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Regulus
01-15-2008, 20:00
I've set a $1600 limit for buying my gear for my thru this year.
Here's what I already have:

One pair of new Merrell trail runners
an old military sleeping pad
a backpack
an old army poncho
knife
ball cap
shorts
trash compactor bags
tent stakes
fuel bottle
homemade alcohol stove
lighter
1 liter nalgene H2O bottle
vitamins C/I
Spoon
Bandanna
550 cord
zip lock bags
tp
toothbrush/paste/floss
compass
data book
1st aid kit
plane ticket
transportation to and from trail (GA & ME)

I'm planning to start late Feb 27th

I'm hoping the collective knowledge and experience here can help me make this happen by giving suggestions on what equipment will work for my budget and possibly where/how to obtain it.

I don't care about name brands or new items.

I've never truly hiked but spent a few years in the infantry and have been working in construction since. I have gained a lot of weight but I've been exercising for a past 3 months and have lost 15lbs.

I've placed an add in a regional paper looking for backpacking gear.

Anyway, any advice is appreciated.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-15-2008, 20:08
I suggest you read this thread for ways to save money on gear.
Cheap Gear How to Dirt Bag and Deal Shop Like a Professional (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=15329)

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-15-2008, 20:20
Spadout.com (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/gab_redirect.php?id=60&script=showthread&forumid=38) is a service that search many gear outlets and compares the prices. I've gotten several good deals using it.

Ideas for an Inexpensive Thru-hike (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2822) is an article on this site that gives info on low-cost hiking.

turtle fast
01-15-2008, 20:21
1. you will need to carry extra water. Use 32 oz gatoraide bottles, cheap and they will do adequately.
2. Get good socks...no cotton...wool blend merino is the best Smartwool, Fox river, Wigwam, are good brands. Use a linersock...polyproplyne to minimize blisters.
3. Sleeping bag rated for at least 20 degrees...synthetic is easy to care for and cheaper than down.
4. Pot 1 liter for your alcohol stove and eat out of it...so no plate needed.
5. long sleeve shirt to ward off mosquitos up the trail and as a layer
6. Long johns...polyproplyne
7. Zip off pants...combine long pants with shorts for various conditions
8. Insulating jacket like 200 weight polar fleece, for layering in cold conditions and a pillow to sleep.
9. Tent single person...many makes and models...check Campmor .com for good prices and check the weights you want 3-4 lbs or so.
10. Waterproof silnylon bag for hanging your food (bear bag)
Lastly check the thru hiking gear information on the site here can give you other insites...this list is what I noticed right off the bat that you were missing...I am sure their are other things...but your military gear is just fine.

TNjed
01-15-2008, 20:25
you'll also need some way to clean up your water, iodine tablets, or a filter. Else you'll be feeling bad pretty soon.

mountain squid
01-15-2008, 20:29
Important things that are missing from your list:

Tent - Tarptent (http://www.tarptent.com/) or Six Moon Designs (http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/) - $250.00
Sleeping bag (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/newreply.php?do=postreply&t=31759) - $400.00 (I'd go with Western Mountaineering (http://www.westernmountaineering.com/index.cfm?section=Products&page=Sleeping%20Bags), which is probably the most expensive)
Maps (https://www.atctrailstore.org/catalog/iteminfo.cfm?itemid=190&compid=1) - $165.00

Approximate Total: $815.00

It might be too late to order any of these, but you got to start somewhere.

That leaves $800 for clothing and other minor things.

Suggest you do more research and then ask more specific questions.

See you on the trail,
mt squid

Appalachian Tater
01-15-2008, 20:33
I would also make sure I had a good backpack. You don't say what kind you have.

Regulus
01-15-2008, 20:46
Thank you for the fast responses. I will certainly research all of this info asap.
As far as the backpack:
It's a McKinley. I'm not sure what exactly it is but some of the lettering reads:
Protec Equipment
ALS
Togiak 65
DLT

Regulus
01-15-2008, 20:49
I should add that I find it pretty comfortable training with 32lbs and it doesn't seem stressed.

spittinpigeon
01-15-2008, 20:50
Definitely look at the tarptents that Mt. Squid posted, 3-4 lbs is not a good weight for a tent.

88BlueGT
01-15-2008, 20:51
I would load that pack with 40lbs and go do a 20-30 mile weekend hike in it before I brought it for a thru-hike. You want to be 100% SURE that its going to be OK.

