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What do you carry when you actually hike?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Macchina, Mar 2, 2013.

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  1. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Jun 5, 2006
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    Same thing I always carry, a 1911. Sometimes my Para wide-frame.
  2. Triplec

    Triplec Member

    May 11, 2012
    So I backpack in grizzly country, would anybody carry anything less than a caliber that you could use to deal with a grizzly (if such a thing exists)? I carry bear spray, plus my Glock 9mm for fun (I'm still young so I can carry extra weight for fun).
  3. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    Cape Cod
    If you use the search function you'll find opinions and threads ad nauseum on this topic. Generally, from reading the opinions of posters that live in places with regular contact with grizzlies or who have BTDT, the "caliber to deal with a grizzly" doesn't exist in a handgun. If you're packing spray you've brought a better tool for the job.

    I have moved up calibers when hiking bear country, but I don't delude myself that going from 9mm to a .45ACP or a .357 would allow me to take on a bear. Rather, on the off chance I run into one, and on the off chance it attacks me, and on the off chance I get a shot off, and on the off chance I get lucky with where I land it, I'd prefer to have more penetration rather than less.
  4. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Centennial, CO
    357 snubby. Lighter is better.
  5. jon86

    jon86 Member

    Feb 14, 2010
    I usually carry just a 5 shot 38 special. I am considering something a bit more soon. Maybe an sp101 or an XDS 45.
  6. Arizona_Mike

    Arizona_Mike Member

    Feb 15, 2013
    Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan in .454 Casull. First 2 cylinders are loaded with .45 Colt snake shot and the last 4 with Buffalo Bore hardened lead pentrators. Totally geared to defense against 4-legged (or 0-legged) animals--should be adequate for 2-legged ones (and probably a little messy as well), but that is not part of my planning or thought process.

    I did extensive patterning practice with .357, .44 man (.429") and .45 snake shot shells and I was not pleased with the smaller calibers. The 12% bigger bore of the .45 over even the .44 gives much better patterns (I think less shot is scattered by the riflings). The performance with snake shot is why I chose the caliber.

    I have encountered bear hiking near Wickenburg and I have seen bear near my cabin on Mt. Graham several times. There are also a lot of huge free-range bulls and cows. They a bit less docile than farm cows and bulls and every once and a while a story makes the press about someone killed by their own dairy cow. This is why I went to the high-power Buffalo-Bore ammo and the hardened lead penetrators (penetration is more important than expansion on a bull or a bear shot defensively lengthways).

  7. willypete

    willypete Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    2.25" SP101 .357 Mag. Anything else is just too heavy! Tried a .44 Mag Redhawk for a while, but it's a lot of unnecessary weight. If I had a 4" SP101, I might carry that, but I'll weight 'til they're available used.
  8. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Member

    Jan 1, 2010
    Hayward, WI

    Model 625 Mountain Gun in .45 Colt. Light enough to carry but more than enough power if needed.
  9. herkyguy

    herkyguy Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    Yes Sir! lightweight is critical. the more you're on the move, you more you realize just how much your wheelgun weighs. With all that said, I carry a GP100 with a 6" barrel, loaded with the first four rounds of 158 grain .357. last two rounds are snakeshot. When i encounter a snake, i've always had enough time to spin the cylinder.

    I'll add that I now carry it in a Galco shoulder rig and it is far superior to when i used to carry it on my hip. The galco rig also has leather compartments to carry 12 additional rounds.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  10. gulogulo1970

    gulogulo1970 Member

    Jul 29, 2003
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I used to carry a Glock 27, now I carry 3" Ruger SP-101. No grizzlies where I go camping. So, a 357 magnum should be enough for anything I'd run into. Two legged predators would be more likely, than say getting attacked by a cougar or black bear anyway.
  11. kgpcr

    kgpcr Member

    May 30, 2007
    In Minnesota i carry my .40 M&P or my .357 7shot snub. In Alaska its my Ruger Alaskan .454
  12. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

    Aug 20, 2012
    All about preference. I shocked the crap out of some hikers when I hiked up Mt Washington in NH when I told them that I was carrying a LIGHT load that weighed 92 pounds. That was with the 12ga. To make it even better I told them that I started hiking in Southwestern Maine along the White Mountain range.
  13. highpower

    highpower Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    Reno NV
    I carry my old four screw M29. First two shots are snake shot and the rest are rather stout 240 gr lead SWC handloads. I carry it in this Bianchi 5BH high ride holster.

  14. Torian

    Torian Member

    Feb 10, 2013
    An extra pound or two is nothing when it comes to having the peace of mind knowing I'm packing maximum firepower in the event of a confrontation (large predator).

    I'm used to carrying around 40 pounds of extra weight anyways, so the gun is not really an issue. If a pound or two is breaking the bank for some of our hikers, they might want to spend a few weeks on a treadmill at the gym before heading out on the trail :)

    Nothing wrong with getting a good workout! You aren't going to fall over from exhaustion carrying a Super redhawk instead of a GP 100.
  15. jim243

    jim243 Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    While less weight when backbacking is good, it is not so good for personal defense while camping or backpacking. A lightweight pistol or revolver does not have sufficient power to provide the protection you will want if faced with a life threating situation.

    It is better to shed a few pounds of equipment to carry a sufficient caliber handgun for your personal protection. Most hikers and campers I know of carry at least a 357 Mag if not a 44 Mag GP-100. The short 2 1/2 inch guns are useless for anything than you are already in trouble and near death use. Bears, cats (mt lions), wolves all run a lot faster than you or me and will attack without warning. Anything less than a 4 inch barrel and perferably a 6 or 6 1/2 inch barrel will not give you rhe sighting to take down an attacker.

