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mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


stupid puma posted:

While we're kind of talking about kayaking, does anyone have any PFD recommendations for canoeing/kayaking? I know this isn't really the appropriate thread, but I'm not sure where else to discuss. After a tipped canoe scare in the Boundary Waters last year, I've decided it's time to stop being an idiot and wear a PFD at all times when in the canoe. I'm leaning toward an automatic or manual inflatable for the reduced weight, heat, and arm restriction. I've heard mixed reviews, though - some people don't think they're reliable, some don't think they're comfortable, etc. Anyone have any thoughts? There's a 35lb-float manual model at Cabelas that I have my eye on.

I've been totally happy wearing this on paddling trips
http://www.rei.com/product/782963/mti-reflex-pfd

Bought it 2 or so years ago, worn it twice on 4+ day trips. I don't even notice wearing it unless it's really hot and I'm sweating a ton with it on. The friend I go with doesn't wear a skirt (he has a real tall cockpit) or a PFD and I think he's completely insane.

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mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I just came out of Yellowstone yesterday-it has a really weird setup, with the north entrance being plowed, but the rest of the park is snowmobile/coach only. I'll get a trip report+ pics up later tonight, but you'll need to do a lot of planning to pull it off compared to other parks, I think.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


So here's my winter Teton/Yellowstone trip report
Didn't really do much in Grand Teton NP. Most everything was closed off, and since it's such a small but vertical park, skiing around the base seemed kind of pointless. My dad & I headed up to West Yellowstone the next day, as the southern entrance from Jackson wasn't very usable - snowmobiles only as far as I know, and we were looking to do XC skiing.
We rented XC backcountry skis and had 40 (dad) and 50 (me) lb packs. Took a snowcoach in to Old Faithful Lodge, and set up the tent for the night nearby. The next day we tried to go down to Shoshone lake, but ran into a ton of trouble with our skis. We kept having to take them off in thermal areas, which are freaking everywhere, and the bindings stopped clicking in fully when we put them back on. At one point it took us about an hour to go something like 250 yards, so we gave up and set up camp for the night. We got a fire going, but it didn't self sustain for some odd reason, and the canister of fuel we'd bought for the jetboil wasn't 4 season (despite me asking salespeople to make sure), so we ended up having to sleep with the fuel can + lots of other gear in our sleeping bags to warm them up.
Skied out the next day to the lodge, then did a day trip without packs up to Mallard Lake. Only got about 2/3s of the way up before it got too dark , as it was a constant climb and I was having to herringbone my way up for significant stretches of time. The way down took less than half the time up due to the elevation. Camped the third night, then headed out the next morning on a coach.
Turns out Old Faithful area is much warmer than W. Yellowstone - it was -13 for us, but -26 in W. Yellowstone overnight :O

I was really surprised that snowmobiles didn't make more noise, as I thought they'd be really annoying.

Gear wise, we were using a lot of old gear from the 90s that was really bulky and heavy. We only had 0 degree bags, so my dad grabbed a quilt from target we put on top of us in our 4 man tent. During the day, I wore just a base layer + shell, but that was enough for me to sweat. At night, I wore a lot of real thick wool and didn't get cold, my dad went with like 5-6 layers at night since he didn't have anything thick. Didn't hang our food & cooked inside the tent one night because we weren't worried about bears and were really freaking cold (and dumb).


The amount of wildlife is nuts - I hadn't realized that the rivers didn't freeze over, and didn't realize just how much thermal activity there is in the park. All that warmth really brings the critters together. Interestingly, Yellowstone rangers said that bear cans are pointless - the bears there are so used to humans and bear cans that they can open them, so hanging packs is the only option.


album: http://imgur.com/a/11rE0

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Anyone going to be in a bunch of National Parks in the next few months? I have four months left on my yearly pass, but there's no way I'm going to make it to any more in that time frame. The card allows for two people, so I can mail it to someone who can just write their own name in and use it.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I'd probably just rent a -20 bag from Rei. My zero degree bag in -15 degree temps at Yellowstone required a ton of extra clothing that outweighed just bringing a bigger bag.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


MMD3 posted:

Speaking of winter camping... I'm planning a trip to go snow camping on mt. hood with a friend in March. We probably won't hike in far, maybe a few miles into some closed for the winter campgrounds with snowshoes. Neither of us has camped in a snow-shelter before though.

I'm hoping to find a weekend where there's fairly fresh snow but it's not too cold and not raining... say 25-32 degree weather which is fairly normal for that area this time of year.

I wanted to ask though, should my 20 degree North Face Cat's Meow sleeping bag do the trick if we're sleeping in a shelter? Does anyone have experience building quinzhee huts? That was our plan, and from what I'm reading they can stay fairly warm if you build them right. I just thought it'd be a fun first experience snow-camping.

