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Old 05-31-2018, 09:17 AM
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Patrick Patrick is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Default The Great Outdoors: Backpacking, Hiking, and Camping

These aren't as much sports as physical activities, but I thought this was a good place for a thread anyway.

From mid June to mid July I'm going to go on a road trip from Chicago to LA. Notable stops are going to be in the Black Hills and Badlands in SD, Moab UT, Mount Uncompahgre in Colorado (recommended by a fellow Tyrant, but I can't remember who!), The Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings, a few spots in New Mexico and Arizona, Joshua Tree in CA, and visiting a cousin in San Diego. We're going to camp and hike as much as possible, though we are planning to get hotels or stay with friends on a handful of days. We're going to have a group of four people through New Mexico, then I'm continuing to California with one other person.

I went camping when I was a kid with the scouts and on family trips, but I had a pretty big gap until the year before last. I went on a big road trip that summer too, and by the end I realized that my equipment (all borrowed or scrounged up from my parents) was all garbage. I had an old Coleman sleeping bag, a huge and heavy 4 person tent that took forever to set up, and an old, heavy hiking backpack from a family member. Plus, I packed a ton of clothes and cooking stuff that I never really ended up needing, and I had heavy hiking boots. By the end I was completely exhausted from hauling all of that around.

I've been on a few car camping trips since then, but for this trip I decided to upgrade my equipment a bit and get better at packing. I didn't want to go all out though (and you can spend as much money as you want to on camping stuff), so I did some research into the best budget camping gear and then bought generic versions of all of them. I only spent $250 total for a backpack, a tent, a sleeping bag, and a sleep pad. I realize that by going cheap it's more likely that some of them will fail along the way, but I'm ok with replacing them part way through the trip with better quality stuff if I need to since they were all so cheap to start with.

I'm going to do an overnight trip in a week or two to test it all out, and I may replace some of it before I even start my big trip if I'm unhappy with anything. But, the upshot is that it all only weighs about 13 lbs. I'm going to go relatively lighter on packing clothes and other accessories, and if we are going on a significant hike to a campsite one of my friends and I can share the tent. This isn't really ultralight camping, but it should be a lot better than my last big trip. I'm hoping to get my base gear down to around 20 or 25 lbs, before food and water is factored in.

Aside from camping, I'm a huge fan of hiking. Chicago doesn't have a ton of natural spots to escape to, but there are a few good forest preserves outside the city, and Wisconsin and Michigan are close by and have better options. I also do a lot of "urban hiking," which pretty much amounts to 5-10 mile walks around the city.

So who else on here is an outside kid? Do you have any trips coming up, or what are your favorite spots that you've visited?
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