View Full Version : Ridgerunner's Gear List GSMNP

02-23-2015, 00:06
I'll be on the Appalachian Trail in the smokies as a Ridgerunner from March 1st until mid-May. I won't really have an option to not hike if the weather is bad, so my gear needs to be bombproof. I'll be staying in the shelters a lot, but I need to be prepared to tent if the shelters are full or an unprepared hiker (no tent) arrives late and I need to give up my spot for them. I don't have a scale so I'm going by posted weights.

- ULA Circuit, most removable stuff off (37oz)
- 42 gallon, 3mil contractor bag (3oz est)
- Zpacks cuben pack liner (1.2oz)

41.2 oz or 2.6 lbs

Sleep System, Cold:
- Western Mountaineering Antelope 5F (2lbs 7oz)
- Neoair Xlite regular (12 oz)
- Gossamer Gear 1/8" pad (2.6oz)
- Z-lite regular (14oz)
- Goose feet Down balaclava (2oz)

69.6 oz or 4.35 lbs

Sleep system, Warm:
- 20 degree EE RevX quilt (22oz est)
- Neoair Xlite regular (12oz)
- GG 1/8" pad (2.6oz)

36.6 oz or 2.3 lbs

Clothing, cold:
- Marmot Zeus (14.4oz)
- Smartwool midweight long johns (7.6oz)
- Icebreaker 200wt long sleeve (7.5oz)
- Turtle fur beanie (2oz est)
- wool buff (1.9oz)
- REI wool glove liners (2oz est)
- REI fleece mittens (2oz est)
- MLD Rain mitts (1.3oz)
- EMS Helix Anorak (12.8oz)
- Marmot precip rain pants (8.9oz)
- Montbell fleece pants (10oz est)
- EMS polartech fleece top (10oz est)
- Smartwool hiking socks (3oz)
- microspikes (13oz)

96.4 oz or 6 lbs

Clothing, warm:
- Montbell UL Down jacket (7oz)
- Smartwool midweight long johns (7.6oz)
- Icebreaker 200wt long sleeve (7.5oz)
- Turtle fur beanie (2oz est)
- wool buff (1.9oz)
- REI wool glove liners (2oz est)
- MLD Rain mitts (1.3oz)
- Frogg Toggs top/bottom rain gear (9oz)
- Patagonia Houdini (4.5oz)

42.8 oz or 2.6 lbs

- MLD Duomid (12.5oz)
- Seek outside carbon pole (5.3oz)
- 4 Lawson ti stakes (1oz)
- 4 MSR groundhogs (2oz)
- Borah gear argon bivy (6.2oz)

27 oz or 1.7 lbs

- Bushbuddy ultra (5.5oz)
- Esbit backup tabs (2oz)
- 20L sea to summit ultrasil food bag (1.8oz)
- 50' 550 paracord (2.8oz)
- Sawyer mini(2oz)
- Smartwater bottle 1L (1.3oz)
- Platypus 1L bag (0.8oz)
- Carabiner (0.2oz)
- two mini Bic lighters (0.8oz)
- Trek 900 pot, Fourgoat lid (4.4oz)
- LMF ti spork (0.5oz)

22.1 oz or 1.3 lbs

So winter weight (when lows are expected to be below 30F at lower elevations, so 0F to 20F at higher elevations) is:

256.3 oz or 16.01 lbs base weight

Warmer weather weight when lows are going to be in the 30F to 40F area at lower elevations:

169.7 oz or 10.6 lbs base weight

Not sure where to spend money to cut weight next. I'll be out 5 days at a time so probably carrying 10 lbs of food, very little water. 27lbs total for winter and 21 for warmer weather isn't bad but I'd like to do better. One thing I know I need is a windscreen, right now I use a heavy one designed for an MSR Whisperlite so I'm going to be MYOGing one soon, hopefully under 1oz. Any comments about this in general? I'm extra worried about staying dry as that's a common issue in the smokies. I'll be wearing:

Asolo Fugitive GTX
OR Crocodile gaiters
NF nylon pants
Columbia ridgerunner shirt
Ridgerunner hat
Smartwool socks

If anyone has any questions about conditions etc they can email me at dihnekis at gmail.com

02-23-2015, 00:24
as a ridgerunner, you could certainly be called upon in a first aid/emergency/trail maintenance situation

I would also pack a high lumen headlamp, trekking poles, whistle, have a decent First Aid Kit with a space blanket, a solid folding knife, and a bahco laplander folding saw.

That's just off the top of my head for now.

02-23-2015, 00:30
also have a way to take good pictures so you can document any structure that needs maintenance. sometimes, pictures are just easier when trying to explain something.

02-23-2015, 01:53
Oops, I'll be carrying a saw, first aid, map, headlamp, and smartphone. Forgot to include them

02-23-2015, 02:18
Just out of curiosity, is there are standardized ridge runner packing list? Like, a minimum of certain things you have to have?

02-23-2015, 07:03
A little off topic but how did you come across this gig ?? Sounds like an interesting way to spend 2 1/2 months.

02-23-2015, 10:40
and a note pad and pen so you can write about all the water sources and shelters and trail conditions.

02-23-2015, 10:50
and a note pad and pen so you can write about all the water sources and shelters and trail conditions.

also take a couple trash bags so you can clean up around the shelters, a ridgerunner has a very big responsibility to the trail clubs and to the ATC.

02-23-2015, 10:58
I like your cooking system. I have and use a Solo wood burner. A little undecided on taking it on my thru hike next year. I use petroleum jelly and cotton balls to get the fire started when the wood is wet. I have also used my knife to split good size wet sticks to get to the dry wood inside. Takes a little work, but a good system. Maybe I will see you on the trail next year.