I've done quinzhees probably a dozen times, including in my back yard in Chicago. Expect to spend all day working on it, because you really need to let the snow settle for several hours. And make it really, really big, because the last thing you want to have is very little clearance for getting in/out, because you'll get absolutely soaked doing so, especially in warmish temperatures like you're planning on being. I think as long as you have an insulated pad and thick clothes you'll be fine in a 20 degree bag, especially in a shelter, but you might want to try out a night in a backyard if you can beforehand to make sure.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Yeah, it takes a few hours to settle. I'd build it to at least 5 feet tall for most of it just to make sure you have room, since it'll probably settle down at least a foot, and you need to leave a decent amount of snow for thickness.

I also forgot that you folks with elevation changes actually have temperature changes to go with them. Must be nice :I

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Also, if you're interested in wildlife, good luck seeing much with a dog around. Although you'll probably see bears right when they attack your dog.

Edit: what zero said. Take your dog to laid back state parks or fishing trips, not the wilderness.

mastershakeman fucked around with this message at 14:53 on Feb 18, 2013

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I thought that sale always exempted hard shell boats?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Any women have recommendations for day packs? My mom's looking to get one, possibly with a hydration sleeve, but wants it to be big enough for her coat and whatnot, so the REI flash 18 isn't suitable.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Marshmallow Mayhem posted:

I like REI's bigger non minimalist version daypack the Traverse 30 - I've had an older model of it for over 6 years and no complaints, it can hold a warm coat or two, food, waters, etcetera for a long day hike (http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/rei-traverse-pack--womens). REI gear is one size fits all I think and will be the cheapest. Gregory packs are nice too, they have a Jade 28, but not sure what size your mom would find comfy without trying on stuff at the store. Honestly I'd encourage her to find her size/favorite brand fits at a physical store and buy it cheap online, or just to go to the next REI used sale event near her and beeline for the backpacks, there should be a few nice women's packs to choose from.

Perfect, thanks.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


SirPhoebos posted:

I'm planning a trip to Isle Royale National Park this summer, and I'd like to have a trip partner if only to make sure I'm not eaten by a moose or something. Is anyone on this thread interested? And if not, could you recommend a good place to find a partner?

(I live in Chicago, but I'd be cool with meeting someone at the ferry to the park.)

I may be interested if you're kayaking it, I did that two years ago and might be going again this year.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Pennywise the Frown posted:

Hey hiking thread. I just got a lifetime pass (disabled vet) to the Wisconsin State Park system. I'd like to find places to actually go backpacking here but for right now I guess I'm just looking for day hikes/camping. The problem is I'm in South East Wisconsin (Kenosha). There isn't a whole lot here that I know of besides Bong Recreation Area . Most of the good stuff is more West and North I think.

I've been slowly acquiring gear for backpacking. I doubt anyone here would use it due to weight and size but I just ordered a Military Modular Sleep System. I'd like to try cold weather camping sometime and I could just take the patrol bag for warmer weather. Unfortunately I bought a REI Catalyst 35L before I got any gear and when I didn't know anything about backpacking. It's a great pack but I definitely think I might need a bigger one when I get around to backpacking. That will probably be my next purchase. I'm also using the REI Half Dome. Decent tent but takes up a lot of room.

Anyway, back to my original question. Does anyone know of any good hiking areas in SE WI? Even small parks that have at least a few miles of trails. I don't really have many people to hike with so I'd be going solo most of the time. I just want to get out as much as I can since I don't work. Might as well hike.

Devils Lake (and check out the Crane foundation nearby). Kettle Moraine is supposedly nice but I haven't been.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Devils Lake is the best hiking in the Midwest that doesn't require a ferry ride across Lake Superior. Check it out (and the cranes! )

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


You can certainly carry a backpack around Wisconsin parks/forests. I've done it in WI, IL, and IN, but it's pretty pointless. The top of Wisconsin/UP actually has a lot of nice wilderness and great shorelines (apostle islands/pictured rocks national lakeshores, porkies, etc) but are tough to get to from Milwaukee. It seems like it takes less time to fly to Oakland and drive to Yosemite than to drive up to one of those spots.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Duluths are the ones with no frame or hip belt, right?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Take requests on what to buy in here, sell it for 80% the sale price and pocket the cash?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Jesus christ you guys are gearheads.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


The default hundred dollar tent should be the rei half dome 2. I see it everywhere.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Verman posted:

I love that tent to death and will always recommend that for a great starter tent. My only gripe is that the rainfly isn't very big. My passage 2 rainfly goes all the way to the ground around the entire tent.

Yeah I really hate the modern design of minimal rain flies.I was in an exposed field with lots of wind and rain last week and the wind was lifting lots of tents by their fly since the flies weren't staked down along the ground. My passage 1 barely moved while my friends big Coleman tent had the poles coming out repeatedly.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Yeah, I can't blame REI at all for shortening their policy from lifetime to yearly. Even allowing for worn items to be returned is absolutely amazing, I'm sure a lot of people took advantage of that.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


What would even be a legitimate reason after a year?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I bet those are the evil fake ladybugs.

