View Full Version : I'm going to do it! Well, some of it :)

01-21-2013, 19:03
I have a couple months to kill this summer before grad school so, I figured, I love the outdoors: what not hike some of the AT?
So, during the month of July and into August (I imagine), I will be hiking (alone) from the Vermont/Massachusetts border to Katahdin.
I really don't know anyone who has done this and I've been doing as much research as possible but I would really love to hear from an actual person.

So, if you've been on the part of the trail I'm going to be (and even if you're not): what do you have to say about it? Suggestions/Tips/Warnings? How long will this take me (I'm in decent shape and working on being in even better shape)? Not including gear, how much will this cost me (so, I guess just the price of food)? Things you wish you had/didn't have? Things you wish you would've known? Where were your daily checkpoints (figuring out where these are going to be, how I know how far I've gone in a day, where the towns are going to be is still confusing to me)? Where did you resupply/mail yourself stuff (the mailing thing is another still confusing thing)? What did you eat? Did you bathe at all? I know I'll be doing the 100 Miles of Wilderness sooo...yeah, about that?

Here is every item I'm planning on taking/some stuff I still need to buy (looking for opinions on specific items or what I do not need from this list or what I should add):
Bandanas (2)
Off! Family Care Smooth & Dry Insect Repellent (how big of a container?)
7-in-1 Survival Whistle (whistle, compass, magnifying glass, thermometer, mirror, storage compartment)
Leatherman Micra Tool
A Big Knife (lol...needed?)
Lighter or Matches?
Medical Kit: a few band aids, some athletic tape and gauze, moleskin, some antibiotic cream, small pack of benadryll & ibprofen, birth control pills, sunscreen, aloe vera, itch cream, sterilizing pads, hand sanitizer
Bear Mace
Garden Shovel (is this really that necessary for taking care of poop?)
Esbit CS985HA Alcohol Stove & Trekking Set (solid fuel tables vs alcohol fuel?)
Titanium Spork
Travel Toothbrush & Toothpaste
MSR Miniworks EX Water Filter
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
2 Platypus Collapsible 2.0 L Water Bottles
Platypus Hoser Reservior
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack (what sizes and how many???)
Backpack Rain Cover
Transitional Glasses (I really don't think I'm going to want to bother with contacts)
1 Person Tent
Klymit Inertia X Frame Recon Sleeping Pad
+35 degrees Sleeping Bag (I've heard about just using a quilt: any other opinions on this?)
LEKI Super Makalu Teton Anti-Shock Trekking Poles
Osprey Aura Backpack (the 50 or 65?)
Convertible Hiking Pant
Fleece Top
Flannel Top
Long Silk Underwear Shirt & Pants
Rain Jacket
Merrel Hiking Boots (I've been advised against waterproof boots)
Darn Tough Hiking Socks (4 pairs)
Performance Underwear (2)
Performance Bras (2)
Macabi Skirt
Performance Top (short sleeve vs sleeveless?)

OK! I think that is it for now :) I apologize if this is a bit ridiculous to post, just with all I'm asking...but I'll sincerely appreciate any responses - THANK YOU!!!

Chaco Taco
01-21-2013, 19:08
1 bandana
knock off some of the clothing, you wont need it
Ditch flannel, cotton is bad
If you have a platy in your pack you only need one other water bottle
Choose a filter or dropstake one or the other
No garden shovel needed
Ditch the leathermanDont need a compass, there is a blaze about every 10 yards
You will love the smell the esbits will put on your gear, just carry an alcy stove
Use contractor grade trash bags as liner

Chaco Taco
01-21-2013, 19:10
Keep it simple, and carry an extra pair of socks. I used the extra pair of socks to sleep in.

Chaco Taco
01-21-2013, 19:12
I saw 4 socks after the fact. Only need 2 pairs. Dont need waterproof boots, trailrunners will do just fun. Just get a regular pocket knife. Herbal Armour is good and wont chew away the inside of your rain jacket. My 2 cents, good luck

Chaco Taco
01-21-2013, 19:14
one more thing you may want to get a 15 degree bag as well as having a 35 bag, esp for when you get to New Hampshire and Maine. Upper elevations see freezing temps in July and August

Sarcasm the elf
01-21-2013, 20:49
DO bring the leatherman micra. I find all sorts of uses for mine when I'm backpacking (Chaco Taco, this is the tiny model with scissors instead of pliers, not one of the full size leatherman)
DO bring a map and REAL compass at the beginning and learn how to use them before you hit the trail. It sounds like you're new to backpacking and having a map can be very useful, especially if you have to bail or hop off the trail for some reason. Once you've been hiking for a while, you can then decide if you want to continue bringing maps.
Besides that I agree with Chaco Taco's advise, Especially about the temperature in New Hampshire and Maine.

