From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Andy)
Subject: Frugal hiking and backpacking
Date: 20 Nov 2003 09:46:00 -0800
References: <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
NNTP-Posting-Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 17:46:01 +0000 (UTC)
Caveat wrote in message news:<firstname.lastname@example.org>...
Well, clearly both of us are pretty fixed in our thinking, and we have
both made our best arguments, so I will only respond to the points
that I think need further explication. In fact, I think our
philosophies are not as far apart as we are making it sound. I
wouldn't climb Mt. Ranier in sneakers. You have, in fact, done
portions of the JMT in running shoes. Although you don't explicitly
say so, I suspect that you use running shoes or very lightweight boots
for most dayhikes on established trails, just like me.
> >I did the JMT about 4 years ago in Big Five bargain table running
> >shoes with holes cut in them where they rubbed.
> Holes cut in them? If those were your only footwear, how did
> they do in snow? Feet get kinda cold? Slippery on those snow slopes,
> too, I'll bet.
Sure, holes cut in them. If a hiking sneaker is rubbing somewhere,
out comes the knife and the problem is solved.
My running shoes did just fine in the snow; I have done a number of
hikes and backpacks in snow in the 8 to 15 inches range in running
shoes with gaiters, though the temperature was never below the high
20s (If it was consistently in the 20s or lower I would probably wear
boots). Sure the sneakers get wet, but as long as I am moving my feet
don't get cold, and it is amazing how quickly they dry out after you
get out of the snow (assuming you are using all artificial fiber
socks). The tread on most running shoes is pretty good in snow on
slopes in my experience, though you have to use a bit more care than
you would with wafflestompers.
> And when soaked, or in deep muck, it must have been fun
> to occasionally see that you were walking on the *sides* of the shoes,
> eh? That's really good for the feet. And stumbling through scree and
> talus fields, especially with the razor-edged flakes one finds in the
> Sierra Nevada, with holes in your shoes? Sounds like great fun!
The combination of running shoes and artificial fiber Costco athletic
socks dries out amazingly fast in the dry Sierra Nevada. Maybe 20
minutes after wading a stream and they don't feel wet anymore. In
contrast to boots, which (at least for me) inevitably get wet crossing
deep streams and then don't dry for hours, if not days.
Never had a problem when I went through scree and talus fields. My
experience has been that sharp rocks do not end up in my shoes, even
with holes cut in them.
> Granted, ultralight hiking has become very trendy (if you can afford
> the outrageously unfrugal gear), and the JMT is a reasonable trail to
> do that on.
Boy, now we are going to get even more off topic, or maybe back on
topic since at least we are talking about frugal backpacking.
Ultralight backpacking is actually very frugal. For my JMT hike I used
discount table running shoes, a 2 dollar pair of flip-flops as my
camp/backup shoes, a homemade backpack that weighed maybe 1.2 lbs and
was pretty cheap to make, a homemade tarp (cheap, less than a lb), a
regular sleeping bag, a cheap Kelty foam pad (8oz), an old Svea stove,
inexpensive nylon swim trunks, $5 nylon warm-up pants from Big Five,
polypro long underwear, a pile sweater, a cheap windbreaker, two nylon
shirts, an umbrella purchased at Walgreens, and a cheap knit cap.
Granted, I looked like a homeless person out on the trail, but by god
it wasn't expensive.
> But you must be fast, immune to pain, willing to suffer
> cold and discomfort, physical danger, and time your trip very well.
Its easy to be fast with running shoes and a light pack.
Immune to pain? Hardly. Since I was wearing comfortable running shoes
and carrying, on the average day, less than 20 lbs, I was always in
less pain and discomfort than I would have been in using a heavy pack
and boots (based on my previous experience with them). I was never
particularly cold, since I was either kept warm by moving, or nice and
snug in my sleeping bag. I was certainly having a much more
comfortable and pleasant time than the people I talked to who were
carrying 70lb packs and wearing hiking boots.
> I'd bet otherwise, but time will tell. When your feet start giving you
> problems later in life due to too much abuse now, you'll think back
> about the old guy on usenet who tried to help you. Mark my words.
Well, I hardly expect my feet to mysteriously start having problems in
the future since my feet experience no undue discomfort now. I am not
a masochist; I wear running shoes and sandals for hiking and
backpacking because my feet are more comfortable that way. My feet
don't feel abused. If your feet are comfortable and happy now, what
reason is there to expect that there is some hidden damage going on
that will only surface later? Show me an empirical study which
documents long term foot damage when there is no subjective discomfort
along the way and I will gladly change my discount table ways.
> (Apologies to the group for the long, OT, post. Forgive me .)
My apologies too. Though I do think there is a frugality issue here,
i.e. is it necessary to spend a lot on footgear for hiking and
backpacking. I think inexpensive running shoes are fine for moderate
temperature (30 degrees and up), hiking and backpacking (up to 35 lb
packs), on established trails and even in snow as long as daytime
temps are freezing and above. This assumes you are in reasonable
shape and have reasonably strong ankle muscles.