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gnpwdrtreason
06-20-2012, 10:19
Hi, I'm planning a thru hike for 2013, I could use advice on equipment and books to read and the what not. Wasn't really sure where else to ask

Ladytrekker
06-20-2012, 12:39
Just do searches (ex. sleeping bags, backpacks, food, etc) or go to the forum and look under gear. One of my favorite books is "A Season on the Appalachian Trail". There are a ton of books about the trail and you check out http://www.theatguide.com/. I think alot of the thrus use David Miller's AT Guide, which also has a site on Facebook.

You will get more of a response if you ask a direct question vs a general question. There are some real veterans on this site. I hike the Florida Trail mostly and have just done a fraction of the AT but I get all my advice from this site.

Hope you have a great thru next year.

bigcranky
06-20-2012, 13:09
Start with this link (http://www.pmags.com/a-quick-and-dirty-guide-to-the-appalachian-trail), has everything you need to figure out what questions to ask. The author is a moderately experienced long distance hiker.... :)

rocketsocks
06-20-2012, 14:56
Hi, I'm planning a thru hike for 2013, I could use advice on equipment and books to read and the what not. Wasn't really sure where else to askWow did you luck out!:welcometo White Blaze,a site where every question gets an answer.As stated above if your questions are specific you will get more answers and opinions.On the home page there is some fantastic reading,and literally thousands of years of combined hiking experience here,best site ever,enjoy and happy hiking.

Spokes
06-20-2012, 14:59
Here's two articles to start you off. I referred to them before my thru hike. Ignore any pop-ups.

10 page article about hiking the AT. It provides a great overview of what you can expect in the major sections plus offers some trail etiquette.
http://www.backpacker.com/destinations/12530

Here's a tried and true gear list. Fleece beanie and gives are givens. Add a trash compactor bag for a liner. Don't waste your money on a bunch of useless gear. Think in ounces. When you hit the trail you'll understand why....
http://www.backpacker.com/november_08_pack_man_/articles/12659?page=4

Feral Bill
06-20-2012, 15:22
Books: The Complete Walker IV, Advanced Backipacking

ATMountainTime
06-20-2012, 15:22
Our class of 2013 is gonna be the best!

gnpwdrtreason
06-20-2012, 20:57
I love you guys

rocketsocks
06-20-2012, 21:02
I love you guysawe........:)

DavidNH
06-20-2012, 23:21
From my experience the single smartest thing you can do to get ready for an AT thru hike is to do several weekend backpack trips. Go out in good weather, warm weather, cold weather, and rainy weather. You'll learn what works and what doesn't and can adjust accordingly.

depending on your location.. try to get to an aldha gathering (aldha.org). They meet over weekend in October in Virginia or PA depending on the year. Any question you could possibly have about hiking would get answered there.

Equipment advice:
You DO want trekking poles.
consider www.tarptent.com for shelter.

everyone has thoughts about equipment. use what works for you.
Sleeping bag.. down is lighter so go with down. Yes I know down is useless when wet but synthetic would be no fun either. You MUST keep your sleeping bag dry. Stuff it into at least two or even three waterproof bags. Line pack with waterproof bag.
No boots will last the distance. So will want at least two pairs of already broke in boots. If you wear running shoes, then you will want four or more pairs.
sleeping bag: start with bag rated to 0F (assuming you start in march) then in Viriginia switch to a bag rated to 40 F. Then switch back somewhere in NH.


David

q-tip
06-21-2012, 06:28
I thought I would send you a gear list. My cold 3-season is about 15.5 lbs, but I can get to 13.5 in the summer. Just some thoughts--you will find what works for you balancing safety, and comfort.....I hope this helps & there are wonderful folks on White Blaze--they have been most helpful to me on my journey.



Trail Gear List-7








Big Three:

Weight Oz.







Granite Gear Crown 60

35.5



o Cuben Pack Cover-

1.0



TT Contrail (Total)

33.0



o Ground Cloth-

1.7



o Stakes (8)-

0.0



o Stuff Sack-

0.0



WM Alpinlite 15 Degree Down Bag

36.3



o Stuff Sacks

0.0



Thermarest Neo Air

14.0



Pad Stuff Sack

0.7







Total:

122.2



Lbs.

