The 3 P’s Plan- Pepare-Practice

The 3 P’s Plan- Pepare-Practice

In a previous post we mentioned the 3 P’s


Now let us look at each P individually and break it down, it is a simple phase that can make or break your adventure. We will say we want to hike part of the Appalachian Trail.

PLAN:  Plan involves a lot of parts, such as where to go , how to get there, what to take, will I have enough time,etc.. And proper planning may be a joke to some who decide to just wing it and go, but in all honesty it is critical for your well-being, stress relief and trying to eliminate the unexpected.

After all your going to go on this adventure to relax, have fun, see new places right?  Planning will help make this happen. Oh and do you have pets? …well what are your plans for them?

So plan your route, this involves where your going how are you getting there. Do you need passport to travel?  A different currency? A travel visa? Make a copy of your route, the days you will be leaving and returning. Be sure to include contact information and emergency contacts are always a good idea.

As a Canadian entering the USA, a Passport is the easiest document to acquire and keep with you. Now you have the section of the trail picked out, you have a passport, and no need for currency as your credit card will take care of the exchange rate and can be used anywhere. Vacation time is booked for 3 month away and you have 10 days.

OK you plans are coming together, place is selected, your travel is arranged now to start the next phase.

PREPARE:  This part should be as fun as planning. You now know where you area going, and how to get there, what to bring. Time to start collecting what you’re taking with you.  

You have selected to hike McAfee’s Knob, VA and Shenandoah Valley, VA. and up to Vermont portions of the trail for approximately 140 miles.  You googled the trail and determined these are the area you want to see the most. You have found a shuttle driver for each section, and now what?

Time for a reality check, your experience or in-experience should tell you if hiking 140 miles in 10 days is a task you can complete.

Create a daily schedule on the map so you can find where you will be on specific days, this is helpful for  a couple of reasons. But the trail and the weather have a tendency to scramble rigid schedules. Your best bet is to plan out your travel arrangements to and from the trail including shuttles and to make sure you know where and when you need to visit towns to resupply.

Now you have routes, shuttles, resupply spots sorted out, time for gear!

Remember you have to carry what you will need so pack smart, back light, and make sure you have all the accessories for your gear.

Some of the gear you will need(not a complete list)

  • Tent or hammock(and tarp/quilts)
  • Backpack
  • Knife
  • Stuff sacks
  • Whistle
  • Clothing, (hat, warm clothes/ wicking type)
  • Rain gear
  • Boots
  • Cookware/stove
  • First aid
  • Food
  • Charger for camera/cell

So you dug out all your gear, purchased some new items and now what?  We think your ready for the last part.

PRACTICE: Pack all your gear in the backpack, does if all fit?  Do you need a bigger pack or less stuff?

Those new boots…wear them! wear them everyday you can before hitting the trail, nothing will ruin a trip faster than sore feet, are the boots the right size, remember your feet will swell up a bit when in new boots and under load on the trail. and blisters and cramped toes are not fun.

You bought new gear, use it, go to a park(wearing you backpack of gear), get use to the weight of it, how it fits on you, chaffing and digging into ribs or hips will be a concern.

You have decided on a hammock, but never used one…time to set it up and get the practice of dealing with the straps, netting and tarp. hammock is all set up, now you try to get into it and bam you fall out… WTF? you think, how did I fall out… it has happened to most seasoned hammockers and a lot of newbies. Try again, ok open the hammock up sit in  the middle and slide your feet in… ok you’re in! Are you comfortable, feet to high or too low?  Feel like a taco, now you have to learn to adjust the hammock, tighten it up  on the straps, keep both ends at same height.

Now that the hammock is sorted out your new stove and cook set  are next, did you remember fuel, is it the correct fuel for your stove? Set it up and practice lighting it, did the wind blow out  your match before lighting the stove,  see already your thinking this is going to be a challenge, fell out of hammock, stove will not light, and you have sore feet…. all the reason for your PRACTICE!

How heavy is your backpack when loaded up? 80 lbs 50? are you going to be able to carry it for 20 miles a day? See the practice coming into it again, try your entire pack and kit out several times, you will get use to the weight you think you need, and you always can send/buy food or other items at the resupply places. to help lighten the load.

With PRACTICE and by asking others you will find clever ways to lighten the gear, a simple and popular trick is to cut the handles off tooth brushes, spoons or use a spork, just about everything can be adjusted or altered to fit better. Just remember your health and safety are first priority. Talk to others and get tips and suggestions for gear, if you don’t know how to use something in your gear this practice time will be well spent learning all your kit functions.

In the end you will thanks yourself for taking the time to PLAN, PREPARE and PRACTICE, and build your skills at the same time, learning never ends and what a fun way to learn.

The 3 P’s can really help you out when you’re getting started in trip planning after a few excursions you will be a pro at it.  Utilize the 3 P’s to avoid the 6 P’s which are;

Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance” (courtesy of an adventure friend)