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HikingJosh
06-22-2011, 14:04
So, Iím new to this. Totally, completely new. I donít own any gear. Iíve been reading this forum and using the search functions to establish my initial gear purchases, but Iím gun shy to buy any of my big items. I hope Iím not being too much of a pain.

Itís also hard because Iím buying the majority of this stuff online. There are some Dickís, Sports Authoritys, and a Gander Mountain store where I live but long distance hiking supplies and employees with knowledge of it arenít in this area. Iíd love to go to the store and try these things out as a lot of you suggest, but I donít think itís an option.

My trip is from Allenís Gap to Springer Mountain, so 286.5 miles, from mid August to late September. I hope to make a longer hike next year and would like to reuse some of my gear, but Iím trying to spend less than $1,000 on gear for this trip which is more important for now. Again, thanks for any help.

BACKPACK:
Golite Quest

Golite seems to be a respected brand around here, a lot of people say they use it. The Pinnacle or Jam have a few more supporters because itĎs lighter, but Iíd rather have a slightly bigger bag this trip and learn my lesson the hard instead of worrying I wonít have enough space.

TENT:
Eureka Spitfire 1

Tarps or tarp tents are really popular here, but Iíd feel more comfortable my first time out with a tent. There have been some reviews of this here giving the Spitfire praise and Iíve read a lot more good stuff about it off site. Iíd prefer to have a free standing tent, but I canít find one in my price range. If you could suggest one of a similar price Iíd love to hear it, if not I think this is a good alternative.

SLEEPING BAG:
Eureka Casper 15-Degree Mummy

This bag Iíve found very little about using the search engine on the forums here, but it seems to be well recommended elsewhere. 15 degrees is much colder than Iíll run into according to average temps. of the hike Iím making, but I also read 15 degrees is probably an overstatement of how warm it can be. Out of the three items, I feel least confident about this one.

SLEEPING PAD:
?

Besides some foam pads Iíve seen at SportĎs Authority, I really donít know what Iím even considering here. This is another item Iím afraid Iíll buy too large and I wont be able to let it fit comfortably.

Again, Iím sorry if this is too much info to dump here but Iíd appreciate any help or advice you would be willing to give. Since I canít see any of in front of my face before I buy it, I guess Iím afraid these larger items wonít fit well into the backpack, especially with the tent and sleeping pad since I donít know what either of those rolled up looks like.

Have a great day every, and again, thanks.

SMSP
06-22-2011, 15:36
Welcome!

You're gonna get a lot of opinions and preferences here because what gear works for some, may not work for others.

Letís see, I am assuming ďNPBĒ is North Palm Beach, FL. So the nearest REI store is 10 hours or so away in Atlanta, GA. Iíd think the Miami area has got to have at least one or so Outfitter type stores. Iím not talking Gander Mtn or Academy type chain box stores. Iím talking independently owned Outfitters and sometimes, they carry some of the same quality gear like GoLite, Osprey, Big Agnes, maybe Eureka, Therm-a-Rest, etcÖ Prices may be high, but you may be able to try some the gear on and get a feel for what youíre wanting.

Regarding packs, bags and pads, I'd suggest you try them out in a store if at all possible. If you order these particular items online without putting your hands on them and sampling them, then you may find what works for you, or you may not. There is a classified section on WB for possible used gear.

Dome tent option in the price range of the Eureka Spitfire Ė Kelty Teton 2 Tent:
http://www.bobwards.com/products2.cfm?color_pic=Ruby / Tan&id=45782&utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=googleproducts (http://www.bobwards.com/products2.cfm?color_pic=Ruby / Tan&id=45782&utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=googleproducts)
I have one and have been satisfied with it.

And thereís the hammock option, but I donít see you getting a complete set-up for $100.

