View Full Version : Help a new AT hiker.

05-15-2005, 18:08
1) What are some things to look at in a good pair of hiking socks?

2) What is a good book/map for the AT in Virginia?

3) What to look for in a pair of boots? (BTW my feet sweat easy)

4) What is a good Rain Gear setup?

5) Some food suggestions.

I have hiked before, but only some weekend hikes. Thanks for the help.:D

05-15-2005, 18:15
Oh, And water treatment or taplets? or what?

05-15-2005, 18:16
1) What are some things to look at in a good pair of hiking socks?

There are several good brand names for hiking socks. Take your pick. However, the all natural fiber socks, like Smartwool stink much less than the synthetic socks like Ultramax.

2) What is a good book/map for the AT in Virginia?

The AT Guidebooks sold by ATC and others.

3) What to look for in a pair of boots? (BTW my feet sweat easy)

Fit, fit, fit.

4) What is a good Rain Gear setup?

Frogg Toggs are light and cheap. Marmont PreCip is popular, as is the Redledge.

5) Some food suggestions.

Look for foods that have at least 100 calories per ounce.

05-15-2005, 20:24
1) If you use trail runners, wear running socks. When I wear boots, I wear liners and heavy wool socks.

2) I'd get Wingfoot's book (Dan Bruce). I found it to be quite good overall. For maps, go to the ATC website and buy the Virginia map packs.

3) Leave the boots at home and try trail runners. In my gear article (see the articles section) I also include brief descriptions of various runners I've used. If you want a boot, though, I would go with the lightest weight model you can find. Something with a lot of fabric, no GoreTex, and minimal use of leather. Then again, I hiked quite a ways with Rock Steady in 2004, and he was de-tuned mountaineering boots. I've never seen anyone cover so much ground in such boots.

4) On the AT, I'd consider an umbrella and a windshirt. Or, go cheap with something like Frogg Toggs. The Marmot Precip seems to get a lot of good reviews. In the end, remember that the nature of the AT means a lot of rain. In the summer months, it is generally (but definitely not always) warm enough not to put on rain gear and it is more pleasant to simply hike in the rain, particularly if you have a hat on.

5) Consider not cooking breakfast. Instead, buy some of the various breakfast bars (NOT POPTARTS). My current favorite are Muffin Bars, but I forget who makes them. Shoot for 350-450 calories, which is about 3 bars. Put food in your pockets and snack while you eat. I consume a lot of Snickers bars and Milky Way bars. Craisens are nice. For lunch, peanut butter and Nutella spread out on tortillas is filling and good and fatty. For dinner, I eat a lot of Ramen noodles (2 packs), Liptons Rice/Noodles and Sauce, couscous, etc. Also, 1/3-1/2 pound of small pasta (orzo, capellini) with a packet sauce from Knorr and some olive oil is good. I'm not a fan of instant mashed potatoes, but others like them a lot. Stuffing is a nice change of pace. I would stay away from freeze dried foods. Supplement your diet with a multivitamin. Haul fresh foods out from towns for a nice treat on the first night. Or, buy a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and bring it out with you.

05-16-2005, 01:08
Thanks guys that really does help a lot. the shoes and the food parts mostly.

what should i do with water treatment? taplets? or what?

05-16-2005, 05:54
j3ster, As with everything else you will different opinions the more input you get, not to say the others are wrong, but from my experience I sway towards Peaks, input above.

1) I tried many sock types and combinations I found that the smartwool hiker's worked best for me, so did many hikers I hiked with. I used three sets of three pair, changed socks at lunch time and at camp at night, your feet need the chance to get air out and dry socks feel nice. Carry 2 pair, wear 1, after about 700 miles get 3 new pair.

2) I bought the entire map set from the ATC, (in december you can the budle deal at a discount) the companion guide and data book( the books I bought 2 each). I took apart the 1 each data book and companion guide, divided my maps according to food drops and did the same with the seperated data book and companion guide.

I also bought a set of water proof pens marked things like next food drop and stuff on the maps, or things that of special interest, like a hot dog stand. I kept the maps readily while accessible while hiking in a pocket, and the data & companion sheets in my pack, I would review them at night.

The second set of books was for my support person so they could me unexpected treats, and let others know where my next stop was in case they wanted to send me a surprise, i got a couple it was nice. Note: on foods drops I pre-packaged and addressed all boxes, numbered in order and stacked at support persons location accordingly. that way there was no question as to which were next. Always give 2 weeks ship time for snail mail (cheapest USPS parcel package delivery)

3) Boots or running shoes vary from time of year to individual preference, I used vasque when I hiked but, I know use Montrail's. I look for waterness (gore-tex) leather, good tread design, and good support and fit. I have a wide foot and require a shoe, I have been using the montrails for over a year now and love them, Note I live in MI, and hike all the time they have proven to be good boots except on glare ice, there, generally a set of four point crampons that fit in the knotch of your boot works just fine. try on many pairs and walk around the store for a while and ask them to load up a backpack for you to wear with 30 - 40 lbs, so you can see how they fit and feel.

4) rain gear, Ilike the Marmot precip and matching pants, works well for me, you wear them while doing laundry in town also. doubles as a windback on cold or cool days and extra layer in evening's. jacked can also be used to keep feet warmer in sleeping bag at night.

5) food, I like oatmeal in the morning, 3instant packs get me going, breakfast for mid morning snack, deluxe mixed nuts for snacks, home made jerky during the day, cocoa, tea, jello for evening hot drinks, a little gatorade powder in water in evening once in a while on hot days, (also used to re-hydrate dehydrated weekend hikers, found on the trail, it happened more than once). Mac& cheese, in evening, noodles, tuna, dehydrated spaghetti sauce, manwhich, beans & rice (mahatma, spelling??), others tropical trail mix. Dried tomatoes, applice slices, mango's, yogurt, apple sauce, take a look at the book Dry it you'll like it. barnes and noble did carry do not know if they still do, I think the ATC does.

6) I used a pur hiker(know called Katadyn), I carried Iodine for back-up and for very questionable looking water. I went six weeks without my filter, just using iodine and will not it again, you have to wait for it to work and when you are hot and VERY thirsty it seems like forever, plus the bio class and environmental classes I have taken lately have convinced me to filter all water.

If you want specific's just ask.

05-16-2005, 06:10
Thanks guys that really does help a lot. the shoes and the food parts mostly.

what should i do with water treatment? tablets? or what?

Choices are:
Do nothing, drink freely from the stream/spring.
Pros: less time involved, no stuff to carry so lighter weight.
Cons: possible greater risk of getting nasties, causing illness.
Pros: reassurance of clean water
cons: weight, takes longer than dipping straight from water source, my not make that much difference in preventing the nasties.
Chemicals like Iodine or chlorine.
Pros: easier than a filter w pump, lighter than filter, similar reassurance of clean water.
Cons: Taste, possible long term negative side effects, takes time to work.
Pros: no special equipment needed (if carrying cook pot), no added tastes/chemacles. Note: if cooking, this is the prefered method as you are already heating water anyway.
cons: extra fuel required (could use wood/camp fire), takes time; longest of the options mentioned.

Notes: You can shorten treatment time of the chem by heating the water. Some filter sets have the option of gravety feed so you can filter while sleeping or doing camp chores. Some chem treatments have a 2nd chem to remove the taste, follow instructions closely. You can extend the life of your filter by having a pre filter &/or a pre-pre filter such as a bandana at the far end of the pump hose.

BTW: I carry a filter, and chem. I mostly drink freely & use the filter & chem as backup. Am thinking of ditching the filter, in fact it is no longer in my pack.

Hope this helps.