Backpacking

A place to discuss all of your outdoor activities. Hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and whatever else you do out in the great wilds.
zurich
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Post by zurich »

I'm not sure whether I've mentioned the boy backpacking but since I'm typing I'll put up a thread. He's been out along bridleways and rural footpaths and he likes it. I've carried camping gear and he likes nights out in a tent too. We're building up from there.

Being seven he can't carry anything heavy. Experimenting, he can take 2.5 kilos with no trouble. Anything over 3 kilos seems excessive, I weigh his pack at the door to make sure 2.5 is the limit. In American that's 5.5 pounds. Getting his kit down to that has been an interesting learning curve.

Kit gets heavier as it handles lower temperatures and wetter windier weather, it's called seasons. 1-season kit is for summer, 2-3-season kit for all but winter, 4-season handles worse. If you're going out in worse still then there's specialist kit. What people in England (I exclude Wales and Scotland from this) fail to realise is that England is a 3-season country, it has no winter worth recognizing. I prefer winter backpacking, I can stay comfortable if it's cool out. 4-season kit is overkill. I doubt I've spent even ten nights out below freezing in all my years camping and even fewer wondering whether my tent would blow off the hillside. Given all that, Jowan's pack is loaded for zero centigrade minimum and I bet his mother would say something if it even got close.

His pack is clever, the rigidity and padding for his upper back is from his sleeping mat, part inflated, held in place with straps designed for holding it there. The combination is 700g, the mat is rated R-value 5 which will cope with freezing, it leaves 28 liters inside for his Lanshan 1 tent (760g) and Burrow Econ 40 sleeping top quilt (a short length standard width 480g which he uses with a 100g silk liner). With a spare fleece, spare wicking top and underwear and a headband torch, he's inside his weight limit so long as I carry his map, food and water. When I was a lad you'd need a compass too but orienteering has become a lost art since the introduction of wind farms and the banning of fog. He has a compass but he rarely uses it, it's a Sylva clone at a tenth of the price of the original.

Camping law in England is strange, there's no inbuilt right of access to camp anywhere. The only area with default permission is the Dartmoor National Park and yes, I've done it, but it's a bit nose-to-tail with the entire country's Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme participants. There are, of course, designated campsites, but I've never found them much fun, I much prefer seeing and hearing nobody when I have a tent pitched. So far I've not taken Jowan onto Dartmoor but the day is fast approaching, it's only three hours by train to Ivybridge. All we need is snow to keep the school parties away.
Clodhopper
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Post by Clodhopper »

Well, good for you. I've done a bit of walking with a pack from time to time though not recently. As I recall it, there is a sort of non-legal agreement that allows you to camp in England, at least in places like the Peak District or well walked routes like the Pennine Way: If you pitch at dusk and strike at dawn, leave no trace and don't have a campfire you'll be fine. Mind you, following those rules you'd not be noticed most of the time anyway.

I'd be nervous about taking a 7 year old onto Dartmoor in winter, unless there was a very settled forecast. I have to assume you wouldn't be doing it unless you had the experience . :)
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zurich
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Post by zurich »

You're quite right about treating foul winter weather with respect. When I had a car, getting down from remote places in an emergency was a simpler fallback to provide and I'd take the family onto the Brecon Beacons overnight in low temperatures. Dartmoor and no car? No, I can't see me trying, there's too many unknowables. Cold soaked clothes are a disaster. With a bunkhouse and a fire it's a different matter but even then you have to get off the hill first. With the best of intentions, breaking a leg by running water with a child in tow is always a lurking possibility and the best-regulated parent can never rule it out. I recall a newspaper reporting just that some years ago in Wales in winter and the subsequent discussion on the balance of risk.

I've never yet been asked to move on by a landowner but I aim toward discretion when I pitch up. Leave No Trace is a moral obligation.
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Bryn Mawr
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

How's the current trip going?

I'm back home for a couple of days after three weeks cruising on the boat - it's amazing how many places in this country have no 'phone signal whatsoever, never mind those with voice only if you walk around the village searching.
zurich
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Post by zurich »

We're getting on very competently, the apartment is ideally placed and we're finding our way about. What I've never managed to immediately work out from one country to another is how waste disposal is organized, it always takes me a while to discover the local equivalent of the dustbin, but other than that we have no bafflement.

As for coverage I'm often puzzled that the periodic tales in the press of new-tech long range stations never seem to be deployed. All of Africa was at one point going to be supplied with 50km towers and it never materialized. The UK could do with some of that.
gmc
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Post by gmc »

What about the lake district or wales? My understanding is wild camping is allowed in some areas there.

I would also suggest you look at joining the likes of the camping and caravanning club the fees for members make it well worthwhile.

