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jamey
01-02-2009, 05:17
Hi everyone, this is my first post! I've been lurking around for a while reading but i just signed up... Iíve been putting together a list of gear to buy piece by piece in preparation for a thru hike. Iím active duty in the Navy now so planning and buying my gear is about all I can do now heh. As Iíve never hiked this far (actually the longest real hike Iíve done is hiking the approach trail to springer and back) I want to make sure the gear I buy will be good for a thru hiker, and not just read reviews from randoms using the gear for who knows what. So please take a look at the gear Iíve already bought, gear I plan to buy, and please make suggestions as I am completely open to them.

Iíve already bought the following:
Sleeping bag: quest -15 bag ($90 off sale, i know ill need a lighter one for summer 3lb 7oz
Tent: Eureka ZeusII tri-climate less than 3lbs
Boots: vaude hiking boots fitted at thebackpacker in Columbia, SC
Bottom layer: Iíve bought a few pair of sheer thermals (not the pleated kind) all man made material.

Below is a list of the gear Iíve done research on and feel pretty set about, but I would like to put this list up for scrutinizing.
Back pack: Osprey Athear 70 4lb 9oz
Pad: Therm-a-Rest prolite 4 24 oz
GPS: Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx GPS 7.5 oz
Bowls: Guyot designs squishy bowl and cup 5oz
Stove: MSR whisperlite 13.1oz


Finally, I have questions about the following items and be sure to give your suggestions about gear I have not thought about.
-Should I bring a water filter or just the id/vc tablets, Iíve been looking into the msr mioc water purifier also.
-I have gortex pants and a gortex jacket from my time spent in a special programs group but they are heavy IMO compared to what thru hikers might normally wear. And I wouldnít really call them rain proof at all lol.
- what kind of dry cover should I get for my pack or do they normally come with one?
- I have some pretty nice fleeceís that I was issued, pit zips and front pockets and draw cord in the bottom rim. Will this be good enough for a middle layer?
-What outer should I get!?!?!? I was looking at the north face tri-climate jackets at dicks with the zip in fleece but canít find reviews and they do seem heavy but idk, what should I be looking to get?
- what kind of food should I plan for? Are those hiking meals good or are they heavy and horrible like MREís?

buckwheat
01-02-2009, 08:10
Tent: Eureka ZeusII tri-climate less than 3lbs

The manufacturer says this is a 2-person tent. Also says it ways 3 pounds 14 ounces. Seems like you could find some ounces here.

I've never heard of your sleeping bag manufacturer. There are much lighter bags available, but you'll have to work really hard to find a good deal (I waited, and waited, and waited, but then eventually found a $250.00 bag onsale for $130.00 after coupons.) Your bag is filled with synthetic material which is both bulky and heavy.

You will not need the GPS device (and I have the same device, seems a lot heavier than 7.5 oz.). I wouldn't carry this on my thru-hike owing to its dead weight. You won't need it for navigation and will probably be carrying AT-specific guidebooks or maps.

The MSR Whisperlite is very heavy for a thru. Consider trading it in for a MSR Pocket Rocket (weight savings ... almost half a pound!)

Definitely, since you have time, research your purchases before committing the money. Weight considerations should dominate your research. Some things (like whether or not to carry a water filter) will boil down to personal preference (some just take water purification tablets, and some don't bother at all since there's ample water all along the AT.)

Gore-tex used to be the fabric to have. There are much better fabrics available nowadays (such as silicon-impregnated nylon or Tyvek ... lighter, more breathable, but still waterproof/rainproof fabrics).

My pack came with a cover. I'd call it water resistant rather than waterproof. In an all-day soaker, it probably wouldn't hold up. I'm not trusting my pack to be waterproof at any rate. Everything I keep inside it will be inside a waterproof stuff sack. There are third-party pack covers available (Google: Sea-To-Summit and get your wallet ready). I'd get this last so that you can make sure what you buy fits your pack (get this item at the outfitter and bring your fully-packed pack along to test-fit.)

I think fleece is great for a mid-layer. I was out in 10-degree, very windy weather yesterday for about 4 hours dressed in: polyester undershirt, fleece mid and about a $100 Columbia shell. I (purposely) stood on the edge of a frozen lake head-on into the wind to test my gear. I laughed at God. I couldn't even tell it was cold outside. I'm certain that God has it in for me in some other way, however, so if I had it to do all over again, I probably wouldn't have laughed at God.

