View Full Version : Carrying Everything

2005-10-13, 03:15
This may be kind of a dumb question, but given several other discussions going on currently, I was wondering how people pack various items into their packs and what they decide to carry on their persons. I mentioned that I was tempted to buy a machete, but ultimately didn't because I couldn't figure out how to sling it.

I have a Mountainsmith Phantom MT pack with a waist belt. There is no way that I could carry a pack without a waist belt. It's not got a lot in the way of places to stick stuff in the first place, and there is a bunch of stuff I probably shouldn't put in it to begin with(ie, survival kit). What do y'all automatically put in your pockets and how do you typically load your pack?

Just Jeff
2005-10-13, 04:16
Put my trash bag liner in, put my Hammock/Nest/Skins in the bottom in a U-shape, put my quilt in its stuff sack in the middle of the U, stuff clothes on each side for a nice level spot to put my food sack. My odds-and-ends sack (w/ first-aid, survival, repair, light, etc) goes on top, then I cinch it up.

In the back mesh pocket goes my tarp and raingear. Bottom mesh pockets hold water and snacks, top mesh pockets hold TP/sanitizer, pack cover if carried, garbage bag while it's still small enough.

Bandana, whistle/compass and watch are attached to my shoulder straps, and I don't carry anything in my pockets.

SGT Rock
2005-10-13, 08:10
I carry a knife, lighter, and iodine in my pocket and have my map on a pocket I added to my hip belt. I use a mini keychain caribeener to hook my waterbottle to my pack on the outside and then put everything else inside my pack in various places. The things I may need the most like a rain jacket goes in the outside pocket where I can reach it quickly.

2005-10-13, 09:05
Kea, I just have to ask. Just what kind of a walk are you taking, that you think you might need a machete? I've done quite a bit of bushwhacking, but I've never felt the need for one of those jungle cutters, or sword or cutlass for that matter.



Jim Henderson
2005-10-13, 14:44
Me and my hiking buddy were always of the school of "haul everything you think you will need, and bring a spare, plus plenty of fuel to boil water". That was when we were in our 20s and thought nothing of packs weighing about 60#s for a 3 day hike. Now we are a lot older so in eyeing my pack I would pack the following...

Keep in mind I live in So Cal so weather is a rare issue so used a tent only a handful of times in 30years or so. Assuming a weekend trip...

I always have my Swiss army knife in my pocket, 2 GI canteens and cup on belt. I always carry my P38 aka John Wayne can opener on my key chain. Kelty Expedition external frame pack(no light weight, buddy). I always take my poncho liner, my space blanket, a small first aid kit, small mag light and spare batteries, a minature propane lantern and fuel, going to try my Glorb mantleless on the next hike. I also take my trusty old aluminum pots I got way back in the 70s, 2 pots, about 2L each plus worthless teflon coated fry pan. Optimus Crux propane stove, plus 1 can fuel. Katydyn water filter. Spork and knife. Spices, squeeze butter. Freeze dried food with enough spare just in case. 1 Special treat meal, usually a frozen steak wrapped in my down sleeping bag and canned pears.

A large trash bag aka rain coat, ground cloth, vapor barrier whatever, I never go anywhere without one of these stuffed in somewhere. Paper towels. Waterproof Matches and a lighter. Bug goo. Jacket, watch cap for sleeping, maybe change of undies and socks.

I don't know what this weighs, I hope less than what I used to haul. I am not an ultralight hiker, sometimes wish I were.

If I am going luxury ie not going to bust a hump getting there, I will bring a small packer grill, eggs and a real teflon fry pan, some canned fruit, my traditional night cap of instant rice and chili, fishing gear, ground pad, hikers coffee pot, camera, camp pillow, camp mini table, the kind that hangs from trees is VERY handy. I also like to haul my Optimus 8R and lots of fuel, but it is no light weight, or another light propane stove and fuel, always nice to have two stoves or more for a base camp.

Now I got two early teen packmules, uh boys so things may change. Not sure if the weights will go up or down. Twelve year olds are rather pathetic pack animals.

Just what I do and probably not good for a serious long hike.

Jim Henderson

2005-10-13, 17:34
Kea, I just have to ask. Just what kind of a walk are you taking, that you think you might need a machete? I've done quite a bit of bushwhacking, but I've never felt the need for one of those jungle cutters, or sword or cutlass for that matter.



