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Re: [ft-l] Introduction and Advice (long)

Welcome to the list Mozart.  You wouldn't happen to be a music major at USF,
would you?

First, about trails in your area.  Section 1 (Maps 40-42) of the FNST runs
through Big Cypress Preserve which is an hour or so east of Naples.  But in
your neck of the woods there is a 6.2 mile loop trail in Collier-Seminole
State Park with a backpacking campsite about half-way.  I was only there
once several years ago, so I'll let someone else on the list tell you about
it.  When you get to Tampa there are several neat places to hike, backpack
and camp within an hour or so.

Second, about learning to backpack I have two suggestions.
1) join the FTA.  Being a member of FTA means you get both the state and
chapter newsletters and there are dozens of activities listed in every
issue.  Get involved and go to some of them.  In the fall we have 3 regional
conferences and the state-wide conference is in the spring.  Most people
camp at the conferences and you will see many different types of tents and
meet a couple hundred people who brains you can pick about what they like
and don't like in the way of gear and their favorite hiking spots.
2)   I have been backpacking for 25 years and am still looking for the
perfect pack, tent, etc. I'm beginning to think there is no such thing.  So
don't be mislead by someone, particularly a salesman, about what item or
brand is "best".  I started with a $40 pack I picked up at Sears.  And I had
a great time in the woods.  I now have several over $200 packs and I still
have a great time in the woods.  Best advice is to ask lots of people what
works for them and why.  Analyze the why, then get what fits best fits YOUR
body and YOUR budget.

There is some basic gear list info at
http://www.bpbasecamp.com/gear/gearlists/ .
As far as budget prices, I've picked up some pretty good stuff at Target and
Wal-Mart - knock offs of Tevas, Platypus and Frogg Togs.  There's also
Campmor www.campmor.com which sells just about everything at reasonable
prices and Sierrra Trading Post www.sierratradingpost.com which carries
seconds, stock overruns and model closeouts.

If you have any specific questions about an item of gear I'm pretty sure
someone on the list will be able to respond to your question.


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