As to food, check out the food forum. Hiking the AT, I've learned by reading White Blaze, isn't a 2,100 mile hike. It's a series of 5-7 day 100-mile hikes with town stops in between to shop for food, shower, resupply, drink, party, etc. You'll want light high-calorie foods, but by your second resupply, you'll have figured out what you really want and what's available, so don't stress this part.

Cheers,
Buckwheat

BigBlue
01-02-2009, 08:51
Like Buckwheat said, the tent is a little on the heavy side for one person to use, my wife and I use the Six Moon Design Lunar Duo which If I remember weighs 2lb 10oz I think.
I've used the Whisperlite doing solo and it is heavy but really nice to have a quick boil. For a realy light stove check out the Esbit stove although I'm not sure about fuel availability on the trail, they work extremely well though.
Ditch the GPS and bring the Appalachian Pages guide book you'll find it invaluable on the trail.
My wife has the smaller Osprey pack and loves it, don't know about your model though. And finally yes for the fleece.

rpenczek
01-02-2009, 09:34
When I started out, I had a prolite 4 and a stove similar to the wisperlite.

I changed right away to a Big Agnes insulated aircore (more comfortable, much more comfortable) and packs smaller. Also, I changed from the wisperlite to a Snowpeak gigapower (not great in the winter, but much lighter and easier to deal with).

As to packs, I started with a Jansport Carson (external frame and 5000 sqin). Then, I when to a Gregory Whitney (great suspension, really comfortable, over 5000 sqin, but really heavy). Finally, I landed on a Granitegear Nimbus Meridian. At 3800 sq in, this is plenty big and its light compared to the other packs I own.

Finally, I own the squishy bowl and cup, the bowl is fine, but unless you just drink shots, the cup will not due. I like a good size cup in titanium, sometimes I will boil my coffee water right in the cup on my gigapower.

Keep reading posts here on WB, especially in the section on ultra lite. This will give you ideas on what hear to consider before buying three packs like me. (They don't go to watse, sometimes one of my Scouts with no pack or a dad will use them).

rpenczek
01-02-2009, 09:37
One other thing, rather than using a pack cover, line your pack with a trash compactor bag (really heavy plastic). If you get them in white, you get the added bonus of being able to find stuff in your pack easier.

Worldwide
01-02-2009, 09:58
Gear reccomendations are hard unless you know how the person likes to pack what their pet peeves are and such.

Do you mind critters crawling on you at night? If not you could use a tarp set up instead.

Do you mind stuff floating in your water? Filter vs chemicals, or dip and sip.

Do you sleep warm? Meaning can you sleep at 25 degrees comforatably in a 35 degree bag?

Can you sew, are you handy? Some things can be homemade

What is your budget? All the gear suggestions that are made need to keep the wallet in mind.

Are you of the buy it once mentality? Meaning name brand with lifetime warranty versus off brand items that work well.

Phreak
01-02-2009, 10:03
I've never heard of your sleeping bag manufacturer. There are much lighter bags available, but you'll have to work really hard to find a good deal (I waited, and waited, and waited, but then eventually found a $250.00 bag onsale for $130.00 after coupons.) Your bag is filled with synthetic material which is both bulky and heavy.

Quest is a private label for Dicks Sporting Goods. Low quality, family car camping oriented gear.

Worldwide
01-02-2009, 10:11
I met a couple in the Smokies that froze their collective butts off in a Dicks -15 degree bag ( not sure of the model )in 19 degree weather. Don't trust their ratings!

buckwheat
01-02-2009, 12:01
Couple more comments for your consideration (just incorporate these into your thinking):

Pack
Worry about your pack last. You probably won't need something as large as the Aether 70. How you buy the pack will end up being just as important as which pack you buy. Visit one or two outfitters and let them show you all their packs. Take everything you intend to put in your pack to the store with you and give them a good shakedown. Never buy the pack that day. Use these trips to figure out which pack you want, but don't pull the wallet out. Then, go home and do the research on the internet for the best price. Call up your outfitter and give them the chance to match that price. If they agree, tell them to put the pack in the back room and you'll be right over to pick it up. If they can't be competitive, buy the pack online.

