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Its been a long while for me. I haven't an overnight hike before. However, as a kid we rafted the Chama River for 3 days. Pulled over on the side of the river and made camp for the night. Had a blast! Camping in one spot for a couple days doesn't seem to compare. I am planning a 1 night trip up to Guadalupe Peak. I would like to take my time and take in the scenery. Start small and short.  From what I understand there is a small spot to camp on the trail. I also like to pack light. I plan to take my tent, 5lbs, sleeping bag, maybe 10lbs, aluminum cooking pan 2lbs, oatmeal, beef jerky, canned spaghetti (YUM!), trail mix, coffee, coffee cup, crackers, maybe a few more snacky snacks matches lighter, bowl. 7lbs maybe. I will also be taking an extra pair of pants, shorts, socks , underwear, jacket, shirt 10ish lbs. First aid kit. My small coleman propane canister with the small burner 5ish lbs. If I'm missing the kitchen sink and bathroom let me know. Water!!! Cant forget the water! I had read somewhere a person needs 1 liter per hour? Also, I hate shoes. They hurt. I prefer barefoot, but I know that's not possible. I have xero shoes, they're about as comfortable as a pair of shoes can get for me. If you have any suggestions for shoes, please, thank you. We will be going late October early November.  I also have a steep trail that I will be training on over the next several months. 

If I am missing something or overlooking something with the gear, let me know. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Dove76... well I don't have any particular advise to your post.  Sounds like you have a plan. (keep the shoes on) I believe I am going to use MRE's for food once I embark on my first trip.  This will cut down on weight I think. 

But I am interested in the trip you are planning.  I am in the West TX area and have recently heard about this Guadalupe Peak.  It sounds like a great "beginner" over night hike.  Please share any info or sites where I can read good info about this trip.  I do believe I will be giving it a try fairly soon.  I am still buying my main gear articles a little at a time.

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  • 1 month later...
Michael aka Mac

Ok so this message is for both Dove  and John.A

Dove, 1st let me say that from what you wrote i can tell you that by camping definition you are no what one would call alight packer. I think you are over double the weight then my most of my camping setups ( i have a few for different seasons and locations)

Ultra light camping for example i think is around 10 lbs  i am close to 14-15 myself but i also bring a telescoping spinning fishing rod ( i love to fish) and a  solar/crank world radio w/weather alert with built in charging station for cell (1.5 lbs)  what can i say i love music too

There is a shoe like foot wear called 5 finger shoes. It looks like a glove but for feet and requires  a 5 finger sock as conventional socks wont work with them. I never have used them but know people that like walking bear foot that swear by them.

You can cut your weight by 1/2 for tent  same with sleeping bag with the lightweight & ultra lightweight versions available in online camping/hiking stores

I don't know how your aluminum cooking pan is 2lbs  as my Coleman mess kit i think is like under 8 oz (and that weight is for a pot n lid, pan, frying pan and cup combo)

Replacing your gear with lighter gear including clothing can shave off half your total weight

John A.  

MREs  will definitely NOT cut down on the weight. Official US military MREs are illegal to buy and the civilian versions are a lot less calories and far less substantial and yet still weigh a lot.  Those that wish to reduce weight either buy freeze dried dehydrated food or they cook a meal and use a dehydrator and rehydrate their meals saving them the water weight of the food. Or they bring food that is very high in calories compared to the total weigh  ie  the most caloric food per pound

 Good luck to both of you and enjoy your future trips and outings

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  • 2 weeks later...


I was guessing the weight. I have my gear out and ill be taking stock of the actual weight and will drastically reduce what I will be bringing with me. I actually need to repair one of the rods to the tent. I should just replace it. This is what I will be taking...


Sleeping Bag

Water Bladder (its from my camel pak, fits right into my backpack)

Ultra Light Stove ( i just bought it, Its so tiny! )

Fuel canister



Cooking Pan

I gotts to have my Canned spaghetti! 

A couple MRE's

Beef Jerky 

first aid kit

Jim Beam!

I don't need extra clothes, or the 1 lb propane. Its one night. Ill take my shoes, but I probably wont wear them unless my feet get cold or start to hurt. My daughter has a couple of MRE's left over from leadership camp, Ill take those.  My worry is taking enough water. I have 4  bladders ( i need to see how many liters).  This will be split between my husband and I. 

I have been reading about backpacking and ultra lite hiking. I have been learning about pack rafting ( i know exactly where to go for this). I have several trips planned. I just need to set the dates and learn more before I go. I want to take as little as possible. Its amazing what they have done with some of the gear!

