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Newbie here in Chicago suburbs

Hey there, I am so excited to be here!  My name is Robin and I am just starting to train for my first overnight backpacking trip.  I want to mostly absorb trip tips, like packing, water/food amounts, “what if’s,” etc.  I am exploring the conversations part of the app, so don’t be too hard on me if I post something that belongs elsewhere.  🙂  I appreciate your experience and advice, and hopefully friendships to come!

10 Replies

@Spicyboo88 hey, and welcome! We definitely won't be too hard on you for posting stuff in random places - you figured this "Introduce Yourself" section out perfectly already!

Stoked to hear you're planning your first backpacking trip - any idea where you're headed?! We've got lots of avid backpackers in the community (tons of good info on the Backpacking board) AND we've got some Chicago-area folks as well - @Dad_Aint_Hip @SILHiker @Bonfire @Keeys @charrig - you might also check out our Chicago board.

Look forward to hearing your advice, suggestions and questions!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hi, and thanks for letting me in.  I do have a question about navigating the boards.  Every time I go to get out of a conversation/specific board and hit the back button, I go all the way back to the main page (where I have to go through member perks-conversations button link). And if I’m trying to exit a post within a conversation (like a member asks a question), I can’t go back to the page of posts I was on.  The web and app both bring me back to the beginning and most recent posts on that board.  Is there an easier way to navigate?  Thanks!

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Hi @Spicyboo88 - Thanks for asking this question! 

We're sorry to hear your navigation is giving you some troubles. Typically, your back button should take you to the screen you were previously on. We just checked on our side and it is functioning in that way, so you might be able to fix this by clearing your browser's cache or restarting the computer.

You can also use different links within our pages instead of using the back button all together. When you are in a thread, you can click on the following areas to get you to where you want to be:

  • Category Name button (ex: Introduce Yourself), highlighted in green below: Takes you to the category to view all of its posts
  • 'REI Community' button, highlighted in blue below: Takes you to the Conversations home page

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 10.08.14 AM.jpg

 

Additionally, if you are on REI.com and want to get to Conversations, rather than going to the Member Perks page, you can click on 'Conversations' in the black bar at the top of the page (highlighted in orange below):

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 10.13.31 AM.jpg

Feel free to respond if this doesn't clear it up and we will be happy to help you get the navigation all sorted out! 

Thanks for taking the time to ask this question to make your experiences in Conversations better. We're excited that you're here!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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Hi Robin! and Welcome! Lots of good info here, and if you ask a question then most likely you'll get an answer. There's plenty of good backpacking and hiking in the south end of the state, I'm no so familiar with the northern part. 

A lot of answers here are about opinions, so sometimes you just have to find what works for you. The fun part is you get to keep learning as you go!!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Hi @Spicyboo88 and welcome to the forums!

I'm in the Western 'burbs and also planning my first backpacking trip about a month from now (lots of day hiking experience but first backpacking in about 40 years). Lots of great places around here and, if you haven't already, I'd recommend joining the Chicago Backpackers Meetup group. Totally free and, during the pandemic, they're doing virtual meetings exclusively (LOTS of great info and ideas at the monthly virtual meeting). And, before the pandemic (and once it's safe to do so again), their monthly in-person meetings are at the REI in Lincoln Park.

Don't be a stranger 'round here!

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Hi, and thanks for the warm welcome!  I will definitely be checking out those groups and more.  I appreciate the advice! 

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I'll second the recommendation for joining the Chicago Backpackers Meetup group. They have a really good "Shakedown" trip they do with people to make sure they are ready for multi day trips. They even go over your gear and help you shed stuff you don't need or lend things you need. And they do a monthly trip report about a cool trip someone may have gone on. I think they have you pay $5 to reserve a spot. Totally worth it. 

Which direction from the city are you? Do you do a lot of day hikes around? Do  you have an idea where you want to do your first overnight? I think Manistee River Trail Loop was my first adult overnight backpacking trip and highly recomend it. They even have an option to hike half of it, and then kayak back to the start! Great spots for refilling water too. 

Not to assume your gender from your user name, but if I inferred correctly, you may be interested in the Women in the Outdoors section too.

Hollerrrrrr



- I'm the best at being me when I'm outside
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Forest Glen is also a good place for your first time. It's relatively busy (ish) so if you're going alone then you won't actually be alone if you run into problems. The whole trail is 11 miles with the East campsite at the 7.something mile. That makes a good first day with plenty of time at camp to relax and recover. Then, on day two, you can take your time packing up because it's only another 3 miles or so back to your car.

Depending on your fitness level and pack weight, you can easily start between 11 AM and noon with plenty of time to get to camp and set up by dinner when there's still light. And you can be back to your car by 10 AM the next morning.

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Welcome! A year ago I went on my first backpacking trip in over 30 years. I was nervous, but excited. My trip was through REI, so they provided a ton of information when it came to what to expect and what I would need for the trip (the unexpected foot of snow threw us all for a loop). I know REI has a bunch of videos that will help, but talk to your guides or the people you're going with. Most important, do not be afraid to ask questions. Campers/backpackers love to share their experiences and knowledge to those that are interested.