BM vagabond-style (on foot/backpacking)

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.

BM vagabond-style (on foot/backpacking)

Postby Jespar » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:29 pm

From what I've read, perhaps this is a stupid idea.

Still, it seems like a pretty cool way to do it. I've been backpacking/camping since I can remember, and have no doubts about sustaining myself from the contents of my backpack.

I don't have much experience in the desert, and can't figure out a way to pack an adequate shelter, aside from the domes, hexyurts, et cetera that I've seen over the past few hours' on the forum and google.

There also comes the problem of water. Typically, the trips I've been on have been hiking from one spot to another, stopping for water when needed. Since the playa is the 'final destination', and not a waypoint, I was planning on just buying ice and letting it melt into water. I'm not positive this is the best idea.

Anyone have any thoughts on this possibly misguided plan? (Particularly on shelter!)

Thanks!
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Postby Token » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:43 pm

You should go to the event at least once using conventional means before trying to walk the last 100 miles.

Not recommended unless you know desert hiking during sumertime.
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Postby CorvusMechanicus » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:48 pm

First off, water. 1.5 gallons for you a day.

A gallon of water weighs ten pounds.

...

If I were you I would at least set up a basecamp or find someone to store your water for you 'cause otherwise you are shoulderin' a heavy load.

As for shelter, they have small backpacking tents you can buy.

http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/produ ... ductSearch

Folds up small and all that.

Otherwise you should read your survival guide and make sure you know what you're in for so you can plan for it.
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Postby Jespar » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:06 pm

Thanks for the advice!

How well do those tents hold up? I have a handful of tents, ranging from ultra-light backpacking tents to full-scale four-season mountaineering (think: thick orange monster with pvc-ish windows, etc). My preference for normal camping is usually a simple tarp & sleeping bag.

It seems that the consensus is a "regular tent" with a PVC/tarp shade structure overtop. Assuming I take an ultralight one-man tent, like the one you linked to, and a tarp or two for shade above it, is that adequate?

Thanks!
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Postby geekster » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:02 pm

If the tent has any "mesh", you will likely wake up under an inch of dirt, or come back to your tent finding everything in it under an inch of dirt the consistency of baby powder.

I would go with a tent that can completely close if I have the option.
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Postby Jespar » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:56 pm

I have the 4-season mountaineering one for that purpose, but I'm afraid it's a bit much for the desert, as it gets pretty toasty inside, even in the moderate climate here in PA.

I've never coupled it with a shade structure though
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Postby Token » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:21 pm

Tent is the least of your worries.

Walking 75 miles from Nixon to Empire and carrying all the water you need will be tough.

If you force yourself and go 20 miles a day in summer heat, you need to carry 4 days worth of water, typically 1.5 gallons per day.

6 gallons is over 50 pounds. And that is just the water for the 75 mile stretch.

You will need another 10 gallons fir the party at the end of the road.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:26 pm

Melted ice will be fine for you if you can afford that.
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Postby Jespar » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:39 pm

What's the deal with the bicycles? lol

And actually, I was planning on getting to.. Gerlach, I believe (still familiarizing myself via Google Maps), and taking that last stretch in.

I just loathe the thought of lugging all that stuff in (read: car & contents), considering I usually don't bring much. Not to mention I don't know if my truck will make it cross-country.
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Postby Token » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:34 am

From Gerlach to BRC will be ~ 15 miles this year, so hikeable in a day for sure.

Good luck on your trek.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:56 am

Gerlach is totally doable, you can do the ice melt thing, just make sure you have some sort of airtight container to melt it in as it comes in thin plastic bags that will leak. If it's not airtight, you'll get lots and lots of dust in it.
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Postby geekster » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:33 am

Jespar wrote:What's the deal with the bicycles? lol


The road is narrow two lane road. The shoulder is too soft to ride a bike on, it is deep dust in many places. A bike is going to slow EVERYONE else down because you are going to have to drive it on the road. People are going to queue up behind you and be tempted to make risky passing choices.
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Postby AntiM » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:53 am

Token wrote:From Gerlach to BRC will be ~ 15 miles this year, so hikeable in a day for sure.

Good luck on your trek.


Stay near the road, do not take the tempting cross-playa shortcut.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:14 am

You're not going to leave your car at Gerlach, are you?
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Postby Jespar » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:28 am

Oh, so no more annoying than the cyclists who do it in the urban setting and slow traffic to a crawl?

And I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing to be honest. Just trying to get a feel for what's the norm, what's do-able and what's just plain stupid.

Thanks again for the input!
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Postby Token » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:31 am

AntiM wrote:
Token wrote:From Gerlach to BRC will be ~ 15 miles this year, so hikeable in a day for sure.

Good luck on your trek.


Stay near the road, do not take the tempting cross-playa shortcut.


Why? The BLM rangers will drop him off at the gate after the inquisition and full cavity search.

