S1E21 - Petra on Camping Equipment
The host Margaret Killjoy can be found on twitter @magpiekilljoy, instagram @margaretkilljoy, and on Patreon at patreon.com/margaretkilljoy.
1:16:39 SPEAKERS Margaret, Petra
Margaret 00:15 Hello, and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. I'm your host, Margaret Killjoy, and I use she or they pronouns. This week I'm talking to my friend Petra, who is a wilderness instructor, basically about camping, about sleeping bags and tents and tarps and how to stay warm and the fact that you need to keep your lithium batteries in your sleeping bag with you and things like that. From the context of, in case you needed to move over land in a hurry. And well, originally, I was going to interview her about both what to do in terms of when you have the right stuff to be prepared and what to do when you don't have the right stuff to be prepared. We actually ran out of time just talking about all the stuff to have in order to be prepared. So consider this the episode about going camping when you have time to gather the materials that you need, which is most of the time, right? You probably have that time right now while you're listening. Because there's one kind of interesting thing is that, as bad as things seem, they're probably always going to get worse, and like basically this is the time to get ready. This podcast is a proud member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts. And here's another podcast from the network, jingle?—Here's a jingle for another podcast on the network. For some reason, I can never get the nouns right in the order of the sentences when I say this particular part of the show. I... here's the jingle:
Jingle Speaker 1 01:44 Where did you get this?
Jingle Speaker 2 01:45 Your friendly neighborhood anarchist.
Jingle Speaker 3 01:50 More of an anarchist militant.
Jingle Speaker 4 01:52 People involved in social struggles, everybody else.
Jingle Speaker 5 01:55 People have been waiting for some content radio show.
Jingle Speaker 6 01:58 The Final Straw. Thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org.
Jingle Speaker 7 02:01 If you're listening, you are the resistance.
Margaret 02:12 Okay, my guest this week is Petra. And if you could introduce yourself with your name, your pronouns, and then maybe any political or organizational affiliations or just what you do for a living as relates to what we're going to be talking about on the show today?
Petra 02:26 Yeah, so my name is Petra LeBaron-Botts and I live in Portland, Oregon, my pronouns are she/her/hers. I try to not have any political affiliations, actually. I find that my politics, although pretty consistent in overarching theories are sort of constantly mutating in specifics. And so I find that, and have found over the past several years, that not having any political affiliation seems to serve me better. So it's also something that, you know, and every job I've had, we've been very discouraged in terms of talking about it. But I am a wilderness educator, I guess, in the most basic of terms, lead trips, and currently teach for a community college in Portland.
Margaret 03:22 Cool. Okay, so I guess the main thing that I kind of want to talk to you about is how to camp when you're prepared to camp—so the framing that I'm imagining this particular conversation in is, you know, I reached out to you in a rush in the middle of the night during the uprising when I was like, "What would I need if I suddenly needed to move over land?" Like if suddenly the American South became a dramatically inhospitable place and I, you know, there were militia checkpoints on the roads or whatever—whatever the reasoning would be, I was like, "What would I need to get out on foot?" And, you know, I've camped a bit my life, right, and I, you know, live off grid, but there's still a lot of stuff. Like I said—I think I specifically called you to be like, "What kind of camping pad do I actually need? And also, are poles actually worth it?" And because, you know, I did most of my more active outdoors-ing while I was a younger woman, and was a little bit more physically resilient to sleeping on the ground and stuff. And so, so yeah, I guess I wanted to talk to you. We'll get into some other stuff about what to do when you don't have what you need. But I wanted to talk to you about like, when you have what you need, how do you go about camping or thru-hiking? Like, what's some of the stuff?
Petra 04:54 Yeah, I think that in planning for trips and planning for camping, there's a lot of working backwards, sort of, where do I envision myself going? How far do I envision myself going? What sort of tolerance for misery do I know that I have or not have? And working backwards, therefore, what kind of gear do I need or what kind of gear can I jettison? So I don't know that there's like a really easy answer to that. I think that being prepared tends to look like knowing the weight of your gear, knowing the number of miles that you can travel with a full backpack—and a full backpack, I mean, that's a pretty broad term because they're full backpacks that are, you know, 20 pounds and full backpacks that are 80 pounds. So, you know, how much weight can I personally comfortably carry according to the number of miles I want to travel? So yeah, a lot of working backwards and a lot of sort of not having a strict formula to work with.
Margaret 05:58 How would you gauge that if you are like, let's say you are a modestly physically active person who does not make a habit of thru-hiking or, you know, overnight backpacking or anything like that? What—how would people start getting a sense of—or people have different levels of ability, you know, I was just going to start using myself as an example. But how would you start gauging how much weight you would consider carrying and how far you think that you would try to push yourself on a given day?
Petra 06:34 I think one of the important things is to get a baseline understanding for how far you can travel before you start to feel really miserable. So that might look like, you know, in your initial stages, especially if you're not used to, say, walking up a lot of hills, is going out with very minimal equipment, going out with a bunch of water and maybe, you know, a couple of extra clothing layers, and going and walking up, you know, maybe 1000 feet of elevation gain, you know, maybe over two or three miles and seeing how that feels to your body. You know, is that already pushing it or not. And then I think another great step to take is getting everything that you think you're going to need—so there are sort of infinite packing lists that you can find online for back country trips—sort of getting together everything that you think you need, putting it all in a backpack, and then just taking that on a walk for even just a couple miles around your neighborhood or the place where you live and start to see how that feels. Because a lot of people the—when that you make the jump from day hiking to overnight backpacking, it's a pretty steep learning curve. And I think people tend to underestimate how much things weigh and they also tend to overestimate how much weight they can carry before they start to feel really miserable. So if you tell the average person you know, you're going to have to carry, you know, 35 pounds of gear on your back. 35 pounds doesn't necessarily sound like a lot of weight. But as soon as you put it on and start to move at a, you know, reasonably fast hiking pace over several miles, that weight tends to add up really quickly and start to feel real heavy.
Margaret 08:23 Yeah, that makes sense. When I was, you know, when I was younger, and lived out of a backpack, I felt like people always started by putting like, kind of, as much weight as they could possibly have in their backpacks. And then would kind of like, like, people who are hitchhiking and hopping freight trains and stuff…