You'll inevitably end up with 2 or 3 packs if you hike for any length of time because the type of pack suitable for a 2,100-mile thru hike really isn't the same as the pack you'd use for the occasional 4-day hike in the woods near your house, or the day-hikes you plan when car-camping.

Sleeping Pad
Dude, before you spend the mucho dinero for the pin cushion you're about to purchase, visit your local Wal-Mart. There's a lot of gear you will never, ever want to purchase at Wal-Mart because it is almost always too heavy and cheapo ... but there are a few exceptions, and a sleeping pad is one of them. I got mine for $6 and it's every bit as good as the $80.00 Therm-A-Rip 4 that will be of absolutely no use to you the moment a stick pokes a hole into it. Recommend you avoid air matress-type pads for a thru hike; instead look at the egg-crate type.

Waterproof Stuff Saks
While on the subject, the other thing you can safely buy at Wal-Mart are waterproof stuff sacks. You will save mucho dinero. Also, Merino-wool socks can be had cheaper at Wal-Mart or Sams. Just make sure you get 70% or better Merino wool in the blend. As to socks, I never thought I needed a sock liner, but boy what a relief on the blisters! Get cheapo polyester "Dad socks" for this purpose at any Wal-Mart or Sam's club. Same with crok type river-fording shoes. Very cheap at Wal-Mart.

Jacket
I'd avoid the jackets with zippered layers unless you are doing Winter alpine hiking. I got one, and what I found out was that you're never going to zipper the fleece into the jacket anyway and that the extra weight of all those zippers isn't worth it. You're going to layer, so, the zippers are just wasted extra baggage. They're also more costly, I think. Get a solid polyester base layer full-length underwear, you already have good fleece, so spend some extra bucks on a solid waterproof and windproof shell. When you want ultra warm ... wear two fleeces. There's almost no advantage to having the ability to zipper things into the jacket, so it's just extra weight.

Stove
You might also look at the JetBoil PCS. It's an "all-in-one" stove solution that has better boil times than anything else on the market. You end up carrying less fuel weight with this stove solution than you do with competing solutions, and you can boil water in 2 minutes (instead of 6-8 minutes for other types of stoves.)

Cheers
Buckwheat

KG4FAM
01-02-2009, 12:12
Hi everyone, this is my first post! I've been lurking around for a while reading but i just signed up... Iíve been putting together a list of gear to buy piece by piece in preparation for a thru hike. Iím active duty in the Navy now so planning and buying my gear is about all I can do now heh. As Iíve never hiked this far (actually the longest real hike Iíve done is hiking the approach trail to springer and back) I want to make sure the gear I buy will be good for a thru hiker, and not just read reviews from randoms using the gear for who knows what. So please take a look at the gear Iíve already bought, gear I plan to buy, and please make suggestions as I am completely open to them.

Iíve already bought the following:
Sleeping bag: quest -15 bag ($90 off sale, i know ill need a lighter one for summer 3lb 7oz -15, not very likely. Cheap out on your summer bag, put the money into the winter bag. Feathered Friends, Western Mountaineering, Mont Bell and Marmot all make some top of the line bags if your budget can handle it. Campmor has a house brand down sleeping bag that a lot of folks reccomend if you are looking for a budget bag.
Tent: Eureka ZeusII tri-climate less than 3lbs looks good
Boots: vaude hiking boots fitted at thebackpacker in Columbia, SC most folks use trail runners, but whatever makes YOUR feet happy
Bottom layer: Iíve bought a few pair of sheer thermals (not the pleated kind) all man made material.

Below is a list of the gear Iíve done research on and feel pretty set about, but I would like to put this list up for scrutinizing.
Back pack: Osprey Athear 70 4lb 9oz Good Pack, there are other options that are much lighter.
Pad: Therm-a-Rest prolite 4 24 oz Foam Pad is lighter and cheaper, put the money into a good sleeping bag
GPS: Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx GPS 7.5 oz Not needed for AT
Bowls: Guyot designs squishy bowl and cup 5oz
Stove: MSR whisperlite 13.1oz Good for Winter, Snow Peak Lite Max or MSR Pocket Rocket are all that is needed for 3 season use


