View Full Version : My current dilemma

10-30-2009, 06:23
I am in the planning process of a 2010 nobo hike in early March and am a trying to resolve a dilemma I'm having with equipment in terms of:

hammock vs tent
trainers (sneakers) vs walking boots

I have a hennessy hammock that served me very well whilst I was living and working in the jungle earlier this year. The speed it can be put up and down was a joy, especially in torrential downpours. However, even in the tropics, I would awake due to being too cold. A tent would provide more warmth and have the added bonus that it's a bit more "homely". But they can be uncomfortable to sleep in if you don't get a good spot and heavier. I also don't have a practical tent for the trail so it means buying one and eating into more of my budget.

Does anyone have long-term experience with both on the trail?

I would never have considered wearing trainers on the trail until I read up on it more. I consider it to be irresponsible when going up any height over 5,000 ft and would not let any member of a group I was leading go up a mountain without adequate footwear, especially with a heavy pack. Yet I am now tempted by lightweight footwear. I just think it would be a very long flight home if I was forced to board that plane because of a an easily avoidable injury. These are just my thoughts and I want to stress I'm not passing judgment, just what has been drilled into me and what I drill those I've lead as part of my work (expedition leader). But then I've never thru hiked 2000 miles before!

What is more important: practicality or safety?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Frick Frack
10-30-2009, 07:25
Only you can answer that question because either of your two options (tent/hammock & "sneakers"/boots) will work just fine. Anyone can give you recommendations but you should pick what works best for yourself.

Good luck! Have a great hike!

10-30-2009, 08:10
Plenty of hammockers have thru-hiked. You need something under your body to keep you warm, just like in a tent. I have used a Ridge Rest pad down to about 20-F in my Hennessy Hammock, and it was fine. Many hammockers use underquilts, though they can be expensive. I've mostly relegated my hammock to summer trips these days, and use a tarp or a tarptent in cold weather.

There is nothing irresponsible or unsafe about using trail runners above 5000 feet. Maybe in serious winter mountaineering conditions -- but then standard hiking boots would be unsafe, too. As long as the pack weight is reasonable, trail runners are a perfectly good choice for most people.

I've met hikers whose feet were so torn up by their big leather hiking boots that they had to get off the trail.

lazy river road
10-30-2009, 08:38
I agree with bigcranky....I have never thru so i dont have any trail experience...But I am doing an E2E this summer on the LT. I am choosing to use a hammock and traditional leather hikeing boots. The reason that I am choosing hikeing boots is for these two reason. 1st I am a very clumsy person and I tend to turn my ankle a lot and trip over my self. There for I want the xtra support in the ankles. Secondly I have really bad knees and again want the xtra support the boots provide. I may switch to trail runners along the trail in the souther section but I am going to do the north section in boots. Weigh the pro's and con's of both and come to the best solution for your hike. Have fun