I want to do a northbound thru hike starting in the middle of January. Has anyone here done this? Does anyone have advice for winter hiking? I don't have much backpacking experience, so any advice at all would be appreciated.
Right now I have an REI Quarter Dome T1 for a shelter and a Marmot Trestles 0 for a bag (Yes, I know it's huge and heavy. But it should keep me warm, and it was one of the few bags I could afford). I also have an Exped Downmat 7 for a mat and a Montbell Thermawrap jacket for my insulating layer. I'll probably bring the thermawrap and a fleece and a capilene baselayer and a rain jacket and some other shirt--I'm thinking that should be enough to keep me warm (at least on top) even on cold days...maybe?
I'm starting in January because I graduate from college in December and because I would love to experience the trail in winter. I know it'll be cold and snowy. I know there won't be many people hiking. I know it'll be a lot more complicated than hiking in the spring/summer. But I really want to do this, and I would really appreciate your help.