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Re: [at-l] Air travel with a pack

 had a really bad experience last May on a backpacking trip to Havasu Canyon.
I placed all my backpacking gear (but boots) in a nondescript duffle bag and
checked it at the curb.  I was running late and said to the skycap.."Are you
sure that bag will make the flight; it's backpacking gear and I have to have
it."  Needless to say, I never saw the duffle bag again.  When I arrived in
Phoenix, I spent the afternoon dealing with baggage claims.  The duffel was
never found (obviously stolen).  What I learned was this:

1.  Keep your mouth shut about what is in your bag.
2.  Don't use curbside bag checking (I found out later than most
luggage is when bags are not checked with the ticket agent at the desk).
3.  Carry on essential items which can't be rented or easily replaced (i.e.
4.  Insure your gear if it is worth more than $1200.00.  $1200 is the maximum
liability that the airline will pay (when you provide receipts of your
purchases with the dates the item was purchased...for depreciation).  You have
to arrive at the ticket agent's desk in plenty of time to do the insurance
forms...and I think the price is around $1 per $100 of insurance.
5.  My backpacking checklist was great to use to make sure that I had
everything listed that was in my duffle.

And last but not least...6.  Think carefully about whether renting equipment
is a good idea.  I ran into REI that night at 8:45 pm and rented/bought things
in 15 minutes.  (We were leaving for Hualapai Hilltop..the trailhead at Grand
Canyon at 5 am).  To make a long story short, I was unfamiliar with the gear I
rented.  Which led to several problems..now funny, but not at the time.  The
handle on the cookpot collapsed, dumping scalding water in my lap.  And here's
the funny one...the temperature on the trail was 107 degrees..i drank a lot of
water and fruitpunch flavored gatorade.  In the tent at night, suffering from
some heat exhaustion..I became quite sick..searched for the zipper in the a
strange tent, didn't find it in the dark in time and projectile vomited fruit
punch flavored gatorade on the walls of my REI tent.  So if you rent a tent at
REI in Phoenix and see pinkish orange drip stains down the wall..think of me. 

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