HIKING AND BACKPACKING ON MT WHITNEY
“Breaking-in” is a myth – if they’re not comfortable now, they’ll never be
Wear ½-1 size larger – to prevent your toes from hitting the toe box of the shoe/boot as you descend
Wool blend socks – will enhance foot comfort and wick moisture away to prevent blisters
Both tents and bivys are used with accessories — sleeping bags, pad, ground cloth/tent “footprint” (to extend the life of both).
“Bivouac Sack” – Bivouac is a military term for an overnight outside.
Bivy sacks are lightweight and require no set up (you can put your pad inside the bivy to keep from getting damp and keep rolling off or sliding down your pad).
A tent of 4 lbs. and under is considered light; a bivy weighs under a pound and some top out just over 2 lbs.
Tents come in multi-season designs; bivys are not as good in a rainy environment and will require a cover.
Bivy’s are not for the claustrophobic; tents do have the psychological advantage of a “wall” that separates inside from outside, you and the wilderness.
A big difference in a bivy vs. tent is once you exit from you sleeping bag/bivy combo, you are exposed to the raw elements.
Tents vs. Bivys
If there ever was an item of personal preference in hiking, your backpack has to be it.
Things to consider: comfort vs. weight; weight vs. durability; capacity vs. cost; top loading vs. access panels; ultra light vs. internal frame; attachment points vs. none; and on and on…
Research and practice with the pack and carry the weight you will take on the trail.
Your backpack must be a good fit.
Your backpack must be comfortable.
Your backpack must allow you access to your gear when you want it and need it.
You need to adjust your pack each time you pick it up to ensure a body-hugging fit so that your hips bear the bulk of the weight and not your shoulders.
Men need less padding than women through the shoulders. A sternum strap will help stabilize your load.
Lake at Mount Whitney Trail Camp
Tip: Weigh and carry water bottles in your pack for weight. If the pack becomes too heavy empty the water out on the trail to lighten your load.
Tip: If you make camp at Trail Camp to overnight before you summit; you may want to leave your main pack below while you ascend with a lightweight day pack you’ve brought along just for this purpose.
Food you don’t like and won’t eat is dead weight in your pack and carrying it only drains your energy.
The same is true of trash; repack food in lightweight plastic bags before you start.
Your tastes can change at higher altitudes and as you exert yourself strenuously; what you may normally enjoy can become unappetizing on the trail and no fun to choke down.
Try out foods prior to your trip under the conditions you will experience to find out what works for you; avoid messy foods (like melted chocolate bars), dry or thirst-provoking food, anything that could provoke an upset stomach or worse.
Check out your local backpacking store and talk to people about what worked for them.
Look for items light in weight, non-perishable, requiring minimal preparation, that lift your spirits.
Don’t diet on the trail; indulge yourself now.
Does everyone need a stove? You will want to boil water. Boiling water is the most commonly cooked item on the trail.
When you’re in a group; plan meals together. Share the stove and plan ahead.
Keep it simple. Dry soup is lightweight, warming, easy, nourishing, filling, and keeps you hydrated.
Pack it in a bear canister.
Tip: Dried salami, cheese and a baguette can make fast and easy meals
Tip: You should only drink the water at Trail Camp after thorough purification due to Protozoa, bacteria and viruses.