As you can imagine I am more familiar with backpacking and camping in scotland where you have a right of access now enshrined in law. The youth hostels are pretty good as well with family rooms in some of them if you want to plan longer routes - long enough to be an adventure for a seven year old and camp out as well if you want but not too far from civilisation. Winter camping in scotland is a whole different ball game places like Aviemore can be minus 15-20 degrees, used to spend christmas and new year up there but in a caravan - small van big heater. On the other hand yorkshire in winter gets far more snow than we do nowadays..
zurich
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Post by zurich »

He has membership at the Backpackers Club, they have a list of phone-first friendly wild camping areas which might end up useful. There's a wild camping section at Camping in the National Parks: National Parks UK which shows the state in England and Wales, I much prefer the Scottish position. He'll get to Scotland eventually but it's a big ask at that age I think. I used to ski the tops of the Cairngorms each February for a week at my birthday but in never crossed my mind to put up a tent, I rented bed and board at a bunkhouse.
Clodhopper
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Post by Clodhopper »

I would say the Welsh mountains might be a reasonable next stage. Perhaps not Cader or Snowdon for a couple of years but maybe something like the Tryfans? Iirc there's a rocking stone up there. Also a rather scary step that might need a rope if you choose to do it. Tends to get a lot of School groups though. The SW Coast Path is excellent training as well, with those steep up and downs from cliff to beach and back as well as being lovely in its own right.



Scotland I always think of as a much more serious prospect. That's a bit unfair because of course there is a wide variety of terrain and many safe, lower level walks and somewhere like Ben Nevis is a safe trudge in summer if you take the main route(s). I think if I was taking a 7 or 8 year old to Scotland I'd go for river walks. With the Dee as a top target. Which reminds me - I assume you've walked up the Dart with the lad? If not may I recommend it? You could even start with a steam train journey :)
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gmc
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Post by gmc »

It's also very much geared up to walking and cycling tourism nowadays, ben nevis has almost a road up to the top now which does lead to people wandering up without grasping that snow on the top means it is probably cold but there are plenty of places where you can take a seven year old and they will find it a big adventure.

Thye cairngorms are good - take a tent and camp out on the top.
Clodhopper
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Post by Clodhopper »

I think it is possible to take a train up onto Rannoch Moor so no car needed. It was described in a walking magazine I subscribed to some years ago and I noted it as a pedestrian. The walk described was for reasonably fit adults but if that train still runs it means you can get directly to some fairly wild places without a car. If I remember right you came out through Glen Nevis but I may be confusing two walks at that point.



The other thing I note is the quality of kit these days. It really has come a loooong way from what I remember as a kid when getting a complete set of waterproofs was an expedition in itself and tents were just getting carbon fibre poles which were thinner and tougher but weighed if anything, more. Now it's space age materials, lightweight, breathable, remarkably tough and very well designed (once you are buying proper kit, not cheap tat).
The crowd: "Yes! We are all individuals!"

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Saint_
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Post by Saint_ »

I spent my youth backpacking across the most wild country in America...Montana. My father and I would often use only aerial survey maps and go over 100 miles into the Bob Marshal Wilderness. An untracked wilderness of immense size.

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Bryn Mawr
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Saint_;1520302 wrote: I spent my youth backpacking across the most wild country in America...Montana. My father and I would often use only aerial survey maps and go over 100 miles into the Bob Marshal Wilderness. An untracked wilderness of immense size.


Spectacular - you'd need to know what you were doing though.
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Saint_
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Post by Saint_ »

Bryn Mawr;1520303 wrote: Spectacular - you'd need to know what you were doing though.


Too true. But I grew up in Colorado and Montana and was backpacking with him since I was 5 years old. By the time I was a teen, I knew more about the wilderness, and had more mountain sense than the majority of living people. I could easily make fire without tools, make shelter or find it, catch fish and food in a variety of ways, avoid dangerous wildlife, identify edible plants, make traps and tools of all kinds, navigate and keep my sense of direction,and basically survive with little or no equipment. In addition, in Montana in the winter, you need an entire other set of skills - extreme arctic survival skills. It was just one of those things we did...

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Bryn Mawr
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Saint_;1520305 wrote: Too true. But I grew up in Colorado and Montana and was backpacking with him since I was 5 years old. By the time I was a teen, I knew more about the wilderness, and had more mountain sense than the majority of living people. I could easily make fire without tools, make shelter or find it, catch fish and food in a variety of ways, avoid dangerous wildlife, identify edible plants, make traps and tools of all kinds, navigate and keep my sense of direction,and basically survive with little or no equipment. In addition, in Montana in the winter, you need an entire other set of skills - extreme arctic survival skills. It was just one of those things we did...


I fear that England is a manicured garden in comparison :-)
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Saint_
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Post by Saint_ »

Well, that actually appeals more to me now in this time of life...
Clodhopper
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Post by Clodhopper »

chuckle. I'd be dead inside a week, if I hadn't walked out. Absolutely lovely though - on a nice day...:)

Bryn's comparison with a manicured garden for England is very apt - there are wild bits but no part is free of man's firm imprint, the deforestation being probably the most noticeable feature. Most of what we have now is plantations rather than ancient woodland. chuckle. I suppose walking in England is more a history tour than anything else: As soon as you are on the local footpaths and bridleways which are shown on Ordnance Survey maps you are on ancient routes that go back hundreds or sometimes thousands of years and there are burial mounds and standing stones and the remains of castles and old buildings all over the place. The other thing about that sort of walking is that you can bed and breakfast most places if you want to (or use hotels if you have the money) and walk with just a day pack :)
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zurich
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Post by zurich »

Montana is way out of my league. I may still get back to Wales and Scotland though.

