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Thread: The rifle and back pack myth....

  1. #1
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Default The rifle and back pack myth....

    Taken from another part of the Alaskan Trapper:
    http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/09/...arlessons.html
    really good site BTW

    Quote>
    The "Rifle and a Backpack" Myth

    I often get a chuckle from people that think they can fill a back pack and head into the woods and survive long term with what is in a back pack. Until recently I spent most of my life guiding in Alaska and in Africa. I spent an average 110 days a year living out of a back pack under a tarp or in a pup tent, and another 180 days each year living in a remote cabins without electricity or running water.

    In an uninhabited game rich environment with a rifle and only a back pack of gear I could survive for a period of time. How long could I survive? I do not know as there are too many variables.

    What I do know is in the case of TEOTWAWKI where many people would be fleeing the cities and overcrowding the wild places looking for food I could not survive trying to live off the land with only a back pack full of gear. There will simply not be the recourses available. If a skilled person had no ethics they could take to stealing, looting, probably murder/cannibalism they might make it long term starting with only a back pack full of gear. For me and my family I believe in preparing now and stocking up while food and supplies are available and reasonably priced.

    In the early 1980s I bought a lot of my supplies from a sporting goods/gun store in Anchorage. The store maintained an excellent inventory for hunters, trappers or survivalists. The store manager could talk the talk on both survival and hunting. One fall he hired me to take him on a 14-day bow hunting trip into the Alaska bush and film the adventure. He also hired a young guy that had just moved to Alaska from Georgia to help carry camera gear. I was concerned regarding the greenhorn from Georgia and even more concerned when I saw his marginal gear. The Georgia greenhorn however did fine and was a huge help on the trip. The trip however was a complete failure. The store manager had every neat gadget I had ever seen and many that I had never heard of. His pack was too full to carry any of the food or camera gear. He was out of shape and his pack was also too heavy for him to comfortably carry. After the float plane dropped us off on a high mountain lake we planned to walk for a week to my cabin hunting Dall Sheep on the way. Then at the Cabin we planned to hunt Moose and Grizzly. During the first 2 days the store manager left a lot of gadgets and some much needed gear on the trail to lighten his pack. I was stunned as I thought this guy knew his stuff but he was totally bewildered on how to apply his knowledge or gear in the field. One of the things I still clearly remember is he actually dumped all of his extra socks and his rain gear at the first nights camp. Leaving that gear behind cost him dearly. The Greenhorn from Georgia was a farm kid and was able to adapt to the Alaska bush even with his marginal gear and lack of knowledge of the Alaska bush. The store manager never made a single stalk on any animal as it became a challenge to just get the store manager to the cabin. By the time we got him to the cabin his feet were so badly blistered he could hardly walk and could not even carry his own pack or bow. This rambling story actually has a point. I had heard the store manager tell many people before our trip that with his properly equipped backpack he could easily survive in the bush indefinitely. My grandfather use to say: "Ignorance is bliss but it will not put food on the table."

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  2. #2
    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Nothing like taking your boots in the field. Research, study, and ask for advice, and when you're ready to carry your pack for the first time, recognize that you know NOTHING about surviving out there. Start with day trips close to civilization first and move on to long weekends. Learn what works and what doesn't, and realize that every experience will be different and that you'll likely encounter something you weren't totally - or even slightly - prepared for. Always have an escape plan and a few back-up escape plans if things turn to crap. Accept the fact that there will be a risk with every step you take.

    Surviving for a year in the wilderness with only a pack? I haven't tried it nor do I expect I ever will. The closest I've ever come to that was when I was in my early 20's and completed a 10 day long solo here. And yeah, there were more than a few times on that venture when I thought (knew) that I was crazy for trying it alone:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemigewasset_Wilderness

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    Junior Member Nizina's Avatar
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    A buddy and I used to do an annual sheep hunt of 10 to 14 days. We usually did a walk-in and tried to hunt a different mountain range every year. We spent all summer every year getting in shape and when we needed new boots, we wore them constantly for at least two weeks before the hunt in order to break them in. It was great living "light" in the back country and we were real tough hombres when we emerged from the bush two weeks later with a couple of nice Dall sheep.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    One of the things I still clearly remember is he actually dumped all of his extra socks and his rain gear at the first nights camp.
    Not wanna boost my greatness or anything but ... what the heck he was thinking !!? ... there is 2 basic things I say to all beginners who ask my advice about going to wilderness:

    1. Make sure that your boots are comfortable (extra socks is BIG part of that!)
    2. Make sure that you have something that keeps you safe for rain

    ...

    Me cries ...