-Consider ditching the 7 in 1 survival whistle, those multi-gagets never seem to work right. Your Osprey pack should have a whistle built into the buckle on the chest strap. A plate compass (http://www.rei.com/category/4500598) is much better than the built in one on the whistle, the ones that cost $10-$20 will work just fine. Thermometers can be a fun toy but are unnecessary and the one in this multiwhistle probably won't be very accruate. If you want a mirror, buy a small unbreakable one.

-Most people find no need for a big knife, the one in the leatherman micra has always been enough for me.

-Ditch the bear mace. The only bear species we have on the East Coast are black bears, which are generally terrified of humans and don't defend their young by attacking. All the stories about fearsome bears and mothers protecting their cubs that you hear are about grizzly bears, which are only found west of the Mississippi river. If you're worried, take some time to read through this blackbear research site: http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/basic-bear-facts.html

-For lighters bring a couple of Mini-Bic lighters. If you're new to backpacking take more than one with you, trust me you'll lose one at some point.

-Buy your backpack last and make sure that it is large enough to fit all your stuff. Buy your pack from a good outdoor store from an employee that knows how to properly size and fit a backpack. It doesn't matter how good the reviews are on a pack, if that model doesn't fit your bodytype then it won't do you any good.

-Bring a hat with a brim and a headnet (bugnet).

-Most people use much stronger bug spray than you have listed, either something with 30% deet (apply it to your cloths, not directly to your skin). Many people simply use clothing that is treated with permethrin, a pesticide that kills both biting insects and ticks and will stay on your clothing for multiple washings. Permethrin is toxic to cats (not dogs) so I don't use it because of my pets, however there are plenty of people on the site that can answer questions about it if you're interested in learning about it.

-Hiking in New England you will encounter ticks, including those that can carry lyme disease. Check yourself thoroughly for ticks at least once a day when hiking, and get in the habit of checking quickly while you're hiking, you can often find them before they get a chance to bite you. Learn the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease because usually the sooner it is treated the less serious it will be.

-Have fun.

Chaco Taco
01-21-2013, 20:59
Hmm mace is a good idea for a female.

Sarcasm the elf
01-21-2013, 21:05
Hmm mace is a good idea for a female.

Fair point. I just wanted to make sure she knows that it's not the norm for hikers on the A.T. to carry it as a precaution against bears.

01-21-2013, 21:10
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack (what sizes and how many???)
+35 degrees Sleeping Bag (I've heard about just using a quilt: any other opinions on this?)
Performance Top (short sleeve vs sleeveless?)

Get these based on what you need for your gear. I know some people who want everything in a dry sack. I like to have my clothes, food, and sleeping bag in one. Get the size that will fit your gear.
I prefer sleeping bag to quilts, but that's just me. Both are great options.
For the top use whichever is more comfortable. I like short sleeve myself - covers my armpits better (I'm a man..they're hairy! lol) and I don't have to worry (as much) about ticks getting inside my shirt.

Good luck! Have a great time!

01-22-2013, 09:16
Assuming you have no prior AT experience.....

1. Get a guidebook with mile marker info on it. What I do prior to a section hike is take that info and put it into an Excel file and I note the distances between shelters, towns, water, food, etc.

2. You will be hiking through the Whites which means you need to carefully plan out getting thru the AMC hut system. Some places have campgrounds and other places require you to stay in the huts whcih are over $100 a night. Some let you do work for stay but that's not a guarantee. It can be expensive getting through there. Also some of the more popular hut options book up fast.

3. Mail drops. There are plenty of places where you can have food mailed to yourself or you can just buy it as you go.

01-22-2013, 09:28
As far as multi-tools go I prefer the ps4 over the micra. Both are good. I like having the needle nose pliers for tick removal. The tweezers are so so on the micra. the file is a real file on the ps4.


01-22-2013, 21:15
So, during the month of July and into August (I imagine), I will be hiking (alone) from the Vermont/Massachusetts border to Katahdin.

FYI - Thats 592.5 miles per http://atdist.com . As the average miles per day for a thru-hike is about 11, you should plan on taking no less than 53 days and possibly more.

My concern is what happens if you haven't reached Baxter by your alloted finish date. Maine is remote and the only easy / inexpensive exit from the AT via public transport north of Gorham NH is at Baxter. Give that some thought and have a contingency plan. Section hikers have to figure out ingress and egress along the trail. Thru's just deal with Springer and Baxter.

You might work through some of the hiking resources I organized into an AT Online Course. Link is below.