Cooking System? Alcohol? Canister? Pot/Cup?
You can get an alcohol stove and/or starter kits from $10-$30 like End2End Trail Supply, Zelph Stoves, Mini-Trangia 28, or make your own.
Or, spend between $40 to $150 for some canister stove kits like Pocket Rocket, JetBoil, Snow Peak.

Water Filtration? Some use nothing, some use Aqumira, some use mechanical filters like Katadyn, Platyus, MSR, Sawyer.

If you buy quality gear and maintain it, youíll be able to use it for a very long time, possibly forever. Good Luck!

SMSP

ScottP
06-22-2011, 16:18
I'd avoid golite.


Outdoor products are like every other industry--they make money by convincing you that you need a ton of crap, selling you as much as they can, and re-investing that money into convincing you that you need even more crap.

Here's the big four I'd buy in your situation:

Pad: Therma rest Ridgerest solite small $20, (8 oz)

http://www.rei.com/product/810386/therm-a-rest-ridgerest-solite-sleeping-pad


Thermarest alpine +35 degree down blanket $240, 21 oz

http://www.rei.com/product/810297/therm-a-rest-alpine-35-down-blanket

You'll want something dry to put your sleeping bag in

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___83028

4 oz, $13. there's lighter versions for not much more if you want to look

Etowah 6x10 flat tarp
http://www.etowahoutfittersultralightbackpackinggear.com/tarps.html
9 oz, $80

You'll need 12 tent stakes and some light line (these are all cheap/light)


backpack:
Here are two good options,

9 oz $43
http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___91075

12 oz $50
http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___91076


3 empty gatorade bottles will hold all the water you need. For purification just bleach (needs to be fresh--bleach degrades in a year or so and is no longer effective) in a small dropper bottle is good.


http://www.clorox.com/products/clorox-regular-bleach/faq/ You don't want bleach that has 'spring rain scent' or anything odd like that.

rain jacket: $30, 5.5 oz

http://www.gearzone.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=262-15701&click=5096

a fleece hat is always nice, as are 1-2 extra pairs of running socks. A bandana is always nice as well

If you want to cook here are instructions for making a simple alcohol stove--it burns denatured alcohol or HEET from the auto section of any large store/gas station. You can keep the fuel in a small marked bottle (12 oz or so that you buy getting a drink at the gas station).
http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/index.html

I use a 1.1L cookpot--I cook double sized meals and eat leftovers for breakfast and eat absurd amounts of food. Aluminum and titanium are both good options--the handle and top are not needed. The one below is a little smaller and is aluminum, $30, 6 oz if you remove top/handles.

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___72315


a titanium spoon is kind of nice, but one from your home kitchen works just fine too.




Just wear whatever you'd go running in--running shoes, shorts, socks, and a polypro shirt. Extra clothes are usually unnecessary. If you go hiking in colder weather then just buy a nice light down vest---you'll even be able to use the same sleeping bag.

Hope the above helps.

HikingJosh
06-22-2011, 16:19
Thanks so much for your response SMSP!

You are right in assuming I'm in North Palm Beach. I've looked local for hiking stores but I haven't searched Miami yet, so that will be my next goal. If anyone is in a similar location to me I'd love if you could recommend a store. I've done the measurements based on what I've read online for a bag, but I'd obviously rather do it in person.

I love that tent you linked. It's a little heavier but I think I might be leaning towards that one.

As for cooking, that's one of the few things I've purchased. I saw a few YouTube videos with people using this (http://www.shop.backpackingadventuregear.com/Soloist-Stove-with-Windscreen-Soloist.htm) stove from Etowah Outfitters that I purchased.

I haven't even thought about water filtration yet, been thinking of these other ideas too much.

Again, thanks for your words, they are very encouraging to me.

WingedMonkey
06-22-2011, 17:29
West Palm Beach use to have a backpackers store, but the guy finally gave up. Army Navy Outdoors on Military Trail, south of West Gate Ave. has some gear, it's hit or miss, more Police gear and Boy scout stuff now days.