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    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    I'm guessing he dumped gear that first night to save weight. No doubt,he dumped other things as well. Talk to some of the through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. You find stuff dumped at the shelters all the time. NICE expensive stuff. If you dont' need it after a week, you don't need it.

    I wish I could say I'm in shape to lug all of the stuff I'd need to live in the wild indefinitely. I doubt I am. Then again, my "bug out vehicle"is a mountain bike with bags. Much more familiar territory, for me.

    Goog

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    Junior Member Nizina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post

    The closest I've ever come to that was when I was in my early 20's and completed a 10 day long solo here. And yeah, there were more than a few times on that venture when I thought (knew) that I was crazy for trying it alone:
    Solo backpacking for any period of time is --- well--- lonely. I've tried it myself and much prefer going with a partner. And then, of course, there is the risk factor. I am much less likely to cross a swift stream, climb a steep pitch, or even stalk certain critters when alone. The psyche is just different. I certainly don't mind spending a lot of time alone in my own cabin, but backpacking in the big alone is lonely.

  7. #7
    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nizina View Post
    Solo backpacking for any period of time is --- well--- lonely. I've tried it myself and much prefer going with a partner. And then, of course, there is the risk factor. I am much less likely to cross a swift stream, climb a steep pitch, or even stalk certain critters when alone. The psyche is just different. I certainly don't mind spending a lot of time alone in my own cabin, but backpacking in the big alone is lonely.
    I like backpacking alone. I don't mind it with certain partners but my alone time in the wilderness is something I hold dear. Hey, I am coming down to your area for a bit this summer. McCarthy is one stop on my plan.
    Why do I live in Alaska? Because I can.

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  8. #8

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    I agree. A hike for a couple of hours alone is enough for me.

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    Senior Member wareagle69's Avatar
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    That trip was a serious undertaking for said store owner. Reminds me of some people.
    I am not sure what everyone's aversion to solo trekking is.....but it's the only way I go. Been doing it many years. Brings me great happiness
    always be prepared-prepare all ways
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I think it has something to do with age....when you are young, you are invincible, nothing much serious has happened to you yet.
    The older you get, and stuff happens, it's packed away in the head as "Well, I'm not gonna do THAT again".......so begins the down ward spiral....LOL

    Was an entertaining story, and I'm sure has been played out 1000's of times, but seems to be missed by the unknowing in the quest for RATTW crowd.

    Maybe not knowing IS better,....?
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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  11. #11
    Junior Member Nizina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stimestar View Post
    I like backpacking alone. I don't mind it with certain partners but my alone time in the wilderness is something I hold dear. Hey, I am coming down to your area for a bit this summer. McCarthy is one stop on my plan.
    I really enjoy backpacking alone for hours at a time in the high country tundra, but days of bushwhacking by myself gets a bit old. I would much rather do it with a partner that can share the misery. Hope to see you in McCarthy this summer. Just take the wagon trail south out of town and head for the Nizina River.

  12. #12
    Resident Wildman Wildthang's Avatar
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    I use to go hiking in the Tallehena mountains alone, and would stay gone up to 4 days at a time. Hiking alone really doesn't for about 4 days, but any longer than that would get tough. I remember getting pretty excited when I ran inot other hikers out there, and a lot of the time we would end up pitching camp together just for the company!

  13. #13

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    Niz, welcome to the forum, I already like your mindset and pen style.

    Your right about haveing a co-pilot.. Its better, but have to keep in mind not to take those risk you would not take if alone.

    I have no co-pilot for my ventures so Im always forced to do it alone.... My daughter does go with me on a few outings, but the more harsh ones are the ones I do alone.

    She may graduate to more difficult jaunts in the near future.... I got her using the woodline latrine like a war veteran now, so Im thinking shes about ready to ruff it a bit more! HA HA!

    Anyway, back on topic... the whole BOB thing has always baffled me. If I was heading out to the field for a LONG stay, Id be lucky to take everything I needed in my K5 Bazer *AND* my BOT (New term: Bug Out Trailer). And Im still wanting to build a cargo rack for the top...


    EB

  14. #14
    Senior Member aflineman's Avatar
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    Never ceases to amaze me how much people really don't know about being in the woods. Even some of the folks that work in the woods for a living. Some of the loggers I know, would not know the first thing in survival off of a landing, many know more than I could ever learn. Also surprises me how much I forget when I have not been in the woods for awhile. I still tend to fall for the "new gadget disease", and then realize that it really was not a good idea after all. (Although I will say my hammock was a very nice addition). Good thing I tend to putter with stuff before I will "permanently" add it to my basic kit. (I keep saying I will quit, but puttering with new stuff is just to darn much fun).
    Have Lights? Thank a Lineman!
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