First Trip (Report)

11:54 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

So I just completed my first backpacking trip. It was a great time and very much a success. It was at the same time a learning experience. I took a lot of pointers from this site and others like it, and applied them to my adventure (such as creating an inventory of all items taken).

We went to Jones Spring (non-motorized) Recreational Area near Townsend WI last Friday and came Back on Sunday afternoon. The weather was extremely cooperative for April in Wisconsin which was a bit tricky to pack for. Temps varied from Mid 70s on Friday to below freezing over Saturday night, and rain on Sunday. I had everything packed from shorts and T-Shirt to raingear, fleece layers, and long underwear, which felt like I was overpacking, but I indeed ended up wearing everything I brought.

My new boots and pack worked out very well as we hiked in 6 miles on Friday, got a late start on Saturday but still put in 7.5 miles, and hiked out about 2.5 miles late on Sunday morning.

I learned that I brought up about 1.5 days too much food, and found out the hard way that my sleeping bag (a conversion rectangle/mummy bag by Wenger) provided insufficient warmth and was WAY too big, approx 2x the size of my friend's synthetic Alps 20 degree bag. Other than that my equipment was just about right.

I have another trip tentatively planned for later in the summer which I am really excited for. I have been bitten by the backpacking bug. As someone who has been car/base camping for over 10 years, I found another more challenging activity to set my sites on.

2:41 a.m. on April 22, 2009 (EDT)
Gary C.
22 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

BM56, congrats on your first trek turning out so well and enjoyable. For many of us backpacking is an addiction and a never ending quest for more and better gear. Sunrises on remote lakes and sunsets from high altitude passes make it all worth it and more. As for the 1.5 extra days worth of food, that is probably better than most do there first trip. A lot more than that is propably the norm for most first timers. I almost always carry at least a couple ramens or something extra for "just in case". You never know when you might need to layover a day because of weather or someone that is sick and wants to wait out another day.

Gary C.

3:12 p.m. on April 22, 2009 (EDT)
1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts


Glad you had a great trip, sounds like you did your homework and were well prepared.

Backpacking is one of the few ways to get a chance to see things few people get to see in person, calendars and post card pictures have never been enough for me.

So you'll probably refine your sleeping bag choice and be off again for another trip this summer, good.

Also, if you had a days food left you probably did it correctly in my opinion. I do NOT like going hungry, and it's nice to be able to share with someone who has underpacked.

12:14 a.m. on April 27, 2009 (EDT)
10 reviewer rep
38 forum posts

I just completed my first too. I also packed way to much food. Oh well, if you wanted to stay longer you could :)

11:32 p.m. on April 29, 2009 (EDT)
Perry Clark
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

Unless we're talking extremes here, I look at "too much food" like "unnecessary rain gear". You may not have used it, but....

1:25 p.m. on April 30, 2009 (EDT)
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Good points on the food guys, thanks for the responses.

12:31 a.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
14 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

I always pack for 150% of my trip (round up to nearest day) - so if I'm doing a 3 day trip, i'll bring 5 days worth of supplies. I also don't discount the water, unless you are going to the Smokeys tomorrow (like i am), where there is plenty, but there have been a few times I've hiked in a familiar area and the streams were barely trickling and couldn't siphon much up - so also overpack water.

Some here are mega-ultra lights, but if you are new, you need to be concerned about your safety first, before you start trying to cut ounces off of your gear.

June 7, 2020
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