View Full Version : 5 days in Yosemite in prep for 2 months of AT

08-06-2016, 18:46
Spent last week in Yosemite with my buddy and his boyscouts. Had a great time, and got a couple 15 mile hikes, one of which an over nighter.

For me, the trip was largely important in figuring out a lot of my gear, almost all of which is new to me.

The LifeStraw that I bought was awesome! Not the easiest to suck water through, but not much of a concern. For me, it's a great tool to use on the go. I used it while chilling in a lake, which I found more comical than anything, but still useful and nice to have/carry. Also, it was great to have when passing by a spring. Though I had to cut the top off of my Gatorade bottle so the LifeStraw would fit inside. It was awesome to fill up and drink some food water immediately again and again.

My pack, an REI New Star, is an older model internal frame from,I think, the late 90s? I've seen reviews that went back that far, but otherwise I can't find much info about it online. It's the black and purple one. It holds so much! I'd be surprised if it wasn't at least a 90 liter pack with a 10 liter hood. I hit the jackpot. Picked it up for $15 a month ago at an estate sale, and it's in nearly brand new condition. The pack feels amazing. I believe a carried about 45lbs on the first hike and 40lbs on the second. While my feet felt the weight, my hips didn't, and for the most part my shoulders didn't feel it either. It was extremely comfortable. The elastic on the sides for the water bottles is weak, so I'll need to fix those. Straps are great, strong and seem to really help. The hood, probably 10 liters, was great to take off and use as a day pack around the waist.

I used a SMD Scout and really liked so much about it. I'm 5'10" 185" and it fit me fine. I wouldn't want to be much taller and use this tent, but primarily because I like to store a few things in my tent, and I toss and turn a LOT when I sleep. I finally figured out the tent enough to be able to use the rain fly properly, vestibules, or pull them all back and sleep under the stars. It's quite versatile, and I'm a huge fan. A big shout out to left52side for selling me this along with so many other things. (Btw... The clothes were perfect! Especially the shorts!)

I picked up a set of REI trekking poles ($130) for $30 at a surprise REI garage sale because they "needed tightening". Crazy, because they're in great shape, and I just happen to have a screwdriver! Lol. Trekking poles aren't something I ever considered until reading up on WhiteBlaze. I decided to give them a try and I'll never want to hike longer distances without them. Especially at 15oz total, and they're a necessity to pitch the SMD Scout, they're awesome! Like many others, I now swear by them. I had to soi without them on the trek back from Clouds Rest because I gave them to another scout leader who was dying with his walking branch. He wasn't sure he could make it back honestly, but once he had the poles, it was hard to keep up for awhile. He's a larger guy, but they gave him that second wind to keep going, and they held out real well.

Sadly my sleeping pad was a bust. I bought the Thermarest EvoLite, because it didn't sound/feel like grandma's plastic covered couch, and it was fairly lightweight at 17oz. I was never convinced I actually needed one, but I figured I'd try. I hated it! I'll try another, but I definitely need a longer and wider one to make it comfortable. Like I said, I move a LOT. My nights were completely uncomfortable and sleepless. Suggestions? I don't need a lot of warmth/cushion from the ground. I like to be cool or a little chilly, and I don't mind the firmness of the ground. Just need something bigger, still compressible, and nothing too heavy duty. I think the thickness was a bit uncomfortable, so thinner and firmer might be better for me.

My sleeping bag is, I think, some Ozark one I had lying around. Not lightweight, not compact, but a nice camping bag I guess. I'm looking fir more of a lightweight, down filled, quilt if possible for a good price.

I came home to packing and moving in 2 days, making my way over from Cali to Florida. Once there, I plan to hone in on my gear. And any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

08-06-2016, 21:15
My experience hiking the AT is limited to 2 sections hikes. I'm shorter than you and weight less (5'-6", 145 lbs) but I couldn't carry that much weight. I focused on reducing weight on tent, sleeping bag and backpack. For summer section hiking on the AT I'm down to a 38L bag (5-6 days food). I have greatly reduced the amount of clothes I carry and follow the guidelines Andrew Shurka talks about (13 layers) when choosing the clothing for a trip.

But if your gear works go for it. People have carried more and less and have been successful. But I'm sure there are more experienced hikers will chime in. My experience is very limited to a JMT Thru hike, 250 miles on the Florida Trail and Springer to Fontana on the AT.

Have fun and live a lifetime in every step.

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