Jersey Tim
06-22-2011, 17:38
TENT:
Eureka Spitfire 1

Tarps or tarp tents are really popular here, but I’d feel more comfortable my first time out with a tent.

Not your fault because it's an easy mistake to make when you're new, but I twitch a little bit when someone says something like this. A Tarptent (actually a brand name, also a metonym for similar products) is not a flat tarp rigged as a tent, as is sometimes done, but rather a fully enclosed single-wall tent. They're nearer in concept to what you may think of as "real" tents than to flat tarps. Have a look around the TT site to see what I mean: http://tarptent.com/rainbow.html

Trailbender
06-22-2011, 18:07
I have a Golite quest pack. It is pretty good, haven't really had issues with it. Replaced the framesheet and stays with a section of my sleeping pad, still evaluating this. I had to make a lot of changes after I tore some cartilage in my knee a few months ago on the BMT, was already pretty light, but went at it with a fervor when I got back after getting hurt. I'll hike with a garbage sack and some granola bars if that's what it takes to keep going out in the woods.

I used bleach on my entire thru, no issues. I have a tarptent I heavily modified, weight is probably 20 oz with stakes, it is fully enclosed. People talk about the condensation issue, for that light I just be careful not to touch the walls. Fully enclosed is very important to me, it is bug free and much warmer in the winter, I have camped year round in that tent, so anyone who says you need a winter tent is wrong, just get a warmer bag. I sleep cold, so I use a 0 bag year round, I modified it to a quilt, so it is lighter and more adjustable than a regular bag, learn to sew and use dental floss as thread.

You can dirtbag a lot of the gear you need, use a wal mart grease pot, home made alcohol stove, teaspoon, ect. Gatorade jugs are great for water, I use a 2l one, and have a 2l platy for camp water. I drink a ton of water though, so some people might not be comfortable with the weight of carrying 2l, it's heavy but I have found I do best carrying that much. I'll cut weight in a lot of areas, but plenty of water is one I won't do.

Rocket Jones
06-22-2011, 19:09
My turn to offer conflicting advice. :D

I think your original tent and bag were fine, switching to the dome works too. No worries there.

Dick's and Gander Mtn both have Thermarest pads in stock. Look over the various types - ridge rest, z-lite, trail-lite, neo-air, trekker, etc - and if one looks and feels like it'll work, go for it. You're young, a $10 blue foam pad from Wally World might be all you need.

Your pack is going to be your second most personal decision. Find a place and try some on, even if you have to travel a little for it.

For water, keep it simple. Rather than a filter or Steripen, I use Aqua Mira. Those tiny bottles will last you a long time.

Not needed but very nice to have: a long-handled spoon. Keeps your hands clean when digging food out of a package or freezer bag. Worth it.

Get a beanie or balaclava or buff for evenings. Sometimes the night gets cold, this will really help you stay warm when you sleep.

Likewise, get a pair of surplus military wool glove liners. Warm, light, cheap.

There's an article here on WB about "dirtbagging", i.e. making your own gear. One of the suggestions is making a warm jacket out of a military surplus field jacket liner. I got one online for less than $20, had my daughter install a zipper and some velcro, and it works as well as an expensive store-bought jacket. Remember, for military surplus, Google is your friend.

Long underwear and other misc. goodies, check out "The Underwear Guys". Great prices on gear, mostly seconds I think, but everything I've gotten from them has been first rate.

Instead of an expensive dry sack or pack liner, get a box of trash compactor bags (a lifetime supply most likely). White - so it's easy to see inside, unscented, tough, and after you stuff your bag and sleeping gear into it (in the bottom of your pack), squeeze the air out, twist the top, double it over and secure with a girl's ponytail holder (much stronger than rubber bands).

Wally World and Target sell decent headlamps for around $10.

Shoes or boots are going to be your critical decision. Search for "fitting shoes" here on WB and you'll get all kinds of great advice on that.