Finally, I have questions about the following items and be sure to give your suggestions about gear I have not thought about.
-Should I bring a water filter or just the id/vc tablets, Iíve been looking into the msr mioc water purifier also. Most of the water on the AT is good. I like a filter so I can pump out of mud puddles.
-I have gortex pants and a gortex jacket from my time spent in a special programs group but they are heavy IMO compared to what thru hikers might normally wear. And I wouldnít really call them rain proof at all lol. Marmot Precip is a staple, Frogg Togs are pretty common. Ponchos/Capes are multi use if you are ok with flapping.
- what kind of dry cover should I get for my pack or do they normally come with one? Silnylon, they are all pretty much the same. If you want to get something that is untraditional then the Packa is pretty cool.
- I have some pretty nice fleeceís that I was issued, pit zips and front pockets and draw cord in the bottom rim. Will this be good enough for a middle layer? Maybe, check the weigh. Sounds like it would work.
-What outer should I get!?!?!? I was looking at the north face tri-climate jackets at dicks with the zip in fleece but canít find reviews and they do seem heavy but idk, what should I be looking to get? Don't shop for backpacking gear at Dick's. I went in there for the first time after Christmas and the only things decent that they had were some Kelty Packs and Mountain House meals. Go to a real outfitter or shop online.
- what kind of food should I plan for? Are those hiking meals good or are they heavy and horrible like MREís? Mountain House and Enertia are pretty good, much better than MRE. Have not tried the others.

Spider
01-02-2009, 12:25
- what kind of dry cover should I get for my pack or do they normally come with one?

- what kind of food should I plan for? Are those hiking meals good or are they heavy and horrible like MREís?

First off, welcome to whiteblaze!

Though I've never done a thru hike, and some thru hikers may feel differently, I just use a big trashbag with holes cut out for the straps for my dry cover. I looked at those prices and I'd rather get it for free.

And I love MRE's!!! Thought I'd throw that in there. =]

Blissful
01-02-2009, 16:02
Wal mart does not make waterproof stuff sacks that I know of. Ours were not.

People will say don't use a pack cover, but I did (sil nylon one) and use Reynolds oven bags to double bag my essentials. Worked fine.

Your sleeping bag is heavy and the rating on it will likely not be up to par. Just to let you know. You can get a nice Cats Meow for a good price at campmor.

Don't need GPS for the AT. A map will do.

Don't need a bowl. Eat out of your pot.

(your questions) -
Aqua Mira works fine.
Lots of hikers like Frogg Togs for rain gear. I used Marmot precip myself.
Lots of threads here on WB on hiker food, outer layers, etc. Do a search for them.

Save weight as much as you can or you will be eager to lose it by Neel Gap. Don't rush to go out and buy gear. Take time to look over gear reviews and what other thru hikers have used. And look for deals.

gohawks
01-03-2009, 00:38
Wal mart does not make waterproof stuff sacks that I know of. Ours were not.


I don't know how waterproof the stuff sacks walmart sells are, but most definitely they do sell them at the local walmarts in the midwest.

They are a coated nylon and come in packs of 3 I believe. They are all different sizes and colors. Something like $12 for the 3 or 4 of them.

I've never tested their waterproof-ness

fehchet
01-03-2009, 07:43
I use a blaze orange, waterproof pack cover -- purchased from the AT store.
Excellent answers for you so far.
I wish you well on your hike and, for sure, thanks for serving your country.

buckwheat
01-03-2009, 09:09
Wal mart does not make waterproof stuff sacks that I know of. Ours were not.

Thanks for the insight Blissful. I'll be testing mine at any rate, but they are advertised to be "dry sacks."

Here's the info on what I purchased:

Outdoor Products
3-Pack Combo
Ultimate Dry Sacks
"Ultra lightweight, weather-resistant and roll-top compression"
$12.99

Here's a link to the actual product from another retailer. (http://www.campbound.com/Outdoor-Product-Uultimate-Dry-Sack-3-Pack-Combo.aspx)

These are made of silnylon. Seams are double-stitched, taped and factory seam-sealed. There were 3 sizes in the combo pack:


Small: 7.7" W x 13" H - 122 cu. in.
Medium: 9.5" W x 15.5" H - 244 cu. in.
Large: 10.75 W x 22" H - 488 cu. in.

