View Full Version : Good Ol' Newbie Questions

10-01-2002, 16:54
Ok here goes. I have been lurking so i am not a total idiot. Well maybe a little idiot. I see a lot of talk on stoves. What about packs? What other cooking utensils are necessary other than a kettle? Has anyone tried Tyvek house wrap for a tarp? It is the same material as the Frogg Toggs. And yes I have some frog toggs. They are excellent. What about best and worse times to do the A.T. in the smokies? I am considering the clinmans dome to fontana damn route. There would be 4 of us. And any other must have equipment would be great. Thanks for your patience.


-There are always fish to fry in the next pool

SGT Rock
10-01-2002, 21:07
Well the pack question requires knowing more about what you plan to pack. Personally I've found the Moonbow Gearskin to be a great lightweight pack for someone packing ultralight to normal weights.

Cooking utensils. What you absolutely need is a spoon and a pot. Other thatn that it is also subjective. I like to have a cup as do many others, but it isn't 100% necissary. A couple of zip lock bags to carry the food in and a sack for the entire kitchen that can also be bear bagged should finish that off.

I have heard of people using Tyvek as a groundcloth but not a tarp. I suppose it could be a tarp, but my guess it would be used a lot if it worked well. Tyvek isn't new to the hiking community. What does work is some simple plastic sheeting with a tyvek floor.

As for other MUST HAVE equipment. Some sort of bag, a pad to insulate yourself from the ground. Something to keep you gear dry like a liner or cover. First aid kit, etc. That is a huge question. If you already have a gear list why not post it so we can make suggestions. You don't need to go to all the trouble of getting all the weights, but it might help.

10-01-2002, 21:07

I don't think you'll get anybody to recommend any gear right now.

There are some good gear review sites that you should look at. I don't have the specific sites at hand but I'm sure somebody will.

There have been a few reviews on this site.

Before you set your mind to one piece of gear see if you can find reviews from a couple of different people or sites.

A good rule to follow is lighter is better in most cases.

The tyvek tarp sounds like a good idea.I'm sure it's been tried before. First I would try it out for a weekend and see how it works on a trail close to home.


Former Admin
10-01-2002, 21:23
Originally posted by Hikerhead

hikerhead -
That is so polite of you to add that little note on the bottom ... LOL

10-01-2002, 21:30
I don't want anyone ragging on me:)

The Weasel
10-01-2002, 21:36
Flytyer ---

Well, if you've lurked enough, you know there is a pain in the ass in this forum who thinks it's his job to inhibit people from making comments about things like gear if they don't have the experience HE thinks they should have. The hell with him. I'll be damned if I'll allow some illiterate (I don't mind misspellings a lot, but his bad grammar and lousy syntax is, in my opinion, only a bit short of a hanging offense unless otherwise excusable!) make me censor MY thoughts. And you've asked good questions, and he ain't gonna keep me from trying to help you out. (Go away, Max. Don't respond. Just shut up for once.)

Yes, I've seen a tent made from Tyvek, in '00 by (who would have thought of his trail name?) Tyvek, who, with his wife, made it at least to about Fontana where they (not the tent) may have ended. The tent appeared to me to be durable, dry, and light; as a matter of fact, they made their packs of it as well (and he was hiking barefoot...a very strange and delightful guy! Loved him!). While it isn't necessarily the lightest choice, and there are some risks (bring extra duct tape!), it's doable. I doubt you'll keep it the whole way, but give it a shot, if you wish.

As for packs and other specific gear, take a look at the "Gear" and "Ultralight" sections here, and put a post in them. People with experience, regardless of anonymous *****ers and carpers, will share with you their experience with their pack(s), by brand and by type. If they don't, Admin should close this forum down. But you put your post in there, and I'll try to lead off (if no one beats me to the punch, and I suspect a lot WILL) about gear questions.

The Weasel

10-02-2002, 07:08
Gear selection is a very personal. And there is no consentous as to what works "best," (other than generally, lighter is better. Just consider your choices of water containers. Is a nalgene bottle better than a plastic drink bottle or better than a camel back type? Also, how much water should you carry? 1 liter? 2 liters? 3 liters? more? less?

You see it all out there. So, do your research, read the reviews and comments by others, check it out at your local outfitter, and then figure out what is going to work best for you.

10-02-2002, 08:27
Although I think everything has been covered here, there is one thing that I think is missing: Cost. I would try to keep cost of whatever you buy to a minimum. Gear needs and desires change over time. Relatively rapidly, too, if you spend a lot of time doing multiday trips. Spend time looking at:

www.mgear.com (in their hotlist section)
www.northernmountain.com (in their killer deals section)

These places tend to have gear on the cheap.

Also, Tyvek is not the same material as found in Frogg Toggs. Tyvek is completely unbreathable, in contradistinction to the Frogg Toggs stuff. They are very related, however.

10-02-2002, 08:31
About the Smomkys. I would guess that the worst times to hike the AT in the Smokys are when all the thruhikers are passing through, roughly the end of March to mid April, during Spring Break, roughly mid to late March, and the dead of summer,
late June through August. May is great, as are September and October. One advantage of hiking the AT in the Smokys in the fall is that the SOBO thruhikers are passing through. Great fun to talk to.

10-02-2002, 15:57
If I'm wrong that Frogg Toggs are not made out of
Tyvek, I'd like to know about it for my own good. I do not think that I am. Unfortunately, I don't know enough chemistry to distinguish between the Frogg Toggs use of "100% polypropylene trilaminate" and Tyvek's polyethylene fiber. The frogg toggs site does not mention the use of Tyvek and the clothing applications of Tyvek (from the Tyvek site) are limited to haz-mat type suits and other lab type suits. I was under the impression that the material that Frogg Toggs uses is a derivative of Tyvek, rather than Tyvek itself.

10-02-2002, 17:56
Please disregard this post by me. I believe Chris was right. Where's a Tyvek expert when you need one.


I'm not a Tyvek expert either, but I thought it was breathable. That's why it's used as house wrap. It's water resistant but it will let water vapor escape. In other words, it won't let water as a liquid thru, but it will pass thru as a vapor.

Are there any Housebuilding Thru-Hikers out there to answer this

10-02-2002, 18:03
A construction manager I met at Tray Mountain last May said exactly the opposite. How might one test the breathability or lack thereof of Tyvek? That is, short of making a Tyvek pullover and going for an uphill hike.

The Weasel
10-02-2002, 18:17
Folks, let's take this topic to "General Gear Talk", where I'll start a thread of the same name as this. "General" should be for topics that don't fit elsewhere, and Fly is asking really, really good GEAR questions.

The Weasel

Former Member
02-28-2003, 09:33

02-28-2003, 21:07
Chemically, polypropylene and polyethylene
are similar, but not the same.


03-03-2003, 06:20
Did the Smokies solo Clingmans to Fontana in October 02 I think it was, saw 3 people on the whole trip...
Gear? borrow as many different kinds as you can, test before you buy, then like many of us here buy a wharehouse to store all that you buy and dont like or dont use, better yet buy and if you dont like donate to the Scouts.
I was thinking the other day of what piece of gear is always with me-day hike, overnighter, section and also on any sea kayak trip-
it is the Patagonia Puffball Vest-get one because I said so and I am an expert section hiker (who is looking for wood to knock on for lying so I dont break a leg next hike!)