What to carry while backpacking?

BillyJean

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I keep things pretty minimal — any 3 season backpacking trip 5 days or under and I'm headed out in a 36L pack. I always carry in a Hill People Gear chest rig, whether I have a wheelgun or auto-loader on me. If you're backpacking, there's really nothing better than the HPG rig that I've found. Works great as a tenkara fly fishing pack and trail running pack as well.

I buy a cougar tag every year and cross my fingers I'll get a shot one day, but I really never expect to even look at my gun while I'm backpacking. I usually base my carry around the sorts of people, if any, I expect to encounter.
 
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I doubt Mark was aiming for her fur... Just a guess. The point was that a judicious amount of spray was dispensed and she ran right through it.
Got it, though bears usually charge head on, the individual must have turned and ran while spraying. I've seen those sprays used on protesters in Portland. That stuff is like a fire extinguisher, pretty hard to miss with.
 
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Got it, though bears usually charge head on, the individual must have turned and ran while spraying. I've seen those sprays used on protesters in Portland. That stuff is like a fire extinguisher, pretty hard to miss with.
It was an unfortunate event all around. More so because it was "probably" entirely preventable. Saving the gory details, let's just say the warden told me that Mark was probably spraying blindly.
 
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I keep things pretty minimal — any 3 season backpacking trip 5 days or under and I'm headed out in a 36L pack.
I really need to work on my packing mentality. I take too much "what if" stuff. What if I run out of stove fuel? What if I need extra food? What if I fall in a creek and need extra dry clothes? I gave away my 36L and moved up to a 48L for the (heavy) peace of mind. It comes from experience, but I need to be more okay with improvising
 

BillyJean

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I really need to work on my packing mentality. I take too much "what if" stuff. What if I run out of stove fuel? What if I need extra food? What if I fall in a creek and need extra dry clothes? I gave away my 36L and moved up to a 48L for the (heavy) peace of mind. It comes from experience, but I need to be more okay with improvising
I hear that! I always tell my kids, "Better to be looking at it than looking for it."

I ran a 50L and at the end of each trip I took a look at what I didn't use, what felt like overkill, etc., and that helped me cut things down in a way that felt commensurate with my own abilities and knowledge, and worked down to the smaller pack, which for me is more comfortable, and lets me go further. For the past 4-5 years my go-to bag has been the Gossimer Gear Kumo 36L. I do notice on the first trip in spring I still over pack a bit and always regret it. Happy to share my gear list or any specifics if interested.

Also, if you're looking for a great resource for backpacking knowledge, Andrew Skurka has a blog with tons of info that I have found useful over the years. He also has some great trip reports on his ultralight backpacking elk hunts that are pretty impressive.
 
I had my German Shepherd and my 10mm, but I was still hyper-aware
My untrained dog has a fantastic trait of letting me know if there's someone or something around. He's good to have around when I'm outdoors.
How does that IWB holster work when you are strapped into that backpack? Can you get to your pistol when your hip belt is buckled?
Wearing a holster on my belt while backpacking didn’t work for me so I went with a tanker style chest holster which allowed me to reach my pistol even with a heavy pack pulling my shoulders back.
I use an OWB holster with a pretty sharp cant and thumb break. The butt of the gun is almost more covered by the pack itself than the belt, but I can get ahold of it to draw pretty easily. The placement is similar to my IWB, which I've never tried. I used to use an improvised chest rig when packing a 6.5" barreled Ruger 41 Mag and it was handy, but I would bang my rifle into it if carrying both.
 
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I hear that! I always tell my kids, "Better to be looking at it than looking for it."

I ran a 50L and at the end of each trip I took a look at what I didn't use, what felt like overkill, etc., and that helped me cut things down in a way that felt commensurate with my own abilities and knowledge, and worked down to the smaller pack, which for me is more comfortable, and lets me go further. For the past 4-5 years my go-to bag has been the Gossimer Gear Kumo 36L. I do notice on the first trip in spring I still over pack a bit and always regret it. Happy to share my gear list or any specifics if interested.

Also, if you're looking for a great resource for backpacking knowledge, Andrew Skurka has a blog with tons of info that I have found useful over the years. He also has some great trip reports on his ultralight backpacking elk hunts that are pretty impressive.
I'd love to see your gear list! Feel free to shoot me a PM. I try to start with quality gear. I have a Feathered Friends ultralight down bag, Big Agnes ultralight tent, titanium spoon :eyeroll:, etc, but then I end up taking too much redundancy. Extra fuel canisters in case I want more hot drinks or more food, and don't trust the float method to know how much fuel is in each canister. I'm an all day grazer, so extra food in case I need the carbs. More "comfort" minded than "just deal with it" minded
My untrained dog has a fantastic trait of letting me know if there's someone or something around. He's good to have around when I'm outdoors.
Mine LOVES the woods. I'm always fixated on her because she'll notify me of anything long before I'd have been aware of it. She was great this summer because we could sit in the living room and count on her to alert us when a moose was in the yard, even if she was laying next to me. They just have those senses
 
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machinist68

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I've settled on a Ruger EC9 in 9mm. It weighs 23 oz loaded in a Bladetech IWB holster. I chose this because it's the lightest, smallest, most reliable and inexpensive 9mm handgun I could find. I think 9mm is adequate for the 2 and 4 legged predators I'd run into in the NW. What do you carry, and why?
I’m a BIG Fan of Ruger handguns and own several however my preference for backpacking is the Smith and Wesson air weight wheel gun in .357 magnum with one extra speed loader loaded with Winchester .145 gr silver tips and i stagger two federal snake shot . Still right around 12 oz
 
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I second this recommendation. This is exactly the backcountry & camping setup that I carry. I live in Oregon and hike & backpack primarily in the mountains & forests of the PNW. The balance between compactness, capacity, reliability, and its (relative) light-weight makes me feel about as prepared as I can be for most situations I might find myself in.

I also can vouch for the use of a chest harness, as someone else mentioned earlier. Depending on your pack setup, it’s a good option to explore, since reaching for & drawing a pistol from an external belt holster or an IWB setup is a huge pain (damn near impossible tbh) when I’m carrying my big ol’ frame backpack.
 
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Depends on the country you are backpacking in

I used a stainless Redhawk in 44 mag. First two chambers snake shot next four bear loads. Also had one speed loader or each. A 357 or a Glock 29 would be other good choices.

I've been stalked a few times and have had a bear encounter. Never had to shoot anything but happy I had the option if needed.
funny story, I used to to live in Alaska back in the late seventies, when I first arrived I was immediately in search of a cheap shotgun to saw off and used as a bear defense weapon (when I first arrived in the big A I was a little frightened about bears). I met this older trapper looking man who was a gun dealer and told him what I was looking for, he had what I needed. he also showed me his "bear defense" weapon. he had a ruger 44 mag pistol loaded with hollow points that he "spiked" with pistol primers pressed into the hollow point. After lecturing me to the dangers of this practice, we went outside for a demonstration. in a 6" poplar tree he shot a with, and w/o primer. he blew the tree in half. his logic was when everything else failed he was willing to risk having the gun blow up in his hand than to be mauled by a grizzly out in the middle of nowhere. I had to agree with him.
 

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