Archive for the ‘Backpacking’ Category

Filed Under (Backpacking) by admin on 06-07-2013

The Backpacker’s Field Manual, Revised and Updated: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Backcountry Skills by Rick Curtis

When it was first published in 1998, The Backpacker’s Field Manual set the standard for comprehensive backpacking books. Now exhaustively updated to offer a more complete view of backpacking today, it covers the latest developments in gear—such as Global Positioning Systems and ultralight hiking equipment—first aid, and Leave No Trace camping, and includes a chapter devoted to outdoor leadership resources and basics. Beginners and experienced hikers alike will find this book indispensable for trip planning strategies and also as a quick reference on the trail for:

BACKCOUNTRY SKILLS—how to forecast the weather, identify trees, bear-proof your campsite, wrap an injured ankle, and more–illustrated with more than 100 line drawings.

TRICKS OF THE TRAIL—time-tested practical lessons learned along the way

GOING ULTRALIGHT—downsizing suggestions for those who want to lighten up

Every traveler knows that space in a backpack is limited, so on your next trip, carry the only guide you’ll ever need—this one—and take to the great outdoors with confidence.

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wilderness trekkers

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Bear Attack Spray - Wilderness Trekkers

Backpacking – One Essential You Need When Hiking This Summer

By Dave Artman

It is getting to be that time of year when millions of Americans will go on vacation. Even if it’s just a three-day weekend, many of your friends and neighbors will go into the back country for camping, hiking, backpacking, to enjoy a little fishing or just the great outdoors.

This is a favorite activity of families, couples and just single individuals who love the outdoors. It is not only great exercise but it is a way to see part of our country by exploring areas you’ve never been before. But it is not without its risks. If you have the right camping gear and camping supplies for your overnight stay in the wilderness, you’ll be okay. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.

So if you are planning a backpacking trip into the Rocky Mountains or anywhere there are bears, there is one essential that you need to carry with you as part of your camping supplies and camping gear-bear spray.

Just remember that you are a visitor when you go into this wilderness. And while the chances of seeing bears or encountering a bear attack are small, they do happen. And let me tell you if you’re not prepared, it could be a trip you won’t ever forget all for the wrong reasons.

There are three major brands of bear pepper spray in the marketplace. Mace brand bear spray is EPA approved and can shoot up to 35 feet away. It is a full 260 gram unit which is the minimum required for bear pepper spray. The unit can empty in 5.4 seconds.

The second may be the most well-known brand. It is the only bear spray that’s endorsed by the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation. It has undergone more than six years of extensive testing in the wilds of Alaska. It is also EPA approved and has an invincible 20% ultra hot spray specifically for bears. The range is approximately 15 to 20 feet in a 260 gram canister.

And the third and maybe the most effective is a bear attack deterrent in a 9.2 ounce container that fires a full 35 feet. This brand has twice the amount of the minimum of Capsaicin and Related Capsaicinoids(CRC). A one second blast of this spray contains up to 84% more spray than other brands. Remember that an 800 pound bear can run 30 feet in one second. This is the only brand heat sealed to ensure quality performance and tested at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.

So this summer when you go into the back country for backpacking, hiking, camping, fishing or just recreating in the great outdoors, make sure part of your camping supplies and backpacking gear includes bear spray to avoid a possible bear attack.

Frontiersman Bear Spray shoots out to 35 feet and is one of three bear sprays you must have when in the back country this summer.

The most well-known brand is called Guard Alaska.

The Home Security Superstore is one of the oldest and largest independent distributors of high quality home security, surveillance, spy, self-defense, survival and safety products. We carry a wide range of self-defense products including tasers, stun guns, pepper sprays and other nonlethal weapons that can save your life in the event of an attack.

Article Source:—One-Essential-You-Need-When-Hiking-This-Summer&id=7077523



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If a safe resting place emerges on a hike, try resting with legs elevated to help circulation. Elevate the legs to rest on a trail with an experienced trail guide in this free hiking video. Expert: Joanna Joseph Bio: Joanna Joseph has lived in Canyon Country since 1974. She has been leading hikes in the southwest for the last five years, mostly with Elder Hostel, which includes individuals 55 and over. Filmmaker: Mike Phillips

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(Ruff Wear BackPack from ALTREC.COM)

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I like a medium size dog that preferably doesn’t shed too much. What breed should I look at for a hiking companion that will accept carrying a pack and not get too tired or aggitated?


