FAQS - Bare Backpacking
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Free For All

What Are Your Favorite Day Hike Locations?

That is tough question because I’m still exploring day hike locations. So far my favorite place is Lake Penner. I like Hoyt’s Crossing and fishing the American river just past the confluence. Really any place I can have some quiet personal time.

What Should I Be Aware of When Parking at Trail Heads?

Parking at trail heads can be a pain. We naturally are concerned about vehicle security. I recommend you put all your valuables in the trunk or out of sight. Put a note on your vehicle telling people when you are coming back…just kidding! I wouldn’t store food in the vehicle because bears and critters can sniff them out and they will do their best to relieve relieve you from the burden of storing your food.

On another critter note. I’ve been to some parks in California where critters like to chew on vehicle electronic wires and assorted lines. I’ve been fortunate enough not to have that problem. Maybe I need to rub down my wires and lines with some sugar water to give them some incentive.

Many places require a parking fee. Find the web sight for the location you are going to see what their requirement are. Sometimes it is easier just to call them. Additionally if you google the area you may be able to find some places where you can park for free that are just a few blocks away. When you call the organization or find their web sight, look to answer these three questions:


  • Do I need a permit to hike?
  • Do I need a daily parking permit?
  • Do I need a fire permit?


Note: Fire Permits are Free…

I have a few passes for free parking at certain places. Whenever I go to a place I call and ask how they want me to use my pass for parking.  Most of the time the organization will tell me to fill out one of the envelopes, put my pass number on it, put the envelope in the payment box, after removing the window receipt and putting it in my window.

At a recent state park I noticed they replaced the ranger with a computerized credit/debt card payment system. There were no envelopes for me to use. I found a ranger and he told me to put my pass in the window. I put  my pass in the window but I was concerned my pass might get stolen.

Should I Be Concerned About Poisonous Plants in California?

Yes…you should be concerned about poisonous plants in California.


Poison Oak grows in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. It also grows in a large section of the South Eastern States as well.


Poison oak comes in several forms. We have all heard the rhyme…leaves of three…let them be. It’s not just the leaves that are poisonous, the branches are poisonous too. The hard part is, poison oak can look like a bush with leaves, leave less sticks sticking up from the ground or vines wrapping around a tree, with or without leaves.


Your best weapon is knowing what it looks like in all season’s and forms and what areas these plants grow.


Sumac is primarily found in swamp areas in the Eastern United States.


Poison Ivy grows just about everywhere except California, Alaska and Hawaii.


Fortunately I’m not hyper-sensitive to any of these plants. I am concerned about getting poison oak and I’m always on the look out. I purchased Zanfel for about $30.00 at CVS. It claims to instantly relieve the itch and spread of poison oak, ivy and sumac. It has a long unopened shelf life.


I am not an affiliate for Zanfel and I’ve yet to use it…thank God!


Why is it when I think about poison oak I start itching?

What Animals Should I Be Concerned About?

First of all, if  you or me are not a super models and a really nice, hot looking girl/guy is talking you up…you should be very concerned! You know they want something. I’m mean really! Wait…forest animals…RIGHT…GOT IT!

It is so important to be respectful to all critters big and small. They should be scared of you and go away at first sight. They are drawn to our food supply and we must do everything we can to keep it from them. It is a pain in the barehined all the things we do to protect them from us…but it is necessary. We don’t want them to associate us with food an anyway. I know, I know…it is tuff…but we must do our best.

To limit attacks (holes in your backpack) from marmots, bears, chipmunks, squirrels, bears and many more…keep food items and scented hygiene products in the bear can (if required) or in a food storage sack. Remove the bear can/bag from your backpack as soon as possible. Keep them up wind and about 100 feet away from you and certainly not close to a cliff either. (the cliff…the bear will throw your can over it) Of course when using food bags hang your bag in the tree. This will draw the critters away from you.

Try your best to not leave food scraps around your camp sight either.


In 2016 there were 6 reported cases of rabies, 5 from bats and 1 from a dog.

In 2015 there were 297 reported cases, 179 bats, 29 skunks, 2 cats and a coyote.

Who Made Your Website?

I am so glad you asked! My wife Jodi is the CEO of Webinet Media and she generously built this web sight, taught me how to up load stuff and make changes with little to no input from her. She builds custom web sights, does photography and videography. She has a team of artists (our children and associates) that can do just about anything. Her team is finishing up a documentary for the City of Citrus Heights that will air later this fall on PBS. Checkout her web sight: www.webinetmedia.com, maybe her team can do something for you.

I AM an affiliate of Webinet Media…How do you think I can afford to go on these outings.

I Have a Question That's Not Listed

If you have a question that’s not on this list, send me an email and I will do my best to find out the answer for you or I will blow you off because it’s too much work. (but I will send you a response either way)

Keep in mind…I AM NOT AN EXPERT nor DO I CLAIM TO BE. I will give you my opinion or I will give you information I found on the world wide web…but you are ultimately responsible for your actions.

A Note From My Legal Team:

The information contained in this website may or may not reflect the most current information; accordingly, information on this website is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete, and should not be considered an indication of future results. Information provided on this website is for fun only and not meant to be used as expert advice. Bobby expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this website.

Wow…that sounded really official until I put my name in it. I copied it from another website…with a few modifications.

Bottomline…we’re all just friends talking here.

What Are Your Favorite Thru Hike Locations?

