Water



Equipment List for a Local Day Hike

This list contains the minimum that you should carry on a hike based on time of year and weather forecast. The guide carries a first aid kit and provides a map copy for each participant. One of the most difficult considerations is WHAT CAN YOU DO WITHOUT? If you have questions or concerns about what to wear or bring, call AFW at 973-644-3592.

Essential Gear

Hot Weather, add

Cold Weather, add

Wear

Extra Stuff

IMPORTANT

Carry name of emergency contact, ID, and wallet with you (don't leave in the car). If you are allergic to bug bites, carry the antidote and inform the guide.

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Equipment List for a Day Paddle

Essential Gear

Suggested Clothing and Extras

If you are planning to do more than one kayaking trip, a dry bag and some carabiners are a worthwhile and inexpensive investment.

*Waterproof bags are available at all outdoor stores. Called “dry bags” by various manufacturers, a good size would be 10 lbs. They have waterproof seals, are translucent, and have roll-down tops. A small one like this would hold a complete set of clothing plus lunch. We will try to have extras available.

**Carabiners come in assorted colors and sizes and are generally made of aluminum. They are used to attach your dry bag, water bottle, etc. to your boat.

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Winter Backpacking

Winter backpacking is cold, there’s no way around it, but you don’t have to freeze or be uncomfortable. With a little extra planning and equipment it can be an amazing experience.

Tents

For our purposes, that is backpacking with AFW, any 3 season tent will do. The reason is, we don’t go if bad weather is predicted. We prefer to stay in the shelters in the winter but carry tents just in case someone else is there. As long as you can stake your tent down securely, or tie it to surrounding trees or rocks, you’ll be fine. Of course, that means bringing a little extra light weight rope, like you would use for your bear bag.

Sleeping Bags

This is where you cannot skimp. For winter backpacking you will need a zero degree or lower bag. However, if you have a 20-30 degree bag you can boost its rating by using a thicker fleece lining (not silk, it doesn’t boost the rating more than 5 degrees). You can also wear all your clothes to bed or even wear rain pants and jacket to maintain your heat. You can also use a lightweight summer bag (50 degrees) coupled with a 20 degree bag. (I have 2 for borrowing.)

I personally like down bags, they’re lighter for the same warmth. But down does have one major drawback for our purposes. If you turn over with your bag you will now have a cold spot where the down has been compressed under you. It will fluff up but until it does you will feel some cold. The answer is to roll in your bag.

Also, bringing the mega hand warmers to place in your bag definitely helps keep you warm. You can also boil water and place the hot water in your Nalgene in your bag.

Sleeping Pads

This is the second thing you cannot skimp on. The cold ground will suck away all your warmth. You will need to bring 2 closed foam pads to sleep on. If you have an inflatable mat you will need your mat plus a closed foam pad. There are some pads with an R rating down to zero and below and they can be used alone.

Stoves/Fuel

The only fuel that works really well in the winter is white gas. These stoves have a learning curve and I have never used one. I can tell you that the Esbit stove and alcohol stoves do not work in the cold. I use my Jetboil stove in the winter but keep the fuel canister in an inside pocket in my vest to warm up before using and inside my sleeping bag during the night. But for the most part we try to use wood fires in the shelters for cooking, esp. dinner.

Water and Filters

Filters do not work below freezing. Chemicals work but a little slower. Steripens work as long as there is no ice in the water. Most of the time we bring enough water for drinking and boil gathered water for cooking. You can also gather water, warm it a little and then use your filter (if you have kept the filter warm near your body) or chemicals.

The best is if there’s snow on the ground. Gather clean snow, melt and drink. No sterilizing needed. However, this does use a lot of fuel and is slow. It takes a lot of snow to make a little water.

Water Bottles

This is the time of year when you carry the heavier Nalgene bottles because you must keep your water in your sleeping bag at night to keep it from freezing and you DO NOT want it to leak!

Speaking of your sleeping bag again, EVERYTHING goes in your sleeping bag at night. All your clothes, your boots (bring those thin plastic shopping bags), water, fuel, even your baby wipes if you use them. I usually put all my clothes under me, adding to the ground insulation barrier.

Food

Think hot and higher in fat. Digesting fat takes more work for your body thereby generating heat. This is also the only time you’ll hear it’s ok to bring food in your tent. If you get cold a night have an energy bar to eat. It does help.

Bathroom

OK, so there’s nothing worse than having to get up at night, in the cold, to use the facilities. However, you will be cold if you “hold it.” Your body is expending a lot of heat to keep your urine warm. Make a quick run, remembering to keep your bag closed while you’re gone. You’ll be much more comfortable.

Clothes

By now you’ve all hiked in the winter and know what keeps you warm. However, in camp you will need something extra. Using rain pants and jacket helps to keep the heat in. I have thick fleece sweat pants and a light weight down jacket. Bring extra dry socks and maybe warm booties. Also bring a small piece of closed foam pad to sit on and an extra piece to put under your feet. Remember a hat and gloves. Actually, I bring mittens and glove liners; I also have a pair of mittens that the finger part folds back so your fingers are free. In both the mittens I put hand warmers, which help especially in the morning. If you tend to sweat a lot hiking definitely bring an extra base layer. One thing you DO NOT want to be in the winter is damp.

Nightime

Night comes early in the winter. You’re setting up and eating dinner usually before 5. That makes for a long night. Remember to bring your headlamp and a book to read. Also, a little exercise before turning in helps to keep you warm.

Morning

This is the only time the cold really bothers me and that’s because you haven’t warmed up your body with exercise. This is when the hand warmers and toe warmers really come in handy. Here again, a little exercise first thing helps to warm you up.

If anyone is interested in winter backpacking please let AFW know, or email Jackie at jrubenacker@optonline.net and we’ll try to put it on the winter schedule.

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Bear Advice from Wildlife Experts

Read this informative article, " Know the Bear Facts - Black Bears in NJ", from the Division of Fish and Wildlife of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

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