7.6







Clothing (Carried)








MB Wind Pants-

3.1



Marmot Mica Jacket-

7.0



Marmot Dri-Climb Vest

0.0



Mont Bell Down Camp Jacket-

6.6



Silk Lite Weight Sleep Shirt-

2.8



Silk LiteWeight Sleep Leggings-

0.0



Sleep Socks (1)-Polartec

2.6



Hiking Socks (X-tra-1)-

2.6



Sock Liners (X-tra-1)-

1.0



Nike Hiking Leggings-

4.7



Fleece Hat (1)-

0.0



Running Gloves

2.0



Camp Gloves

1.0



Garbage Bag Rain Shirt-

2.1



Running Hat-

2.0



Stuff Sack-

0.8



Sunglasses

1.7



Dirty Girl Gaiters

1.2



Mesh Camp Shoes

2.5



Pillow Cover

1.7



Balaclava

2.0



Bandana

1.0



Rubber Rain Gloves

1.0







Total:

49.4




3.1







Hygiene/Medical/Emergency/Stuff








Tooth Brush-Toothpaste

2.0



First Aid Kit-

1.2



o Medical Tape-

-



o Gauze-1 Roll-

-



o 3 Band Aids-

-



o 3 Alcohol Wipes-

-



o Tweezer-




Toilet Paper-

1.0



Hand Sanitizer-

1.0



Vitamin I-

0.0



Medications-

9.0



Sun Screen-

1.0



Lip Balm-

0.5



Duct Tape-

1.0



Emergency Kit-

2.0



o Needle-Thread-

-



o Safety Pins (4)-

-



o Tent-Pad Repair Kit-

-



Bladder Parts




Bic Lighter (1)-

0.4



Waterproof Matches (1 Box)-

0.3



Spare Batteries-

0.0



Pen-Paper-

1.0



Head Lamp-

3.0



Trail Maps-

2.0



Deet-

1.0



Extra Plastic Bags-

1.0



Food Bags




White Garbage Bag-Grocery Bags

1.0



Stuff Sack

1.4







Total:

29.8




1.9



Cook System:








Soto Stove + Windscreen

3.3



Stuff Sack (Stove)-

0.8



Fuel (4 oz)-

7.0



Cook Pot-

4.8



Pot Cozy

1.9



Spoon- (2)

1.5



Stuff Sack (Food)-

1.6



Bear Rope-

1.5



Towel-

0.5



Pot Stabilizer

1.0







Total:

23.9




1.49



Water Treatment:








Steri Pen w/ Batteries-Case-

4.6



Spare Batteries

1.0



Aqamira Tabs

0.5



Nalgene UL Water Bottle (1)-

3.0



Nalgene Soft Bottle

2.0



MSR Bladder (80 oz)-

6.2







Total:

17.3




3.8







Wearing:








Ex Officio Long Sleeve Shirt-

7.1



Running Shorts-

3.2



Hiking Socks-

1.5



Sock Liners-

0.9



Hiking Poles-Leki-

19.4



Montrail AT + Train Runners

30.0



Nikon Coolpix 12 mpx

6.0



Knife/Whistle/Compass-

1.4



Heart Rate Monitor-

3.2



Knee Brace

6.0



Ankle Brace

8.0







Total:

86.7




15.0







Electronics:








MP3/Headphones/Charger-

3.0



Cell Phone/Charger

3.0







Total:

6.0







Other:








Ditty Bag-

1.2



o Credit Cards (2)-

1.0



o Cash-

-



o Drivers License-

-



o Insurance Card-

-



o Phone Card-

-



o Extra Reading Glasses (1)-

0.7



o Emergency Numbers-

0.0







Total:

2.9



















Food-Water








Water Carried-

33.0



Food-5 Days-1.5 Lbs/Day (26 OZ.)

130.0







Totals:

163.0







Grand Totals:








Base Weight In Pack:

251.5







Weight Worn:

86.7







Skin-Out Base Weight:

338.2







Weight Pack+Food+Water

414.5







Total Skin Out Weight:

501.2







Total Skin Out/Body Weight:

2901.2




181.3











Alternate Shelter (Tarp):




Blue Foam Pad

6.0



Wild Oasis Tarp

14.0



Oasis Ground Sheet

2.2




FOOD:




TVP-




Powdered Milk




Cous Cous




Beef Jerky




Nuts




Toffee Cashews




Brown Gravy




Creamer




Large Canister Gas




Small Canister Gas




Chargers

WIAPilot
06-21-2012, 06:40
One of the best things you can do to prepare for your hike is to read David AWOL's The 2012 A.T. Guide and start planning your trip. Even if you change plans (and you will), at least you will familiarize yourself with the route and the shelters, towns, etc. along the way. It has proven to be invaluable to me!

http://www.amazon.com/T-Guide-2012-David-Miller/dp/0979708125

TrekkerJeff
06-22-2012, 20:32
We picked up quite a bit of good info by reading thru various journals on TrailJournals.com AWOL's AT Guide is a good suggestion for planning. You will learn a lot on the job, so to speak, once you get out there on the trail itself.