You make it sound like a bad thing.
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Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:36 am

If you're not used to Desert camping, you need to before you do it. Kinda short timeframe, as it involves serious prep.

Ice for water is doable - Motorcyclists use that trick. Expensive, tho - and you need the container to melt it off in. Plus the extra day of water until you get ice melt.

Know your gear - know yourself. From Gerlach it's an easy trek (just remember you still have to go via the Gate - do NOT try to cross the perimeter, you will get slapped by Perimeter Crew...)...

Also the springs (Frog Pond & Trego) are closed during the event.

If it were me - the first year I'd drive it just so you become situationally aware of the event and the playa environment. Then you can do your gear pack on knowledge you have.

All in all - sounds like a fun time. 30 years ago I'd try it. Question - How you getting to/from Gerlach? It's not as big as the map makes it look...
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:44 am

Bear Grylls was at Burning Man last year. I met him.

He had an RV.
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Postby geekster » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:49 am

Jespar wrote:Oh, so no more annoying than the cyclists who do it in the urban setting and slow traffic to a crawl?


Thanks again for the input!


There are no "bike lanes" on 447. You will have to be in the road. Unlike your typical urban setting, the speed limit on that road is 70 mph. It is populated by large tractor trailers in addition to wide loads packed by burners being driven in various states of alteration.

So what you will expect is to be biking up the road and someone barreling up behind you at 70 and the wind blowing you off your bike. Or there will be a long line of vehicles behind you snaking for miles until you finally decide to move off and let them by. Then you are back to dealing with the 70MPH big rigs again.

I would not recommend biking from that direction, maybe coming in from Susanville would be a better idea.
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Postby Boijoy » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:57 am

you could "borrow" a shoping cart from WalMart to carry your water. It's a win win. You get the h2o & WalMart gets free advertising from Reno to Gerlach. You will have to remove the WalMart plastic tags when you enter BRC though. Might want to pick up some wd40 for the wheels.

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Postby Token » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:53 am

Token's Minimalist Burn Master List:

Shelter

Small, low backpacking tent, 1 or 2 person.
Several emergency Mylar blankets.
Self inflating sleeping pad.
Light high tech blanket or sleeping bag.
Ten zinc-air heating packs.

Clothing

One wide brim hat with chin strap.
Day shoes.
Night Boots.
10 - 20 pair socks.
Wrap, skirt etc for day.
One multi-layered night outfit good for 30 degrees.
Two small towels.
Two bandannas.
Shades and goggles.

Water
Two small round coolers with twist-on lid.
$60 for Ice
Two 1 gallon water jugs for first day.

Food
Plate, cup, bowl, silverware - reusable.
High density calories - Nuts, trail mix, raisins etc.
Can a day of something, chili, beans, soup, stew, etc.

Survival
Lip Balm
Sun Screen, 100 SPF
Baby wipes
Compact folding chair

All of this would fit into a proper metal frame backpacking rucksack.
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Postby Bling » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:56 am

Dust masks?
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Postby Token » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:17 pm

Bling wrote:Dust masks?


Two bandannas - covered.
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Postby Bling » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:19 pm

I'd still want at least one N-95 with a valve, for dust storms. A wet bandana will help, but not that much. And it takes up pretty much no space and weighs maybe 1/2 oz.
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Postby Token » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:23 pm

Well go and make your own list then ... :pout:.

:)
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Postby Isotopia » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:25 pm

Anyone have any thoughts on this possibly misguided plan? (Particularly on shelter!)


Sorry, I can't help ya. Your idea is totally misguided not to mention selfish and burdensome to both the event and attendees because most of what you say you lack is what's suggested as a bare minimum to get by for a week at the event.

Not sure why you think you might be the Special One by considering a conscious decision to go against every suggestion made to insure that your experience is marginally enjoyable. Ultimately what you're asking (but not saying) is that you want to attend event even though a good portion of your needs (water, shelter during wind/storm, etc,) will likely have to be met by other folks because you've decided that you don't have to carry your own fucking weight.

Excuse me while I call you on your bullshit.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:26 pm

You forgot contact solution too....and a pair of backup specs.
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Postby Bling » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:32 pm

Token wrote:Well go and make your own list then ... :pout:.

:)

Awww. I liked the rest of your list. :D (But it's still NUTS to try backpacking onto the Playa).
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Postby Jespar » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:10 pm

Isotopia wrote:Sorry, I can't help ya. Your idea is totally misguided not to mention selfish and burdensome to both the event and attendees because most of what you say you lack is what's suggested as a bare minimum to get by for a week at the event.

Not sure why you think you might be the Special One by considering a conscious decision to go against every suggestion made to insure that your experience is marginally enjoyable. Ultimately what you're asking (but not saying) is that you want to attend event even though a good portion of your needs (water, shelter during wind/storm, etc,) will likely have to be met by other folks because you've decided that you don't have to carry your own fucking weight.

Excuse me while I call you on your bullshit.


