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Bushwacking gear.

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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby guest on Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:04 am

tight weave socks are critical. When dirt gets into the shoe, you want to prevent it from getting to your feet. One of the worst things that can happen is dirt getting into the socks and contributing to blisters. Painful feet can really cutdown on the fun of off-trail hiking. For this reason it might be a good idea to use the 'OR' gaitors and hightop shoes.

Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby Elliott Robinson on Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:24 pm

For me, I aim to wear bushwhacking gear that I don't mind getting torn up. I love baseball pants from any standard sporting goods store - they're stretchy, inexpensive, and don't get hung up too often on all those sticks. I wear cheap long sleeve quick dry shirts from Marshalls or Ross with a t-shirt underneath. For my hat I usually just wear a baseball cap, though I do have one of those hats jack glendening decribes below that I found deep on the Santa Lucia Trail. Footwear is a bit different, I like pricey seamless socks from REI and I love my Salomon midtop XA Pro GTXs.

Other stuff - I almost always try to soak my clothes in permethrin the night before...ticks gross me out. I try to remember clear safety glasses I got from Home Depot...but usually forget them because I get too frustrated when they sweat up and get gunked up with dirt and junk. I always keep my pack small with just enough gear and extra warm stuff to stay safe no matter how cold it gets (In colder whether where I might find end up taking a nap at 45 deg f or less, I pack in a dry bag expedition weight poly pro tops and bottoms, a down vest, warm hat and gloves and a light goretex parka). I ALWAYS travel with light and fire...even if its short (once spent a winter night on ledge in Red Rocks Nevada only wearing blue tiger print lycra tights and no fire...figured I would make sure that never happened again [both the tights and the fire].) I bring a light MSR filter so I can fill up my water when I need to.
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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby jack_glendening on Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:05 pm

Personally I really like the Sunday Afternoon Hat which has a very large and stiff front brim shaped like a plow, with fabric also protecting the back of your neck - I find it allows me to plow through thick underbrush with no damage to my face and it has a chin strap to keep the brush from pulling it off. It also has mesh for ventillation at back and side. Two versions are available at REI. ... -sport-hat ... enture-hat

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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby TheForestKeeper on Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:26 am

This is a great topic and one I have some experience in. I have done more than a fair share of bushwhacking in the Silver Peak Wilderness to stir up a little adventure and discovery. I've found a number of things really work well, so I make them routine now. I never leave for a trip without:

The Tilly Mesh Hat This hat is endurable with a bandana tied around it to prevent airflow in the deep winter, and with no bandana tied you can go all the way up to 100 degrees or more, in comfort. This hat can be tied on under your chin and the back of the head so it will be secure and not come off no matter how much brush tugs at it should you be attempting to get through an overgrown brush tunnel. Hunker down aim your head low and just plow through! All branches will slide down the side of the hat and then hit your shoulder and back, avoiding your neck and ears. Plus sun protection and airflow. I give this hat a must have rating.

The North Face Paramount Peak pants These pants are like the best of all worlds. With some base layer long underwears I can go down to zero degrees but really these pants shine in above freezing weather. And particularly excel in warmer weather. They feel like cotton canvas but they are made of nylon. They have a DWR finish. They have gussetted crotch and the legs zip off. The cargo pockets do not catch on anything because they don't expant outside the pants. There is a healthy amount of room inside the pants so that I can fit a cap, snacks and my trusty harmonica in right pocket and left pocket gloves and whatever else. I have nice healthy muscular thick legs and there's plenty of room in these pants for me. I never sweat too much. If I sweat, it dissipates very quickly. There's good decent airflow and if you're lucky you can find these on sale at various online retailers.

A good, densely woven softshell jacket. Depending on weather make it fleeced or non-fleeced inside. I'm sure there are many brands that excel here. As for me I got my hands on an Adidas softshell made from "nano-tex" fabric. It has a DWR finish, until you touch it with your hands, water runs off. that's nice. But the best part of a softshell is the fabric is so dense that chaparral doesn't find any place to catch on it and puncture the fabric. You can confidently plow through bushes wearing a good softshell. With the weather changing to warmer rather than cooler, I'll be setting this Adidas softshell aside and will be using one from North Face that doesn't have any fleece inside and cooler.