What's the best time of year for Zion Narrows?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I take it the opinion on bear cans is pretty strong, but the rangers in Yellowstone told me they don't believe in bear cans at all and say to always hang your pack. There's no consensus on this at all, right?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


It must be Yellowstone specific, where the density of bears and backcountry campers has led to the bears figuring the cans out or at least knowing they contain food and destroying the campsite trying to open them.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Don't leave air conditioning when it's over 90.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


110 and no water sources? You're going to die.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


No kidding? I'm up that way a few times a year. Can you jump off the cliffs?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I'd just day hike Zion. Google Joe's guide to Zion, it's amazingly useful.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


The Narrows was flooded when I was there, but Angels Landing and Canyon Overlook were amazing. I liked Zion more than the big Ys, that red rock just looks so alien to me.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I hate my steripen. It seems like over half the time I try to use it, it just flashes red at the end and I have no idea why. Sometimes it works in the morning but not the night before, with the same water source. Ugh.

Also, it's pretty impossible to use where there's minimal water flow - spots where you can pump from are often impossible to scoop water from into a bottle to then steripen.

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


On that note, I laugh every time I look at my picture from Zion when I got into camping again. I've upgraded almost every piece of gear I have (except the pack itself) but I still had my best national park experience carrying this (I'm on the left)

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


So I bought a Passage 1 last summer (in mid-July), used it twice , but now am thinking about the Passage 2. Does REI's new return policy prevent me from switching out?

vvv I thought it was a 1 year policy, hm I'll re-read it.

mastershakeman fucked around with this message at 21:16 on Jul 23, 2013

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Verman posted:

Technically they say that its a year return policy now but I bet that if you go in they will probably do it for you even if its a few days "late".

I called and was up front about wanting a bigger tent, and they said it wouldn't be under their satisfaction guarantee. No big deal.

Anyone want to buy a barely used passage 1?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


I like my Columbia puffy thing + shell, dangit!

I actually need to figure out what to upgrade next. I got some REI gift cards fit my birthday and I'm at the point where I think I need to be ordering specialty upgrade like a ULA pack, do it's tough Ty figure out what to do. Maybe a fly creek 2 since that's the hot thing these days?

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


God I hate those pads. Rei rented one to a girl on my 3 day AT hike who had never been backpacking before and I ended up having to carry it half the time. So bulky and heavy that it makes my original thermarest from the 90s seem tiny.

mastershakeman fucked around with this message at 22:38 on Jul 31, 2013

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Seriously though, anyone up for gear suggestions? I'll post what I have right now- I was in the boy scouts in the 90s and got a lot of my gear then, and have been slowly upgrading piece by piece since then.

Tent: 1) 1990s 4 man Kelty good for car camping ; 2) Passage 1 for solo stuff (4lbs 3 oz, fits well in my kayak)
Backpack: Gigantic external frame Kelty pack from the 90s, weighs about 4 lbs, 100L expandable to 130L.
Water filters: 1) sweetwater w/ brand new filter, 2) steripen + external sediment prefilter (also good with the sweetwater to prevent clogging)
Sleeping bags: 1) 1990s sierra design 0 degree bag (huge); 2) big agnes 30 degree bag (small)
Mattress pads: 1) 1990s thermarest original 2) big agnes pad (small)
Jacket: columbia glade to glacier ii (bought in '09)
Boots: Vasque leather boots, big & bulky (bought in '09)
Stoves: 1) jetboil 2) gimmicky biolite
misc: big bear can (might downsize to personal one), basic headlamp, swiss army knives, hatchet, two saws, Rain pants, zip off nylon pants, wool t-shirts & long underwear of different weights all bought within the last few years

What else do I really need? If I upgrade packs I'd like to go with the ULA ones, so I'm wondering if I should just sell my year old Passage 1 and get a UL2 for personal use since it'd be smaller and lighter, or maybe by some kickin' rad snowpants instead of using my nonbreathable rain pants.

mastershakeman fucked around with this message at 23:06 on Jul 31, 2013

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Why not just carry one of those emergency blankets made of foil? My dad sat out a flash flood after it washed his tent away and he made it to high ground (4 others in the campground didn't wake up in time to escape).

mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Belmont Geoffrion posted:

After seeing some posts praising it and doing some research into it, I've decided that as a 21st birthday present to myself I would like to do a trip in Zion National Park, specifically doing the Trans-Zion Trek (unless anyone has better recommendations, I'm hoping to spend 7-8 days on this trip). It would be me and 1 or 2 of my friends, around late January/early February. Apart from the general logistics of arranging transportation and permits and campsites, could anybody give me an overview on what to expect? It would be my first time doing any backpacking/camping outside of the great lakes area, so I have little to no idea what to expect for water/weather/bugs and the like.

Also, my primary shelter is usually a hammock, so a recommendation for a suitable replacement for that would be nice, as I'd expect that I might occasionally have trouble finding good places to set up a hammock.

Go here, it's the best site for any national park I've seen:
http://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/transziontrek.cfm

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mastershakeman
Oct 28, 2008


Please let us know when you'll take the boxes of AR outside, 'accidentally' forget something and run back inside, then discover the boxes are missing.

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