That's precisely why I'm asking for advice. My standard "7-day" bag is smaller than a kid's school backpack, but as I've stated above, that is with the plan of stopping here-and-there for water; only carrying a day's worth at a time. My usual shelter idea (lean-to tarp) obviously isn't up to snuff when it comes to a desert windstorm, which is why I'm asking what others do.

I'm actually very comfortable with a minimum of equipment, and have been backpacking for over ten years. I'm thoroughly familiar with what I need in my normal environment, and looking for advice on the practicality of adapting this plan, or scratching it altogether and driving in.



Token, thanks for the equipment list!

Right now, I'm thinking:

- Couple bandanas, and some N-95 masks (just to be on the safe side)
- Shemagh
- Goggles - still undecided on exactly which ones..
- SureFire mini-flashlight (super powerful, highly recommended.. but they take those odd camera batteries)
- Headlamp (x2), with colored lenses
- Camelbak, plus Nalgene (or two?)
- Duct tape
- Plenty-o-ziplocks
- Metal "sierra cup"
- Granola bars (which I can comfortably live off of for eternity!)
- Leatherman
- Leather gloves (plain ole leather, plus my high-speed-super-tactical everything-proof pair)
- Lotion, Gold Bond, etc
- Sunscreen + Aloe
- My special homemade electrolyte mix

Which brings me to my next two questions, perhaps outside the scope of this topic (and answered elsewhere for sure):

1) Clothing - I was thinking either hospital "scrub" pants, which I have a million of - extremely lightweight cotton, or one of those neat looking arabic-type outfits, like a big loose white cotton thing (don't know the name)

2) Footwear - Any thoughts? I've read everything from barefoot to combat boots. If it helps, my feet sweat all the time, so I was leaning towards the "hiking sandals", which are essentially closed-toed and all, but have tons of ventilation.

Disclaimer: That's just the stuff I have written down in front of me after looking around for a while. Of course I'll have spare batteries, etc.

I also should note I'm still up in the air about the shelter. The Yurts seem really cool, and I've been playing with the design a lot in AutoCAD... it's just a matter of getting it in. That might make it worth the drive!
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:47 pm

Jespar wrote:
Isotopia wrote:Sorry, I can't help ya. Your idea is totally misguided not to mention selfish and burdensome to both the event and attendees because most of what you say you lack is what's suggested as a bare minimum to get by for a week at the event.

Not sure why you think you might be the Special One by considering a conscious decision to go against every suggestion made to insure that your experience is marginally enjoyable. Ultimately what you're asking (but not saying) is that you want to attend event even though a good portion of your needs (water, shelter during wind/storm, etc,) will likely have to be met by other folks because you've decided that you don't have to carry your own fucking weight.

Excuse me while I call you on your bullshit.


That's precisely why I'm asking for advice. My standard "7-day" bag is smaller than a kid's school backpack, but as I've stated above, that is with the plan of stopping here-and-there for water; only carrying a day's worth at a time. My usual shelter idea (lean-to tarp) obviously isn't up to snuff when it comes to a desert windstorm, which is why I'm asking what others do.

I'm actually very comfortable with a minimum of equipment, and have been backpacking for over ten years. I'm thoroughly familiar with what I need in my normal environment, and looking for advice on the practicality of adapting this plan, or scratching it altogether and driving in.



Token, thanks for the equipment list!

Right now, I'm thinking:

- Couple bandanas, and some N-95 masks (just to be on the safe side)
- Shemagh
- Goggles - still undecided on exactly which ones..
- SureFire mini-flashlight (super powerful, highly recommended.. but they take those odd camera batteries)
- Headlamp (x2), with colored lenses
- Camelbak, plus Nalgene (or two?)
- Duct tape
- Plenty-o-ziplocks
- Metal "sierra cup"
- Granola bars (which I can comfortably live off of for eternity!)
- Leatherman
- Leather gloves (plain ole leather, plus my high-speed-super-tactical everything-proof pair)
- Lotion, Gold Bond, etc
- Sunscreen + Aloe
- My special homemade electrolyte mix

Which brings me to my next two questions, perhaps outside the scope of this topic (and answered elsewhere for sure):

1) Clothing - I was thinking either hospital "scrub" pants, which I have a million of - extremely lightweight cotton, or one of those neat looking arabic-type outfits, like a big loose white cotton thing (don't know the name)

2) Footwear - Any thoughts? I've read everything from barefoot to combat boots. If it helps, my feet sweat all the time, so I was leaning towards the "hiking sandals", which are essentially closed-toed and all, but have tons of ventilation.

Disclaimer: That's just the stuff I have written down in front of me after looking around for a while. Of course I'll have spare batteries, etc.

I also should note I'm still up in the air about the shelter. The Yurts seem really cool, and I've been playing with the design a lot in AutoCAD... it's just a matter of getting it in. That might make it worth the drive!


Wait, you can't possibly bring enough beer for the week in a backpack. :) Are you really going to eat granola bars for 7 days?
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