I think these comparable favorably to Sea-To-Summit roll-top dry sacks at well more than half off the price - maybe even 1/3d the price depending on where you shop.

"Waterproof" might be overstating it, as I haven't given these the "Consumer Reports treatment" yet. But they are definitely water resistant and have a watertight roll-top buckle enclosure.

Cheers,
Buckwheat

Worldwide
01-03-2009, 09:27
They state only the roll top is "weather tight" whatever that means. The maybe halfthe price of Sea to Summit but there is a rule of thumb I refer to in everything. "You can't get the best product for the least spent" and "There is a cost of doing business and a cost of not doing business".

I have on occasion hung my food at a shelter in a Sea to Summit dry sacks next to the Sil Nylon ones and the mice rampaged and had a party in the Sil Nylons "dry sacks" versus my Sea to Summit. Don't know why, but that is my experience. I think it is because they don't let the odor escape or the feel of the material deters them. I would go with what you feel comfortable with. Heck buy the Walmart ones test them with a hose if your stuff gets return it and say "they suck" the person at Wal Mart won't think twice about it. Hell an example of WalMart return policy is I bought a headlamp there and it said 50 hours of operation ( batteries included) I used it until the batteries wore out and took it back and said I didn't get 50 hours out of it I want a new one and they handed me a new one. Sticking it to the man yeeha

buckwheat
01-03-2009, 09:50
... They state only the roll top is "weather tight" whatever that means.

... I have on occasion hung my food at a shelter in a Sea to Summit dry sacks next to the Sil Nylon ones and the mice rampaged and had a party in the Sil Nylons "dry sacks" versus my Sea to Summit.

These are good points. I don't think either of these brands are designed to be submersed for any length of time, but merely to keep things dry inside of your pack, which is likely to be covered anyway. If you dunked these bags, I doubt they'd withstand water pressure for an extended period, so you probably shouldn't go scuba diving with them.

For me, the Wal-Mart option was a good one. I gasp every time I look at the price of Sea-To-Summit products at my local outfitter. Maybe it's because there are no competing products shelved. That's why I was psyched when I saw these at Wal-Mart.

I don't shelter, so mice aren't that big an issue for me.

Cheers,
Buckwheat

Worldwide
01-03-2009, 10:00
I usually don't sllep in shelters either this example was in SNP where I didn't have too many choices. The "good" tent sites were taken up and I ended up sheltering.

jamey
01-03-2009, 15:19
wow, i just wrote a post longer than my first about every thing including thanks to everyone and when i hit the spell check thing it all dissapeared. =( I'll rewrite later. now, I'm just to angry.

Slo-go'en
01-03-2009, 15:39
Outdoor Products
3-Pack Combo
Ultimate Dry Sacks
"Ultra lightweight, weather-resistant and roll-top compression"
$12.99


"Waterproof" might be overstating it, as I haven't given these the "Consumer Reports treatment" yet. But they are definitely water resistant and have a watertight roll-top buckle enclosure.

Someone here on WB suggested using one of these as a water bag. So, I bought a set and filled one half full of water. Outside was still dry and no drips after hanging for a couple of days, so I guess thier water proof. The only question is how long they will stay that way after some wear.

Jack Tarlin
01-03-2009, 15:45
With water carriers, like most outdoor gear, it makes sense to spend a few extra dollars and buy the best thing you can find.

I have a Dromedary Bag from MSR that's at least 11 years old.

It's proabably got close to 25,000 miles on it.

This was money well spent.

Funny thing about hiking gear. When it fails to live up to your expectations, and breaks down or s***s the bed on you, which it will invariably do at the WORST possible time and location, I assure you, the positively LAST thing that will be going thru your mind at that time will be the fact that at the time your purchased it, you got it on sale, used, or saved $3.79 on it. :-?

Lone Wolf
01-03-2009, 15:49
I have a Dromedary Bag from MSR that's at least 11 years old.

It's proabably got close to 25,000 miles on it.



you've hiked 25,000 miles since 98? :eek:

Jack Tarlin
01-03-2009, 15:52
Actually bought the thing in 95 or 96, Wolf, at the old Hanover Co-Op.

Dunno my actual mileage with it, as most hikers I know don't keep track of such things.

Glad to see you care, tho. :D