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View Full Version : The gear that I used on my 2009 AT Thru with detailed explanations (Hiker Advice)



McBride
01-12-2010, 00:00
Ok, so I've been wanting to contribute to the site ever since I spent a month digging through old posts and gear lists to put together my own through hike which I completed NOBO this year. So the thought is that I'm going to post my gear list from the start at Springer and then notate the list with what I ended up with on Katahdin.


Pack, Osprey Atmos 50 Liter, Perfect size, most used 60-65 liters however with no lids
Pack, Pack Liner, Compactor bag, a MUST
Pack, Pack cover, seems redundant but I chose to get one in Franklin

Shelter, Tarptent Contrail, 696g, LOVED IT
Shelter, 4 X Nobendium Stakes carried one extra
Shelter, 3 X GoLite Y - Stake ditched two and used one, (will explain below)
Shelter, Tyvek or silnylon floor coating, I coated INSIDE of floor 5-1 alcohol silicon mix

Sleeping, Bag, Mont Bell Down 25 degree
Sleeping, 3/4 closed cell foam pad switched to thermarest womens 3/4 at Neels Gap

Footwear - Montrail Hardrock 08 Trailrunners loved them, 3 pair for trip
Footwear - Superfeet Green Insoles - (green for trailrunners, orange for boots)
Footwear - 3pr Smartwool Trekking Socks would use Dahlgren Alpaca socks instead
Footwear - (around camp), Crocs try out next size down mine were huge

Clothing - Base, Cap 2 Midweight bottoms
Clothing - Base, Cap 1 lightweight Long-Sleeve ditched for second tee in VA
Clothing - Base, UnderArmor Compression Shorts 2pr critical to prevent chafe
Clothing - Base, Cotton boxers allowed some air down there at night

Clothing - Midlayer, EMS Men's Core SYNC Jacket, 700g, ditched at Neels Gap for down jacket, best decision ever
Clothing - Midlayer, Convertible pants, ditch after VA highlands for lighter shorts
Clothing - Midlayer, Wicking Tee, 140g

Clothing - Shell, Patagonia rain top
Clothing - Shell, Frog Togs bottom, accident in dryer after smokies, never really needed them

Clothing - Misc, Baseball cap

Winter Gear, Fleece hat, 20g (doubles as pot cozy), bounce or ditch after VA Highlands
Winter Gear, Balaclava, Unecessary
Winter Gear, Gloves - worn 3x on entire hike, (I have warm hands usually) ditched

Hydration, Water Bottle, 2 Powerade Bottles, usually empty while hiking
Hydration, Water Bladder, 2 Liter Platypus Hiked with 1 - 1.5 liters

Tools, Leatherman Micra (scissors), useful but didn't use much
Tools, P-38 can opener, used once
Tools, Headlamp,Petzl TikkaPlus, MUST HAVE RED LIGHT (shelter etiquette)
Tools, Small Packtowl, sham wow is way better, cut a chunk
Tools, Photon X-Micro light, 7.8 g, never used, carried whole way

Kitchen, Bear bag line 60' rather than 50' of para cord
Kitchen, Food Bag - Granite Gear Zip Sack 18L Best food bag IMO see all contents without dumping
Kitchen, Food Bag - caribeaner
Kitchen, two 4oz nalgene bottles for alcohol, kept inside pot
Kitchen, small juice bottle, 10 oz, Denatured Alcohol usually empty but used for long stints
Kitchen, Lighter, BIC mini, one lighter lasted entire trail
Kitchen, Pot, 1 liter titanium
Kitchen, Scrubbie, Green, cooked in freezer bags, no pot cleanup
Kitchen, Lexan spoon broke, get a Ti spork for $10
Kitchen, Alcohol Stove, Super Cat Alcohol Stove nothing lighter than this
Kitchen, Windscreen, cut strip from disposable cookie sheet, fit inside pot

First Aid/Repair, ANTIBIOTICS, MUST HAVE WEEK SUPPLY FOR LYMES
First Aid/Repair, 10 Ibuprofin, 6g
First Aid/Repair, Pepto Bismol Chewables 3g
First Aid/Repair, Dental Floss, 2'
First Aid/Repair, Sewing Needle
First Aid/Repair, Duct Tape 4' or so, athletic tape worked better
First Aid/Repair, Moleskin, 1 - 2 sheets
First Aid/Repair, Sunblock only got burnt first few days, ditched
First Aid/Repair, Neosporin, heals while lubricates for chafe

Hygiene Group, Aquamira
Hygiene Group, Baby Wipes, (just a few) Nice to have in ziplok with TP
Hygiene Group, Hand Sanitizer
Hygiene Group, Toilet Paper, 29g (partial roll field stripped in ziplok)
Hygiene Group, Toothbrush, Sawed-off, 5g
Hygiene Group, Toothpaste, .85 oz. Tube, 28g
Hygiene Group, Gold Bond Powder I never used, some swear by it

