How It All Began....

by Todd Owen

Nearly 20 years ago I moved to Colorado and fell in love with these beautiful mountains that are all around me. I was not skilled in the way of nature nor how to pack gear.

On one trip, I decided to start putting together a kit that would provide me with enough stuff to get me through anything I could imagine. I think I had everything in there but the kitchen sink.
I realized really fast that I was carrying a lot of weight. I needed to figure out for real what I needed to really bring and what could be left behind.

Most of the trips and hikes I took were only for a couple of miles and then I would be so tired from the weight on my back that I would stop and decide that was were I was setting up for the duration.

I have a pic I will include at the bottom of some things I use to carry on my little three-day hikes. Many of those items are now come and gone after hiking and camping in this great state well over 400 days and at least 3000 miles since I arrived here. I've learned a great deal when it comes to being prepared and how to take advantage
of what is around me and less on what I can fit in my pack that I got at the store.

One thing I have learned is that you need to carry things that serve more than one purpose. I have a small French made cook set that I would not trade the world for. This thing is great, three pans total, two of them have handles, and all three fit nicely into one another to form a a case that has a handle on the outside. Plus I have a small Hexamine stove that fits into the whole thing along with my fork and spoon.

Now with that I have removed I have to carry plates, a cup, pots and pans and finding a place to keep my stove and eating utensils. The gear I carry for say four days with food and snacks now weighs a little over 35 pounds. That includes a tent and sleeping bag too.

Remember, it's not about buying cool gadgets with some TV Guys name on it or figuring in every single bad thing that can happen and trying to prepare for it. You may spend months and months and even years hiking and camping and never use it. Learn to use what you'll have in the area you will be in. Nature has given us all tons of ways to protect us, keep us warm, keep us sheltered and even provide us all food. Get out there and hike and learn doing not by watching....

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and wonderful New Year. Happy Survival to you all.

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