Mostly though, as you get your gear, practice with it. Cook with the stove and pot, set up your tent, try some nights with the pad and bag, do plenty of hiking with your shoes. You'll find out what works or doesn't work - for you.

Enjoy the journey.

Raul Perez
06-22-2011, 20:26
Check out my signature line. I go over in my hiking 101 series various items and clothing you will encounter during your quest to gear up for the hiking adventures from clothing to backpacks to shelters, water purification and cooking.

wannahike
06-22-2011, 21:03
Try to get over to Travel Country in Altamonte Springs east of Orlando. I've found the salespeople really helpful they don't just want to oversell you stuff they think you need.

http://www.travelcountry.com/

sharon2010
06-22-2011, 21:37
just posted my ULA catalyst 4 sale,don:t know your size but this pack will fit a young teenage boy.or small to medium woman.it is a XS the only difference in the sizing in these packs are where the shoulder straps are sewn the cubics are the same in all catalyst,I am asking 150.00 for this pack and I only bought this pack last year,these are nice packs It just to big 4 me

sbhikes
06-22-2011, 22:42
If you want heavy gear, read gear choices on this site or Trail Journals gear lists for AT hikers. If you want light gear, read Trail Journal gear lists for PCT hikers (many of them hiked the AT and learned their lesson about heavy gear.) Backpacking Light is also a good resource.

Backpacks:
ULA - these are the best! (www.ula-equipment.com (http://www.ula-equipment.com))
Gossamer Gear (gossamergear.com (http://gossamergear.com/) - I have one)
Osprey Exos (ospreypacks.com (http://ospreypacks.com))

Tents:
Tarptent (www.tarptent.com (http://www.tarptent.com) - see, not a tarp)
Gossamer Gear (gossamergear.com (http://gossamergear.com/) - I have one and am happy)
6 Moons Designs (www.sixmoondesigns.com (http://www.sixmoondesigns.com) - I have the Duo, it's big!)
Lightheart Gear (lightheartgear.com (http://lightheartgear.com) - these blew me away at Kickoff)

Pads:
Z-rest
Generic blue foam
Ridgerest
Neo air

Spokes
06-22-2011, 22:47
Stop the madness! It's real easy to blow a lot of money when you start shopping for hiking gear. Everything looks so yummy till you strap it on your back and have to lug it 16 miles.

Here's a tried and true cold weather gear list (http://www.backpacker.com/november_08_pack_man_/articles/12659?page=4) (ignore the pop-up) that will give you 16 lb. base weight pack. Tweak it for summer to go even lighter. Don't forget to add a trash compactor bag as a liner.

Cheers!

HikingJosh
06-23-2011, 03:34
Thanks for the overwhelemingly positive responses. I really appreciate you guys taking your time to help me out.


backpack:
Here are two good options,

9 oz $43
http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___91075

12 oz $50
http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___91076

Hope the above helps.

Lots of great suggestions, and specific suggestions, so I appreciate that, thanks Scott. I love the price of these bags obviously and could probably get the more expensive sleeping bag you listed if I could save this much here. I know this is probably just guessing since I would need to physically try, but do you think the 12 oz. bag would fit with the Kelty Teton 2 Tent SMSP posted in post #2 here?


West Palm Beach use to have a backpackers store, but the guy finally gave up. Army Navy Outdoors on Military Trail, south of West Gate Ave. has some gear, it's hit or miss, more Police gear and Boy scout stuff now days.

Was it the one over on Forest Hill? I thought I remembered there be one their awhile go and actually drove to that plaza to check it out but couldn't find it. Thanks for the tip on the Army Navy store though, I'll definitely check it out.


Not your fault because it's an easy mistake to make when you're new, but I twitch a little bit when someone says something like this. A Tarptent (actually a brand name, also a metonym for similar products) is not a flat tarp rigged as a tent, as is sometimes done, but rather a fully enclosed single-wall tent. They're nearer in concept to what you may think of as "real" tents than to flat tarps. Have a look around the TT site to see what I mean: http://tarptent.com/rainbow.html

My ignorance truly shows. Thanks for helping me better understand that. I had ignored looking at products liked this just based on the name because of my preconception.


