View Full Version : Advice on costs of gear

07-18-2003, 00:32
Hey! I am planning a trip in three years. I have questions for those who have already done it. Here it is:

I read on the ATC website that most equipment costs between $1000-$2000. My backpack, tent, utensils, and cook set only costs about $275. My backpack costs about $130, my tent is about $60, and my sleeping bag is about $60. Are they good or not good? Is food and clothes what costs so much?:-?

If there is any hints, advice, whatever, I would greatly appreciate it! :D


07-18-2003, 09:50

Sounds like you got good deals! I'm curious to know what brands you got and the material your equipment is made of. (i.e. down sleeping bag versus synthetic) and also the weight of your equipment.

Then a better assessment can be made.

Thanks for the info

07-18-2003, 13:12
My backpack is a Kelty Pacific Crest 5000 External Frame Pack. It is 5000 cu. in. My sleeping bag is a Slumberjack 20 Superpacker Mummy Sleeping Bag insulated with Quallofil. My tent is a Eureka Tetragon 5 Tent - 2003 Model. My utensils are made out of Lexan. My cookset (7 in plate, 7 in fry-pan, 3/4 quart pot) is made out of aluminum, and I have an 8 oz plastic cup. Is that good or what?:-?

Kev :banana

07-20-2003, 00:32
Your pack would be 7.9 lbs,Your tent 6.10, and you bag 3.6. If I am adding correctly thats 17.9 lbs. I have only done weekend hikes so far, but this sounds like it might a little to much weight for the AT..

Saluki Dave
07-20-2003, 20:05
Wow! a 6 lb tent? I'm no ounce counter, but that is pretty hefty. It's easy to get under 4 or even 3 pounds and have a pretty nice shelter, even 2 or less if you're willing to tarp. Packs no bargain either, but then my Gregory goes almost 7 so I won't be chuckin' andy pebbles at you.

07-23-2003, 12:12
Have you been out camping with your gear? That is a good way to tell if it is too heavy. For myself, I like comfort but I will sacrifice some discomfort while hiking to have comfort when I get to an area where I want to stop for the night. If you already have the gear and want to try it out for fit and comfort take a couple of days with it in the woods. Use it and see if it works. Climb some big hills and sleep out 2-3 nights and see how everything comes together.

You will want to add your stove to the mix and include some clothing, extra shoes, sleeping pad, socks, tarp, etc. Have fun with your stuff and tell us how you like it.


07-27-2003, 00:12

Your pack, bag and tent weigh more than many people carry for a 3 day hike. Are you aware of that?

First, find or borrow or buy Lynne Whelden's Video, "Lightweight Backpacking, Secrets Revealed" and watch it every day for 5 days or every other day for 10 days -- you'll find something NEW every time you watch it.

Second, realize that the reason the "cost" of gear is in the $1000 to $2000 range is because LIGHTER means More Expen$ive unless You are willing to Learn How to Sew for Yourself.

Pack: GVP, ULA, Kelty or whatever you use should be No Larger Than You Need (or you'll fill it up with too many 'large size' items). For the AT, 2500 to 3500 ci is large enough. You're not going on an expedition to Denali or K2, just taking week long hikes inbetween Trail Towns. Look for a pack with No More than 1 pound per 1000 cubic inches. So anything with 3500 ci's that's over 3.5 pounds is really toooo heavy. I use a Lynne Whelden Pound Pack (18 oz as I have the waist belt) that holds 3500 ci. This means I have the ability to carry the bulkier lighter gear rather than the slightly heavier more compact gear.

Sleeping Bag: LIGHT weight bags will cost more than heavy bags. It's just a fact of life. 800 fill goose down is the lightest for the warmth. Pertec is the "new" light material. Not all of us can afford that. So, Campmor has a 600 fill goose down bag reasonably priced. So do Mountain Hardware, Marmot, etc. The One Thing to LOOK for is the "fill to weight ratio" -- the larger the weight to fill, the heavier the material the sleeping bag is made with. You do NOT want to purchase a sleeping bag with a high ratio of material to fill weight. The more fill, the closer the bag will be to the "temperature rating" and don't expect the Temp Rating to be accurate, although I'm told Western Mountaineering and Feathered Friends bags are very conservative with their temp ratings and the bags are good to lower temps than rated. I have a short MH Tallac, rated to 20*, which weighs 2 lbs 4 oz.)

Tent: A tent has 6 surfaces -- top, bottom and 4 sides. That's a LOT of weight when wet. And believe me, unless you hike in a dry year, that tent will get wet. Check out the tarp/tents -- there are a number of them on the internet and I'm partial to http://www.trailquest.net although I do use a SilShelter with my dog (weight 14 oz). Silnylon will dry a lot faster and you can shake out most of the moisture. Plus, it's a lot lighter. There are siltarps and siltents (which include all 6 sides) that keep the weight less than 3 pounds total.

So your gear is 17.9 lbs while my gear is 4.25 lbs.

Cost? Pack was on sale, Sleeping Bag was used 2 times and sold to me for half price, and I got the SilShelter from someone who'd already sealed the seams and sold it to me for a discount. Total cost was around $300.

Stove: Etowah Outfitter Alcohol stove was around $20 and weighs 2 oz something. Or I can use my Boy Scout Esbit stove that weighs just under an ounce. Wind screen made of an aluminum pie pan or similar material.

Pot: "Grease Pot" from Walmart (in the kitchen section) or the "aluminum cup" I found at K-Mart -- I don't have weight, 2 or 3 oz.

I found that a supersized GoLight Paddler's Stow Sack (3 oz) serves perfectly as a huge stuff sack and waterproof interior liner for my Lynne Whelden pack. I don't need a pack 'cover' as I have a pack "liner" instead.

Clothing: I wear my REI hiker shorts and a Body Sensor tee. I carry a set of mid-weight Thermies in winter and coolmax in summer. I hike in Chaco Terrano Z-2's and find I have no trouble using REI coolmax liner sox with the Chacos when necessary. I also carry a pair of wool sox to sleep in as well as lightweight gloves and a 'watch cap' of Thermax.

I'm having a rain cagoule made for me from purple silnylon after the seamstress finishes her Thru Hike. I will use this for warmth as well as rainproofing. It and the waterproof liner could double as a vapor barrier if necessary. Weight? About 7 to 8 ounces.

First aid kit of course is personal, but I find that I don't really need much more than a couple bandaids, wipes, etc. I do like to carry a bit of lanolin for my feet and hands. Weight of first aid kit? 6 ounces which includes my prescription meds for a week. Toothbrush and "powder" of baking soda and sea salt. Earplugs, plastic glasses case (can't afford to crush the glasses).

Toiletries: This is a bit heavier than I'd like, as I use "baby wipes" to wipe my face and they're wet and heavy. I use them as tee-wipes AFTER I've used them on my face. I also "pre-size" my toilet paper so that I have a FLAT stack. Nail file, tweezers.

Water: I use the Inline Filter system with tubing and Platybags, plus I carry a Wine Bladder for camp water. That's all around half a pound, empty.

For Food Ideas, if there's not a forum here, check out the Yahoo Egroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lighttrailfood/ for recipes and ways to dehydrate, etc. Here, you want the Most Calories for the weight. And this is an area where you can get creative as well.

But again, please get Lynne Whelden's video. He (Lynne) is working on an updated video, but this one is priceless nevertheless.

Hope this helps clarify the situation,
and Casey the WonderDog