Friday, November 11, 2011

Learning From Mistakes - Minimalist Winter Backpacking
Eric Starling

Rating: ***

Did you ever go winter camping without any necessary equipment? Well, Eric Starling did and in this article he writes about his experiences in the cold.

Equipped with just his yoga pants, some light weight gloves, a fleece, a shell jacket, and a pair of US Army Boots which are not really waterproof, without an ice axe, or crampons, Eric Starling wanted to hike from the snowy Rockies up to King lake, reach the continental divide, cross it and travel about half a mile on the west side of the divide before swinging back over it and finishing the loop the following day. Not only his clothing was badly chosen, but also his tent and sleeping bag were made for the summer and not for the winter. Although several people told him before and during his trip that he is not properly equipped, Eric Starling continued his trip. His soaking wet shoes and the frozen yoga pant could not stop him as well. When he woke up the next morning the inside of his tent was covered with frost and his shoes were as hard as stone because they were frozen. His sleeping bag did not keep him warm so that he was not really able to sleep at all. Instead he lay there the whole night freezing a lot. To hike in the frozen boots the next morning also must have been very uncomfortable. Finally he returned back. He was lucky that nothing happened and that he did not get frost bites. At the end of the article Eric Starling writes about what he has done wrong and what he would do the next time he goes winter hiking.

I enjoyed reading the article even though there were a few mistakes in it. Eric included a lot of personal experience in the well written article. In my opinion his article shows very well how mistakes and going into the wilderness unprepared and without the necessary equipment can turn your trips into a very bad experience. Eric can be very happy that he was just uncomfortable during his trip, he can be happy that he did not get frost bites, and that he was not confronted with other problems that might have occurred because of the bad preparation. If you go on a trip you always have to plan ahead and prepare. I like that at the end of the article Eric writes about the mistakes he made and how to improve them. Learning from Eric’s experience I will think twice about what I need to take with me when I go winter camping.

For anyone who wants to hear a freezing winter camping story, and for anyone who wants to learn what you should and what you should not do when you go winter camping, this story is a good choice.

"Learning From Mistakes - Minimalist Winter Backpacking" by Eric Starling (published: 2008/12/7)

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