On one trip I will be taking our dog. I found a backpack to put her in so she can rest here and there, and I can still fit my stuff in it. I will be going back home to NM. I will get to go to the cabin and test it out a bit. See how she does.  Ill be adding a couple of fishing lures and a fishing pole to that one.  I am looking forward to going home. No electric, no running water, no tv, no phone, maybe a radio station. 

After going back home to NM, I will go to Guadalupe Peak. After that the Narrows. The narrows will be a day trip. No camping allowed. Then after that will be Arizona, Utah, Nevada. Then I think after that I will head out East. I remember doing some bouldering, hiking , camping and swimming in the rivers back east. 

In between I will be doing some kayaking trips here in Texas on some of the rivers....as long as the darn things don't flood!  They're either dry and empty or flooding! 

I figure I need to start out doing a short trip and start extending them slowly. 

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Michael aka Mac

I am not sure which MRE manufacturer your MREs are, but I will reiterate that they are by far the heaviest foods to bring with you. If you are still hard struck on bringing them, may i suggest the following:

A lot of the weight from MREs are the heater ( 1 heater could heat 3 meals easily) , and the packaging. I would remove the heavy duty plastic bag it comes in and empty anything that is in a box (ie the main entrées and side dishes  are usually in a box then within that a sealed heavy duty bag) any condiments that u know u wont use  leave them at home. If there are going to be 3 of you, assuming 3 meals a day,   9 MREs , you only need 1 heater for every 3 meals, so you can leave 6 heaters at home saving a lot of weight there too.

 With regard to the water issue, if you are going to be near a stream, river, lake, or spigot, you can bring with you water filtration device or water purification tablets.

Last with regard to weight, none of my mess kits that have multiple pots n pans weighs anywhere close to 2 lbs. so that one pan your bringing is a killer in weight.   You may also want to consider buying ultra light compact sleeping bag as mine is  a 30 ° F weighing in at under 1 lb. 7 oz.  is approx. 8 lbs. 9 oz lighter then the one you are using

Eventually u may opt for the ultra lightweight wood burning stove they average in size 3.5" -6" in height  and 3oz.-8oz. in weight and you dont have to bring food as you can use leaves, twigs etc for fuel.

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  • 4 months later...
Michael aka Mac

Dove, I am curious if you had gone on your trip yet and curious how it was.. I am also going to link for you three of my other posts on this website

I also wanted to clarify something to our readers.  I do enjoy M.R.E.'s and have used them for years, but for Campsite Camping, Car Camping, and at home. For decades now,   I always stash M.R.E.'s in my SUV for emergency situations.

Backpack Camping on the other hand, the only things I have ever brought with me that came from a M.R.E. are the condiment packs ( Tabasco, salt, pepper, moist towelette, sugar, jelly, peanut butter ), a MRE heater ( for survival situations i.e. heat), Gramm Crackers, Cookie, and drink mixes. The cookies, Gramm Crackers, etc. are much higher calories then the ones bought in stores (non MREs), making these ideal to carry for their size & weight to calorie ratio. The Meals on the other hand are not as caloric and they weigh considerably more do to the packaging and sauce/gravy.

M.R.E.'s weight ranges from approximately 18 oz. to 26 OZ. depending on the manufacture, Menu items, and whether you are getting a basic MRE or complete version. For 3 meals a day, you are carrying anywhere from 3 lbs. 6 oz. to 4 lbs. 12 oz. per person per day.

Mountain House Freeze Dried / Dehydrated meals on the other hand, weighs considerably less, weighing  less then 1 lb. for 3 meals.

Conclusion  So on a 5 day trip eating MREs, you are looking at on the high end,      23 lbs. 12 oz. per person vs 5 lbs. per person using freeze dried or dehydrated food. This is assuming of course that you have a water source nearby to rehydrate your food ( and that you have a water filtration/purification device). So as I was saying, MRE's  are not a weight saving alternative.



The 1st link has some info on gear and a backpack checklist while the 2nd link is an extended addition for just the backpack gear list.

For those interested in Minimalist Camping  click the link.

about the author

Michael aka Mac, (his Trail name, short for MacGyver), is a Survivalist and outdoor enthusiast with over 40 years of experience in the great outdoors. His background is in engineering & physics and he brings this knowledge into his gear inventions and outdoor experiences.  Now Michael aka Mac, when he is not in the wilderness, spends his free time as a Freelance gear reviewer of outdoor gear & gadgets, an outdoor Blogger,  and teacher of outdoor non combat survival skills.

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I just got back from Big Bend NP last weekend! Awesome! Beautiful! Froze our tails off!! We stayed in Chisos Basin and Cottonwood. Did some day hiking in the Santa Elena Canyon. Words just don't describe the beauty! 

