Greetings Intro to BP'ers,

I hope you are all having a great spring that is allowing you to get in lots of quality training and conditioning for our trip . Spring in Minnesota has not been kind so far, rain, freezing rain, snow, rain, freezing rain, snow, repeat, repeat ad nauseum all through April and even through this past weekend.

Current participant count is 8 registered and 7 approved. Plus we now have a leader trainee, Penny Pan, who will be with us on the trip. Penny was a participant on last years Intro to Backpacking and will be a great addition to the staff.

The next group email will contain contact info in case anyone is interested in carpooling. If you do not want your contact info (name, email, address) shared please let me know in within the next week.

Okay - gear -

First off you don't need to bring a water purification system or any cooking gear, all of that is supplied.

Here's a link to packing list on Don's web site -

The list is a combination of clothes and gear for a lodge based hiking trip and a backpack trip, so there is a lot there and definitely more clothing then you'll need for the 1 and 2 night backpack trips we will do. So please use it as a guide and keep in mind, people are different (ie, some people chill easily, others tend to be too warm/hot most the time) and you know yourself best. Here's some things to think about while deciding what to bring for yourself:

Tent - I've talked to each of you about tents. If you're traveling with someone it's highly recommended that you share a tent, you'll save both space and weight. I have a 1 person backpacking tent that I'm using. It weighs approximately 4 lbs.

Sleeping bag & pad - I'll be using a down bag, rated for 15 degrees. I also use a silk sleeping bag liner, it's small and lightweight and using it saves washing the sleeping bag. Down bags can be washed but they lose loft every time they're washed and less loft means less warmth. That is a warmer bag/liner combination then needed but I'd much rather err on the side of too warm vs too cold plus the bag can be unzipped if it's too warm. This is the same combination I used last year and it worked well on the trip. I don't bring a pillow, just use clothes in a stuff sack. I use a 3/4 length pad for backpacking, it saves both weight and space.

Pack - My pack is getting old, maybe 12 years old, and there are lighter-weight options out there now but this one fits me well and I've resisted replacing it so far. One of the things I like about it is it has a internal water-bladder sleeve. I use a garbage bag for a liner, just in case, to keep things dry.

Clothes - Think layers and multi-purpose. I use stuff-sacks for extra clothing to compress and save space (and doubles as a pillow). I don't bring a 'change' of clothes. Just a spare t-shirt, underwear, sock liners plus layers for warmth, including some very lightweight long underwear. I wear either capri pants or zip-offs and don't bring any others. The down sweaters that have become popular the last couple years work well for extra warmth (as long as it doesn't get wet!). And speaking of wet, you definitely want a rain jacket and rain pants are highly recommended. They can both double as windbreakers and the pants with long underwear underneath are good for warmth. The most effective rain gear I've seen is rain ponchos that are designed to go over you with your pack on. Don't go out and buy 1 for this trip but if you plan to backpack in a place where it rains frequently that would be the way to go. I will also have a pair of water-shoes with closed toes for my camp shoes. (Sierra Club requires requires shoes with enclosed toes when using cooking stoves)

Personal toiletries and over the counter meds, miscellaneous - For toiletries and meds, think small and if you're traveling with someone consider sharing. Other miscellaneous I bring, a headlight, small backpacking towel, bandana, hat, sunglasses & regular glasses, sunscreen with SPF, small amount of sunscreen and bug repellent (again, consider sharing)

Eating and water -2 1-liter water bottles or a water bladder and a 1 liter water bottle. Cup, eating utensil(spork or fork and spoon), bowl and plate or dish that can work for both soup and main course. Remember to label (preferably waterproof).

Finally - once you've decided what you're going to bring, put the items you are considering for backpacking into the pack, put the pack on and go for hike. How does it feel? How might it feel after hiking 5 miles in the mountains at 7,000 feet altitude? Experienced backpackers usually set themselves a ~15 pound limit for all their gear(pack, tent, sleeping bag, clothes) not including the clothing they are wearing and food and water.

Remember that in addition to your own gear you will be carrying some of the commissary and should have enough room in your pack to hold approximately the size of a grocery bag.

If you're into reading about gear and lists and want another take on it, here's a list from the 2011 version of this trip lead by Francy Rubin who has done quite a bit of long distance hiking on the AT (Appalachian Trail)

Backpacker's April issue is their annual gear guide, here's a link You could also find at a library if you want the hard copy version.

Please let me know if you have any questions,

Susan 612.205.5978

last updated 10 May 2013