Trekking Poles, Black Diamond Carbon Fiber lasted entire trail

Miscellaneous, Ear Plugs, MUST HAVE
Miscellaneous, Glasses, w/ case, 77g
Miscellaneous, a few safety pins, 5g for drying socks on pack etc...
Miscellaneous, ID, Phone card, ATM card, etc... 5g

Navigation, Guide, Appalachian Pages data book, best one out there
Navigation, Map, never got them, never needed them
Navigation, Keychain Compass

Luxury Group, Camera, Digital, Canon G9 bit large but shoots RAW and HD vid
Luxury Group, Small leather journal, very glad I have it now
Luxury Group, Amod AGL3080 GPS Data Logger, 50g (not icl. 3xaaa batt)
Luxury Group, StickPic - Hiking Pole Camera Mount, its tiny and great
Luxury Group, Silva Solar 4 Battery Charger totally unnecessary
Luxury Group, Original iPod shuffle music helped on hard days
Luxury Group, Crazy Creek - Hexalite camping chair kept it the whole trip
Luxury Group, Granite Gear, Pillow stuffsack 14.5x7.3.5 thing is great
Luxury Group, Battery, Spare, AAA Quantity 9 - 12 used for GPS Logger, 5 days

McBride
01-12-2010, 00:00
Obviously you will pack your bag depending on which one you choose, but I remember hoping to find out how different people did it to get some ideas. So I packed my bag as follows:

Compactor bag liner in main compartment
Folded thermarest twice and placed flat against bottom of pack
Dropped sleeping bag vertically and jammed horizontal with thermarest 'hugging' it
When I had my Silk Liner it was jammed in front of sleeping bag

That puts the sleeping system at the bottom

Journal vertical on right side 'hugging' cooking Pot with fuel, lighter, windscreen, and stove inside
Pillow stuff sack containing all clothing not worn to the left of stove and journal
Rain coat jammed in front of all three previous (can be pulled out if needed without unpacking contents above it by jamming hand in front of pack)
Food bag on top of previous layer
Down jacket in xsmall stuff sack and 1 gall ziplok (which I would sit on and close airtight) and TP in ziplok jammed in front of food bag

That is a little counter intuitive to have the food high up for weight displacement but its way easier to have the food up top for easy access throughout the day. The TP should be very accessible, no reason to go digging if you're in a hurry. Also with the osprey pack that I used it rested at about shoulder blade height, so wasn't actually that high at all.

Rolled compactor bag closed

Finally my Tarptent was on top which allowed for me to set up in the wet without having to get anything else wet. Sometimes I would have some bagels for food and they would be squished in the bag they came in and put in front of tent. No need to take up normal pack space.

In the side pockets I had: bear line, first aid, pack cover, athletic tape, novel, tent stakes (kept seperate from tent to avoid tears), Aqua Mira, I also ended up carrying my phone, ipod, and camera chargers though they were all really small. At first I bounced them.

In the lid: 1 Gal ziplok with guidebook, phone, ID, ATM, pencil, ipod, earplugs (ruined if wet), etc... Camera in ziplok. Hand sanitizer in ziplok, glasses, Leatherman, headlamp.

Crocs and Crazy creek chair were in Kangaroo pouch, but most used caribeaner for crocs on outside of pack.

McBride
01-12-2010, 00:00
Now I'll expand on the gear choices a bit

Pack:

Most people used between a 60 and 65 Liter pack. 50 was perfect for me. Those that used the larger packs eventually got rid of the 'brain' of their packs after paring down their carried gear as the hike went on. The most critical factors for the pack for me was the suspension, (which was worth the weight), and the side pockets / kangaroo pocket. Other used the lighter weight packs but to me they seemed to have to be unpacked all the time to get at stuff like food or water bladders. I hung my water bladder in the airspace of the suspension so that I never had to unpack my bag to get it in and out. The only potential disadvantage to my particular pack is the hip belt is not interchangeabele. I lost 40 lbs on the hike and never bottomed out on the waist straps but it was close. The larger Ospreys however do have changeable hipbelts.

Shelter:

The Tarptent Contrail was great for the trail. The condensation wasn't really an issue. It is definitly there but didn't cause any problems. If you do choose the Contrail you should use Franco's storm setup. It is great. An ~18 section of tent pole that you must get seperately is used at the bottom giving the entire top of the tent a 'ridgeline' which sheds rain and snow. Mine survived a foot of snow with no worries and no loss of foot room.

The setup can be found here:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=17299

and here

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=42232&highlight=COntrail


I wrote a more detailed post of the Contrail setup and it can be found here:

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=949706#post949706



Sleeping:

I got a gear shakedown at Neels Gap after the first few days and switched out my closed cell foam pad for an inflatable Thermarest pad. It was recommended that I get the length womens pad even though Ii'm a 6 foot tall 225lb man. It wasn't too small. I used my crazy creek chair as a pad / insulator under my legs and slept great. It will take a while to get used to sleeping on the ground no matter what pad you choose. You will get used to the closed cell foam if you choose it, many do, but the Thermarest was so much more comfortable.
As for the sleeping bag, I got a 25 degree down bag and only needed the liner for a few cold nights in the Smokies (six degrees). On that night I had all my clothes on in the liner and it was fine. If you pack one or two chemical hand warmers while in the Smokies you can throw one into the foot of your bag and it lasts for 8 10 hours.

