packs, bags, the car, etc.

I have a small (pocket sized) spiral note pad with plastic covers that contains waterproof paper, I keep it and a small fine tipped sharpie in my backpack with my maps & stuff.

I can't remember where I got it, but it works great.

11:53 p.m. on July 5, 2010 (EDT)
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Alicia said:

My personal (non-essential) essentials are my camera (a Canon G9) and a small notepad in a ziplock, with a writing implement. I have a very small notepad and pen stashed in all of my packs, bags, the car, etc.

I have a small (pocket sized) spiral note pad with plastic covers that contains waterproof paper, I keep it and a small fine tipped sharpie in my backpack with my maps & stuff.

I can't remember where I got it, but it works great.

Military surplus/supply stores usually have those notepads. :)

2:26 a.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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S&W knife, small listerine bottle, eno hammock, sometimes a good paperback book, and a whiskey flask on occasion.

Coffee is also a huge essential with me. I can vouch for the Starbucks VIA instant brew that Rambler mentioned. Skeptical at first, but for instant coffee, the stuff blew me away. mixed in a little powdered milk with mine..dang good. I also got the GSI coffee press for Christmas last year, and it has served me extremely well through the frigid winter we had down here for the Southeast.

Also.. from April through September, there will always be a pole with fishing tackle, a tarp and a sleeping pad in the back of the jeep. never know when opportunity might arise!

2:27 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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..Coffee is also a huge essential with me...

It goes without saying coffee is a must bring! It is after all one of the three food groups: pizza and beer are the other two. (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)

Ed

3:30 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Coffee - Pizza - Beer......I'll buy that.

I also love the illustration whomeworry, thanks for the laugh.

I do not leave home without coffee, tea, various drink mixes, and if I'm in an area that allows it, I do like a stiff whiskey before bedtime, but I'm not a party type drinker. I just like to relax and enjoy the evening.

I also bring various things with me just to give me something to do, I enjoy trying new stoves & pots out, or maybe trying to identify some plants with a guide book, etc. Just whatever I feel like tossing in at the last moment.

I often carry two fishing rods and a very small amount of associated gear.

5:48 p.m. on July 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey! Thanks Tulley!

That should be all I need to get one built. I have found that the hardest part is getting the cavity and slot cut to store the pegs.

9:32 a.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I would have to agree with you there, the rest should be relatively straight forward. it has the cavity and around the edges of the cavity there is a groove sorta thing that the metal cover slides into. I'm not totally sure how to do this but I have seen it done before in a woodshop class, of course I do not remember the techniques used.

11:05 a.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
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Tulley,

Do you know what type of wood your cribbage board is made of, hard to tell from the photo, but it looks a lot like Brazillian Cherry.

I am a self employed woodworker and the way I would make the storage slot in the back of the board would be to use a table router with a plunge router attached underneath. You would need two router bits, a mortising bit the size of the hole you desire, and a slot cutting bit slightly bigger than the mortising bit to cut the cover slot with. This should only take about 30 minutes if you know someone who has the skills & tools.

I could make you one but you would want to kill me when you got the bill.

11:20 a.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm not entirely sure what the type of wood is...being in a woodshop class for a few years gives me a bit of exposure to the types of wood and I agree that it is a type of oak but I would not be certain enough to tell you exactly the specific type.

Ha well with the sound of that bill I'm lucky I have a board already 8)

11:35 a.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
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I can't tell what the wood is from the photos either, but judging from the color hue and shift, and the fineness of the grain, I would have to say it isn't likely to be oak.

As Trout mentioned, it does look more like a tropical or semi tropical wood.

11:49 a.m. on July 7, 2010 (EDT)
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the back of the board has a lot more color shift than the front of the board. not being an expert its hard for me to say exactly, if you guys have a good way for me to tell I would be happy to help. :P Though a board could be made out of any wood really

12:33 a.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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A lot would depend a things like

- type of backcountry- desert, woods, jungle, swamp, mountain, ocean, etc.

- length of time out in the backcountry

- season

- type of predators likely to be encountered

But the essentials for me would be

1) Water & Katadyn Hiker water filter w/ iodine tablets

2) Windproof butane lighter with a Brunton fire steel as backup

3) First Aid kit

4) Gerber MultiPlier 600

5) Cell phone w/spare battery

6) compass w/maps

7) Acme Thunderer or Fox 40 pea-less whistle

8) synthetic fill sleeping bag & tarp

9) GoreTex rain suit w/ Tilley LTM3 Nylantium hat

10) H&K USP w/spare mag or Mossberg 500

Kelty Red Cloud 5600 to carry everything in.

3:23 a.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Generally, I've always got my Spyderco FB01, a Maratac AAA flashlight, 2 fire straws, and 15ft. 550-cord on me, all in/on one hip-belt kydex unit no larger than my hand.

3:25 a.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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I was temped to respond to the notion of firearms as an essential item, but since the rationale behind this mind set normally does not rest on logic, it seems the only result of my opine would be jeopardizing my safety.

Ed

4:59 a.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, apart from a knife, a sleeping bag, something edible, and something to make a fire with, that would be a camera.


Which camera is the question, as we, the wife and I, have a few. Probably someting water-resistant (the wife's Sony DSC-TX5 comes to mind, a little high-tech wonder), or somthing that work well under low light conditions (Pentax K-x with the Tamron 70-200/2.8), or something with a long zoom lens, like the wife's brand new Panasonic LUMIX TZ38, that reviewers love, is small, and light, and takes excellent macro pictures :-)!


Yours,

Tord

PS A Hennessy's Hammock would also be under consideration!

5:30 p.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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While I love and own 2 other Sony digicams, I chose the Panasonic Lumix TS2 as my outdoors, rough conditions camera.

