Intro to Slackpacking

||Intro to Slackpacking

Intro to Slackpacking

You’ve seen unwashed, malnourished through-hikers on a few trails. You’ve encountered backpackers with tons of gear, pots, pans, and a folding stove — eating some gritty greyish paste and raving about it.

And you want no part of it.

But you love hiking. In fact, nothing suits you more than a day in the wilderness, except perhaps, a day in the wilderness followed by vitello saltimboco in a four-star restaurant. You’d enjoy weeklong expeditions, if only you could jump in a car at the end of the day and head off to a comfortable bed.

Congratulations, you are a confirmed Slackpacker.

“Slackpacking” was originally coined to describe a day’s worth of thru-hiking unencumbered by a pack, after which the hiker would hop in a car and drive home — then drive back some time in the future pick up wherever one left off. The idea was to string together enough of these daytrips to eventually “complete” a much longer trail, without the burden of backpacking. A number of people, for example, “slackpack” the 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail, adding sections like puzzle pieces to their personal trailmap.

Today the definition has expanded, and “slackpacker” has come to represent anyone that fits in between the casual day hiker and the backpacker. On occasion, the slackpacker will indulge in those practices as well, but doesn’t make a habit of lengthy backpack trips. As for the typical National Park Service nature loop, the slackpacker prefers to opt for a longer, more difficult trail to avoid the masses.

The Slackpacker’s Approach:

The slackpacker generally sticks to the trail, but has no problem bushwacking when the need arises…unless the area is recovering, or particularly sensitive. The slackpacker never shortcuts the switchback, but will wander off the end of one on the chance that they might see something interesting. If the trail happens to follow a paved road for a time, the slackpacker will not hesitate to accept a ride.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Carry as little as possible, but enough to deal with an emergency.
  • Obey all signs, authorities and restrictions, even when they are ridiculous.
  • Leave minimal impact; do not use metal poles unless your physical condition requires it. Do not leave the metal tips on hiking poles exposed unless you are traversing ice or snow.
  • Seek permission prior to hiking on private property.
  • Bicycles, RVs and other vehicles don’t belong on our dedicated use trails, and we don’t belong on theirs.
  • Always allow faster hikers to pass without delay.
  • Always give hikers going uphill the right of way.
  • Assist poorly prepared hikers; food, water, clothing, shelter.
  • Carry a cel phone only to help others. If you bring a cel phone because it might help you out of difficulty, don’t attempt the trail.
  • Respect the rights of other hikers. For example: harness your dog, do not block the trail, keep as quiet as possible. If you must use poles, keep them to yourself when passing others.

Contents of the Slacker’s Pack

We vowed not to put “the ultimate slackpacker’s checklist” or anything like that on this page, but we can’t help ourselves. Here’s our quasi-serious checklist.

A compass? Well, okay…but chances are you aren’t really a slackpacker if you think you need a compass. Most slackers stick to the trail, or venture off only where the trail is still in sight.

Now of course if you’re headed for the desert or somewhere that you absolutely need a compass, the list below won’t cover all your contingencies; use one of the links provided for a more comprehensive checklist. Otherwise, this list will suffice for the typical slackpacker who plans to be out for a few hours on a clearly marked trail in generally good weather.

2 – 3 hour hike

  • Water
  • Disposable poncho
  • Granola bars, fruit bars, or Fig Newtons
  • Soft paper napkins or towels
  • Possible personal needs unique to the individual
  • Trekking poles
  • Common sense

4 – 6 hour hike

  • Water
  • Disposable poncho
  • Granola bars, fruit bars, or Fig Newtons
  • Soft paper napkins or towels
  • Possible personal needs unique to the individual
  • Sandwiches or other lightweight meal
  • Small, lightweight flashlight
  • Disposable lighter
  • Additional clothing item (sweatshirt, jacket, or as appropriate by season)
  • Trekking poles
  • Common sense

 

Credit: (original post) http://www.slackpacker.com/checklist.html

By | 2018-07-12T07:15:48+00:00 July 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Intro to Slackpacking

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