Footwear:

I chose to use trail runners and didn't regret it at all. It was a ridiculous year for rain and they got just as wet as everyone else's kicks but I found that they dries fast overnight and were nice and light. They did fine in a foot of snow as well. I bought pairs as I needed them, and could get around a thousand miles on a pair. One should not buy multiple pairs intending to get them sent out when your first pair dies. You might find that your shoe choice sucks and that you get a different pair at Neels Gap. I used 3 pairs of socks and alternated each day. The SmartWools were fine and I probably went through 12 pair. I got some Dahlgren Alpaca hiking socks in Maine and they were really nice. Seemed more durable than the SmartWools. In my opinion the Superfeet are a must. The Green ones are the firmest and are meant to be used with trailrunners, as they will give them more rigidity. The Orange SuperFeet ar more supple and are meant for boots, as the boot is already firm and they give you the right arch support while adding a bit of cushion to the boot.

Clothing:

I hiked in a tee shirt, compression shorts and convertible pants until the Virginia Highlands. The long johns weren't something I hiked in really, they were too hot. I would definitely use them at camp and while sleeping. I wore my rain jacket when first starting out for the day and shed it after about 20 minutes, and just hiked in the tee or the longsleeve capilene 1 top.

Hydration:

This will be different for everyone. Personally I never carried more than 1 1.5 liters while hiking. I know some people that never carried water while hiking, and others that carried 3 4 liters, but that was not for me.
The idea is to fill and chug a gatorade bottle when you pass water sources throughout the day. I would fill up my platypus in the morning with a liter. Drink a liter with breakfast and any extra from filling up the night before. Drink from the water sources throughout the day and the platypus would last for the whole day usually.
I'd fill up 4 liters once at camp and use one for cooking, one for drinking at dinner, one for the morning, and one for the platy in the morning. I mention this because occasionally you'll have no water where you plan to camp and have to hike the 4 liters a mile or two to your destination (it happens sometimes, not if I could help it).

Tools:

The leatherman was nice but keep in mind that it was the tiny one with scissors. Otherwise a small folding knife 2 is all you'll want.

The Tikka headlamp is fine. A little dim when hanging a bearbag, but fine. The red light is an absolute must in my opinion. Its pretty annoying when someone wants to read in a shelter after everyone else is asleep and they have a friggin lighthouse strapped to their head. The red is enough to read by but doesn't disturb others.

Kitchen:

The amount of times that I wished I had 5 more feet of bearbag line was enough for the extra ten grams of weight. Its up to you.

The Granite Gear zip food bags are GREAT. You don;t have to dump your food bag out on the ground every time you want a snickers.

The super cat stove is a little slow but it doesn't get any lighter than that.

Luxury Items:

These are strictly personal. You're the one carrying them. The GPS logger was wrth it to me. It logs your coordinates every 5 seconds and you can use a program on your PC when you get home to sync the GPS coordinates with the time stamp of your digital photos to 'Geotag' them. Meaning you can open the photos in google earth and it pinpoints where they were taken. It took me carrying 12 AAA batteries for each 5 day stint but my total packweight with food and water was usually around 32lbs.

If theres anything else you'd like to know or if anything was confusing let me know.

srestrepo
01-12-2010, 00:27
hey, this was a lot of info but easy to understand and well laid out. i just have a question about teh pad though, it didn't feel weird with your legs just danging off teh pad like that onto the shelter, i mean are you a side sleeper or sleep on your back?
did you find that the difference in elevation of your legs to the rest of your body bother you?

just looking for ways to currently lighten up on my pack weight and i was considering the 3/4 length but i wasn't sure if it was comfortable or not.

thanks again for this write up!

McBride
01-12-2010, 00:42
I sleep on my side, and my knees would be slightly bent and resting on the bottom of the pad. I used my padded chair for below the bottom of the pad and there was a height difference. It was a little weird at first but I got used to it. I might consider getting a full length if I were to do it again, but I'd probably just stick to the 3/4. The small or medium Therm-a-Rest NeoAir look pretty sweet. I would definitely pay a bit more for sleeping comfort

Jeff
01-12-2010, 09:08
Thanks for sharing.

Congrats on completing your hike!!!

white_russian
01-12-2010, 10:05
Tools, Headlamp,Petzl TikkaPlus, MUST HAVE RED LIGHT (shelter etiquette)

Tools, Headlamp,Petzl TikkaPlus, MUST HAVE RED LIGHT (shelter etiquette)

Tools, Headlamp,Petzl TikkaPlus, MUST HAVE RED LIGHT (shelter etiquette)

Tools, Headlamp,Petzl TikkaPlus, MUST HAVE RED LIGHT (shelter etiquette)

This one needs repeating. It is just so much nicer when folks don't kill your night vision or wake you up by shining a spotlight all over the place for the midnight trip to the privy. Nothing to get upset about though, shelters are public places.