Papa D
06-22-2012, 20:58
People on this site are going to make this real complicated for you but it doesn't have to be - there are many successful thru hikers that plan very little and hike the trail - here is basically what you need:

1) About $600 in cash and a credit card with at least $4000 to spend - - you can mail drop half of your cash to somewhere that is about halfway - say Duncannon, PA
2) Gear as follows:

A lightweight backpack - Osprey Packs are very popular - something about 60 liters
20-30 degree sleeping bag with "dry stuff sack" - like Sea to Summit or Granite Gear
a sleeping pad - maybe something that is 3/4 of your body length
A lightweight solo tent
A canister fuel or alcohol backpacking stove, lighter, fuel, windscreen - probably contained in a little cook kit
A waterproof jacket or poncho
A wool or synthetic sweater
A wool or synthetic fleece stocking cap (like a ski hat)
A little bag containing a headlamp, your data book*, a spare lighter, your money, and any little personal items
Two empty gatorade bottles for water and a purification method (we get water from creeks and springs) - "Aqua-Mira" is a popular brand that works well - instructions come with it
A bag to contain 4-5 days of backpacking food - noodles, dehydrated potatoes, foil packs of tuna, cliff bars, instant coffee, etc. - zip lock bags (re-use when you can) are pretty standard too.
A few personal items in a zip lock - toothpaste, toothbrush, any meds, a few first aid items
A cell phone kept powered off and a charger
Some camp shoes - crocs are popular
Plan on wearing clothes that you might run in - polyester shirt, shorts, compression shorts and then wool socks and "trail shoes"
Carry a spare pair of socks and clean t-shirt with your sweater, stocking cap and rain jacket.
* order your data book or thru hikers companion from the ATC
plan on taking about 5 months (average) for a thru hike
if you go Southbound ME-GA - start in June or July
if you go Northbound GA-ME - start sometime in April
follow the white blazes
it is about that simple - you'll figure out hostels, hitching to towns, shelters etc. as you go.
A lot of people mail drop food and supplies to themselves - just getting to a town and shopping is easier and becoming more "the norm"
Hike your own hike (HYOH) but please leave things as you found them which is known as Leave No Trace (LNT)

cabbagehead
06-22-2012, 23:09
Consider getting poles that have a good locking mechanism (unlike the Lekis I have). I like most of the stuff on q-tip's list.

a lightweight rugged, fuel efficient, easy to prime alcohol stove from bottlestoves.com
The best fuel is isopropanol (gas-line antifreeze) or methanol (also gas-line antifreeze). Both have pros and cons.

Food:
oat bars such as Nature valley
fish packets
protein bars
peanuts, walnuts, and wasabi peas mixed in the right ratio
pills: calcium + vitamin d, omega (high dha), multi
cabbage (to be eaten before leaving town)

Montana AT05
06-23-2012, 11:11
Light gear. Doesn't have to be expensive, can be cheap. Example: $6 rain poncho from walmart or $1.00 emergency poncho that seems made from saran wrap (hey you can cut it up from time to time to wrap leftovers from your food bag!).

Don't over pack food, plenty of places to get food. Drink a liter of water at the source, that keeps you good for 5-6 miles. Carry a liter out with you--don't over pack water except in a a few spots (ex. please fill up just before Chestnut Knob shelter, the ridge after is dry as a bone).

Keep gear simple--don't over think and over pack for camp--meaning luxury items that you imagine you'll use often as you lounge about camp...maybe some folks experience that, but I bet after a few hundred miles, most don't.

Best prep is mental. Be prepared to want to quit, then don't quit.

Cookerhiker
06-23-2012, 13:32
You could also peruse trailjournals.com for a few good journals to follow. Find someone in your circumstance i.e. not much experience, learning as they go and follow their trip. After all, they're out there doing it!

Papa D
06-23-2012, 13:57
I too like q-tips list but going ultra-light takes a particular skill set that someone that is "sort of lost" doesn't necessarily have yet - - I might suggest that combining some slightly easier to use and more durable items might serve you better - at least initially. If you can get your "base weight" (without food and water) to just under 20 pounds and carry an average total weight of between 29-31 pounds depending on your size and stature, you would be right on target - as you go, you figure out how to trend toward ultra-light - - starting just "lightweight" is fine and giving yourself a little safety margin is good.