View Full Version : Options, options, options

Ice Pick
01-24-2014, 21:24
I'm planning a thru hike tentatively starting sometime in March. I went to two outdoor stores yesterday and enjoyed looking at gear but didn't buy a thing, feeling the need to do more research first. I've looked online a good bit; to me that doesn't compare to actually seeing and touching real gear. But I get kind of overwhelmed and stuck with all the things there are to consider - weight, comfort, quality, plus there are so many different brands and recommendations of hiking gear. Unless I can get in a few practice days before my trip, this will be my first time doing serious hiking.

Does there come a point when you should just back up, stop thinking so much, and buy what you like, what feels right to you? Or should I research till my brain is ready to explode? Or try for a healthy balance of research and feeling? I believe experience is the best education on gear or anything else. Any advice?

01-24-2014, 21:43
What are you considering? Perhaps you could get feedback from others who have experience with those products before your invest.

Just one option

01-24-2014, 21:50
yes take one option at a time.tent.pack. bag/pad.
theres plenty of info available either in articles or by asking specific questions.
we will help.

why do you want to thru hike anyway?

01-24-2014, 21:50
If you choose criteria based on weight, and performance, it will narrow your choices considerably

01-24-2014, 22:08
It's kinda like going to a Mexican resturant which has a 6 page menu in fine print, deciding what you want is daunting :) If you've never sampled a dish, how do you know if you'll like it and you sure don't want to spend money on something you might not like. Is that a good analogy? Sort of.

Buy the best you can afford, but you don't have to go top of the line - unless you do have deep pockets, then what the heck? For most of us it is a trade off between weight, quality and price and at some point you just have to plunk down the cash and hope for the best.

01-24-2014, 22:08
You're doing it a good way.

(1) Research and ask questions
(a) Think about weight
(b) Think about performance
(c) Look at other people's gear lists
(d) There is a lot of gear specific to lightweight hiking that is available mostly online. Read through forums and take notes.
(e) Ask about specific pieces of gear and specific brands/items. (Use the search function to check first! Then ask :D)
(2) Narrow down the list to a number of items that will work for you
(3) Go with your gut. At this point, any of the items will work.

What happens if you don't do it this way? Worst case you may end up purchasing a pack/sleeping bag/item that is too heavy/too big/too small/too uncomfortable/too warm/too cold and the like. Will it end your thru hike aspirations? No.

Ultimately, you will be fine. Gear is helpful but thru hiking is more about the attitude, desire, willpower, and skill than anything else.

If you can only afford to purchase each item once, here are the things to be careful about:
(1) Get a sleeping bag that is warm enough for your start date.
(2) Get a pack that fits and can hold all of your stuff.
Everything else can be annoying, be a nuisance, make your pack heavy, make your days shorter, but will not stop you. So don't worry too much :).

01-25-2014, 00:27
Look at Meridoc's post.

At some pt though you have to flap those little birdie wings and jump from the nest. Take solace in this. You will always have something new to learn. Think of change as good. Embrace the journey the evolution the changes that simply never stop. You don't need to know everything about thru-hiking the AT to safely, happily, and successfully thru-hike the AT. You'll learn a lot and adapt as you get along in your thru-hike just like all those little birdies that take their first jump from their nest high up. This is what all successful thru-hikers must have - a willingness to effectively adapt, to manage their thru-hikes, and to manage themselves. It's soitenly not a bad idea to try out your gear BEFORE leaving Ohio even if it's just in the backyard, in the rain, in the cold, overnight, in the wind, making and eating the food you will eat on the AT, etc