I have a Golite quest pack. It is pretty good, haven't really had issues with it. Replaced the framesheet and stays with a section of my sleeping pad, still evaluating this. I had to make a lot of changes after I tore some cartilage in my knee a few months ago on the BMT, was already pretty light, but went at it with a fervor when I got back after getting hurt. I'll hike with a garbage sack and some granola bars if that's what it takes to keep going out in the woods.

I used bleach on my entire thru, no issues. I have a tarptent I heavily modified, weight is probably 20 oz with stakes, it is fully enclosed. People talk about the condensation issue, for that light I just be careful not to touch the walls. Fully enclosed is very important to me, it is bug free and much warmer in the winter, I have camped year round in that tent, so anyone who says you need a winter tent is wrong, just get a warmer bag. I sleep cold, so I use a 0 bag year round, I modified it to a quilt, so it is lighter and more adjustable than a regular bag, learn to sew and use dental floss as thread.

You can dirtbag a lot of the gear you need, use a wal mart grease pot, home made alcohol stove, teaspoon, ect. Gatorade jugs are great for water, I use a 2l one, and have a 2l platy for camp water. I drink a ton of water though, so some people might not be comfortable with the weight of carrying 2l, it's heavy but I have found I do best carrying that much. I'll cut weight in a lot of areas, but plenty of water is one I won't do.

Thanks for your take on the Quest pack. For the suggestions here it seems like I shouldn't be scared to go ligther, as the people who get a Quest end up making it ligther anyways. I drink a lot of water in my day to day life now, so I imagine I'm going to be carrying a lot too. Gatorade jugs are a great idea.


My turn to offer conflicting advice. :D

Wow, that is TONS of great info...I just cut it all out in the quote here because I didn't know what to narrow it down to. The dirtbagging article is great, and once I make the purchase of my big items I'll be able to focus more on those other things. Just seems a little overwheleming to look at it ALL right now. The Underwear Guys site looks like a keeper, I've favorited that, and I'll definately check out Target for a headlamp. Thanks.


Check out my signature line. I go over in my hiking 101 series various items and clothing you will encounter during your quest to gear up for the hiking adventures from clothing to backpacks to shelters, water purification and cooking.

Very nice! Thanks! I've already started watching, this is a great little series. Only through part 2 of the legs but videos that are for total beginners are very much appreciated.


Try to get over to Travel Country in Altamonte Springs east of Orlando. I've found the salespeople really helpful they don't just want to oversell you stuff they think you need.

http://www.travelcountry.com/

That's quite a drive for me. I think with the money I'd use for the cost of gas to and from Orlando I could just order a second pack off the internet and hope that one fits if the other doesn't...but thank you for the suggestion. If I find myself in Orlando I'll make it a priority to stop there.


just posted my ULA catalyst 4 sale,don:t know your size but this pack will fit a young teenage boy.or small to medium woman.it is a XS the only difference in the sizing in these packs are where the shoulder straps are sewn the cubics are the same in all catalyst,I am asking 150.00 for this pack and I only bought this pack last year,these are nice packs It just to big 4 me

That's probably a little small for me. I have a size 36 waist and using the measurement chart on the GoLite website for backpacks, I measured from the top of my hipbone to the large verebrate on the back of my neck and came up with 18.5 inches. I don't think that would fit right. Good luck selling your bag though.


If you want heavy gear, read gear choices on this site or Trail Journals gear lists for AT hikers. If you want light gear, read Trail Journal gear lists for PCT hikers (many of them hiked the AT and learned their lesson about heavy gear.) Backpacking Light is also a good resource.

