View Full Version : Live life for the Unexpected...

09-01-2007, 00:33
Ok, I have tried to ask a lot of questions but have had no responses. I am going to hike the AT May 2008. I am researching for all the gear that I will need for this life time journey. I am looking for the right backpack. I currently own a Camelback which I use on day hikes. I hike long distance but never have carried tents, etc. I always hike back to where I camp. Please help me in my decision on purchasing the right pack to carry tent, sleeping, etc. I need to have light weight because I have a bad back. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

09-01-2007, 00:42

Your question could yield many varied responses. Hikers can't agree on a pack any more than drivers agree on what's the best car.

Although it's a bit out of date, take a look at this backpack comparison (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=95858#post95858) chart. It will give you an idea of the types of packs WB members use on their thru-hikes.

Good luck in your search.

09-01-2007, 00:48
Thank you Roland. I went to the site that you suggested. And you are right. Purchasing a pack is very similar to purchasing a car....

09-01-2007, 09:10

May I be the first to say "check out the gear lists that are posted on here before making your purchases" to get an idea of what you might want. Then post your gear list for comments and suggestions before making your purchases. Good luck.

09-01-2007, 09:10
The tried and tested advice usually given is to get all of your other gear first so that you know how much weight and what volume your pack has to hold.

09-01-2007, 09:33

If you want a quality lightweight pack, check out http://www.ula-equipment.com/index.htm for ULA packs. His operation is closed until 1 December, but you have time for a May hike. These packs are not the lightest made, but are high quality and reasonably priced. As someone who also has a bad back, I have found that while light, I still have the support needed to be comfortable. I have the Catalyst.

As for the other items such as sleeping bag and tent, try to get the lightest, highest quality you can find. There are many bags out there that are right around one pound, and sleeping mats that are 2/3, 3/4, torso and other configurations. Figure out what you need and go as light as possible.

This site should have most of the answers you need, as the folks here are very experienced. You sometimes have to sort through some crazy talk, but not too often.;)

Good luck in your preparations.

09-01-2007, 09:35
I hike long distance but never have carried tents, etc. I always hike back to where I camp. Please help me in my decision on purchasing the right pack to carry tent, sleeping, etc. I need to have light weight because I have a bad back.

As already pointed out, equipment choices are rather personal and are based on many factors, including one's level of experience. Sgt. Rock has a great motto, "the more I carry, the more I like camping, the less I carry the more I like hiking."

There are some great threads on WB that already address equipment purchases for newbies and for those with specific needs. Just do a search and I'm sure you'll find a ton of info that may cause you to re-think your needs/wants, but will also open your eyes to great suggestions.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
09-01-2007, 11:01
Paulette, I'm not one to push hammocks on everyone, but if you have a bad back, it may actually be the very best option for you. You may want to check out the hammock forum (http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/index.php) for info about hammocking while hiking. The hammocks used for backpacking are much lighter and more stable than the type found in people's backyards.

If you absolutely want to tent and sleep on the ground, I suggest looking at Shires tarptents (http://www.tarptent.com/products.html) and Six Moons designs (http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/) - both give you lots of space for little weight penality (wallet penality is another matter :()

As for packs, it is like buying a car. Go to a good outfitter with a day pack loaded to about 25 lbs. Slip the day pack into several backpacks and try them on. Wear those that feel good around the store for 30 + minutes before deciding on a pack - and make sure they have a liberal return policy. IMO, REI (http://www.rei.com/)is the best store for this.

As for pads for the ground, I like the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core (http://www.bigagnes.com/str_pads.php?id=ia&PHPSESSID=0a6d81a01bfe3a83bd25d38d3b8432b2). Some people have had problems with these and I strongly suggest you use your pad at least 7 nights before going out in the woods with it. If it has a seam defects, it will likely show up during that test period.

As for cooking gear, I find a very light alcohol stove (I use a Vargo TI Triad (http://vargooutdoors.safeshopper.com/181/1452.htm?952)) and aluminum cookware work for me. While Titanium cookware is lighter, it does not distrubute heat well and burns everything except boiling water.

09-01-2007, 13:20
Thanks to all of you. I am doing a lot of research and when I narrow down the items I think I will need I will repost and get more suggestions. I am planning a lot of overnighters this winter season and see how things go. I am lucky to live in a beautiful hiking area.

Nearly Normal
09-01-2007, 20:03
Check this site.


Nearly Normal