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Camping, Hiking, and Climbing Talk They don't call it the "Great Outdoors" for nothing - trail talk, camping tips, mountaineering, etc.

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Old 07-07-2007, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Question from a newbie hiker!

Okay so I picked up the latest issue of Backpacker magazine just for something to new to read and I saw some sweet looking trails in my area. I've never done hiking but I'd love to get into it for something new to take up when I get back from deployment. What's a good amount to start out with? I saw one trail I'd like to do that's like 8 or 9 miles. Do I need a compass/GPS or anything like that? I'm in pretty good physical condition -- I'm in the Army and last summer did an 18 mile ruck march in like 4 hours in some slightly hilly terrain when I was stationed in Arizona. I'm not looking for anything strenuous like that, just something moderately paced, I'm there more for the experience/scenery than the workout (though that's a great bonus), so just wondering what you suggest. I'd love to make it up to an advanced level, over night trips, weekend trips, etc. So anything basic you could tell me would be great -- what to pack in a basic trip, yada yada yada.

Thanks!
Nicole
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:12 PM   #2
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wow, well if you've done 18 miles in semi hilly terrain, you'll be fine with an 8 or 9 mile hike. i just did a 8 mile hike the other day with a 3,500 elevation gain, and that was about what i could do in a day. granted, if you pick trails with elevation gains under 2,000, you'll be fine and not be too tired at the end of the day.

as for over nights...once you start doing this, you're going to have to start buying the gear. there is a specific type of gear that most outdoor companies make that is lighter and smaller than most camping gear that is for backcountry camping. (check out www.REI.com) keeping your pack to about 40 pounds is ideal.

if you have anymore specific questions, feel free to ask. i've done my fair share of hiking and backpacking and i read alot about distance hiking.

-Beth

p.s. backpacker magazine is fab for info! good choice. they also have alot of great suggestions on gear.
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:03 AM   #3
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well when do you start needing GPS type stuff? I'm pretty directionally inclined... they teach us land navigation in the army, how to do map reading, compass, azmuth stuff. granted I've never worked in lat/long, only in mgrs (military grid coordinate system). but I was checking out some gear sites and everywhere has these GPS things...which is cool but am I going to need it if I'm on a freaking trail? I would assume those are for the advanced, off the beaten path, several day adventures, yes?
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:14 AM   #4
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^yeah, trails are usually marked well enough, that you don't really "need" one. granted, it's good just in case. i just recently got one, but i've hiked plenty without one. i'd say you only need one if you are on a trail that isn't well marked....or winter hiking, where it's easy to loose your way in snowy conditions.
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