Layering gear

A sci-fi adventure strip by comic book artist Clint Hollingsworth.

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Layering gear

Postby IceRaven on Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:05 am

Hi guys,

Just thought I'd pop in with the opposing view about the layering gear as per the article. Quite frankly, I can't stand walking with heavy things in my pockets dragging me down, with stuff getting wet every time I cross a stream, or rubbing against the pack strap, or catching on something. I don't have cargo pants; I wear shorts unless there's snow, in which case it's probably polypro, shorts and garters. Na, all me stuff's in me pack. My knife's on the pack belt, the water bottle's in the side pocket, the first aid kit and emergency bag is in the top pocket, and my raincoat's inside the pack on top of everything else.

Anyway, I was reading the article, and following the little adventure until it came to the stream situation and what to do, and then the story and I kind of parted ways. I'd either be crossing that stream downstream of the logjam (preferred option) or well upstream where there was very little way of running into it. I certainly wasn't walking across the log, in case it rolled, or (perhaps more likely) had some seriously slippery moss in the middle of the river. No, I'd walk straight into the river, and if I wanted out I'd walk back out, if I got swept along I'd be close enough to the side when I got into trouble to swim back out. Heck, when it comes to rock-hopping across a stream I usually just splash straight on through it because I'd rather have wet feet than a twisted ankle.

At this point, the story and I parted ways for a second time. Because, assuming that there was no log jam downstream, and that there was a good entrance and exit point, and so decided to swim across the river, here's how I'd do it. I choose a favourable corner, and walk into the stream, heading across at an angle, until my pack starts pulling me up. When it's pulling me up off my feet, then I lean back into my lifejacket, I mean pack, and keep running with my legs, while holding my pack down and steering/swimming with my arms. I let the river take me across for the most part, and mostly just steer.
Pack fill up with water? Nup. Pack start dragging me down? Nup. Up, it'll drag me up, and although that can be bad sometimes as you've got to be able to control it, more often than not it's a distinct advantage.

The first thing that goes into my pack is a pack liner, or a heavy duty plastic bag. Everything else, sleeping bag, tent, food, everything, goes inside that. So my gear stays dry, even if the outside gets sopping wet crossing a stream, even if there's heavy rain, even if I fall over in the river. Yes, the back can get torn. Yes, water can come in the top as it's just folded over with a raincoat on top. But not that much ever really get's in, and it would take a long time to fill up completely from a hole or something like that.

Plastic bags are something which I feel was glossed over in the article. I have my pack liner, as stated, and a few black garbage bags rolled up and chucked in the bottom. They weigh nothing, but they're bloody versatile and on the rare occasions that I've used them they've been damn useful. Want to rainproof that shelter? Cut one up. Want to make an emergency shelter / bivouac / windbreak / groundsheet? Cut one up. Bob didn't take any wet weather gear? Cut one up, get some tape out the emergency bag and get creative. But actually, the main use I get is disappointingly using them for a much more dull and mundane purpose - hauling out rubbish left behind by thoughtless pricks.

Oh, here's a little trick for the things. If you want to tie a rope, don't cut a hole in the plastic. Find a pebble, fold a corner (or part of an edge) around it, and then tie the rope around the stone.

All the best with your tramping, and it was interesting to read up on a different way of doing things, but it's just not my style. Still, it's good to know of alternatives as sometimes you need to do something different, and the more options you can think of the better.
Junior Keenspotter
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Re: Layering gear

Postby macclint on Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:53 am

The whole set up for the log was pretty much to illustrate the story, I've never actually dumped it like that with a full back pack, like you, if it looks too deep, I usually back out. Sometimes though, those big logs look very tempting....

I've been in a "compressing mode" since that article. My pocket gear now consists of a Swiss Army Rucksack and a pill bottle with matches, fish gear, flintstick and some easy lighting PJ cotton balls. and a small space blanket.

However, i will stand behind not putting all your eggs in one basket. I know of more than a few cases where people got separated from their packs.
Clint Hollingsworth

"‘Comics will break your heart." Jack "King" Kirby


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