I also find red light easier to read a book with so that helps too.

QuarterPounder
01-12-2010, 10:11
Thanks for all the effort to put this together. I found it very helpful... confirmed some of the items I have already, questioned some of the things I have, and gave me several ideas for improvement and/or comfort on the trail. On top or all that... it is a simple read!! I definitely needed that.:)

QP
GAME 2010... 58 days and a wake-up!

Blissful
01-12-2010, 10:14
This one needs repeating. It is just so much nicer when folks don't kill your night vision or wake you up by shining a spotlight all over the place for the midnight trip to the privy. Nothing to get upset about though, shelters are public places.

I also find red light easier to read a book with so that helps too.


Also bears repeating - don't stay in a shelter then. A little light flashing shouldn't be anything to get upset about on the grand scale of etiquette, for crying out loud. :)

Blissful
01-12-2010, 10:18
Thanks for all the effort to put this together. I found it very helpful... confirmed some of the items I have already, questioned some of the things I have, and gave me several ideas for improvement and/or comfort on the trail. On top or all that... it is a simple read!! I definitely needed that.:)

QP
GAME 2010... 58 days and a wake-up!

Just remember, what works for some doesn't for others. This is still your hike. I found some things on the list the hiker didn't need or want that I did. So use what works for you. You can't duplicate another's hike.

Like MAPS = which I believe everyone should take

McBride
01-12-2010, 10:18
Also bears repeating - don't stay in a shelter then. A little light flashing shouldn't be anything to get upset about on the grand scale of etiquette, for crying out loud. :)

Its not a big deal, but If you haven't bought a headlamp its a simple thing that is worth while. Not anything to get worked up about I agree but it can be annoying at times and with such an easy fix I thought I'd mention it.

Blissful
01-12-2010, 10:21
Its not a big deal, but If you haven't bought a headlamp its a simple thing that is worth while. Not anything to get worked up about I agree but it can be annoying at times and with such an easy fix I thought I'd mention it.

What I found more annoying was smoking in the shelter and people arriving at midnight or leaving at 4 AM.

McBride
01-12-2010, 10:23
Oh one thing that I didn't mention was that in the mornings I would put a snickers or cliff bar in each pocket. That would allow me to eat on the go and not have to shed my pack or go digging around in it. The first month or so I couldn't figure out why my energy would crash at around 2 'clock, then I started eating a snickers or whatever every hour and a half or around 4 ish miles. Made a huge difference.

58starter
01-12-2010, 10:54
McBride did you figure up the total cost of the equipment so that future thru hikers will know the shock of how much gear cost?

Red Beard
01-12-2010, 11:00
McBride, thanks for all the good information. I really enjoyed reading this post.

SGT Rock
01-12-2010, 11:08
That is a pretty darn good write up. Gear selection from one person to another is a personal choice/preference/strategy thing, but you did well explaining why you used certain stuff and how that worked with your hiking strategy.

Thanks for sharing it.

white_russian
01-12-2010, 11:12
Also bears repeating - don't stay in a shelter then. A little light flashing shouldn't be anything to get upset about on the grand scale of etiquette, for crying out loud. :)
Ie, like I said. Reading comprehension, folks.

Nothing to get upset about though, shelters are public places.

McBride
01-12-2010, 11:46
McBride did you figure up the total cost of the equipment so that future thru hikers will know the shock of how much gear cost?

It was around $1,800 for everything, and I started planning with owning literally no gear. also I ended up spending around $4,000 out on the trail. Most people had around $4,000 trail budgets. All told its certainly cheaper than living in the real world.

McBride
01-12-2010, 11:51
Thanks for all the effort to put this together. I found it very helpful... confirmed some of the items I have already, questioned some of the things I have, and gave me several ideas for improvement and/or comfort on the trail. On top or all that... it is a simple read!! I definitely needed that.

Hey QP,

I wouldn't really worry too much about some of the smaller stuff. carrying an extra pound or so with gloves, sunblock, or anything else that I ditched isn't a big deal. I was known to strap 3 pound of ribs out of town to cook on the fire. carry whatever you want and by the smokies you'll know exactly what you need. keep yourself happy, and shoot for the 30 - 35 lb mark.

coheterojo
01-12-2010, 12:01
Excellent info and well written. Thanks for sharing. I'm down to double digits. 99 days and counting!

El Flaco

AggieAl
01-12-2010, 12:25
McBride, very nicely written.

What time of the year did you start and what was the coldest temperature?

I will be starting on February 21, 2010 and it appears that it will be a cold, wet, dark start. So I am planning on an extra layer, deluxe Thermarest foam pad, and warm mittens and gloves.