For about the same $350 street price, it's a bit more robust and capable than the Sony TX5:

- Waterproof to 10m vs. 3m

- Shockproof from 2m vs. 1.5m

- The both have good quality (Leica & Zeiss) 4x optical zoom lenses but the TS2's digital zoom function reaches out a bit farther to almost 10x vs. 8x

- 14.1MP sensor vs. 10.2MP

Flash range 5.1m vs. 2.9m (Wide/ISO Auto)

360 shots per battery charge vs. 250 (CIPA standard)

While both are capable of HD video recording, only the TS2 has an LED light.

While both will accept the widely available SD/SDHC, only the TS2 accepts the new SDXC media.

But I have to admit, the TX5's panorama mode looks nifty.

Besides the basic silver, the TX5 also comes in black, red and pink while the TS2 also comes in blue, orange, and yellow.

The professional reviews that I've read, love them both. You can't go wrong with either.

11:00 p.m. on July 31, 2010 (EDT)
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Other than the essentials, I'd say the luxury I can't do without is the thermarest compressible pillow I have. It compresses quite small, but when pulled open fluffs up very nicely, keeps its support, and is lined with very soft fabric.


If I'm going to be a back sleeper in a mummy bag because of cold weather, I can't stand not having good head/neck support. Without it, it would be a night of absolutely no sleep.

10:45 a.m. on August 5, 2010 (EDT)
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I have a few things that are non essential, but I enjoy using them out there and would feal lost and naked without them. A magnifying lens: I enjoy looking at things such as rocks and bugs, leaves and flowers and even the new hang-nail I just got. And I suppose it could be useful as a fire starter in an emergency. A Monocular: Nice for animal observation and to see if that group of people up ahead looks friendly. And a metal encased pen style thermometer for water and air temp. These are toys that help make my outdoor excursions more enjoyable. And all three together weigh only 2oz.

2:14 a.m. on August 6, 2010 (EDT)
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...my ipod loaded with Justin Beber songs...finally found music to replace John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" as my favorite backpacking soundtrack.

2:20 a.m. on August 6, 2010 (EDT)
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my power rangers thermal pj's are also a must have for those chilly nights where a techno-mythical creature with laser eyes may ambush my campsite.

sorry all, TMI I know.

Seriously though, my first aid kit and a small sketch pad and pencil.

5:45 p.m. on August 7, 2010 (EDT)
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Small sketch pad and a pencil should always be part of your kit - sadly, I sometimes forgets to bring it!

6:46 a.m. on August 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I never hit the trail without a camera. A recent addition to that distinction is my new tripod.

I was beginning to worry about this thread. Now it's legit.

Why even go if you don't take a camera. :-)


Most of my trips are geared around using the camera. One thing I like to carry that most would consider luxury would be a nice pair of small binoculars.

Have a pair of Nikon Action 7x35 that weigh 21 oz. Allows me to scan ridges, meadows, and fields for wildlife before I spook them. They have gotten me some photos I would have not shot if I had left them at the house.

8:27 p.m. on August 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Soon I have a full camera kit, with two Pentax DSLRs (one K-7 and one K-x), one Tamron zoom wide lens, two zoom kit lenses, two zoom tele lenses (Tamron's 70-200/2.8 and Sigma's 120-400), tripod, monopod, flash (flash add-ons as well), a few primes (that is fixed focus length lenses, in my case all from Pentax). Naturally this leads to too much gear for easy hiking, so I prefer kayak, or car :-)! The entire kit weighs more than five kilos, not counting tripod and monopod, both big and cumbersome, if light!


The wife's camera kit is much lighter, and as long as it is light enough, has the same performance, approximately: Olympus E-PL1, with Olympus own wide zoom, kit zoom, and tele zoom - all very impressive, plus a 20mm Panasonic prime, a Panasonic LUMIC FZ38 (also 12MP, as the Olympus) with a 18X zoom and takes excellent videos as well (with stereo sound), just as the Olympus, and as backup a Sony DSC-TX5 (also 12MP, waterproof and also a fairly good video camera), & an Olympus flash - the entire kit weighs perhaps 2.5 kilograms, plus a very nice Gitzo carbon tripod & a small Manfrotto monopod. Her binoculars are from Focus, a Swedish trading company - smaller than mine but entirely waterproof, mine are just water-resistant, as is my K-7!

She can easily carry all her gear in her camera backpack - there is no way there is room enough in mine for all my gear, even if my backpack is much bigger!

So mixing makes and types of cameras have their advantages, not least weight-wise!

But what kind of camera do you guys carry with you?!

Tord

PS I forgot my video camera, that another kilo, or two! And the Nikon 8x36 binoculars weighs a bit, too!

10:12 a.m. on August 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey Tord, That is a really nice hat. Where did you get it ?

9:34 a.m. on October 26, 2010 (EDT)
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My UCO Candle Lantern is always with me.

8:02 p.m. on October 27, 2010 (EDT)
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Where did I get that hat?!

REI, a year or so ago!

Yeah, it is quite nice :-)!

3:22 a.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Swiss Army knife and my Voile Mini shovel (snow camping). Now that I have a GPS, probably that, along with a map and compass, even if I think I know where I'm going.

12:50 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
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I think out of everything I have I can't do without my water supply. Camelback or water skin. Everything else can be replaced in the field. It wouldn't be fun by any means but without water I am toast.

Assuming I can take whatever I want. I wouldn't leave without bowie knife.

5:50 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Assuming I can take whatever I want. I wouldn't leave without bowie knife.

 For what!

Ed

9:37 p.m. on October 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Most useful thing I have. I can assemble a shelter if need be. Skin a fish. Make a fire. Defend myself. You name it. You don't have a bowie knife? I thought it was a requirement.

 

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