Wow, 3 replies to my lame introduction. Our. Great to ‘hear’ from other Michigan adventurers. Thank you I do Road, gravel and a little mountain biking. My toughest (and most rewarding) rides have been a Bicycle Tour of CO (BTC) and the Michigan Mountain Mayhem (10,000 ft of climb over 100 miles in a day. I most enjoy challenging rides with a fun loving coed group of like minded cyclists. I’ve done RAGBRAI a dozen times just for fun. It’s been tough for all of us this year with all group rides being cancelled or postponed (and likely cancelled). I’m creating my own small group rides. Hope to do a ride in CO in Sept.
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To the best of my knowledge, bear resistant containers do allow scents outside the container. I always store mine at least 150 yards downwind. Any scented materials should be put into the container, e.g. toothpaste, snacks, etc... Using a bear canister keeps the bears safe in that they are less likely to associate food and humans. If you don't want to purchase bear resistant container, rent one.
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It's a really smart move to get this part of your trip dialed in before you head out; proper backpack fit can make or break a trip! @REI-JenK is spot on with the recommendation of a virtual outfitting appointment for talking through the specifics of fitting a pack to you. That's the best way to get the specific advice you need without having to make the trip in to a store. To get you started here though, check out this Expert Advice article on How to Size and Fit a Backpack, paying close attention to the video and section about torso length.
The next step is to adjust the pack to what your torso measurement is, which sounds like should be close to 17". The shoulder harness on your pack is secured to the pack by a hook and loop (velcro-like) attachment just under the end of the shoulder straps by the body of the backpack. All you have to do is separate the two and you'll be able to move the shoulder harness up and down (pro-tip: a small, thin cutting board or plastic sheet can be helpful for separating these two pieces and save your cuticles from scraping against the hook and loop fabric).
The Gregory Maven has marks on the harness indicating the size. It appears as though the marks start with 'S', then there is another mark, and then an 'M', and likely another mark. You can check with a tape measure to see how far the marks are from one another, but they are probably about an inch. That would mean the 'S' is about 16", the next mark is about 17", etc. After setting the harness at your approximate torso length, try the pack on and look in the mirror. Pay close attention to the fit of the harness, hipbelt, and the angle of the load stabilizer straps as talked about in that Expert Advice article.
If the fit looks and feels good, put some weight (5-10 pounds) and some fill (pillows or towels) into the pack and put it on again. Repeat the process in front of a mirror (this is where the virtual outfitting appointment would be useful as the outfitter can look for fit issues) and check the fit again.
If everything looks and feels good at that point, we recommend loading your pack (with a similar load that you expect to carry on the trail) and spend some time walking with it on. Pay attention to how it feels and moves with you and don't hesitate to make some minor adjustments to really dial it in.
Hopefully this helps, be sure to come back to the community and share some pictures from your adventure!
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@jinxypop I'm so excited for you that you love hiking enough to keep doing it, expand your skills, and enjoy the exquisite pleasure of a solo trip. I've read through all the comments and there is definitely some good advice and specific tips in there. One concept that I don't see addressed which might make you feel a little more confident is that there is a difference between an overnight backpacking trip and true wilderness exploration. I live in Alaska, where most overnights can and should be considered true wilderness. But I've also backpacked extensively in other areas of the country that are much tamer and definitely appropriate for a first overnight trip. I do concur with some of the other posters that your very-first-ever-overnight should probably be with at least one other person who has done it before, but you're not as far away from your goal as if you were tackling a true wilderness environment. I'd recommend a loop route, as opposed to a one-way. They tend to be more well-traveled, and harder to get lost in. As for the human-fear factor, which I think started out as your biggest concern, the comments from some of the male posters may help alleviate some of your concern about "their" intentions and give you a better-rounded perspective. And I second the thoughts of all the posters who mentioned martial arts as a boost for confidence. I enrolled my daughter in a 6-week Krav Maga program. Just 6 weeks, and the before-and-after difference in her confidence was astounding! Could she, with that much training have taken down an aggressive 250-pound human? I seriously doubt it, but she was no longer held back by her fears. It may have the same result for you, and I do very much wish you peace of mind!!! We go out into the wilderness partly to experience peace, and let's not rob our own selves of that benefit with excessive fear. If you are a reader, I highly recommend a book on the subject by Gavin deBecker, called "The Gift of Fear." It helps you both to tune in to your own internal radar for real danger AND to keep that radar from becoming overactive and determining everything is a threat, even when it's not. (I had trouble putting it down.) Happy Trails to you. Have a wonderful time.
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@pageeightstudio As someone else mentioned, the REI staff actually do the activities that their gear is made for. They also have worthwhile short classes at some of their stores. I did a thru-hike of the Colorado Trail in 2018, and went to a few thru hiking classes at the REI in downtown Austin. What I learned in their classes helped me plan for my trip.
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@HoughtonLikeTheLake chiming in on this one as well. While women can certainly wear packs that are designated as "mens", and vice versa, there are some key attributes to a woman's pack that are worth considering:
Torso dimensions of women's packs are often shorter and narrower than men's, so you'd want to ensure that the men's pack you're considering has a small enough size to fit your torso length.
The straps and hipbelts on women's packs are often contoured with the women's form in mind (so the shoulder straps may sit more comfortably along your chest and the hipbelt may hug your hips more accurately).
Hopefully this helps! And yes, you might consider a free virtual outfitting appointment (while our stores are closed) with one of our employees to help narrow in on a good fit!
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If you are only carrying a compass as a backup, the mirror is unnecessary. It will just add weight and make the compass more fragile. If you are actually interested in navigating using a compass then having one with a mirror is very helpful. The sighting mirror makes it much easier to taking bearings and also generally gives you a clinometer feature allowing you to estimate the steepness of a slope. The mirror also makes a useful vanity and emergency signalling mirror. But the most useful feature to pay for is adjustable declination. You do have to remember to set the declination correctly for your current location but once set it avoids you having to calculate the true bearing by manually adding or subtraction the declination...an error prone activity. Also when buying a compass make sure to get one for the the hemisphere you intend to use it in. There are some more expensive models that work in both the northern and southern hemisphere but mostly they are designed to work in one or the other. Another consideration is what maps you will be using since the grid on the plate of the compass generally comes in one of two varieties... USGS (1:24,000) with inch scales for the US and Metric (1:50,000) with mm scales for everywhere else. Recreational maps are often slight odd scales so this may not matter as much to you .
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