The Oil Drum: New York City

Helping New Yorkers understand, prepare and adapt to the implications of Peak Oil

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Reflections from the Wilderness

I had a great camping trip this past weekend. I still ache from carrying around 35 lbs of dead weight over 18 miles of rough terrain, but I really loved the experience.

I learned a few good lessons along the way that might be of use to some of you who have an idea about heading for the hills when things start to get a little rough in civilization.

1. Water is Heavy! I guess this is a big duh for most of you, but a gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds. Luckily we were near many very clean springs and brooks that we either filtered or used iodine tablets on. If we had to carry all of our own water, we would have had another 20 lbs to carry around or we could have easily dehydrated after a few hours.

2. It's easy to overpack! I didn't use half the stuff that I brought with me. A couple of lightweight synthetic pieces of clothing are all you really need in terms of clothes. Layering is the way to stay warm. Cotton clothes are really not appropriate since they don't clean easily or dry off quickly (sweat, rain, mud, etc). Next time my pack should be about 1/2 the weight it was this time. Concentrate only on what is essential.

3. Good backpacks are worth every penny. I paid $230 for a good back pack at EMS and it really was worth it. Definitely get measured for one to make sure you get the right size and have them fit you into one. Backpacks that sit on your hips really take a load off of your shoulders and allow you to transport a greater weight more efficiently than any other method.

4. Bring extra shoes. My friend's boots completely fell apart and after we had hiked in 9 miles, this was a major disaster. Luckily we were able to apply a series of temporary fixes including ace bandage, tape, rope, a spare flip-flop, etc. Bring an extra pair of shoes as a back-up.

5. My body started to adapt to just being in constant motion, not really eating much, drinking lots of water and carrying lots of weight. It is important to pace yourself, but your body will start to adapt. After I got back, I felt that distance and weight were all fairly relative. Walking two miles to work did not seem like much compared to what I had just done. Then at work today, I climbed the stairs a few times between the 3rd and 9th Floors of my building. It didn't seem like that much effort comparatively.

Personally I don't plan on running for the hills, but I guess you should be prepare for any eventuality. If you do plan to run for the hills, definitely do a few practice runs. You will learn what works and what doesn't. Next up, NY Century Bike Tour on Sept. 11. I'm going to try to do the 35 mile ride. But first I need to undertake Operation Rescue Bike which entails a trip from Staten Island to the UES of Manhattan.

And speaking of biking, check out this story from The Villager about more details from the July Critical Mass ride. This administration and the police are really getting out of hand. Now they are arresting the press! I wonder what they would do to a blogger?


At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and think about your resource depletion. ;-D

My favourite rule is 'never drink all the water'. Always leave something. Just in case.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Ianqui said...

I learned about #2 when I hiked the Grand Canyon. I went down with nearly 40lbs, and could've easily gotten rid of 10-15lbs. Oh well.

I hope you have another reason to use your backpack soon, since you spent a lot on it!

(And re: the Century--Super G wants to do the 35 mile ride too, but I'm probably just going to volunteer at Central Park.)

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