View Full Version : Video gear review for AT nobo thru starting Feb 23rd (this coming Monday!)

02-19-2015, 23:44
I'm jumping on a plane down to Georgia this Sunday, can't wait! But I had a little extra time & I was inspired by Sprout78's pre-hike video gear review, so I've copied her format & uploaded my own review:

http://youtu.be/F1fgTmrCQ-Q (http://youtu.be/F1fgTmrCQ-Q)

The base weight is 9 pounds (minus clothing, clothing is 4 pounds in winter and 2 pounds in summer).

I can't change too much this late in the game, but feel free to crit or suggest adjustments.

Something I don't mention in the video: I've got a funky right knee, which is why I'm carrying two poles & am trying to keep things light. I'm expecting to move slow and end on Oct 15th when they close the park ...

... or I may flip flop before New England over to a sobo PCT mid July & see how far south I get (to avoid the ticks, I really hate deer ticks).

I'll see some of you fine folks on the trail ;)

02-20-2015, 10:13
Do you have a headlamp or did I miss it?

Sunscreen is also pretty sweet in the colder months as there's no tree canopy.

02-20-2015, 11:41
Nice gear!

I think you might like the LightHeart Gear Hoodie Pack Cover better, because it covers the packstraps and the backpack near your back: rain water enters there soaking a packcloth backpack.

It is good to see Peter is making his mosquito headnet: people like his headnets.

I like my Bug Baffler mosquito headnet because it has straps that run under my arms to secure the headnet from intrusive mosquitos. I just like it. I also like .60 oz.

If you use your Sawyer device for sucking up water from a water source, meant for backflushing the Sawyer water filter, it is not longer valid for flushing the Sawyer water filter. If you can purchase a Smart Water bottle withe the blue snap-on top, you can use that bottle cap for backflushing the Sawyer water filter. It will screw on a platy or another water bittle you pick up in town.

It weighs .15 oz. and so I am not using that backflush device at all.

If you cut off the top of a platy or equivalent, that may be used to get water from a shallow water source. I have seen a leaf used for a trickle.

I like the system that Jason Klass has for his gravity fed water filter and his system for washing up. I will look for the links and add the links here.

I am using the Platypus "Dirty" water with their attachment hose and shut-off for my gravity feed water filter system. I like to see inside my "dirty" water bag to give it regar runsing out. I also prefilter, either with the bug net, a cloth, or, a melita coffee filter.

However, I have heard the AT water sources are cleaner than the PCT.

Those keychain temperature guage and compass are nice to have. If you step off the trail, it is good to check the compass direction you left the trail. It is surprising how easy it is to get just enough disiriented for a "pit stop" and not know the direction back to the trail. No kidding.

Does that one have the windchill chart on the back? If not, copy a windchill chart off the internet before you start out. Okay? It is important to be aware how fast the "effective temperature" falls off with windchill.

Do you have a sit pad? Maybe CCF closed cell foam. Those light color pants will thank you. Any pants will thank you. It is also good not to sit directly on frozen ground.

I have a Panther Vision Powercap baseball hat with LED's built-in under the hat brim.

I also have a Photon X-Light Micro LED Keychain Flashlight that has handy adjustable brightness for nightime forays to the privy without the blindingly bright light waking others from sleep. I like it.

Have Sea-To-Summit soap leaves (likely not, for a thru-hike) or forever lasting unscented Dr. Bronner's soap in an AntiGravity Gear eyedropper bottle if you don't find a small eyedropper bottle near you.

Toothbrush? Floss?

I feel like a mommy!

Ultralight Gravity Pro Water Filter

Hands Free Camp Sink

02-20-2015, 12:11
NeoAir or NeoAir XTherm?

I see the toothbrush, now. :)

Where did you find short cords for the iPod and the Kindle? I haven't seen short cords.

Have you tried that particular alcohol stove in cold weather?

zelph has a metal strip that helps heat all the layers of the alcohol in several of his alcohol stoves.

What kind of battery life do you get on your Kindle? What model Kindle?

I like those short cords.

02-20-2015, 13:18
I am not sure shepherd hook tent stakes will hold up.

Here is a list of tent stakes: http://www.geargrams.com/list?id=22878

It has lengths, type, weight and clickable links. Then, search price and availability.

I only list one shepherd hook tent stake because he uses "nobendium" actually the hook is directly over the straight portion so it drives straight into the ground.

Most recommended is one or two stout tent stake(s) for the ridgeline. The other tent stakes usually do not have to have the same holding power. Then, there are large rocks on top of less strong tent stakes to help.

I don't know there is time to do anything about it before you leave Feb 23.