I have very low body fat and tend to get cold. (or I could just be a wimp.)

Thanks for the good info.

Stud The Dud
01-12-2010, 13:25
I have a couple questions.

How many zero's did you end up taking?

Did you ever have the chance to play pinball in any of the towns?

Did you find yourself being very careful with your money along the way i.e. budgeting?

Was the 1st or 2nd time hiking Moosilauke more difficult?

And how do you keep your neighbors kids of your front lawn?

Great Information btw. And congrats on your thru-hike.

McBride
01-12-2010, 13:52
McBride, very nicely written.

What time of the year did you start and what was the coldest temperature?

I will be starting on February 21, 2010 and it appears that it will be a cold, wet, dark start. So I am planning on an extra layer, deluxe Thermarest foam pad, and warm mittens and gloves.

I have very low body fat and tend to get cold. (or I could just be a wimp.)

Thanks for the good info.

I started March 8th, and it got down into single digits in the Smokies. Snowed on April 7th around a foot with 3 foot drifts in places. You should definitely throw a couple of chemical hand warmers into your pack. They're great in your sleeping bag on the coldest night and you'll know when that is.

McBride
01-12-2010, 14:01
I have a couple questions.

How many zero's did you end up taking?

60+ you?


Did you ever have the chance to play pinball in any of the towns?

Yes, I would recommend the Lord of the Rings pinball machine in Caratunk Maine at the Northern Outdoors brewery (2 miles W when headed NOBO). But be aware that the Legolas run is broken and the ball gets stuck in the right hand chute near the bumpers.


Did you find yourself being very careful with your money along the way i.e. budgeting?

Budgeting is very important as you know. I personally resembled the scene from Batman II where the Joker drops money via helicopter over the people of Gotham.


Was the 1st or 2nd time hiking Moosilauke more difficult?

The second time up was a bit harder mentally after descending the wrong trail. But the second descent in the dark and wet down the sheer waterfall was trouble with a capitol R. The cheeseburger at the bottom was worth it though.


And how do you keep your neighbors kids of your front lawn?

The oldest trick in the book...

-McBride

Missippi skinny
01-12-2010, 16:49
great advice, much appreciated.

buz
01-13-2010, 10:08
Did you have the 800 fp MB ulss #2 bag? I saw your comments about the bag, and assume you liked it. I have the exact bag, and think it is about perfect, for me anyways.

58starter
01-13-2010, 15:20
McBride, 1st thanks for the excellent information. I too am over 6' and around 225.
I section hike as long as 7 days at a time. My pack fully loaded with water has never been lighter than 40lbs. I am glad to see you say that your back was between 30-35lbs. I have no trouble with the amount of weight I have been carrying. I go slow and watch where I walk and enjoy the trail. If I get 10 miles a day I am happy.
Happy Hiking and Backpacking

JJJ
01-13-2010, 16:07
Very good write up, McBride.

TheKO
01-13-2010, 16:57
Thanks for taking the time for a great write-up. Your explanation on why you did what you did is also of great interest.

JohnG10
01-13-2010, 22:06
Great write-up. Very helpful.

What type of sleeping bag liner did you use in the smokies ? How much warmth did it add ? Would an extra base layer have been better ?

When you switched from the convertibles to lighter shorts, did you find the lack of long pants to be an issue in evenings, or when sleeping ?

Also, what was the 1 Go-lite Y stake used for ?

Thanks.

amac
01-14-2010, 03:59
This was EXCELLENT!! Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to put it together. It helps a lot to know what worked and what didn't. I would like to see such analysis from other thru-hikers.

McBride
01-19-2010, 19:35
Great write-up. Very helpful.

What type of sleeping bag liner did you use in the smokies ? How much warmth did it add ? Would an extra base layer have been better ?

The liner was a montbell that was synthetic cloth with small holes throughout. My friend gave it to me before I left. It worked well and I guess is was same as most liners in the 10 degree range. It definatley was better than not having it.
There were many discussions about sleeping naked as opposed to fully kitted out in thermals for the best warmth in your bag, but for me on the cold nights I wore every damn thing I had.


When you switched from the convertibles to lighter shorts, did you find the lack of long pants to be an issue in evenings, or when sleeping ?

I only wore the long pants up until the smokies if I were to do it again I would probably just hike in shorts for the whole time and throw on thermals if it was really bad. I went up Mt. Washington in Sept and it was gusting to 65mph and wind chill of 15f and my legs were fine. Definitely needed the upper layers however.


Also, what was the 1 Go-lite Y stake used for ?
Thanks.

I used it at the foot of the Contrail in the middle to support the guyline of the auxiliary stake. If that's unclear go to the thread that I linked to and there are pictures. I found that that particular stake held better for that particular application.

-McBride

Jester2000
01-19-2010, 19:51
Well put together overview! People often post their gear list pre-hike for others to critique. Nice to see a gear list post-hike with self-critique. Good job.

srestrepo
01-20-2010, 17:39
since this post came out, i think i've referred like 5 people to this so that they can see what other people have actually used vs what they wanted to use...

this is an awesome write up and i'm sure others appreciate it/feel the same way.

