Blogger Bruce

Bruce at Kennedy MeadowsI got the backpacking bug from a decade of summer car camps near Red’s Meadow in the Eastern Sierra, meeting backpackers on their 212-mile trek along the John Muir Trail while day hiking.

My first backpack was just a few weeks shy of my 48th birthday, making me a late backpack bloomer.

I carried 55 pounds on my first backpacking trip and was amazed that I successfully completed the  2 1/2-day, 30-mile trek with all that weight.

Not long after, I read about the “Ray Way” of backpacking and jumped on ultra lightweight bandwagon.

Over the years, I’ve made several changes to my gear list, figuring out ways to add comfort back in the austere regimen of super minimalist backpacking.

Has my age colored my approach to backpacking? Sure. When you’re young and powerful, a thing like weight barely fazes you. As you get older, you become aware of your limitations.

If anything, age has fueled my love of the go-light philosophy. I am very comfortable with my “heavy” pack of 2 pounds, 4 ounces, big “downmat 7” pad at 2 pounds, tent and sleeping bag, all totaling about 9 pounds. With my lighter pack and pad, it weighs about 7 pounds — not a bad place to start go-light backpacking.

Ultimately, is about hiking lightly and safely and being one with the pack as you glide quietly and effortless through the wilderness enjoying the sights, sounds and smells, unburdened by such things as big packs and heavy boots.

3 thoughts on “Blogger Bruce

  1. Pingback: Lost Coast Trail, California | - the blog

  2. Hi:
    Bruce, I don’t post much of anything public; I only offer help through a PM on most forums. Still, I’m glad I read your ‘essentials list’ …especially after I read how you got chilled using a 40 degree bag on a 20 degree night, a few years back.

    I used to be a Montana Outfitter and I would always throw a couple ‘hand warmers’ in everybody’s sleeping bag. Wranglers, cooks, & guides work best when rested and hunters and hikers are thankful for a warmer nights sleep. I learned this tip from an Alaskan guide. Anyway, I thought I’d pass on what I sent to people who book with my outfit.

    Warming Insights:
    Hand-Warmer and Body-Warmer PACKETS are cheap (< than $1 and weigh only an ounce or so); carry a few for emergency heat. Open one and stuff it inside spare socks or knit gloves; you need to insulate the high-heat they generate from burning you or your gear, as the chemical packets can reach 130F to 170F.

    Nevertheless, toss a couple of protected warmers inside a sleeping bag to heat it up; they last ALL NIGHT. Position one near the feet and another near the kidneys. Just be sure the warmers are insulated from direct contact with you or your gear while you sleep. It’s like having a stove in your sleeping bag. Winter cold or rainy camping is pure joy with them in the bag. Don’t overdo it as a couple packets should be enough. This works great to keep the kids in camp warm and asleep, too.

    Don’t sleep in the bottom of your bag; the tendency is to pull your head inside and then your exhaled moisture wets the bag. Instead, try the hand warmer tip (or body warmer); try them at home in the snow or on a cold late summer evening out on the lawn, they make a big difference. Take extras along for a partner, they will want them every night, too …but make them carry their share of warmer weight.

    Bruce, I enjoyed visiting your site, thanks for caring.

  3. Hey Bruce,
    I had a question I’m hoping you can help me with. I’m not sure how familiar you are with winter camping. I bought a vapour barrier for my sleeping bag to keep the moisture out of it. The thing cost me eighty bucks and was pretty happy with it, until I noticed the seams haven’t been factory sealed. I’m planning to winter outdoors by some hot springs, and need to keep moisture out of my bag at all cost. I know that if I tape the seams myself, the moisture could wear down the adhesive as time goes on. There’s also liquid seam sealant, but I’m starting to think that I could achieve more just by taping two garbage bags together, and save a whole lot of money. I just took another look and the seams look well sewn, but I can see a little light from the pinholes through the silnylon material. Your thoughts?
    Thanks, Brent

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