02-23-2015, 11:03
Smartwool, Icebreaker and fleece tops and bottoms: six items of clothing insulation layers?

Do you expect to be cold?

Do you have the really thin Smartwool?

I find Smartwool too warm for exertion. It is like wearing cashmere: too warm.

Two complete sets of rainwear I understand for workwear.

02-23-2015, 11:36
Former Smoky's RR here - but in warmer weather.

The equipment you will be carrying will be similar to that of a backpacker or thru hiker going that time between resupplies + the provided gear. It's really not that you need your equipment bomb proof, actually quite the opposite. They will want you to say in shelters as you are there to interact with the public. Tenting will be very rare and discouraged, and you may decide not to bring it after a while unless you know you will use it (such as Campsite 113).

You also have access to the tool boxes at each shelter, this gives you access to tarps and ropes so if really needed you can set up something (I never did, but it was nice to know it was there).

You are never that far from getting out if you needed to. IIRC Derrics is the most remote shelter. You also have the radio (and perhaps a usable cell phone), both can get you resources if you need them such as pick up / transport from trailheads. Again I never needed to do this but it is there for you.

Assisting others in a medical evac situation is actually rare, mainly because you do not have the battery power to continuously listen to the radio, so you will not know of the situation. If you do happen to have it on and hear of it and it is close enough you may request to assist. Such things will usually mean that you will be spending the night in a bed after, not a shelter, if you take them off trail unless you have time and energy to get back.

What I do recommend is getting the AWOL guide book pages for the Smokies and write on them the names of what radio frequency is for what area along the trail. It is quite confusing in the field picking the right one without some guide. You want at least 2 usable frequencies for each part of the trail as there are dead spots and you may need to switch to the alternate.

As for rain, Ridgerunners have a blessing (or good luck) of not having to deal with much of it. I got thru with only maybe 2 days of some rain, many days of drizzle mist but IIRC no soakers. Get to your shelter by 4 and you should be good to go. But yes be prepared just incase you upset the god that watches over the ridgerunner and keeps them dry, but also remember you will have a dry shelter so you just need a change of dry warm clothes to get into, or at least a warm dry bag.

Good Luck and enjoy

02-23-2015, 12:07
Since you have access to the tool box, you can stash extra clothes and supplies in them. But don't go overboard as at some point you'll have to clean them out of your stuff. And when you do go down to town to resupply, you can leave most of your gear up there so you can come back with a lot of stuff.

02-23-2015, 12:24
also take a couple trash bags so you can clean up around the shelters, a ridgerunner has a very big responsibility to the trail clubs and to the ATC.

Forgot this one:

Trashbags. I brought maybe 3-4 empty compactor bags for this per 5 day patrol. I wanted the strength of the compactor bags to ensure that they were not going to pop as some of the stuff you will pack out you will not want to get on your gear. Many times you will be leaving from your patrol heavier then you started with.

02-23-2015, 13:00
The Sawyer mini filter is nice and light, but you will have to be careful with it in freezing weather. Plan how you will keep it warm or use something else to treat water in your cold weather setup.

02-23-2015, 13:36
A little off topic but how did you come across this gig ?? Sounds like an interesting way to spend 2 1/2 months.

The ATC Ridgerunners and Caretakers provide information about the A.T. and its intended primitive experience, its location, regulations, and traditions. They work to encourage the best behavior on the part of hikers, to facilitate a positive Trail experience (particularly for those who are poorly prepared), and to elicit the support of those who live nearby, but who may not understand or use the Trail properly. They discourage and mitigate misuse of the Appalachian Trail and its environs by performing educational and public-relations functions. Ridgerunners are assigned to hike specific sections of the A.T., while Caretakers remain at specific overnight sites. They must be able to work both independently with minimal supervision and cooperatively as a member of a team. Applicants should demonstrate the interest and ability to contribute to the public-service effort of working on a national scenic trail and to promote volunteerism and membership in the ATC and its club affiliates. They should possess the required skills listed below and be able to attend required training. Applicants must demonstrate maturity, responsibility, initiative, and self-motivation.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Meet and greet the public and educate them about the A.T., the ATC, local Trail clubs, local land-owning agencies, and Leave No Trace hiking/camping methods.
Advise visitors and hikers of rules on the A.T. and of NPS, USFS, state, and local regulations.
Perform trail maintenance and pick up litter on the Trail, at camp/shelter sites, and at Trailhead parking areas.
Assist visitors and hikers whenever possible; assist emergency-response agencies when requested.
Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T. and its shelters (including vandalism, vagrancy, forest fires, beer and liquor parties, suspicious persons, vehicles, unauthorized hunting, tree cutting, etc.)
Assist local maintaining clubs with their backcountry sanitation-management projects. Maintain privies at A.T. shelters in satisfactory condition.
Maintain a daily log, submit written or e-mailed reports to supervisors at the end of each work period, and submit a written report to ATC at the end of the season detailing highlights, problems, etc.
Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, club volunteers, agency partners, and local officials.

Required Skills

Commitment to Trail- and resource-protection efforts
Proven ability to work alone with minimal supervision
Excellent communication and education skills
Ability to interact with the public under stressful conditions
Extensive backpacking experience

Desired Skills

Knowledge of Leave No Trace principles
Previous A.T. volunteer experience
Knowledge of the Appalachian Trail and ATC
Current first-aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First-Aid certification is preferable)

Rocket Jones
02-23-2015, 14:54
I noticed your boots (Asolo Fugitive GTX). Same thing I wear. These boots might not be the best choice because once they get wet inside, they take forever to dry. A simple pair of non-waterproof trail runners might be a better option.