Marta
01-15-2008, 20:54
Regulus--One thing you could do is hang onto your money and stop at the outfitter in Neel's Gap on the way to Springer. They have a lot of stuff specifically tailored for the long-distance AT hiker. With your budget you should be able to get everything you need, fitted to you correctly.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-15-2008, 20:56
Does the pack look like this? (http://www.ct-troop39.org/images/mckinley.gif)

Regulus
01-15-2008, 21:00
Does the pack look like this? (http://www.ct-troop39.org/images/mckinley.gif)

No, I'll go take a pic and post it in a sec... :)

Regulus
01-15-2008, 21:08
http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o27/SolitaryWarrior_2006/DSCF1045.jpg

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o27/SolitaryWarrior_2006/DSCF1047.jpg

ScottP
01-15-2008, 21:31
does that 1600 include replacement shoes along the way? You'll probably go through a pair every 400-600 miles (about 5 total for the trail).

If you're looking to save money on gear you should also think about pushing back your start date a month. It's tough to have a sleeping bag that will be comfortable in February and in July.

gumball
01-15-2008, 22:48
One of the best and most important investments I made was my sleeping bag. It has saved my narrow behind on more than one occasion, both weight and warmth wise.

scavenger
01-15-2008, 23:02
http://www.gossamergear.com/gossamergear/images/gear_lists/Ultracheap_Henley.pdf

thats a link to a proposed $200 ultralight gearlist

dessertrat
01-15-2008, 23:03
Your "big four" is where you should focus. The campmor 20 degree down bag and a tarptent under two pounds would be a good start, as would a lightweight backpack. Also, a good down vest or jacket and a thin fleece or smartwool top. Those will save a lot of weight.

I think if I were doing a thru, I would shoot for a weight of less than 20 pounds without food or water, 35 lbs at maximum food and water. This is a realistic weight, including camera equipment, journal, paperback book, etc. (the things people so often forget).

Appalachian Tater
01-15-2008, 23:12
Consider buying a good-condition used bag, shelter, and pack. Start with the Gear for Sale forum here. Your money will go a lot further. Just make sure the sleeping bag still has loft.

You can make do with a lot of things, like a heavy bag, or clothes you already have, and cut your own hiking staff, and use Gatorade bottles, but if you don't have comfortable, well-fitting shoes and pack, you won't be able to hike very well. Given the choice between the wrong shoes and going barefoot, I'd choose barefoot.

Regulus
01-19-2008, 11:54
I thought I has my trail runners all set but some things don't turn out as planned. Does anyone have an opinion on Merrell's Moab Ventilators? They are pretty cheap at $75.00 each and are extremely comfortable.
Thanks.

Regulus
01-19-2008, 12:05
I figure to try sealskinz w/ smartwool socks in wet weather.

Lyle
01-19-2008, 12:18
and are extremely comfortable.
Thanks.


Not familiar with these in particular, but you hit on THE key here. Everything else is secondary. Many cheap shoes work fine, as long as they're comfortable.

chicote
01-19-2008, 12:34
"maps $165" <== not needed. Many people thru hike w/o maps. The guide book should be sufficient.

Mongoose2
01-19-2008, 14:41
Regulus; I'm so cheap my dollar bills scream when I open my wallet! I have found great bargins at Campmor (20 degree bag and SD tent) and Coleman.com for my cannister stove, Hiking poles etc (great deals, great quality). You do not need a $400.00 bag! I scored a great pair of Dunham lightweight boots at Marshalls (800 miles and still going). Of course, I also found a number of items (esp clothing/cooking gear) at Goodwill. By the way Merrell makes a great shoe and supports the A.T. Good luck!

Regulus
01-20-2008, 10:26
Your "big four" is where you should focus. The campmor 20 degree down bag and a tarptent under two pounds would be a good start, as would a lightweight backpack. Also, a good down vest or jacket and a thin fleece or smartwool top. Those will save a lot of weight.

I think if I were doing a thru, I would shoot for a weight of less than 20 pounds without food or water, 35 lbs at maximum food and water. This is a realistic weight, including camera equipment, journal, paperback book, etc. (the things people so often forget).

Which specific campmor bag are you referring to?
Thanks,

Mongoose2
01-20-2008, 11:11
The Campmor brand 20 degree bag. It's a great choice at just over $100.00

http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=86896&memberId=12500226

Jim Adams
01-20-2008, 11:48
if you shop smart, stay away from the ULTIMATE, OVERPRICED, LIGHTER THAN HELIUM equipment you can honestly outfit yourself with everything you need new for about $600 and still only carry a 35lb pack. (ex.- campmor, 20* sythetic coleman / peak 1 bag, $39.95, 3 lbs., rating is honest.)
the UL stuff is nice but if you are not an experience backpacker, you may not have the knowledge of the use and care for such things to make them last or work for you. this is not a cut on you but simply a helping hint. you can certainly gain the knowledge quickly with a little experience.
you are young @ 32 and 35lbs is not bad...shop smart, have fun and put the rest of the money toward the trip itself.