Jack Tarlin
01-20-2010, 19:25
This is very well done and very useful. I know it wasn't intended as an "Article" but I think it'd be good for that section of the website, as more folks will see it there. This is the sort of information that is incredibly useful to folks planning out their gear purchases and what they intend to carry.

John B
01-20-2010, 19:36
Very, very useful information. It's the type of write-up that makes Whiteblaze a great site for information. Thanks for putting it down for the rest of us to read.

Praha4
01-20-2010, 20:57
I've got a Contrail and trying to locate a source for an 18" pole to use at the foot for Franco's storm setup... any suggestions? alluminum? graphite? where can I get that tip that will fit the end of the pole? got a link on the net?
my home town has crap for camping gear sales, all we have is a Sport Authority, I buy everything on the internet for hiking gear...

thanks and congrats on the thru hike this year!

HikerRanky
01-20-2010, 22:51
This is very well done and very useful. I know it wasn't intended as an "Article" but I think it'd be good for that section of the website, as more folks will see it there. This is the sort of information that is incredibly useful to folks planning out their gear purchases and what they intend to carry.

I agree Jack.... Moved over to Released Articles.

Jester2000
01-20-2010, 23:16
I agree Jack.... Moved over to Released Articles.

Good move! When you have this many people thanking you for writing something, it's probably a sign.

McBride
01-21-2010, 11:56
I've got a Contrail and trying to locate a source for an 18" pole to use at the foot for Franco's storm setup... any suggestions? alluminum? graphite? where can I get that tip that will fit the end of the pole? got a link on the net?
my home town has crap for camping gear sales, all we have is a Sport Authority, I buy everything on the internet for hiking gear...

thanks and congrats on the thru hike this year!

Winton at Neels Gap ended up giving me an old section of a tent pole. The 18" measurement was an approximation. It was just basically the bottom section of a regular aluminum pole. If you can't locate one just hit up Winton when you get to Neels Gap after the first few days. He has all kinds of stuf lying around.

also the top of my particular pole section was female and I couldn't locate a tip on short notice either, so I would just jam two little chunks of a twig in making a y and put the guyline in the crotch of the two twigs, then staked it back.

I've heard of people not even using a pole and just grabbing a stick each night at the campsite and just using that. Just get all McGuyver on it.

McBride
01-21-2010, 11:59
Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. Its nice to be able to give back to the site. It saved me from starting my hike with a 60 lb pack.

Comet Omega
01-21-2010, 18:55
By far the best article I've read here yet! Thank you for the information as I have much of the same gear. Planning on 2014! I appreciate it!

WILLIAM HAYES
01-22-2010, 01:01
great post good data

Powder River
02-02-2010, 22:23
I carried a G9 too. Great camera, but it doesn't shoot HD video. Neither does the G10 or G11. Shame!

jnanagardener
02-03-2010, 22:57
This was incredibly helpful and much appreciated. Thanks McBride.

Uncas10
02-17-2010, 01:09
Fantastic article. That Zipp Sack sounds great, but is it waterproof?

Thanks,

Uncas

Praha4
02-17-2010, 01:54
where did you pack your 2L platy? inside your pack in the hydration sleeve? or on top or side of your pack?

Jofish
02-17-2010, 02:15
Really a great resource. Thanks for putting this together.

One question; what did you treat your water with? Don't want to start a big war over it (please God no), just curious because I didn't see anything on your list.

Jester2000
02-17-2010, 10:40
Really a great resource. Thanks for putting this together.

One question; what did you treat your water with? Don't want to start a big war over it (please God no), just curious because I didn't see anything on your list.

He put it under the "Hygene" grouping. It was aquamira.

grumpypickle
02-17-2010, 11:00
Really well thought out write up. I particularly like the flexibility that you displayed and your emphasis on the fact that this is what worked for you. A couple of quick points:

* Cotton boxers at night; the most underrated piece of gear in my pack.

* 10 Ibuprofen were sometimes a single day supply for me!

* I carried maps. I can't tell you how many times they came in handy or how many times hikers who 'didn't need maps' borrowed mine.

McBride
03-04-2010, 20:55
where did you pack your 2L platy? inside your pack in the hydration sleeve? or on top or side of your pack?

I had it hanging in the 'airspace' of the suspension of the pack. Look it up for a photo and it'll make more sense. the 50L osprey atmos. the only downside to that setup is the water would warm up as the day went on with my body heat, but it wasn't bad.



Really a great resource. Thanks for putting this together.

One question; what did you treat your water with? Don't want to start a big war over it (please God no), just curious because I didn't see anything on your list.

Actually after the smokies I didn't treat at all, but I still carried the aquamira. wouldn't recommend it but its what I did.

-----------

as for the questions or comments about the maps, they did have the best side profile topo details but they weren't useful to me in general. My guidebook (appalachian pages) had detailed topo. If you do decide to do the map thing just get the first set and decide later on the rest. You can get them sent to a post office no problem.