    What you carry is your choice, just make it one that will actually work in an emergency.

  16. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    Last couple years I've carried a Glock 20 loaded with Double Tap 200gr hard cast rounds. I just picked up a Taurus Ultralite 44 mag and if it shoots reliably I will start carrying that since I'm in grizz country. I'm still skeptical of it being so light weight and it holding up but so far so good.
  17. Mainsail

    Mainsail Member

    Dec 16, 2005
    The term 'camping' is a giveaway; we're not talking about the same thing. Camping is pretending to be homeless for a night or two, usually within sight of the car or truck that brought you there. Backpacking is where you travel many miles over rough terrain to spend the night in some scenic spot carrying everything you'll need on your back.

    Most (~90% or more) of the hikers and backpackers I know don't carry any means of self protection larger than a folding pocket knife. Of the few that do carry protection, most carry bear spray (~9%), and only a very few carry a handgun of any type.

    It's not a war zone. Incidents where a firearm of any type would be useful are extremely rare. The time you spend at the trailhead is probably the most dangerous. We have thousands of hikers and backpackers here crawling over the terrain every month of the year, and I can remember only one incident where a firearm might have been helpful; a mountain goat attack.

    Statistically speaking a firearm is unnecessary. Some of us carry one for several possible threats, all of which we know are very unlikely. For the places we frequent, your suggestion of "shedding a few ponds of equipment" is unrealistic. We carry only necessary survival gear, necessary food, and a few luxuries (camera, sleeping pad, fishing gear, etc.). Since hypothermia and falls kill and injure far more people than the wildlife, we prioritize our gear for those threats.

    I'd much rather hike farther over rougher terrain to get away from the yahoos, and to do that my gear has to be lightweight.



    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Jan 16, 2012
    Wet Oregon
    I'd a rammed that goat with my wheelbarrow.
  19. 303tom

    303tom member

    Jul 16, 2011
    My Blackhawk in .327 Fed. Mag................
  20. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    The Land that Time Forgot

    I hike a lot, but it is always day hiking (usually 10-16 miles in a day, then I go home). I don't really back pack, yet. So consider when you look at my answer.

    If I'll be hiking in grizzly or moose country, I carry my S&W 460V. It has a 5" bbl, balances great for me, and will stop anything, with proper ammo and shot placement. It is a 4 lb gun though, so for back packing you may hate it. I carry it cross draw on the hip and wear suspenders under my outer shirt to help keep the pants up.

    I do not live in a place with bear of any kind though, so my need to carry that gun is reserved to when I travel to bear country.

    What I do have a lot of in my back yard are mountain lions. And I mean a lot. The quota for this years hunting season here is 100 cats I believe. So, my typical carry gun is my 3" Ruger SP101 in .357 magnum in a Simply Rugged belt holster. I also frequently carry my Springfield XDs with 8 rounds in the gun. I carry that in a Hidden Hybrid Holster, or in a kydex belt holster. Both guns are plenty to stop a cat or a crazy person.

    If I am going to a place that I know has a high lion population, I carry my 1911 or FNP-45, depending on my mood.

    You have to think about what the possible threat is. If I was in grizz country, and backpacking a lot of miles for several days, and weight was a real concern, I'd maybe be looking at a S&W air weight 44 mag, or maybe one of those PC 629's with the short bbl. If weight was a real issue for me for days, I'd probably consider a GLOCK in 10mm, even though I hate GLOCKS.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  21. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    Statistically, yes... a firearm isn't needed. But our trailhead parking lots here are littered with smashed windows, and attacks of varying severity aren't that uncommon.


    "A Vancouver father was convicted this evening, in part on his son's testimony, of robbing and severely beating a skier last February near Washougal.

    A Skamania County jury took less than two hours to find Michael David Collins, 34, guilty of attempted murder and first-degree robbery.

    His son, Teven Collins, 17, testified that, at his father's direction, he struck skier Robert Tracey once with a large stick and used a rope to drag him into some bushes. He also took Tracey's vehicle keys and backpack.

    Teven Collins also testified his father struck Tracey several times with the club.

    "He said he could never give an explanation of why he did it, other than he was doing this with his father, who has been essentially grooming him for a period of time, telling him how he had to earn his bones or body count,"

    Even people not hiking, just stopped for a rest in the general vicinity.


    "Troopers said Edwin Jones, 39, told them he was stopped at a viewpoint on Interstate 84 near Corbett due to traffic when he was approached by two men at about 12:30 a.m. Jones is from Nebraska.

    Police said Jones told them the men asked him for money and cigarettes.

    When he refused, one of the men, described as a white male, pulled a knife and injured Jones on his hand, lower arm and stomach, police said in a press release."

    I'm used to the weight, but I'd consider anything you were willing to carry at that point to be appropriate.
  22. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    When I used to go hiking I carried my Beretta Model 70S in .22LR. It's relatively lightweight, has been 100% reliable with any ammo I have put through it, and very accurate with its crisp trigger and adjustable sights.
  23. Elm Creek Smith

    Elm Creek Smith Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    In the olden days when I went backpacking I carried an M16A2 with seven 30-round magazines and an M1911A1 with three 7-round magazines.

    These days I carry my S&W Model 37 with Buffalo Bore standard pressure ammo with two speed strips. uploadfromtaptalk1362506664958.jpg

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2
  24. k_dawg

    k_dawg Member

    Sep 11, 2005
    Statistically speaking, a woman need not fear rape.

    That is why they have whistles and callboxes.

    I carry when ever I am. Civilized society or deep in the woods.
  25. Indifferent

    Indifferent Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    642 in pocket with Hornady Critical Defense loads. (Biggest threat is 2 legged predators)
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