Okay, now if by ‘medium’ you mean less than 20-22 inches at the shoulder and under 60 lbs but over 16 inches and over 20 lbs, that is a tough call. By the way, do people actually READ the question or just automatically type in their favorite breed? You say “medium”, they say large (Lab, German Shepard, Old English Sheepdog) or very large (Husky, Boxer) or giant (St. Bernard.) You say “doesn’t shed much – they say Old English who strew the house with balls of fluff and require a lot of grooming to keep their coat nice, Huskies from whose discarded coat you can spin a sweater……..

While a dog can carry up to 25% of their body weight for a distance, they should generally not exceed 10-15% for any real distance depending upon their build. For example, a greyhound with a tall narrow body would be hard pressed to do 10% of its body weight but a broadbacked, stocky Aussie could easily do the 15% and up to 20%. Now ‘real distance’ is anything in excess of a half mile or so. Do not ask a long body breed like a Basset to do this – it is very tough on the spine and they already have to cope with that elongated spinal column and can’t get their back legs under to balance and drive as is needed in order to a carry the pack.

Haven’t met a dog yet that I couldn’t get to carry a packback in less than an hour. For a dog that will have the energy and endurance, look at the Herding and Sporting Breeds. (The Working Breeds can do it easily but these are the big guys – 26 inches or more at the shoulder and 85/90 lbs and up.) Keep in mind that Sporting Breeds where bred to chase and retrieve. Doggy will have to be very well-trained before hitting the back country without a leash.

The Hounds – well, fleet of foot and gone on a scent – again leashes until 100% reliable in off-lead work. Herding tend to stick closer – they want to know where their charges are at all times. Years ago my Golden and I would backpack in alone for 1-2 weeks at a time – each of us with our packs (and me with most of it!) After wrecking my shoulder with a sports injury, I now rely upon a Kuvasz as a Mobility Service Dog – he wears packs and carries what I can’t (anything above 5 lbs). He is 110-115ish and can easily handle 20 lbs even in deep sand.

I stongly recommend the Wenaha packs. The pack part attachd to a body harness with velcro and can be lifted off to give the dog a rest without having to undo all the straps. Here is one site that has them: Mine came from REI but I’m not sure if they are carrying them or have them in stock (they always sold out fast.) They aren’t cheap but they are tough and last forever.

Now the ‘not shedding much’ complicates matters and eliminates long haired breeds. Labs are pretty good at going along but be prepared for a lot of stubborness and passive resistance if they don’t want to do something. Sporting: Try the Spaniels – Brittany, English and Welsh; Vizsla (taller but not massive); The others suitable (Labs, Goldens) are considered large breeds. Hounds: Top pick is the Rhodesian Ridgeback but they may be larger than you want – up to 26-29 inches at the shoulder and 80 100 lbs. They are actually a herd guarding breed from Africa who were also used for hunting.

My choice for a Service Dog for what I needed came down to a Rhodie or Kuvasz, and the deciding factor is that we live on Lake Michigan further north than Chicago – with the cold and snow, a short coated Rhodie woul d not have been happy out running errands on a winter day. Another posiblity is the Norweigan Elkhound – sturdy dog with medium length thick coat. Terrier Group – don’t even go there. They will be off after everything and have ignoring you down to a fine art.

Non-sporting; Dalmations (if there are no kids under 12 in the household or likely to be any in the next 14 years.) Keeshond – smaller but very sturdy, Again they have the longer coat. STANDARD Poodle – give them a terrier clip and not that pouffy stuff and thye look like a real dog ready to hit the water and work. No shedding. Usually 22-27 inches. They were bred as water retrievers. Herding Group: Australian Shepherds Border Collie

NOTE: I see people are recommmending German Shepherds which aside form being a Large breed, are a breed that is having horrendous problems with the dogs’ rear end – problems beyond hip dysplasia. I would be extremely extremely careful and not only want to know if the dogs in the immediate family tree passed all their health checks but if any collateral realtives (aunts, uncles 1/2 siblings ….) ever had any of the problems endemic in the breed.