Nothing that would require one. Machetes have a certain cool factor to them, but are looking more and more like they are not really a hiking toy. ;)

2005-10-13, 22:23
Go-Lite Gust with two added side pockets (Mesh).

first thing in is my sleeping pad, with the thickest overlapping parts up against my back. a big black garbage bag goes in next. down bag goes way at the bottom (first in, last out, and really pads my lower back). clothes go on top of this (extra socks, longjohn set, knit hat if carried). next 'layer' is food bag and trash, alcohol bottle, and hammock. pot cozy (with titan kettle, cup, ion stove, lighter, stove stand, windscreen, scrubber sponge, and small bottle of soap inside. yes, it really all fits!) and rain gear are next layer. if i carry a paperback book, that goes somewhere near the top. inside the garbage bag if it might rain, outside it if it's really nice. map in waterproof cover and water bladder go outside the bag, sort of tucked down the side between the sleeping pad and garbage bag (they're very flat), or with the bladder on top if it's filled. rain gear is somewhere in there as well, close to the top, inside or outside the garbage bag depending on the weather. the day's snacks and lunch are usually in a ziplock back on top too, where i can get to them. pak towel and socks might be up top too, if they're damp, or even hanging off the back, tucked under a cross-strap, so they can dry out. i've started experimenting with using a larger tarp than the stock HH tarp, and when i carry one, it goes close to the top, so i can get to it quickly and set it up first if it's raining (hence the hammock and sleeping bag closer to the bottom of the bag.)

depending on how i'm doing my water, the two mesh pockets i sewed on the sides are for either 2 x 32 oz aquafina water bottles, 1 bottle and a filter bottle, or one bottle and my alcohol bottle.

there is one zippered pocket on the back, and it's pretty big. everything else i have goes in there, like a kitchen junk drawer... spare glasses; trowel; tp and toothbrush and paste in a ziplock; spoon; bearbag cord; skeeter repellent and headnet; micromaglite if carried; headlamp if carried; firstaid/repair kit; and finally, a little mesh bag containing photon light on mini-biner, a spare lighter, silva compass, aquamira bottles, and a small swiss army knife. all that stuff can get wet without much trouble, so i don't worry too much about keeping it in a waterproof bag...

i have a caribiner watch clipped to the shoulder strap, down near the waist belt, but i don't look at it much... it goes inside the hammock at night, on the overhead line, and sometimes i forget and just leave it there to roll up with the snakeskins... same with the thermometer/whistle/compass gadget... bought it for the thermometer, and mostly use it for that (gotta get a lighter one!)

if i carry a piece of foam to sit on, i tuck that up under the strap that keeps the rolled up collar/top of the pack secured... (the gust has no 'top flap', just a drawstring.) this also helps shed rain and keeps me from getting shot during deer season.

if i'm somewhere i'm really not familiar with, i might carry the compass tied to my shoulder strap and tuck it into a shirt or shorts pocket, and the map either in hand or up under the strap i just described for the blue pad. can just reach overhead and grab it.

my pockets are usually empty, except maybe for some chapstick... if not there, it goes in the little mesh bag.

i'm pretty anal about putting stuff back exactly where it was every time i load up in the mornings, so i can pretty much recognize if i've left anything out.

i used to carry my car key, but started stashing it a short way up the trail, just in case i ever had my pack stolen. (or maybe i'm becoming a gram weenie...)

oh. and i usually wear my old desert camoflage floppie hat left over from a free trip i won to africa once... sprayed it with permethrin (along with my hammock, boots, and socks).

2005-10-13, 23:35
Where and how to carry gear is something I have really been stressing myself about over this last year. I am really trying to retrain myself to think and to pack for "worst case scenario." I am trying to follow a model Sgathak has
posted about and commented on several times. Basically some military
principals behind it.

First I suppose it is important to pack according to conditions. eg: I would
pack completely differently for hiking than I would for canoeing or kayaking.
Since most here are hikers, also relevant to state that I would try and
pack according to the type of hike I was doing. eg: certain differences
for a coastline trip, a deep woods/ remote wilderness trip, a bushwack,
a marked trail etc.

I will stick to hiking since it is relevant to the majority here. My most expendable item and first thing I am likely to lose in a real emergency is
my pack. So my pack contains items of least importance to survival.
Hammock, sleep system, kitchen, clothing, personal items.
If faced with any number of dangers, or some kind of accident, losing
my pack, won't be the "end of the world", and hopefully not the end of me.