Maybe a family member could send you a "care" package?

02-20-2015, 13:28
Do you have Katoola Microspikes?

There are also Vargo cleats, we are discussing at the Katoola Microspikes thread.

02-20-2015, 13:38
Tipi Walter is wearing a big down jacket and down pants, in February.


PM him?

I am in Montana, and the entire East Coast is still in the news about their winter weather.

02-20-2015, 18:20

No headlamp, just my iPhone's flashlight and Kindle's screen light. Is that a terrible idea?

Cool, I'll bring a little bottle of sunscreen, was waffling on that, thnx!


I saw the hoodie pack cover, but didn't like how I'd have to double up on a hood if I was wearing a rain jacket at the same time. Am I missing something? Maybe in the summer when it's warmer w/no need for a shirt? I like that general idea tho & saw someone else recommend the packa -- I might have gone that way if I'd seen it earlier: http://www.thepacka.com/

I like the bug baffler too -- that's my back-up net. Pete's was just much easier to see through & nicer to breath against, smaller for small-me, it's like 1/2 the material.

Thnx for the heads up about the sawyer plunger, didn't know about that! I'll pick up a smart water bottle if I find one at one of the outfitters down at the beginning of the trail in ga. I'll have to see other folks' gravity setups before I figure out how/if exactly I want to do it. Maybe I'll understand after sitting in the cold squeezing water day after day ... or maybe it's not that bad? Anyway, both Jason Klass' videos are great, thanks!

Yes, the thermometer has the wind chill info on the back, thanks for pointing me to it!

I don't have a sit-pad, no -- I was thinking I'd just sit on my backpack in shelters, etc. Guess I'll learn if I need a sit-pad pretty quick.

Yeah, tan pants -- the only other choice was black, maybe I'll grab those next time, oopse!

Woah, that powercap is intense, haha. Maybe I'll get this one: http://www.panthervision.com/powercap/hunting-fishing-outdoor/vis-2575-marlin1.html. I'll think about it -- dunno which would be better, that or a headlamp, if I get a dedicated light ... but it could replace my cap, so the weight difference would be less hmm. Haha, it's really a funny piece of gear tho.

&, yeah, maybe a little backup keychain light like your Photo x-light if my iPhone fails (it fails below 20*, so I have to keep it in an inner pocket if I want to use the light).

Yep, taking some Dr. Bronner's, love that stuff -- will pick up an eyedropper. I'd heard people mention the eyedropper before & didn't make the connection & I just realized how helpful that is. Ooooooh!

Yep, bringing POH floss, I smash the case & just take the innards.

I have the non-xtherm, I know you're a fan of the other, but I bought that a while ago, couldn't return it. Plus I'll get to use it in summer. Hopefully I'll be warm enough w/o it, I feel like I overpacked a bit w/warm clothes so that'll help.

Here are the two cords on Amazon you're interested in:



Have not tried the alcohol stove in really cold weather, at maybe 35* it worked well. Guess I'll learn about that on the trail too.

The kindle battery lasts for a couple weeks the way I use it (1-3 hours of reading a day). It's a kindle voyage. Two nice things about it vs the older kindles: the screen is higher resolution so you can read the map details on guide books. & the screen is a textured glass, so you can write on it with a dry erase marker, take a pic with your iPhone, upload to fb or wherever, wipe it way, & keep writing. It even works in the dark! Just load a blank pdf page onto your kindle and turn up the back light a little. Cloud-based nighttime journal :)

Two of the shepherd stakes are for the stove system, the other two are backup stakes for the Notch. The notch comes with heavier aluminum stakes (although I bent and half broke one of them already in freezing ground in my back yard). Thanks for the links to those other stakes, I'll check them out too-late after my current stakes fail :P ... I didn't know about the badness of shepard stakes.

I have a pair of yaktrax but decided not to bring them, guess I'll be slipping around a little. Is the ice really that bad down there? Does anyone know? I have poles too, so I can dig them in & stabilize somewhat.

Yeah, I was just at my brother's place in New Hampshire. They got so much snow the local mall's roof caved in. I shoveled snow off my brother's roof a couple times. Kind of fun to pretend-fall off the roof into the drifts, scare the kiddies inside :P

Once again, thanx for all the useful info, Connie!

02-20-2015, 18:41
My rain jacket doesn't have a hood, because I like a Sou'wester rain hat. I put the long rim around front to keep the rain off my eyeglasses.

The LightHeart Gear Hoodie Pack Cover is useful because of the gap between your back and the top of the backpack is where rain water "wets out" the backpack, if you only have a rain jacket and a pack cover.