Backpacks:
ULA - these are the best! (www.ula-equipment.com (http://www.ula-equipment.com))
Gossamer Gear (gossamergear.com (http://gossamergear.com/) - I have one)
Osprey Exos (ospreypacks.com (http://ospreypacks.com))

Tents:
Tarptent (www.tarptent.com (http://www.tarptent.com) - see, not a tarp)
Gossamer Gear (gossamergear.com (http://gossamergear.com/) - I have one and am happy)
6 Moons Designs (www.sixmoondesigns.com (http://www.sixmoondesigns.com) - I have the Duo, it's big!)
Lightheart Gear (lightheartgear.com (http://lightheartgear.com) - these blew me away at Kickoff)

Pads:
Z-rest
Generic blue foam
Ridgerest
Neo air

That's great advice I never thought of comparing the AT and PCT hikers. It does seem like the sparing PCT journals I've read were all AT hikers first. I really like the Osprey Exos bags and they were my second favorite brand I saw. Depending on what feedback I get about the Outdoor Research bag, I could see myself ending up with one of the Osprey bags.


Stop the madness! It's real easy to blow a lot of money when you start shopping for hiking gear. Everything looks so yummy till you strap it on your back and have to lug it 16 miles.

Here's a tried and true cold weather gear list (http://www.backpacker.com/november_08_pack_man_/articles/12659?page=4) (ignore the pop-up) that will give you 16 lb. base weight pack. Tweak it for summer to go even lighter. Don't forget to add a trash compactor bag as a liner.

Cheers!

That's a great article with a lot of really good information. I read that somewhere along the way in the last few weeks and have it saved as a list I'll compare with along the way. Thanks for referring it as it gives me more confidence I don't have to walk around with a pack of bricks.

lemon b
06-23-2011, 06:07
Go to an Outfitter. Also for a pad. Look at the things which block sunlight and go into a windshield. Cheap, light, and warm. They have them at Walmart.

bobp
06-23-2011, 07:22
I've been using the Teton 2 for over five years now, so I like it very much, and I can attest to its durability. On the downside, it does weigh a hair over 4 1/2 lbs. The Spitfire will save you over a pound. So it is a space vs. weight trade-off. Depending on the hike (duration, terrain, weather, etc.) I might go with the Teton, because I know that I can spend a week in it in a constant rain and still have dry gear inside -- try doing that with a Eureka Gossamer/Solitude (nylon coffin tent that I use sometimes).

I strongly recommend haunting the For Sale section of WB. I've picked up a lot of good bargains here, including a Granite Gear Latitude Vapor Trail pack that I like very much (well worth considering for a pack).

But, then, I'm not as UL-obsessed as other people (because, to be honest, I'm not exactly UL myself. There isn't much point in shaving ounces on my pack when I'm carrying pounds on my body).

mister krabs
06-23-2011, 08:18
OK, I'm going to go a little traditional on you.


Check out the Kelty Salida tent, cheap and fairly light. It's new and I haven't tried it, but it looks darn good. Light enough for one, big enough to bring a friend. 160$ http://www.rei.com/product/819973/kelty-salida-2-tent

I think you should reconsider the Jam. I have one and really like it. Cheap, light and durable. Plenty big enough. (as big as a large kitchen trash bag.) From 100-150$. line it with a trash compactor bag from the grocery store for all your stuff that needs to stay dry.

Sleeping bag, if you're going to get a casper, might as well get a campmor 20 down. It will last a lot longer than a casper and be a lot lighter and compressible. Just use it unzipped to pull over you if you get a chill. Skip the stuff sack and just cram it in the bottom of your compactor bag. This will be your big volume saver over the casper and the difference between using a 55 liter pack instead of a 65 or 70.

Mattress, if you're young and a back sleeper, a foam one will do, cheap blue or z-rest. Roll it in a big tube inside your Jam, stuff everything inside. I much prefer an air one like a thermarest. Either of these can be gotten at dicks 15-100$

Cooking, you only need one pot not a kit. Search for grease pot here or IMUSA mug or other light aluminum pot about 1 liter or a bit less. Tinfoil lid. less than 10$ A big spoon is all you need to eat, from home or I like the heavy plastic camping ones from dicks or walmart. You can play with alcohol stoves before you go or just buy a pocket rocket at dicks. -free or 40$ for a pocket rocket plus fuel.

