cross country trip

6:44 p.m. on March 29, 2007 (EDT)

a.k.a. Heron Bassett

Hi everybody!

I am planning a cross country trip with my girlfriend this summer and would like some general advice. I am going to be living out of my backpack for about 4 months and need to know what to bring. I have never done any real serious hiking and this trip will be a first for me. I want to know what kind of food to eat and cook on the trail, what essentials I will need in my pack and on my person and so on. All advice is more than welcome. Thanks a lot -Heron

9:01 p.m. on March 29, 2007 (EDT)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

As I have posted here before in response to a similar question, you may have well asked "How long is a piece of string?"

The answer is "It depends."

Why don't I just give you a list? Because there are literally hundreds of tent and tarp designs, hundreds of sleeping bags, hundreds of packs, dozens of stoves, dozens and dozens of jackets, boots, shirts, pants, etc. to choose from. There is a reason an REI is the size of a Ralph's or Safeway-and they only carry some of the well-known brands.

You don't make clear whether you are going to be car camping, backpacking into wilderness areas, staying in motels or hotels part of the time, a combination of all that or where you are going. Cross country could mean anywhere-you don't even say what country. Here in the U.S. it could mean from Maine to California or Arizona to Washington. All of these factors affect what you may want to take.

Since you say you have no experience, start by reading every book on hiking and backpacking you can find. Amazon has a lot of them. Start with Camping for Dummies, then read The Complete Walker, 4th Edition, from front to back, plus whatever other books you find that are of fairly recent vintage. Mountaineering, Freedom of the Hills is also comprehensive, but oriented more towards climbing than most. There are also cookbooks for trail cooking-find a couple of those too.

Once you have an understanding from your reading as to what you are doing (all backpacking is traveling, but all traveling isn't backpacking),and what you might need in general, start looking either online or in stores like REI at what's available. Then, if you have questions about a particular piece of gear,come back and ask.

10:50 p.m. on March 29, 2007 (EDT)

a.k.a. Heron Bassett

Ok sorry about that, let me be a little more precise. We will be travelling across the USA. We will be taking buses around to national parks. We will be hiking parts of the AT, the PCT and all over random spots around the country. Our packs will (hopefully) weigh around 30 lbs. I have already tried out a lot of gear and have decided on footwear, backpacks, tent, stove, sleeping bag, etc. I would like to know some good tips about what kind of food is cheap and good on the trail. Also any random tips people would like to throw at me. Thanks again -Heron

9:31 p.m. on March 30, 2007 (EDT)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

Again, depends on what you like. Ultralight hikers eat lots of dehyrated foods or freeze dried meals. To cut down on costs, get a dehydrator and start experimenting. Freezer bag cooking is popular too. One of the sites, has free recipes and sells a cookbook. Sarah, the site owner, also has lightweight cooking gear on her site and how to tips.

April 22, 2018
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