The hiking poles do not provide traction; hiking poles provide balance. Hiking poles provide arm movement that relieves pressure on knees in downhill descents (bio-mechanics). Hiking poles provide a rhythmical striding gate for ground covering miles.

I found the Vargo cleats, today, looking up links for that geargrams tent stake list. Look at the microspikes thread for the link. I know I will try the Vargo's. I like real crampons like Black Diamond, Grivel, Petzl or such that slip on hiking shoes. I have used real crampons. I trained on real crampons: I want front points. But I am not mountainclimbing. I am going to try the Vargo's for icy rocky places.

zelph has alcohol stoves with an extra metal strip that heats the layers of alcohol that happen in colder weather. That, and set the stove on a little insulation should be fine.

Because of your Feb 23 start date, I think you need more down clothing: the Alpine Jacket or equivalent and Down Pants. "PM" Tipi Walter, for advice.

FYI: The new JetBoil MiniMo regulator and SOTO Regulator OD-1R and SOTO WindMaster are good to 20 F.

If you look closely at the different Panther Vision hats, some hats have the LED's under the brim. I had LED's on the brim and it looks geeky, if noticed. Now, I have the CUB with all the LED's under the brim. Now, of course, I'm cool.

Thank you for the links for those short cords.

Thank you, for mentioning my name on YouTube.

I do have a stove video:

02-20-2015, 19:25
Raphael, nice of you to reference my format. I got a great deal of awesome advice from White Blazers!
I've made some changes, for sure. I got Altras, too, in the end. And some custom orthotics.
I was thinking about bringing a couple of smaller garbage bags-one for a pack liner (just in case), and one to sit on if or until something better comes up. Garbage bags are light and versatile, I figure.
Also, I bought some Kathoola microspikes to carry until I get through the Smokey Mountains.
I'm bringing a Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer (if you are looking for a light, warm down jacket and have the $).
Ditched some stuff, too.
I'm envious of your gear. I didn't have enough $ to start from scratch, or I totally would have gotten some of the stuff on your list.
Perhaps, I'll see you out there. Although, I have to work two weeks longer than I thought to have a job to come back to in November. So, I'm starting on March 12th instead.
Good luck! I'll look for you in the registers :)

02-20-2015, 19:54
No headlamp, just my iPhone's flashlight and Kindle's screen light. Is that a terrible idea?

Is that some sort of joke? This isn't waking up at night and needing a light to stumble into the bathroom. You will almost certainly at some point get caught out after dark hiking, our best made plans have a magical way of going awry when a pack is strapped to our back, bring a damn headlamp.

Go to the outfitter and get a good light, if you had time I'd say grab a Zebralight but you don't, just get your butt to the outfitter and grab a decent one. That is unless you think a broken ankle sounds like fun? Because that's what you're asking for using an Iphone for a light.

02-20-2015, 23:19

Okay, I'll toss the yaktrax in my bag.

Thanks for the stove tips, it sounds like I may have miscalculated on the stove so I'll bring enough food the first week that doesn't have to be cooked if things go awry & then adjust if needed.

I don't think I have time to get a pair of down pants, but I have another pair of heavy 260 weight icebreaker leggings, so I'll bring those along. They're a little large on me so they'll fit over my other leggings nicely.

I'll make sure I get the cool looking LED's! So I can sit with the cool kids. Never got to do that in high school.


I'm happy you got the Altras in the end! They seem very well made to me & my feet have been happy on a couple winter day hikes up here.

Will bring a garbage bag or two, thnx!

It was easy to start from scratch -- until recently I've been using stuff I bought circa 1994. Before the circuit I had a EMS 5500, my EMS sleeping bag weighed 6 pounds, my EMS tent weighed 8 pounds, etc. I used to be a camp counselor & one summer it all weighed in at 68 pounds WITHOUT FOOD (ended up taking on a bunch of the weight the kiddies were complaining about). That's probably one of the things that did my knees in. Anyway, NOTHING I had was suitable anymore, except maybe an old plastic cup with measurement markings on it, that's still pretty great.

See you out there, I'm sure you'll pass me at some point.


Still on the fence, but I'll take that to heart, thanks! I have gone on a test night-hike with the iPhone. The light is surprisingly good (actually brighter/more even at close distances than my old dusty maglight) and it lasts forever ... plus I don't have to worry about another battery management situation. I secure it with my neck sock worn as a bandana (which keeps it warm), so it's like having a headlamp ... although you look like an alien ship descending to other people since that pinhole light is so blinding. But perfect for showing me where I'm putting my feet & about 5 - 10 feet in front of me. It just doesn't throw super far, so, yep, I might miss a sign, or the outline of a shelter 30 feet away. And yes, I'm hoping to stop my day at around 3pm each day to give lots of leeway for unexpected delay, but of course @#$% happens.