Black Diamond gaitors. I don't have a model name for you but they are not that heavy. They only really cinch the lower portion of your pant legs and they do have a front hook but the best part is the cuff that wraps around your boots has this rubbery stuff that absolutely does not shift around. You will be able to go through any brush.

I'm only bothered by poison oak when it's gotten into a cut or scrape. So I keep myself protected from getting cuts or scrapes! I wear long sleeves, long pants, always. But not for posion oak. I do so for ticks, yes, but mostly for sun protection since I am blessed with nordic genes. But knowing how sensitive others are to poison oak, I might recommend something that helped me after some bushwhacking where I did get scraped up (was my fault, not the Tilly Hat's fault). I had to find something for relief. And that's what I got was Re-leaf! Ivy itch releaf! I am not at home where I can look at the bottle but I can't find the manufacturer's website but here's a place you can go to buy some of this. I get it in New Frontiers store in San Luis Obispo, where I live. It is INSTANT relief! and 100% herbal plus some alcohol and glycerin. You spray it on, no rubbing, instant relief!
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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby Tom Hopkins on Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:36 pm

Rose pruning gloves can be great protection on a bushwack. I found some well fitting leather ones with Cordura gauntlets about 8 or 10 inches long that provide excellent protection to the forearms while pushing through heavy brush. The gauntlets also protect the lower sleeve and particularly the placket in a conventional button up nylon hiking shirt. Gaiters can be helpful to streamline pant leg cuffs and shoe laces to help prevent their snagging on the brush. If you use trekking poles, you will need telescoping poles that can be fully stashed in your pack or they will be a serious hindrance to forward motion in the brush.
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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby Betsy M on Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:07 pm

Posted for Robert Parks: long sleeve dress shirts, or any woven cotton shirt; heavy cotton pants; hat; gloves.
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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby C M Heard on Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:51 pm

I happen to be partial to wildland firefighting clothes for doing trailwork and for hiking in brushy areas. Advatanges: very durable, quite confortable (at least to me), and it dries as fast as nylon when it gets wet. Disadvantages: very expensive, and gets severely weakened after prolonged exposure to UV. The variant that seems to be preferred by most firefighters is a combination of Nomex and Kevlar, see for example:

although I usually go for this less expensive alternative:

For obvious reasons these are not available as shorts (and the companion shirts come only in long sleeves), but I won't do anything else, ever, in the Ventana, especially when I have tools in my hands. That's not for poison oak protection (I pull it out in advance of the crews I work with) but just because I hate getting scratched up more than I need to.

As always, YMMV.

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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby justin_baker on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:24 pm

So I've been thinking about tough outerwear (rain jackets, wind shirts) for bushwacking and I've decided that I am going to carry a lightweight rain jacket or windshirt and wear in underneath my nylon button-up hiking shirt to protect it. I could tuck the hood of the rain jacket down my back. I will save weight by carrying lightweight outerwear (dri ducks jacket, houdini windshirt) and save money by not having to replace it as often. Sure, the nylon shirt will get wet and be useless for warmth, but that seems like an acceptable sacrifice.
Anyone else do this?
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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby K Vandevere on Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:09 pm

I hate hiking in long pants, but I've often been forced into them by tough patches of brush. Ceanothus stands are particularly rigid, pointy, and unforgiving. I usually just use a "sacrifice" pair of old jeans, which ends up torn to shreds and looking more like a hula skirt by the time I get home - and my legs and arms usually get pretty scratched up no matter what I wear. Perhaps the problem is that the better protected I think I am, the more heedless I am about forcing my way through. I too like using packs designed for rock climbing. The most important feature for a brush pack, though, is that it be as free as possible of external loops and straps (which are thick on nearly all modern packs). Loops and straps will catch on the brush and bring you to a halt over and over and over, 'til you'll want to bite them off with your teeth. And don't make the mistake of strapping anything (like a jacket) you care about to the outside of your pack.
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Re: Bushwacking gear.

Postby justin_baker on Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:10 pm

I am very fortunate to be immune to poison oak. I can see how someone who is very allergic to poison oak would need to wear pants constantly in Ventana, even when hiking along creeks.
Thanks for the gear advice. Does anyone have recommendations for heavy duty gaiters that aren't terribly hot in the summer? I don't need/want them to be waterproof.

What do you use for pants? Light nylon hiking pants? BDUs? Heavy denim work pants? Has anyone done long shorts with knee high gaiters?
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