Now, in this group all except the Corgis and the Australian Cattle Dog have longer coats. Australian CD (often called blue tick helers or blue heelers by backyard breeders) is long on energy, short on trainability (okay, maybe come and some basic-basics but…) and obedience and can be nippy. Go to the AKC website and read in detail about the breeds You can search by Group, Breed name or all of them at once. Now, when you click on the picture of the dog and go to the page for that breed, on the left is a column. At the bottom of the column, is a link captioned “National Breed Club”. Click on it – that takes you to the link to the National Club for that breed that sets the breed standards. The Clubs’ websites will give you an ENORMOUS amount of information about the breed – the good, the bad, and the why or why not to get that breed.

The clubs websites also have: (1) a breeders list – all of whom have agreed to abide by the breeders code of ethics (which you can read) (2) a link to the breed rescue for their breed Do give serious thought to adopting from an adult from a breed rescue. The clubs’ breed rescues go to a great deal of trouble to determine the dog’s temperment, personality, likes and dislikes (particularly kids and cats and other dogs in the household), HEALTH, and level of training. They make a huge effort to match the right dog to the right home – and if they don’t have one they think will be suitable for your home, they won’t place it. Great way to avoid the puppy training, newpapers, chewing…….

If you decide to get a puppy, please use one of the breeders who are members of the breed club. A well-bred pet puppy may not be a candidate for the show ring (that nose being 1/8th of an inch to long or something else very picky) but they will be very healthy, the parents carefully screened for hereditary health problems, and from a breeder who has devoted a great deal of time to understanding the breed and bloodlines.

A responsible breeder will have a written contract with a health guarantee for hereditary problems; require that if for any reason you ever have to give up the dog that it comes back to them; and always be available for help, assistance and advice about your dog. Such a breeder wil tell you if they don’t think their breed is right for you based upon your needs. They want a perfect forever home for the puppies – not the money. (In 43 years in the dog show world, I have never known a breeder of that caliber who has made a profit on their dogs – it is labor of love.)

A puppy from such a breeder costs no more – and often less in view of the vet bills for an animal from poor quality breeding – than from a backyard breeder who doesn’t do the health checks, knows nothing about the breed or bloodlines, doesn’t give a guarantee, never wants to hear about the puppy again and has breed from mediocre or poor quality dogs. I you want a hiking companion, you will have to very careful about getting a dog from a breeder who screens their breeding stock for hereditary orthopedic defectsthat and other problems that can affect their ability to go out and go with you – hips, elbows, patella, cardiac, eyes….

Now many reputable breeders will have adult dogs that they bred that they are placing. The dog may be a re-home since a good breeder requires the dog be returned to them if the owner can’t keep it. The dog may be one they held back to show and it turned out to just not quite be show caliber as it grew up. Occassionally, in rare instances, they may have a dog who did finish its AKC championship but the breeder needs to place it in a home as a co-own (you get the dog, they get to use it for breeding – with a female maybe 1-3 litters and male as a sire for number of litters. Once the breeding career is done which is earlier than mosst pet people realize, the dog is spayed/neuterd.)

Similarly, the dog could have finished its championship -after much effort, many shows and a lot of money – but the breeder decides not to use them as breeding stock because the dog hated showing so much and lacked the personality and temperment for the ring. If the breeder is placing a dog who is over 12 months, ask to see its health exams – they can preliminary xrays on elbows, hips and patellas at that age, and compelte on eyes cardiac and thyroid.

Good luck and happy hiking!

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I have had a dog for a week and my boyfriend and I would like to go on a hiking trip. I can’t decide whether it would be better to kennel the dog or take her with us on the hiking/camping trip. The pros of taking her hiking would be that she gets to spend some quality fun outdoor time with us, but I’m afraid that since I’ve only had her a week she might not have the loyalty to stay with me. However, she tends to follow me around everywhere in the house, so I am pretty sure she would be fine in that respect.