McBride
03-04-2010, 20:58
Fantastic article. That Zipp Sack sounds great, but is it waterproof?

Thanks,

Uncas

No, not waterproof. you could coat it with a 5-1 silicon/alcohol like a seamseal. But the bag doesn't need to be waterproof if you use ziplock freezer bags to sort your food.

Loneoak
03-04-2010, 22:01
Very helpful post............thanks

MyName1sMud
03-11-2010, 19:18
Thanks for sharing!

STICK
03-12-2010, 00:35
Everyone else has said it already, but thanks for the insight, and the inspiration. My thru will be many years down the road, but at the rate it's burning inside me it may come out sooner than later......

Great stuff, thanks for your time to share, and congrats on your hike!

jedwa19
03-12-2010, 00:47
Great info, always nice to hear the opinion of gear from someone who done a thru hike. I'm going to have to check out those Dahlgren Alpaca socks that you recommend. Thanks.

Trooper
03-26-2010, 11:22
Great job posting this and thanks for the info. I wish more thru-hike vets would posts lists like this!

Sassafras Lass
04-02-2010, 16:06
Wonderful - exactly what I wanted to see. Not just a list, but a honest review with some reasons and feedback :) Maybe it will encourage other thruhikers to be as transparent?

Chance09
04-07-2010, 16:23
McBride...did you just do something productive?

Chance09
04-07-2010, 16:28
how you been man?

McBride
05-06-2010, 14:16
how you been man?

Chance, whats up man? I hear you are a month into your PCT thru. Kick its ass. I'm in Haiti for the next year starting a disaster relief organization. Hope to see you at Trail Days one of these years.

-McB

If you are interested in the Haiti thing check us out on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/pages/GrassRoots-United/111440292223121 (
how you been man? Chance, whats up man? I hear you are a month into your PCT thru. Kick its ass. I'm in Haiti for the next year starting a disaster relief organization. Hope to see you at Trail Days one of these years. -McB If you are interested in the Haiti thing check us out on Facebook <br/> [http://www.facebook.com/pages/GrassRoots-United/111440292223121)

McBride
08-01-2010, 11:17
I still check in from time to time, so if you have any questions let me know.

-McBride

Windcatcher
08-01-2010, 16:22
Thank you for the most excellent post.

KnittingMelissa
08-28-2010, 09:06
I have a question: how did you charge your iPod shuffle? I want to bring mine for tough days (it's one of the old models), but because it takes a charge from a computer, not batteries, I'm a bit on the leery side. I'm thinking of getting a Zen instead, but I like my old iPod, the only thing that's ever given it trouble is temps under -10F.

Turtle Feet
08-29-2010, 22:13
I have a question: how did you charge your iPod shuffle? I want to bring mine for tough days (it's one of the old models), but because it takes a charge from a computer, not batteries, I'm a bit on the leery side. I'm thinking of getting a Zen instead, but I like my old iPod, the only thing that's ever given it trouble is temps under -10F.

I have one too - I was thinking maybe it could be recharged on a library computer, or if a motel/hostel whatever had a computer available. Can you do me a favor and leave me a PM if you get a response?

TF

RevLee
09-01-2010, 09:45
I used one of the iGo Charge Anywhere wall chargers for my smartphone. In addition to charging your device, it has an internal battery that recharges so you can get another charge while on the trail. We found lots of places will let you charge your phone if you ask - restaurants, hostels, etc. With this, you can just plug in the wall unit when it is handy without having the cord with phone on the end hanging out in some high traffic area. I kept it easily accessible during the day for "opportunistic" charging at picnic pavillions or park restrooms while stopping for lunch. It also has two USB ports for charging two devices at once.

http://www.igo.com/mobile-device-chargers/charge-anywhere/invt/ps002730001/

jtbradyl
09-09-2010, 00:17
Have you considered using a hammock?

Jimei126
09-23-2010, 15:28
Great article, thanks a ton!

McBride
10-15-2010, 18:04
I have a question: how did you charge your iPod shuffle? I want to bring mine for tough days (it's one of the old models), but because it takes a charge from a computer, not batteries, I'm a bit on the leery side. I'm thinking of getting a Zen instead, but I like my old iPod, the only thing that's ever given it trouble is temps under -10F.

I found a 'Apple USB Power Adapter for iPod/iPhone' in a hiker box, it is the lightest way to go in my opinion:

http://www.amazon.com/Apple-Power-Adapter-iPod-iPhone/dp/B001GQ3DP6/ref=dp_cp_ob_e_title_0



Have you considered using a hammock?

Yeah, not really my thing. A lot of people swore by them but most ended up changing to a tent halfway through. I met a guy in Damascus that started his NOBO in Key West FL and he had just switched out of the hammock situation.

biggest downside for me was gear getting wet in the rain due to the lack of a place to put it. Even if it was underneath the hammock, the stuff still got wet. thats just from conversations with people and through observation.
that and the weight savings was not really any at all when compared to a tarptent or similar single wall tent.

hope that helps.

