3 forum posts
I spent a week vacationing in the great smoky mountains not long ago and fell in love with it all over again. It had been about 5 years since my last visit. I'm a 30 yro avid outdoorswoman from Mississippi that spends my summers fishing and visiting state parks to "car camp" and explore the trails and lakes offered. But my trip to the smokies this time was different. I didn't want to leave the trails. I have collected some decent equipment throughout the years that made my adventures more enjoyable. A good day hike backpack (osprey daylite) that could help me comfortably carry enough water for me and several others in my party (family members who underestimated how much water you need), snacks, and even my dale camera with its heaviest lense, along with a lot of other useful its I have acquired. (If I had been caught on the trail and had to make camp, i was prepared). It was a short trip and I only traversed about 15 miles total with varying elevation changes. I had planned a longer hike from one of our family easy hikes back to our cabin on the park boundary (from Laurel falls, connected to little greenbrier, connected to hightop mountain trail) , but our ascent took too long and my knees gave up.
3 weeks back and I'm still suffering knee discomfort after I pushed myself through another 6 mile trail after the injury. So now I'm looking at conditioning and the gear I'll need for multi-day hikes.
On an impulse and great deal from steep and cheap (a backcountry.com site) I bought a small osprey pack suitable for backcountry hiking. I've loaded it down with water to get a feel of maximum weight and so far so good. Then I started packing actual essentials. Here's where I'm lacking and what I need major advice on: (as an aside I need to stay as cheap as possible at least starting out. Don't suggest I spend $500 on a tent. That won't work for me. I'm just now coming to terms with the fact that I will need to spend over $200 for a packable sleeping bag)
I have a camp pad but it's the cheapest thermarest on the market which means bulky. I can modify the bottom straps of the pack to accommodate it but I'm wondering if it's worth it. It's a minor weight convenience but, again, bulky. Should I look for other alternatives? Or is it as necessary as it has been car camping? (Also see next query).
I plan to start this new adventure late spring or summer so I am planning to begin by using a hammock and rain fly rather than a tent. I prefer a sleeping bag in the hammock rather than the eno under blankets. Right now I'm running cheap. I have a 40degree and 25 degree Coleman. They're huge so are not an option at all. I pretty much ditched the 40 degree years ago and only use it as a throw blanket at home. I'm cold natured and even on balmy Mississippi nights during car camping i prefer the 25 sleeping bag. What is my best and yet cheapest alternative? I need this to pack tightly, keep me warm, and not break the bank. This is the one department I'm willing to spend a little more on because I know how bad a day after a bad night can be. But I'm still on a limited budget. Also, I'm a side/stomach sleeper. Mummy bags may be okay in my hammock since there's some roll room there. But I'd like all kinds of suggestions.
Camp stoves. I own two different esbit stoves and love them. If there's a reason I shouldn't plan on using a solid fuel stove to cook dehydrated meals or make coffee please let me know. I think this will take an actual backcountry experience to know but weight is important to me and solid fuel seams my lightest option.
I have the basics ready: first aid (self-made kit with my necessary meds, bandages, Mylar blankets, etc., in a dry sac), camp stove (esbit with fuel), dehydrated food and snacks, water bladder with two additional 32oz Nalgene bottles. Hammock with tree friendly straps. All aluminum climbing carabiners attached to the outside of the pack for future use. Camp shovel. Water filter (will probably acquire tablets in case boiling is a limited option). Multiple light sources. Paracord and other cordage for guy wires.
I'm asking for any and all advice. I plan to start walking with a heavy pack soon to strengthen my knees and then do some local backpacking in Mississippi in the spring. Can't me summer I want to be somewhere remote in the smokies.