Water, 1 liter sports drink bottles. I'm using tropicana bottles at the moment. -free Water purification, I've been using chemicals and am happy with it.

Bring a bandanna for any number of purposes.

Knife, a small one. Some folks like a swiss classic, but I bring one of those and a small kitchen knife. (http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-Chen-Handy-Little-4-Inch/dp/B0001UZMOI) Available at Publix.

Most importantly, don't bring a bunch of extra stuff that you don't need. Read the mountain crossings method.



(http://www.backpacker.com/november_08_pack_man_/articles/12659?page=4)

mister krabs
06-23-2011, 08:46
Having said all that, if you're going to spend money on a big ticket item, your best weight to value propositions will be in a tarptent. It's a good place to save more than 2 lbs. Since you're not through hiking, I say get a 2 man so you can bring a friend on a future trip.

Raul Perez
06-23-2011, 08:50
Josh,

Hope my series help you make a more informed decision in your quest to gear up. My series isn't intended to tell you what the best piece of equipment is (everyone has a different preference). But it is intended to show you more of what is out there with regards to "Cottage Industry" items made by hikers which more often than not are lighter and as durable. Pay attention to the links I put in the video descriptions as I start getting into gear in the later series. In the end it may make the difference between a 50lbs pack and a 25-30lbs pack.

WingedMonkey
06-23-2011, 14:23
Was it the one over on Forest Hill? I thought I remembered there be one their awhile go and actually drove to that plaza to check it out but couldn't find it. Thanks for the tip on the Army Navy store though, I'll definitely check it out.

Yes, that was the last location of Glenn's Backpacker, gone now. You can find ski gear and snowboards at half a dozen places in Palm Beach County, serious backpacking almost zilch. I rely on internet/mail order and shopping when out of town.
You might want to check out the local branch of the Florida Trail Association the Loxahatchee Chapter. It's mostly an older crowd LOL, but they have a lot of gear heads and can give you recommendations and sometimes have gear sales.
http://www.floridatrail.org/Chapters/South-Chapters1/Loxahatchee.html
:sun
(http://www.floridatrail.org/Chapters/South-Chapters1/Loxahatchee.html)

ScottP
06-24-2011, 21:56
"Lots of great suggestions, and specific suggestions, so I appreciate that, thanks Scott. I love the price of these bags obviously and could probably get the more expensive sleeping bag you listed if I could save this much here. I know this is probably just guessing since I would need to physically try, but do you think the 12 oz. bag would fit with the Kelty Teton 2 Tent SMSP posted in post #2 here?"

No, if you take a free-standing tent you'll have to carry a traditional backpack.

Tarptents are an ok compromise between a tarp and a tent. They really excel at being mosquito shelters.

I wouldn't go to an outfitter that isn't on the AT. Most of them are clueless about long distance hiking. Most of the outfitters that are on the AT in the south are great.

I also second SBhikes's comments. If you have money to spend after you're bought some of your gear, Zpacks (http://www.zpacks.com/backpacks.shtml) make the best ultralight backpacks on the market IMO. ULA are great packs if you have light loads but not ultralight loads.

Jim Adams
06-25-2011, 00:58
Back in the day there was a very good outfitter type store in Tampa...don't remember the name ( it was a guys name...Jackson?) but it was big, lots of fishing stuff but high quality camping and backpacking gear for the day also. Don't know if it is still there.

geek

DiverJim242
06-26-2011, 01:37
Bill Jackson's is still here and still going strong, it's a great store.
http://www.billjacksons.com

SassyWindsor
06-26-2011, 10:56
You can find some great gear at yard sales and flea markets. I'm talking really good deals.