geek

JAK
01-20-2008, 12:30
Regulus,
First of all, Stonington CT is a really nice town. I sailed a small regatta there once with the sailing team from the U.S.Coast Guard Academy. Really nice folks, so thanks. I didn't win though, so you might want to do something about some of your squirrely winds. :)

Gear list for $1600
Here is where I think you stand to spend/save the most money:

Trail runners - these can be very expensive per mile so put a lot of thought into it. Good stuff are often discontined or not available to you when you need it, so you have to get good at recognizing stuff that will fit well and wear well when you find it on sale when you need it.
Sleeping Bag - Not a bad place to do some research and spend some $$$, if you know what you want, but I would still keep it cheap for a 3 season solution.
Backpack - Try and keep it under $150 and 1.5 pounds, but more than 3000ci.
Shelter - You can save a lot here, especially with your grunt background. Compared to all of the above this is also the easiest to DIY, especially if you are of the tarp and/or bivy ilk.
Small stuff - Keep the number of items down. They add up. I like your list.

Regulus
01-22-2008, 10:55
I'm considering wearing my old army issue polypro top and bottom for cold weather, if they still fit, I have to dig them out. Does anyone have experience with these? Here's a picture of the top I found on the web:

http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o27/SolitaryWarrior_2006/polyproshirt.jpg

Thanks.

Hooch
01-22-2008, 11:10
Another good place to look for good quality cheap gear is Campsaver (http://www.campsaver.com/). Good stuff, good selection, good prices. Of course, Marta's suggestion about getting outfitted at Neel's Gap isn't a bad idea at all. Whatever you do, don't skimp on a sleeping bag, bet the best one you can afford and don't skimp on crappy shoes/boots. As a grunt, you can appreciate the need to take care of your feet.

Regulus
01-22-2008, 14:12
Thanks for all the info folks.
I purchased new an MSR HUBBA and a Campmor 20* bag. Total: $292.91, shipping included. I have a pack and pad. The pack is very strong/sturdy/heavy and the pad might absorb water. Will test. Once I get my tent, bag and a few other items I'm going to do the North-South trail in RI to test it all out. Although Marta's suggestion is a good one I'd like to test and get used to all the gear before I go. I did some walking in the Merrell Moab Ventilators today and I like them very much. My feet hurt slightly but the shoes need some breaking in so I'm not worried it's the shoes themselves.

Hooch
01-22-2008, 14:25
I did some walking in the Merrell Moab Ventilators today and I like them very much. My feet hurt slightly but the shoes need some breaking in so I'm not worried it's the shoes themselves.IMHO, that's the best way to break in new hiking shoes/boots. Just put 'em on and wear 'em! I did that last year when I bought a new pair of hiking boots. I wore them to work for a couple weeks in a row. Working 12 hour night shifts as a nurse will break in anything you have on your feet, trust me. :D Just take comfy shoes as backup if they hurt your feet too much.

Happy
01-22-2008, 14:43
I've set a $1600 limit for buying my gear for my thru this year.
Here's what I already have:

One pair of new Merrell trail runners
an old military sleeping pad
a backpack
an old army poncho
knife
ball cap
shorts
trash compactor bags
tent stakes
fuel bottle
homemade alcohol stove
lighter
1 liter nalgene H2O bottle
vitamins C/I
Spoon
Bandanna
550 cord
zip lock bags
tp
toothbrush/paste/floss
compass
data book
1st aid kit
plane ticket
transportation to and from trail (GA & ME)

I'm planning to start late Feb 27th

I'm hoping the collective knowledge and experience here can help me make this happen by giving suggestions on what equipment will work for my budget and possibly where/how to obtain it.

I don't care about name brands or new items.

I've never truly hiked but spent a few years in the infantry and have been working in construction since. I have gained a lot of weight but I've been exercising for a past 3 months and have lost 15lbs.

I've placed an add in a regional paper looking for backpacking gear.

Anyway, any advice is appreciated.

Purchase a tarptent contrail tent.

Purchase a WM ultralite bag (20degrees)

Purchase a WM down Jacket (for camp and lower your sleeping bag rating)

How much does your pack weight?...consider the Gossimer Gear Mariposa if you are under 32 lbs with food and water.

Check your pad's weight...consider the Gossimer Gear Torsa Pad in addition for the winter months and pack support!

Your BIG Four are Covered...spend the rest on a nice hat, gloves and trail shoes!!!

Have a great hike!!!