View Full Version : Advice on backcountry trip

06-16-2010, 09:07 AM
My wife has talked me into going on a Disney cruise with the family in late October. However, I'm going to look into a BC trip as a counteraction. What do I need to take as far as fishing stuff, camping, etc.? I have camped before so I am prepared to travel light if necessary. Best time- before the cruise or after? Might need both! I'm retired so mid-week for a couple of days is OK. Thanks for the advice. If anyone would care to join, the company is welcome.

06-16-2010, 11:55 AM

I am sure you have came to the right spot for your question. You should get a big variation of answer as this seem to be something that every back country camper I know is always changing and modifing what they bring.

for me and the people I have talked with their seems to be two main approaches that you can work with. The example I will give or at least me and my friends have fun with I will call:

1. The Boy Scott Approach - Be prepared for anything, and in my mind that ends up meaning bring everything you can imagine and stuff in your pack. This approach usually is better if you are just hiking into a back country camp and staying in one place the your entire trip. The more I bring the more I seem to like camping, :rolleyes:

2. Second approach and the one that i did not start with but recently moved to is watch your weight on every item you bring. I like to call this approach "A country Boy can Survive". You will be suprised how much information is available on the internet and books about light weight back packing and to me has really been fun seeing how far you can take it. I less weight I cary the more I like hiking. :cool:

I started doing 6 day 5 night back country camping trips with everything needed for camping and fly fishing weighing in anywhere around 50 to 55 lbs.

Today I can do the same trip for 6 day and 5 night again with everything needed for camping and Fly fishing at 35 lbs. Now let me tell you 15 to 20 pounds might not sound like much but you will find that it is all the difference in the world.

One thing i found over the years as you dont need much planning when your pack weights in at 50 or 55 pounds but if you want it to come in at 35 you will end up creating a spreadsheet with every item and its weight. I would be glad to send you the spreadsheet I use if you are interested. Just email me at william.mclemore (at) ngc .com.

I am sure you will find others that have their own packing lists and you might find it interesting to compare different lists. :eek:

You would not image how much time and fun I have spent with this exact challenge of what to bring, how hard and far is the trip.

Good Luck :biggrin:

06-16-2010, 02:45 PM
Something to think about, the more likely you are to camp in variable weather Oct Nov, the more likely you are to need clothing ranges which means more stuff. When I used to camp in scouts I liked the dead in the middle of the season type trip which meant you knew what the condition were going to be

David Knapp
06-16-2010, 03:47 PM
I'll second what streamhound said...I'd recommend doing the trip before your cruise since the weather should be more stable in mid October as compared to early November...

Jim Casada
06-16-2010, 07:47 PM
Knothead--I increasingly lean toward the minimalist side as I age--don't like the heavy backpacks. On the fishing side, a pack rod outfit and a basic selection of flies, along with tippet material and a couple of spare leaders are all you need.
Equipment wise the "musts," to me, are: tent, sleeping bag, inflatable pad, ground cloth, cooking stove, lightweight cooking kit, first-aid kit, food, water filter, change of clothing, and personal stuff. You can, with some planning, get all of this into a bacpack and come in right around 40 pounds. Nice extras are a saw or hatchet, lantern, and perhaps a lightweight seat. For many years I've worked off a list, and I recommend that approach to anyone who backpacks much. You can revise, add, delete, or otherwise change as you see fit.
As for October fishing, I rate the month second only to May in the Smokies.
Jim Casada

06-16-2010, 10:18 PM
i gotta agree, but i take about 12 pairs of socks....some how they get wet

06-16-2010, 10:57 PM
I concur with working from a list and being weight conscious.

I keep a master list which I create a copy of before each trip and whittle down to just the items for that specific trip. Weather, distance, terrain and reason for trip will dictate what I pack.

There are two basic approaches for reducing weight-- bring the lightest weight widgets you can (less weight usually equals more money) and reduce the number of widgets you bring. The second approach probably packs the most bang for the buck (with the exception of things like the tent). While you're camping, pay close attention to all the things you never touch, as well as the things you wish you did bring. The things you don't use will come to the forefront as you hike uphill.

Be sure that your clothing, tent and sleeping bag will keep you warm and dry. Cotton gets a bad rap because it is a poor insulator when wet. But you don't have to spend tons of money on new fleece, just make sure you have something that will keep your cotton clothes dry-- both on you and in the pack. I probably used a Hefty garbage bag as a poncho for several years.

With regards to Jim's "must haves", I wholeheartedly agree that an inflatable ground pad/chair kit combo is worth the weight. Some people swear by water filters, while others use tablets or drops. I love the filter; but it is one of the first things weeded off my list if weight and room are an issue. The stove-- will you want it to simmer, or just boil water? What kind of cookware will you need? Sometimes I just use the coffee pot to boil water. I would say a flashlight is a must have. I like a headlight-- it's hands free. I have also been converted to taking two hiking poles on my trips. In a pinch, I got a cheap pair from Wal-Mart and have been surprised at how well they have held up.

Your equipment list will vary and evolve; and I always enjoy seeing what "systems" others use as well as what "must have" items they bring. A naive and gung ho hiking partner is always a plus. "I'll bring the cotton balls for firestarter and you bring the hatchet. I'll pack a lemon and you bring the skillet."

You shouldn't need much fishing gear-- just what Jim said. Once you have nailed down the dates and destination, I'm sure many on here can give some fly advice.

06-18-2010, 05:23 PM
Many thanks for the advice. I'll start a list of things and review it to tweak it before making a final decision. Just think, the oldtimers used to take a knife, bag of salt and a can of lard. Don't forget the Winchester!
Mid-October sounds good although one of the best night's sleep was during a deer hunt many years ago.

09-20-2010, 01:16 PM
I am planning a mid-October back country trip myself. In my planning phase now; figuring out which camp sites to ignore due to horses allowed. Jim made a great point in his book about 1/2 the desirable sites being ruined by 10% of the visitors (bad paraphrasing here). I ruled out 35 (H) sites and have 19 left as possible destinations.

I used the current chart on this page http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/GSMNP%20Backcountry%20Map.pdf to rule out the undesirables.

I am taking my brother-in-law on his first back country camping trip and will be introducing him to fly fishing while there. From over the years I have accumulated enough spare equipment that he only needs to supply his own clothing. I advised him to bring nylon, wool, polyester, or silk clothing only. I really suffered during a late spring cold spell in damp cotton pants when I first started backpacking and don't want him to have the same experience.

To read up on the streams, if you don't have Jim's book, get it. I have Lawrence and Kirk also, but use them a lot less now. For more information on the trails; if you can find Kenneth Wise's book, it is excellent. Otherwise the "brown book" by the historical society is great to read up on the trails.

Jim Casada
09-20-2010, 02:15 PM
Mattblick--thanks for the kind words about my book. As for Ken Wise's work on hiking in the Park, it is unquestionably in a class by itself. While now out of print and expensive, the good news is that he's well along on an updated version.
Jim Casada