Since I’m still a virgin to thru hiking, I can’t answer that question. But I’m sure the John Muir Trail will be high on my list. After I complete the John Muir Trail I will know if I’m up for the Pacific Crest Trail…I just need to convince Jodi to go as well.

How Do You Know if You Need a Permit to Hike, Park or Camp?

When I find a place I want to hike, I look on the appropriate National Forest or State Park web sight. I look for the drop down menu or tab that says “permits”. If I can’t seem to figure it out, simply call the nearest Ranger Station or Park Service station. They most likely will give you some good tips on the hike and tell you what you need to know. They will also tell you if you need a fire permit and tell you where to obtain one. For my Sykes Hot Springs trip I was able to get my free permit online after watching a short video and taking a no-brainer quiz at this web site:  http://www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit/

So…Three things to find out when you go to the web sight or you talk to the representative:

  • Do you need a permit to hike?
  • Do you need a daily parking permit?
  • Do you need a fire permit?

Note: Fire Permits are Free…

Are You Concerned About Lack of Cell Service?

My goal is to go off grid. Cell coverage was never something I was concerned about. While backpacking at Lake Penner, with no cell coverage, my mother became very ill and was near death. My family was unable to contact me. Fortunately she was OK and I came home 3 days early because smoke from a forest fire was traveling many many miles making my adventure unpleasant.

From that day forward there was a great deal of pressure to get a device that would enable my family to contact me in an emergency. I found the inReach Explorer to be a perfect compromise. I can send and receive texts via satellite link and I’m also able to push an S-O-S button to call for help…if something happens to me. I can map out my route before I depart and share my route and my position to family in friends via MapShare. I can get weather updates when I need them as well.

I am not an affiliate for inReach Explorer.

There are other devices that just call for help.

So…no, I’m not worried about cell coverage.

What Is The Best Rain Gear?

I don’t know!  Really…I’ve clicked all the web sight to try and find something that will work for me. I recently purchased The Packa. It is like a normal pack cover but when it starts to rain you can reach back and pull out the jacket portion. When the rain stops…you simply take the jacket off and when the jacket dries it can be pushed back into the pack cover part. I thought about pancho’s, rain jackets, rain pants and even the rain kilt…but this one looks like it will work for me. I’ve not been caught in the rain yet but I expect I will while I’m on the John Muir Trial this year. I will let you know how it goes.


I am not an affiliate for The Packa.


When I was a young whipper snapper, I used to wash B-52 bombers when I lived in Guam and Washington State. The best gear I used was just the rain gear. Working hard washing the aircraft, while it was hot and humid, wearing rain gear just makes your clothes wet…so myself and many others would go commando under our rain gear or as close to commando as we could go. No matter what…it was miserable. My favorite part, when it was hot…is when someone would “accidentally” spray me with the fire house. The fire hose water would find a hole and cool me off for a few seconds. As you may know, horse play is not allowed!

Do I Really Need A Bear Canister?

I don’t know if you need a bear canister because I don’t know where you are going! I know it was a trick question.

I did a quick search asking, “where are bear canisters required?” and found many sources. REI has a great sight with a list of all the different agencies and their web sights. You can check it out at this link: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bear-resistant-canisters.html

Some agencies provide bear boxes for campers/hikers to store their food.

Also…storing food in your vehicle can be a costly mistake. Bear’s can smell a gnat fart so they can easily smell food you are storing in your vehicle… Your vehicle is just a tin can waiting to be opened.

I know bear canisters are heavy and a pain to pack…but this is more about protecting the bear than it is protecting us…WAIT…I mean it is about protecting BOTH the BEAR and US…because when bears associates food with people we all get into trouble.

By the way…I am not an affiliate for REI, for the bears or the gnats.

How Do I Filter Water?

Way back in the day I used the Iodine Tablets. I always have a NON-EXPIRED, UNOPENED, bottle in my first aid kit. I primarily have used the SteriPEN. I’ve used it for a few years and had great success with it. I always had an extra set of batteries just in case.

Now with the emergence of the Sawyer Life Straw and Mini Sawyer filters, I’ve been experimenting. On my Iva Bell Hot Springs trip, I used the Sawyer Mini as an inline filter for my smart water bottle. I simply dipped my bottle in the water filling it up with clear water, screwed the filter on top and started drinking. It was so easy…no wait…no worries.

I  also hooked a Nalgene 1 liter bottle to my backpack chest strap. I started with a full bottle on the trail. When I reached camp I treated water in the Nalgene with the steriPEN and poured it into a 3-gallon collapse-able water container. I filled up the container and didn’t worry about treating water for nearly three days. (in camp) Clearly this process is not for thru hiking. On the trail I would use this same process to fill up my 2 liter bladder, tucked in my backpack. I did not like pulling the bladder out of my backpack to refill it. So now I’m trying different ways to treat water.

I’ve read about Aquamira drops as well and I’ve yet to use them. A lot of people swear by them.

So as you can see there are many ways to treat water. You must have a backup regardless of what you use and each process has it’s own little annoyances. As I test what works for me, I will keep you posted…but always remember…HYOY! Hike Your Own Hike!

Iodine requires a 30 minute wait time before drinking

Aquamira Water Treatment drops require a little mixing and a 30 minute wait time before drinking

Sawyer Life Straw…suck and drink to you can’t suck no more (if you can’t suck no more…you need to backwash your filter)

Sawyer Mini Filters…suck away baby

SteriPen…90 second treatment for 1 liter of water and then drink away.

I know I’ve written it before…but just for fun…I’m not an affiliate for any of these products!


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