As for B&B, I try to budget for £5 a day though i take food as well. Lithuanian army rations off eBay most recently and very good they are too.
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Saint_
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Post by Saint_ »

Clodhopper;1520311 wrote: As soon as you are on the local footpaths and bridleways which are shown on Ordnance Survey maps you are on ancient routes that go back hundreds or sometimes thousands of years and there are burial mounds and standing stones and the remains of castles and old buildings all over the place. The other thing about that sort of walking is that you can bed and breakfast most places if you want to (or use hotels if you have the money) and walk with just a day pack :)


That sounds much more to my liking at my age. I'll have to consider that for a vacation...and of course, I'll be visiting 221B Baker Street!
Clodhopper
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Post by Clodhopper »

Well, if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan there's a possible walk taking in the Hound of the Baskervilles - that's all based on real places on the edge of Dartmoor if I remember right. Speaking personally I think the most interesting walking is on the edges of Dartmoor rather than much of Dartmoor itself though I think the ancient routes across the moor would be worth doing (I haven't yet).

Oh, and something about the address rang bells beyond it being Sherlock Holmes' so I had a quick google and it seems 221b Baker St didn't exist when the books were written - Baker Street existed but the numbers didn't at that time go that high. Later the street was extended and 221b was part of a local bank until it closed down and the Sherlock Holmes museum took the number over. Chuckle. If you are a very serious fan you might well know all that but I didn't! :)
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Saint_
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Post by Saint_ »

Clodhopper;1520346 wrote: Well, if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan there's a possible walk taking in the Hound of the Baskervilles - that's all based on real places on the edge of Dartmoor if I remember right. Speaking personally I think the most interesting walking is on the edges of Dartmoor rather than much of Dartmoor itself though I think the ancient routes across the moor would be worth doing (I haven't yet).


That sounds way cool!

Oh, and something about the address rang bells beyond it being Sherlock Holmes' so I had a quick google and it seems 221b Baker St didn't exist when the books were written - Baker Street existed but the numbers didn't at that time go that high. Later the street was extended and 221b was part of a local bank until it closed down and the Sherlock Holmes museum took the number over. Chuckle. If you are a very serious fan you might well know all that but I didn't! :)


Yep, I knew that, as any Holmesian worth their salt should, and I have seen pictures of the museum which is why I knew existed. I have every story ever written, all the anotations, every episode with Jeremy Brett (the most faithful and best shows ever made) as well as all the restored versions of the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce movies.

I get a great deal of fun from using the tenets of deductive reasoning on people I have just met. (Especially my students!) For example, I told the bus driver of a tour bus I was on in Boston recently, "Great job driving, Ms. Hawkins, but of course you must know this town well having grown up here and I hope your daughter has a wonderful school year at Harvard. You must be very proud." Then I stepped off the bus as she sat there flabbergasted.

(Her bus driver's ticket showed her name, only a local would have as pronounced Bostonian accent as hers, and she had pinned a single picture of a young woman standing in front of the Harvard University sign. Since there was only one picture, and the woman was young, I deduced that she was most likely the woman's daughter and since she was not old enough to be post-graduate, I deduced that she would be having another year that would be starting soon...)
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Post by Bruv »

You are a lot smarter than you look then Saint.......was going to put a smiley in here......looks like they are broke.
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Saint_
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Post by Saint_ »

Bruv;1520359 wrote: You are a lot smarter than you look then Saint.......was going to put a smiley in here......looks like they are broke.


Was that a blonde joke?
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Saint_
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Post by Saint_ »

Saint_;1520364 wrote: Was that a blonde joke?


Two blondes are sitting on a porch in Oklahoma. One says, "Which is closer, Florida or the moon?" The other one replies, "Well duh! Can you see Florida from here?"
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Bryn Mawr
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Saint_;1520365 wrote: Two blondes are sitting on a porch in Oklahoma. One says, "Which is closer, Florida or the moon?" The other one replies, "Well duh! Can you see Florida from here?"


I remember a discussion about climate change where one of the then members denied that deforestation was happening on the grounds that he could see just as many trees as he ever could when looking out of his back door :wah:
Bruv
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Post by Bruv »

Saint_;1520364 wrote: Was that a blonde joke?


No I think they call it a back handed compliment.
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gmc
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Post by gmc »

I live near some of the oldest stone age remains in europe going back to 4,000yrs bc. Not actually terribly evocative but there are places up north where you feel you can reach out and touch the past neolithic wheelhouses and brochs and Skara Brae is an amazing place not grand or anything but you know someone 4,00 years ago sat down and ate his dinner there. There is nowhere in the UK untouched by the hand of man.
Bondarcol
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Post by Bondarcol »

Thank you for sharing!

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