My second line is a small 2 litre waterproof waist pack by sealine. This
basically acts as my "utility belt". This contains my first aid kit, map and
compass, fire-starting, 3 MRE's, katadyn water tablets, swiss army knife,
cordage and duct tape. Barring all but the worst of accidents, or
emergency situations, I should be able to hold onto my waist pack as it
is strapped to my person, very lightweight and I can even run without
too much hinderance. Strapped to the belt of this pack is (sometimes
but not always, my gerber hatchet or tomahawk.) On marked trails
I rarely carry the hatchet on my person. But on a bushwack I find I often
use it to mark my route with tree symbols notched into the bark.
Easy reach being the rationale there.

Last, the stuff that never leaves my body. #1 my medication. waterproofed and teathered to my belt loop. Altoids tin survival kit in pocket. Swedish Firesteel/flint and Pelican L1 light around neck. water tablets in pants pocket.
bug dope in pants pocket. camp knife in drop-leg sheath. 2 power bars
in side pocket.

This packing setup is still a work in progress for me. I am continually looking at it from a survival vs. practical stand-point and trying to refine it to a comfortable medium. The trouble is I have not been faced with any "Real" emergencies to see where my short comings are. I can only hope that I am as prepared as I can be IF and when I do encounter the real thing.

Just Jeff
2005-10-14, 00:05
oh. and i usually wear my old desert camoflage floppie hat left over from a free trip i won to africa once... sprayed it with permethrin (along with my hammock, boots, and socks).

Haha...I've been spending lots of time trying to find a widebrim hat to wear hiking. I like the packable straw hats, but they're just not me. I like a few others, but there was always something wrong about them. Then I realized - I've got like four of those desert floppy hats from "free trips" I've...um..."won" to the sandbox. Took one to Yosemite this past weekend and it worked great! No idea why it took me so long to figure it out. Saved myself quite a few bucks, too!

I don't think the brim is strong enough to put a plastic cover on like the Highway Patrol guys wear in the rain, though. That would be ideal.

2005-10-14, 10:11

Take a look at Tilley hats, little pricy but possible the best out there, life time guarantee.


2005-10-14, 14:01
yeah... i hear good things about tilley hats too...

got an old cav stetson i could cover, like a highway patrolman, but it's too heavy...

nothing like 'free' trips, huh jeff? our old incestuous uncle sam... good guy, lotsa money, "butt" what a price to pay... paid for my education that way too... seriously, though, i would never have been able to pay for school myself... a lot of us owe a lot to the rotc scholarships and gi bill money we got/get from the different services...

2005-10-14, 14:08
I have a hat made by "Hills" in NZ >see it here< (http://www.simplyoz.com/products/hats/hills_hats/the_optimum). Very similar to a Tilly. Ive done some doctoring to it (removed the wire brim stiffener and stitched the crown down a bit - I hate tall hats) and its probably my favorite piece of headgear. Some of the stitching is a bit weak, as its mostly done with single thread stitches... but it gets the job done really well!

2005-10-15, 02:15
I'm cheap. I normally wear an old straw cowboy hat when hiking.
I think it cost me $5.00 about 7 or 8 years ago - plus 50 for a plastic rain cover from the feed store.

I did make a small modification - I ran a a long shoe lace around back of the crown and pushed it through the weave on either side - I tie it under my chin if I'm going any where I might lose it, or use it to tie the hat to my pack when I don't want to wear it.

In hot weather I wet down the hat and the evaporation keeps my head cool.

If I had to replace it I think I'd probably look for the same type and price of hat.
Though I do own several crushers, and I like them too....

bird dog
2005-10-15, 18:50
Ive got the jungle version "floppy hat". Got mine free too, but not in the big sand box. Heres to the "floppy hat" wearers. Best hat I ever had. BD

2005-10-15, 19:44
Same here. I got my 6 color "chocolate chip" desert floppy hat in Desert Storm.

2005-10-15, 23:16
My hat of choice isn't a hat at all. Just a tube of some semi-stretch
fabric. 'Spec-Ops Recon Wrap.' I have had other hats, but nothing
is more comfortable or more versatile for me. I know about 5 or 6 ways
to wear it depending on weather conditions.

Now that I think about it .. it is probablly my favorite piece of gear.

Just Jeff
2005-10-15, 23:25
They need a term for people cutting volume like
they have for people that have gone "ultralight".

Ultratight? :p

2005-10-16, 01:03
Turk - We use those too. We call them neck gaiters, not sure who came up with the term but it fits. No better way to keep the heat in under your jacket.