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Backpacking - First Trip

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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Backpacking - First Trip

Postby GottaGetOutMore » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:47 pm

Have been reading here at 14'ers.com for a year or so, and decided to rely on the knowledge and advice of those who read and post here. Have been wanting to get out to Yosemite, and am heading that way in August to do some backpacking. Full disclosure: First backpacking trip. Have a gear list going and have a question about hiking attire, specifically shorts. I've tried on several brands (REI, Columbia, TheNorthFace, etc.) but can't seem to find a pair that isn't a little, or more than a little, restrictive around my upper legs. I run, a lot, and have considered just going with my UnderArmour boxer jock and running shorts because of the comfort and wicking fabrics they are made with. Any suggestions as to other options I should consider? Thanks in advance!
Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure. ~Author Unknown

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:16 pm

These days I use REI Sahara zip-offs. The legs seem really roomy to me.
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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby dpage » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:36 pm

"I run, a lot, and have considered just going with my UnderArmour boxer jock and running shorts because of the comfort and wicking fabrics they are made with."

Do it. I backpack in running shorts, take rain pants and some synthetic blend pants that stretch from Kuhl. When I'm moving, I like not sweating to death in pants (and Yosemite can be warm in August) then change when I set up camp.

Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby MonGoose » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:49 pm

GottaGetOutMore wrote: ... decided to rely on the knowledge and advice of those who read and post here.

Well, that was your first mistake. :o

I have done many trips in a pair of shorts along with rain pants for the afternoon showers. Really, it comes down to whatever you are comfortable wearing.

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby planet54 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:52 pm

I am a zipoff guy but you could try river shorts. They are usually baggy,dry quickly and most have a mesh brief so Ping and Pong have a home. Zipoffs will give you protection from bugs,wind and whatever.
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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby randalmartin » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:56 pm

Also I would suggest if you are really into Backpacking to spend some time on backpackinglight.com Great site with a lot of resources oriented towards Backpacking. Lot's of forum members on that site from California that will be very familiar with the location your headed. May want to post a thread there as well using this link http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/display_forum.html?forum=18

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby ironman11 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:14 pm

When in August will you be there? I am originally from CA and will be heading to Yosemite in August as well. I do alot of backpacking here in N.C., feel free to pm me with questions.

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby tlerunner » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:28 pm

I like under armour briefs and baggy shorts. That is my hiking and trail running combination.

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby Kevo » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:54 pm

My favorite pair of shorts for backpacking is some $20 pair of simple nylon cargo shorts that I bought from some big box retailer almost 10 years ago- I think it was a Dick's store brand. They have a built in belt which means no chaffing while carrying a heavy pack and they dry so quickly.

While your running shorts will probably work, I would highly recommend nylon over polyester because it is dries faster, is more abrasion resistant and also lighter. It also keeps its shape better when you are high stepping over logs and boulders (doesn't ride up your leg like polyester athletic shorts).

I'd also recommend AGAINST anything with spandex in it since spandex doesn't dry quickly and hinders durability.

If you aren't familiar with nylon, think board shorts. Most board shorts are nylon, but some do have spandex, which again, I don't prefer.

Check out your local Dicks/ Academy/etc and see what you can find- check labels to see which materials are used.

Also FYI- I no longer carry regular full length pants for summer backpacking in Colorado/Wyoming/CA/etc. I just use shorts. If it gets cold, I'll layer long underwear bottoms underneath the shorts. If it is really cold (freak snow storm, really cold rain), I'll wear my waterproof rain pants over the long underwear and shorts. This setup save me weight and a ton of room in my pack. One pair of shorts is generally all I need for a week- if my shorts get dirty, I can throw on my rain pants while I wash them in a stream or lake. An hour or so later, they are dry.

I'd highly recommend the shorts/long underwear/rain pants setup.

Edit- One last thing- I don't like synthetic fabrics for underwear on backpacking trips. After a few days they get really funky. I've had better luck with cotton boxer briefs. If you need insulation because you are wet, throw on your polyester long underwear.

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby TallGrass » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:21 am

I visit DFW regularly and have ridden through Yosemite and the area several times. What works for running in TX won't for backpacking in the Sierra. Different speeds, temperature ranges, weather shifts, vegetation, etc. Heat exhaustion will kill in DFW, but hypothermia will in the Sierras even in summer. While you should pack the UA and running short combo, I'd get a pair of light, durable nylon hiking pants. I was gifted a pair of tan White Sierra Sarari ones they're not zip-offs, have a fixed cuff (lighter still), and the thigh pockets don't pleat out like pouches. They're light enough to be cool, work well for layering, and the velcro flap thigh pockets are great for a map, camera, power bars and anything else you'd like to have handy (not remove pack) nor fall out if you stumble or tumble. The roll down to about the size of 0.5L bottle but don't get beat up in the brush or rocks like other nylon pants. Not a shorts guy*, but you might like the zip-off type as an option.

* Probably the only one on here who's summited in leather pants.
Last edited by TallGrass on Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby mtn_nut » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:35 am

Read Andrew Skurkas book the ultimate hiker, take a few easy trips in the guadalupe mountains to get your setup right, then go backpacking.

I personally use arcteryx rampart pants for alpine and desert backpacking and love them.

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Re: Backpacking - First Trip

Postby GottaGetOutMore » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:32 am

Thank you for all of the suggestions. I'm definitely looking for comfort and function and the hiking shorts I've tried on to date, while functional, didn't seem to fall into the comfortable category. My running gear (UnderArmour Boxer Jock and 9" inseam Nike Dri Fit running shorts, no liner) do, and they also do not hinder my range of motion like the hiking shorts I have tried on to date at REI, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, and Dick's Sporting Goods. Some brands were better than others in that regard but all were restrictive while doing knee raises/hip flexion. Appreciate all of the input, and I'll continue to look for comfortable/functional shorts and perhaps the selections will expand as summer gets closer. My backpacking trip begins on August 21 (and if I read the lunar calendar right, there will be a full moon that evening). Thanks again for your input. =D>
Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure. ~Author Unknown

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