I am planning my overnight hikes for the Spring and Autumn. The day hiking gear worked great! We had our poles (i have some muscle and balance issues), took some cheese crackers, jerky, some nuts ( i cant do trail mix, peanut allergy), kind bar, blood orange YUM! The water bladders are 2 and 3 liters. It was enough for the day hike. I am a type 2 diabetic, so I had a couple candies with me as well. For those of you who are diabetic, don't forget to bring your meds, bring food to lower your blood sugar and raise it. The hiking, I noticed, made my blood sugar bounce a bit. I cant take the diabetes meds, they RAISE my blood sugar for some odd reason, so it is all diet controlling my blood sugar. 

Odd thing, I got inured before we crossed the river, and I totally forgot I had a small first aid kit in the camel pak pocket, and waited till we got back to the truck. :/

It was great practice. I haven't been on an extended day hike in quite a while. We woke up some muscles!!!

Thank you for the links. Reading through them, I still need to downsize a couple of things and add another water bladder. I found the water bladders are so much easier than the canteens and bottles. 

Our dog will be going on one of the trips. We will be using her pack and Ill post how that one goes. She is pretty adventurous. When we go camping she spends her whole time staring us down until we go for a hike. She is too awesome! LOL

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Michael aka Mac
11 hours ago, Dove76 said:

Odd thing, I got inured before we crossed the river, and I totally forgot I had a small first aid kit in the camel pak pocket, and waited till we got back to the truck. :/

Hi Dove, glad to hear you got out on that trip and had fun.

You happened to mention something that has happened to so many hikers and campers on their adventures,  having a Life Saving/Changing item on hand without knowing it.

We as outdoorsmen and women have setup our backpacks with the so called basic necessities at our finger tips,  only to forget our inventory when an incident occurs. Whether it is first aid, a flashlight or packed batteries, water purification, or something as basic as cordage, the main problem we face is knowing exactly what we have on hand and where we stored it.

What i suggest to hikers and campers is to bring an itemized list of all your gear, preferably written on waterproof paper with waterproof ink. The list should indicate which storage pocket or compartment that it is in too.

I also strongly suggest having designated pockets and storage compartments for First Aid, Water Purification, Fire Making, rain gear, and food. Even more importantly, one should skim through each compartment on their trip each day to visually take inventory of what you are bringing.

In the military, one of the ways the drill sergeant gets the squad to memorize is by repetition.  Think of when you were in school and being disciplined and being forced to write repeatedly the same sentence again and a again. Try forgetting your new credit card number after writing it a 100 times in a row.  That card will now be stuck in your head for a long time.

So skimming through all your pockets and storage compartments daily will keep your memory refreshed of all the nick knacks of gear that you have brought with you on your trip.

Oh and Dove, although your post had mentioned forgetting you brought your 1st aid kit, I am posting this for those that will be reading this and not just for your benefit.  If we all are skimming through our inventory daily, then when in times of crisis where we are distracted, it is more likely that will will remember what we have on hand.

On a different note, it is not only important to know what you have with you, but it is even more important to check to make sure that what you have brought still works, and that nothing has expired..  In my early years of camping, I have brought gear  that I failed to check to make sure it was functional only to find that they were not working when I needed them the most.

Flashlight bulb that blew,  or accidently turned on in my pack while in storage leaving me with dead batteries.  Medication or water purification tablets that had expired. A broken on/off switch/valve on my stove and lantern.  A broken tent pole.  A leaking water bladder. A propane tank with a slow leak  that was empty by the time i went to use it. And my all time favorite, a hole in my backpack that slowly dropped my gear. over a course of 6 hours of trekking.

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You lost gear over a 6 hour period??? Oh my my! That would make me cry. 

I am surprised i forgot about the first i had I packed because I replaced all the meds before we left for our trip. But I will remember next time.

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Michael aka Mac

Well Dove this story if happening to you, would surely have made you cry then.  I am about to write the story of a free camping adventure that I was on where the campsite on this island was suppose to be filled with grassy areas only to be pure sand.  It was the most expensive free trip of my life as every single piece of gear that I brought got damaged from the sand.

Just a small  example of what got destroyed:  Tent, sleeping bag (sand destroyed the zippers), stove, propane heater, portable DvD player, Compass, Jacket (again sand and zipper).  Other items also got damaged from failing gear like when the stove broke and emitted a burst of flames which burned my gloves and some other articles of clothing.

The irony is that I had spoken to the Ranger prior to setting up this camping trip on this island to make sure that the area I was going to be camping at wasn't a sandy beach area as I knew that all my gear that I had would break down since it wasn't designed for sandy terrain...  Oh, and did I mention that this was Christmas Eve and required a 2 mile hike across the beach  just to get to the camp area?

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