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On the other hand, leaving her at a nice boarding place is an option, but I don’t want to put her through unnecessary stress from separation. Any thoughts? This is one of the last weekends we can go on this hiking trip before winter, but I want to make sure to do what is best for my dog.
as long as the dog has had its shots and everything i’d take it it’ll have a great time! if you are worried about it running off keep it on a leash when walking, and on the camp site or whatever keep it on one of those 20ft leashes

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A description of what I carry in my first aid kit.

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Make your own homemade First Aid Kit to take on every hiking, camping or backpacking trek. All wilderness trekkers should carry one!

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I live in Decatur, Georgia, next to Atlanta, and am planning a solo 5-day camping trip in early October within 100 miles of Flagstaff. My criteria are: –water –seclusion –much beauty –strenuous is OK, maybe preferred –bonus: good side trails, especially historic ones. I’ve looked at 3 AZ trail books, & narrowed my choices to 5: Fossil Springs, West Clear Creek, Secret Canyon, Bell, and Kelsey-Dorsey. (BUT, I’m VERY open to other suggestions.) I’m an experienced backpacker, with little experience in the West. Last fall, I spent 3 days with a buddy at Phantom Ranch–down North Kaibab, back up Bright Angel. 1st time at G.C. & 1st AZ trip ever. I understand that some of these 5 are popular, but secluded on weekdays, especially in Oct. True? I’d appreciate any suggestions you have–the more broad and detailed, the better. Thanks so much.
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I’ve backpacked both Secret Canyon, Fossil Creek and West Clear Creek. Both are very pretty places and meet most of your criteria above. While Fossil Creek is one of the prettiest areas in the state, the distance from the trailhead to the springs is pretty short, so it would be more of a hike in and stay put for a few days trip – rather than covering a lot of ground. Also, Fossil Creek has got a LOT of attention lately due to a recent documentary about it. I don’t know about week days, but it is pretty popular on weekends. If you do go there, be sure to take a little side trip down to Verde Hot Springs which is just up-creek on the Verde from where Fossil Creek empties into it. When I backpacked West Clear Creek, it was by coming in the mouth of the canyon near Camp Verde (Bull Pen Ranch). There were a lot of day trippers (and trash) near the trail, but we had the canyon (which got progressively more pretty) to ourselves after a few miles. While I liked that route, the upper portions of the canyon (going in near Clints Well) are probably more pretty, dramatic and have more solitude (certainly more strenouous). I’ve only day hiked a small section of the upper portion, but it was great (by the way, this section of the canyon was recently featured in Arizona Highways – including the cover photo).

Be warned, that the upper portions in particular require some deep wading in places which could be cold that time of year. One additional route that you should look into (it is on my list) is do a segment of the Highline Trail that runs just below the rim NE of the Payson area. It is one of the few that is long enough that you could do 5 days on the move. You will be moving from one spring or drainage to the next, so you need to plan camps around water. I have day hiked segments of it, and it looks like a great place for an extended backpack. Can’t tell you much about Bell or K-D. Enjoy! That is a good time of year to be hiking in AZ. Be warned that the northern parts of state will be getting cold (especially at night) by that time.

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Magnum Bear Spray and Hip Holster – 7.9 ounces by UDAP

ATTENTION Wilderness Trekkers – Hikers – Backpackers!  Be Prepared in Bear Country!

Bears attack for four main reasons: to protect their young, protect a food source, protect their territory, or they have become predatory. Many bears may and will false charge or bluff. This is their way of scaring off the animal or person who they consider a threat. The problem is how to tell a false charge from a real attack. The bear may stand up right on its hind legs and swing its head back and forth. This a clear sign of two things one its becoming stressed and two its attempting to see and smell exactly who or what has upset it. They do not have great eyesight but can smell very well. In any event regardless of the reason for the attack it is not advisable to play dead. If the bear is predatory it intends to eat you. Your nothing more then a fresh meal to it. And laying down simply makes it easier to enjoy a nice tasty warm meal. You should throw your arms in the air and yell as loud as you can scream stomp your feet kick up the surrounding area. In other words like a wild man. Make yourself look bigger and louder then the bear is. Convince it that your not worth attacking or the meal it wants. There are many great books on the subject of bear encounters and attacks. I suggest you find and read any of the one written by Mr. Gary Sheldon

Magnum Bear Spray and Hip Holster – 7.9 ounces by UDAP

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