02-21-2015, 01:14
No one has made this point in a thread:

I don't like to have a water bladder and drinking tube; I have a 2-liter and smaller in mesh pockets on the outside instead.

I have a 1/2 inch thick CCF closed cell foam sit pad in the water bladder pocket or laptop sleeve inside my backpack.

This is why I sit on my backpack (there is no frame to bend).

This is why I put my legs on my backpack, using a shorter XTherm sleeping air mattress.

There has to be something inside the backpack to provide the insulation.

02-21-2015, 02:12
The circuit has an internal foam frame, maybe this is similar to the effect of your ccf closed cell foam sit pad? It's comfy to sit on anyway.

Okay, Frye has me shopping for a headlamp. The zebralight looks nice, but I'd like something rechargeable via usb so it's compatible with my battery system, like this:


... but I know nothing about good vs bad headlamp brands, if someone wants to point me to a product -- or a thread about usb/rechargeable headlamps.

Thnx again for any advice!

02-21-2015, 07:54
The circuit has an internal foam frame, maybe this is similar to the effect of your ccf closed cell foam sit pad? It's comfy to sit on anyway.

Okay, Frye has me shopping for a headlamp. The zebralight looks nice, but I'd like something rechargeable via usb so it's compatible with my battery system, like this:


... but I know nothing about good vs bad headlamp brands, if someone wants to point me to a product -- or a thread about usb/rechargeable headlamps.

Thnx again for any advice!

Wish I could help you there. My only rechargeable device is my phone which I don't have to charge much due to my desire to use it as little as possible. I prefer a headlamp which uses one AA or two AAA batteries, it's lightweight, and in those towns which I'm just trying to get in and out quick I'm not forced to sit around waiting for something to charge.

I do know Black Diamond makes a rechargeable lamp. Or at least they did, I suppose they still do.

Petzl, and Black Diamond are probably the most popular brands. Both good. (You'll always find one or two people that have had problems, but that's with any popular product) I'll be using the BD Ion in fact to begin my trip. (Which may not turn out well, but thus far I'm happy with it)

Zebralight and Fenix are imo the best brands. I'm still questioning myself about my decision to bring the Ion instead of my ZL H51. It's only ever a maildrop away though.

02-21-2015, 08:04
The circuit has an internal foam frame, maybe this is similar to the effect of your ccf closed cell foam sit pad? It's comfy to sit on anyway.

Okay, Frye has me shopping for a headlamp. The zebralight looks nice, but I'd like something rechargeable via usb so it's compatible with my battery system, like this:


... but I know nothing about good vs bad headlamp brands, if someone wants to point me to a product -- or a thread about usb/rechargeable headlamps.

Thnx again for any advice!

My daughter bought me the Petzl TiKKa R+. Rechargeable by usb. I like it.

02-21-2015, 12:45
I gave up on headlamps, because if really cold you have to keep the batteries warm. For that reason, all my mountaineering headlamps have a battery pack you keep warm inside clothing.

Maybe I should do a video? Then and now.

I like the hat because it literally lights up the world on high beam. I was following someone thru a construction site next to her house to get to her back door. She was stumbling. I hit my REI Trail Cap LED's in the hat brim, my first LED hat, and it lit up the world.

The USB rechargeable headlamp is the good one.

But, get the hat when you can. Hands free, nothing to lose from your gear, you always have your hat. The batteries are standard watch batteries kept warm inside the headband of the hat.

02-21-2015, 21:14
I picked up a Black Diamond Ion at a local REI, oh well good enough for now. Can't recharge it, but it's light & waterproof. Getting the battery compartment off was a friggin pain in the ---.

The hat sounds really cool, Connie -- you're selling me on it.

02-21-2015, 21:28
Be careful with the case at first. Mine became easier to open with time and use. I've only used it on one trip so far but I'm really digging it. The headband is kinda funky though, I feel like the karate kid wearing it.

02-22-2015, 12:31
Ah good to hear about the lid, if it was freezing out my fingers would have torn off. Yeah it's kind of a nice retro style & I will always aspire to be like the karate kid. The other bd I was looking at was from Tron.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

02-22-2015, 16:19
FYI, to anyone planning on starting soon, many of the forest roads in the North Georgia Appalachian region are impassable at the moment due to downed trees from recent ice storms and wind. Shuttles may not be able to reach the Springer parking lot, but since Amicalola is reachable by paved roads, you might be better off starting there for the time being and doing the approach trail. Here's a link to the USFS news bulletin on the matter:
Good luck and be safe!