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Stuff Needed

This posting from alt.survival, by Noodle, is posted to show the contrast between back packing in today's world, where shopping for granola bars and meeting fellows who are not desperate and starving, is the norm. Where good advice, it does not address the pole shift environment, which will be a different world.

What stuff do I need in order to go backpacking?

A backpacker's basic gear includes a backpack, hiking boots, sleeping bag, tent and a cookstove. Each item should be selected based on what type of hiking you plan to do and what time of year you will be hiking. The following overview will help you narrow the seemingly endless choices on the market:

Mandatory items:

Backpack ~ The major decision you should face here is whether you want an internal or external frame pack. External frame packs are great for big loads and established trails. Internal frame packs excel for bushwhacking and high-motion sports like mountaineering or cross-country skiing.

Hiking boots ~ Select your boots based on the terrain you will hike on and the loads you expect to carry. With tougher terrain and heavier loads, you will need a beefier boot to protect your feet. Wear high-cut boots for anything longer than a day hike, because low-cut boots are strictly for light loads on established trail. The most important thing in buying boots is to get a good fit, with a snug fit at the heel and toe wiggling room in front. A knowledgeable boot fitter can help with fit.

Sleeping bag ~ For most 3-season use, a sleeping bag with a temperature rating of around 20 degrees F is the best choice. Winter campers will need a bag from -10 degrees F to 0 degrees F, while a 40 degrees F bag will work for strictly summer use. When shopping for a sleeping bag, try it on by sliding into the bag in the store to ensure a comfortable fit.

Tent ~ While some trails offer shelters (and some nights are perfect for sleeping out under the stars), carrying a tent (or tarp) is necessary insurance against crowded lean-tos, wild weather and bugs. If you want to bring your gear inside for the night, you'll need a 2-person tent for a solo hiker or a 3-person tent for two hikers.

Stove ~ While some folks don't mind munching granola, raisins and crackers their entire trip, most people want at least one hot meal a day. And a stove is absolutely essential in cold weather. Campfires can be used to cook meals, but they are time-consuming, dirty, and create an unfriendly impact on the backcountry environment. Essential

Food ~ Along with the meals you've planned for your trip, carry along a few extra snacks that can be consumed in case of an emergency. Chocolate, bouillon cubes, energy bars, dried fruit and nuts are among the ideal non-perishable foods that you can keep in your pack.

Water containers ~ A liter bottle or two to hold drinking water and a collapsible jug or sack for cooking-and-cleaning water will suffice for most trips.

Water purifier ~ As romantic as it sounds to drink straight from a stream like Bambi, you're playing Russian Roulette with nasty intestinal bugs like giardia. Always carry some method of water purification, such as iodine tablets or a water filter.

First aid kit ~ Accidents happen. Pack a small waterproof kit with such things as plastic bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze tape, moleskin, a painkiller (aspirin), prescription medicines and a first aid guide.

Pocket knife ~ The Swiss Army had a great idea. Carry a knife with multiple blades and gadgets ~ including a can opener and tweezers, both of which come in handy in any number of situations.

Map and compass You may not be bushwhacking across the wilderness, but you should always know here you are and how to get back.

Sun protection ~ This includes sunscreen and sunglasses, especially important at higher altitudes. Both should block UVA and UVB rays.

Insect repellent ~ A DEET-based repellent at approximately 35 percent DEET seems to work the best at holding off pesky mosquitoes, black flies, and other no-see-ums. Apply it to your clothing, too (though not nylon, which melts in contact with the chemical) in especially infested areas.

Matches/firestarter ~ You can buy waterproof matches, but store them in a waterproof container anyway (such as a zipper lock plastic bag) just in case. A chemical firestarter (solid or gel) is great insurance for soggy days.

Cooking supplies ~ A cup (plastic or metal), nesting cook pots, and a spoon are the bare essentials for cooking on the trail. If you're hiking with other people, add a bowl or plate per person, unless you're all comfortable dipping out of the same pot. Finally, carry a scouring pad in a zipper-lock plastic bag.

Toilet paper and trowel ~ When you gotta go, you gotta go. Remove the cardboard from the center of the roll so that the paper will flatten better and carry it in a plastic bag. Use the trowel to dig yourself a cat hole. You may want to carry it in a separate plastic bag. Learn how to do your business in the woods with as little muss and fuss as possible.

Clothing ~ Even nude hikers need to cover up now and then. Other than apparel appropriate to the season, always carry something extra in case the temperature drops. This "extra" should consist of a synthetic base layer for top and bottom, topped off with a breathable/waterproof shell for top and bottom. Also have on hand an extra pair of liner socks and trail socks, and a wool or synthetic hat. For the cooler temperatures of early spring or fall, you'll also need a synthetic insulating layer for top and bottom.

Flashlight ~ A small, sturdy waterproof flashlight with long-lasting alkaline batteries is all you need for general usage. For reading or journal writing after nightfall, you might want to invest in a low-power head-mounted lamp.

Gear repair kit ~ Just as human injuries are bound to happen, so are injuries to your gear. A travel-size sewing kit with several sturdy needles, heavy threads and replacement buttons, a tent repair kit, a stove repair kit and with your Swiss Army knife will handle most repair emergencies.

Bandanna and whistle ~ A bandanna is a multi-use accessory for everything from straining water to keeping the sweat from dripping into your eyes to cooling your neck on a hot day. A whistle is especially good for children who have a tendency to wander off trail. Every child should carry one.