View Full Version : Getting your pack to Atlanta or where-ever

01-10-2011, 16:01
In planning my 2012 effort, how do people get their pack on the airplane, check it or as carry-on?

It occurs to me that all my worldly possessions for the next 6 months are going to be in the only piece of luggage I'm taking, my backpack. Do you risk losing it or it being gone thru or stolen by checking it?

What are the carry-on limits? As long as it will fit in the overhead compartment?

Also, I'm thinking there may be a lot of things I want on the hike, like a knife, that would probably get confiscated at the airport, as well as other questionable items, like hiking poles, certain cooking kit items, hygiene items or anything deemed to be capable of being used as a weapon or flammable substance.

Do you just pack your clothes, camping gear(tent, hammock etc.), making your pack as small as possible for carry-on, then go to an outfitter or supply and pick up everything else after you get to Atlanta?

01-10-2011, 16:09
When I went from Atlanta to Phoenix last year, I just put my pack in an oversized nylon stuff sack, and a thick trash bag, taped it up, and checked it. It would have been too big for carry-on. I did not pack any fuel though, I just picked that up onced I got there. The top of my pack comes off and I used that as a carry-on. It took about 30 minutes to rearrange stuff once I was in Phoenix and had picked up fuel. Is it possible for the airlines to misplace your bag? Yep! Another option would be to ship it insured/ tracked via Fed Ex/ UPS, etc to someone here and then just bring your carry-on if you have someone here. I am heading to Washington State this fall, and that is my plan.

Fog Horn
01-10-2011, 16:10
A lot of airports offer this new shrinkwrapping thing they do before you check your bag. For a few bucks they'll put shrink wrap around your bag to secure it so that nothing will fall out, it will hold closed if a zipper busts, and you'll know if anyone tampers with it.

I don't know if your airport offers this, but its something to keep in mind if you plan on flying your pack down

01-10-2011, 16:11
A knife, poles anything in more than a 3oz bottle of liquids won't go. Also the canisters fuels will probaly get shot down. If I were you I would mail all that stuff to the Hiker Hostel. And carry on the rest. It would save you on shipping too.

01-11-2011, 12:46
I read this idea from a photographer a few years ago. He bought a starter pistol and put it in his gear bag. Then he delcared that to the bag checkers, of course. It's legal and doesn't require a license or permit. But it does count as a firearm to the TSA, which means your bag gets special treatment and is tracked extra carefully. They wouldn't want to lose a firearm after all.

Obviously for a backpacking trip you'd want to mail it back or otherwise get rid of it when you reached your destination.

I haven't done it and don't plan to, but I always thought it was clever. Research it first if you decide to, things could've changed since I read about it.

01-11-2011, 12:55
rent a car and make a cross country trip out of it. I personally wouldn't mind the drive and it just makes it part of the experience. No worries over flying hassles

01-11-2011, 13:03
If you are going to rent a car one way it's from airport to airport, I found Budget to be the cheaspest.

01-11-2011, 13:06
Just make sure if you rent a car and drive you don't get overly excited and drive 120 all the way there

01-11-2011, 13:28
I've flown 5 times with my pack and poles. They did take my pocket knife but I never had a problem with my fuel canister which was placed inside my cooking pot. The hiking poles were questioned once but were okay after they were declared "walking aides."
My food was not a problem.
There's no need to ship everything but if you carry it on it must fit overhead. I checked my pack once, and due to landing for a medical emergency that involved flight changes it was shuffled around but was held at my destination in a special room. I won't check it again.
If bulk is a worry, ship some stuff to a PO where you'll start or to Donelega Hostel assuming you'll start in Springer.
It's not such a big deal. It's natural to be anxious but don't stress out; 2012 is a long way off and you'll figure it out.

01-11-2011, 14:04
You can mail some stuff ahead of time to the Hiker Hostel. That's what I would do.

You are absolutely not allowed to fly with a fuel canister.

I did a get pocket knife on board by accident. We took all our gear in duffel bags and checked it to Utah, including poles, tent poles, pocket rocket, etc (You could do this with a cheap duffel bag and either mail it home or ditch it). I carried my backpack on as it fit the dimensions. No problem.

Put your food in a separate ditty bag (NO liquids, sauces etc) and if they ask (they didn't ask us) you can say its food for your flight. Then you can get more on with carry-ons

01-11-2011, 14:10
Just make sure if you rent a car and drive you don't get overly excited and drive 120 all the way there

Hope the gas prices are better then.

01-11-2011, 14:12
A knife, poles anything in more than a 3oz bottle of liquids won't go. Also the canisters fuels will probaly get shot down.

Not true. Our poles (hiking and tenting) went back and forth to Utah just fine, in checked bags. So did insect repellent.
Agree - no fuel canisters anywhere

01-11-2011, 14:44
Not true. Our poles (hiking and tenting) went back and forth to Utah just fine, in checked bags. So did insect repellent.
Agree - no fuel canisters anywhere

You mentioned "checked Bags" he was talking of carry on. Some airports are tight on security while the smaller ones are not.

01-11-2011, 16:23
Instead of dealing with all the ever changing regulations on flying, I'd rather ship mine by UPS so I could track it so that I know its there before I left on my flight. Send it to whereever you are staying when arriving or to your shuttle provider if they allow it. That said, I've never lost a general delivery box sent to a post office via Priority Mail either though I would allow some extra time on that method. An alternative is taking the Amtrak. I've never been asked what I was carrying in my pack that I stored over my seat. On my way home, after hiking the PCT, I appreciated the down time and some of the scenery that a long train ride provides. After dealing with things at a snails pace for several months, dealing with crowds and long lines at the airport was something I was glad to miss.

01-11-2011, 16:27
I was able to carry mine on. It was small enough. My "pocket knife" was a single edged razor blade which I threw away and replaced in Atlanta. I don't carry a stove so no problem there. They did not have a problem with my 6" tent stakes or hiking poles. I talked to TSA before I got in line and made sure they wouldn't have any issues with those items.

01-11-2011, 18:11
Once you check in for your flight go to the screening area and ask the TSA to examine your luggage/backpack while you are standing there. Once the inspection is completed you can secure your backpack (there are metal mesh screens available at backpacking outfitters with locking devices).

Given the "baggage fees" many airlines are demanding, the plan to ship the backpack to the hostel, or to the shuttle provider may be the best idea.

Also if you needed to send a knife, canister fuel, or other contraband (booze for example), it is more likely to make it to your destination via UPS/USPS than via the airlines.

01-11-2011, 20:44
I typically ship my gear to someone I know when I'm headed out to hike. I did carry on my pack back in August for my return flgiht to Atlanta. I don't trust the airlines enough to ever check my gear.

Turtle Feet
01-11-2011, 20:51
My favorite part....

I did a get pocket knife on board by accident.

Yeah, I'm toying with the idea of shipping my entire pack ahead to the Hiker Hostel - that way I know it's there before I even get on my flight - no worries, no hassel at the airport.

01-14-2011, 16:22
I was checking out the Hiker Hostels website. They suggest shipping your backpack to them if you're staying there. Hadn't thought of that. I could ship it out, ready to go when I get there, except fuel, and not have to worry about airline regs on what's permitted.

01-14-2011, 16:28
I've checked mine and shipped mine; never had any problems either way.

01-14-2011, 17:14
I'm a section hiker. I always UPS my pack when I'm going out, just so I don't worry about it not getting there. That happened once, on a US Air tiny plane into West Lebanon, NH, by Hanover. Our plane's luggage ended up in Presque Isle, Maine and vice versa. Not a good way to start a hike. But I always check it with the airlines on the way home from a hike, because then I don't care.