-McBride

McBride
01-20-2011, 20:05
Still checking in from time to time; though I am living in Haiti so I'll check when I can.

-McBride

nsdemon
01-27-2011, 21:12
how did you cook in freezer bags without burning them or melting them??

Stud The Dud
02-03-2011, 13:54
how was the sushi place in front royal?

Gipsy
02-03-2011, 15:16
Thanks for your time. Very informative!

McBride
08-13-2011, 21:39
Still checking in...

McBride
08-14-2011, 18:17
how did you cook in freezer bags without burning them or melting them??

Surprisingly enough freezer bags hold up with boiling hot water inside them. I would use my cat stove to boil water and put my dinner (dried pasta or whatever) into the bag, then pour the water into the bag, let it sit, drain, and add sauce or whatever else, give it a shake, and eat out of the bag.

Sometimes I would put a can of beef stew into a freezer bag and boil half a pot of water while holding the stew in the pot like a tea bag. It takes a little finesse to avoid melting the bag but the water is hot and clean afterwards and I used it for a cup of tea.

I hope that's clear

McBride
01-19-2012, 15:15
Still checking in from time to time.

-McB

rowan
01-23-2012, 16:29
Hey mcbride - are these the stuff sacks you speak so highly of for your food bag? http://www.tahoemountainsports.com/product/granite-gear-zipp-sacks

Tons of helpful information in this thread, its great to see the perspective AFTER the hike. Thank you.

Rayo
01-27-2012, 18:48
Still checking in from time to time.

-McB

Thanks for the thread.

McBride
02-16-2012, 21:03
Hey mcbride - are these the stuff sacks you speak so highly of for your food bag? http://www.tahoemountainsports.com/product/granite-gear-zipp-sacks

Tons of helpful information in this thread, its great to see the perspective AFTER the hike. Thank you.

yep, that's them. Mine was slightly older maybe, because I notice 2 zippers on that bag. Either way its way better that having to dump out your food everytime you want a cliff bar.

-McB

TNman
02-17-2012, 11:55
McBride - Your post has been one of the most helpful pieces of information I have found. I am a hiking newbie planning an AT hike-thru. I have performed a great deal of product research but hearing from experienced hikers is always better. I have my pack planned to be about 28 pound including food & water or about 16.7 pounds without those items. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us who have limited trekking experience!

McBride
03-06-2012, 05:19
@ TNman,

No worries chief, its my pleasure. Your target weight sounds good. I was also a noob to hiking before my thru; the AT was my first hike. Good luck.

-McB

d.o.c
03-06-2012, 08:55
hey mcbride...

McBride
03-20-2012, 04:09
hey mcbride...

Oh D.O.C. it's really hard not to respond without saying what's up in the obvious way...

How you been chief, I heard that you got hurt pretty bad in the Whites, what went down? Where you at these days?

If you're ever in Australia, look me up.

-McB

Blackett
11-21-2012, 16:29
I've come really late to this thread, but--
Why shamwow instead of packtowl? How much does a shamwow weigh?
Thanks!

McBride
02-09-2013, 02:43
I've come really late to this thread, but--
Why shamwow instead of packtowl? How much does a shamwow weigh?
Thanks!

Hi Blackett,

I found that regular packtowels were pretty bad at sopping up liquids (like tent condensation) and after a few swipes on the inside of a tent were pretty useless. The shamwows seemed to have way more capacity for water and were much more useful. I'd recommend just cutting off a 14 inch square of one and using that. As for weight it's pretty negligible (probably about the same as a packtowel).

The weight of stuff really doesn't matter all that much, once you get out there you figure out what you want to carry really quickly. I used to carry chargers and stuff for my electronics (after I got sick of sending a bounce box to every town). It wasn't a big deal.

Hope that helps,

-McBride

rocketsocks
02-09-2013, 03:44
@ TNman,

No worries chief, its my pleasure. Your target weight sounds good. I was also a noob to hiking before my thru; the AT was my first hike. Good luck.

-McB+1 mighty nice, way to pay it forward McBride.....I dig it!

McBride
02-24-2017, 04:47
Haven't checked in for a while (4 years) but still around if anyone has questions.

PGH1NC
02-24-2017, 23:16
Thanks for bringing it back to our attention. I found it interesting. Have you tried the Atmos AG 50? I am planning on getting one for section hikes. The extra mass is worth it for the ride.

McBride
04-08-2017, 02:20
I haven't tried it but just had a look and it looks almost identical to the one I used. The extendable hip belt and removable lid would be the only major differences. It certainly looks like the one I'd get if I were buying a pack now.

PGH1NC
04-08-2017, 08:39
Bought the pack last week. Put about 18 lb. and carried it for about 5 flat miles. It rode easily.
It seems like gear sans H2O should be in low 20s. Planning a week in SNP.