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  1. #1
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    Default Planning my sobo trip

    Just wanted to get some information to help plan my trip. I don't have backpacking experience but am an active hiker out here in hawaii. Being said, I don't get to test cold weather gear unless I'm in the movie theaters with freezing a/c. Joking aside, i was originally planning a nobo trip in 2015 but my timeframe moved up and can start sobo June 11/12th, 2014. I felt confident starting with my cold weather gear, shipping it home at warmer wether then getting it back in New England. Now, as I am going southbound is there a similar strategy? Would it be recommended to carry my cold weather gear (20 degree down bag, down vest) until passing through the Whites, then getting my warmer gear (40 degree quilt). With my inexperience I'm leading to holding my colder weather gear until confident it's gonna stay warm. I will post my gear later if requested, but would like to get others logistical approach to gear changes going southbound.

  2. #2
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    I'm mailing my cold weather gear to Damascus for the Smokies in November, and using a 40 bag plus liner until then, but as this is my first SOBO, what do I know?
    'Best of luck!
    All things noble are as rare as they are difficult...​Spinoza

  3. #3
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    Thanks nick, I saw some older posts from sobo of years past starting with a 40 degree bag and now I'm wondering if I'm going too warm. Though this is a better option than too cold.

  4. #4
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    IMO you are right on the cusp of seeing anything <40 degree temps in ME in early June. By late June you should be fine. You likely won't hit NH until July, and your 40 will do fine probably until late Sept. Which should have you somewhere in VA I'm thinking. I usually only take a 35 degree WM bag from late May to mid Sept in NH - but it is a true 35 bag plus I have a base layer. I'm thinking you would probably be okay starting with the 40 quilt and base layer.
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  5. #5
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    That's great info 4eyedbuzzard, thanks. with my lack experience,it's nice to get good feedback.

  6. #6
    Registered User wcgornto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick P View Post
    I'm mailing my cold weather gear to Damascus for the Smokies in November, and using a 40 bag plus liner until then, but as this is my first SOBO, what do I know?
    'Best of luck!
    I would suggest cold weather gear sooner ... Pearisburg or Daleville. I sent mine to Daleville (15 degree bag in place of 30 degree bag, added long sleeve base layer, added rain jacket back to my pack). It was all in the nick of time, as the weather changed to cold the day after heading out from Daleville. There was a day of near freezing rain and a night of snow and ice ... plus there was brutal wind at near freezing temperatures for a full day ... all during the hike from Daleville to Pearisburg between the 14th and 18th of October. If I had waited until Damascus to upgrade to colder weather gear, I would have been extremely uncomfortable and even unsafe. The one essential thing that I was missing during this stretch was waterproof gloves / mittens. Simple fleece gloves are useless when wet and / or when subjected to steady, strong wind.

  7. #7
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    if it helps, I've got a blog series on southbound vs northbound hiking - I've done it both ways. I'll need to look at it as it was written in 2011 but basically the scenerios are the same.







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  8. #8
    Registered User wcgornto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honuben View Post
    Just wanted to get some information to help plan my trip. I don't have backpacking experience but am an active hiker out here in hawaii. Being said, I don't get to test cold weather gear unless I'm in the movie theaters with freezing a/c. Joking aside, i was originally planning a nobo trip in 2015 but my timeframe moved up and can start sobo June 11/12th, 2014. I felt confident starting with my cold weather gear, shipping it home at warmer wether then getting it back in New England. Now, as I am going southbound is there a similar strategy? Would it be recommended to carry my cold weather gear (20 degree down bag, down vest) until passing through the Whites, then getting my warmer gear (40 degree quilt). With my inexperience I'm leading to holding my colder weather gear until confident it's gonna stay warm. I will post my gear later if requested, but would like to get others logistical approach to gear changes going southbound.
    I started my SOBO hike at about the same time, on June 14. I hiked with a 30 degree bag from Katahdin to Daleville and then switched to a 15 degree bag. I swapped out at the right time, as I didn't need the warmer bag at all before then, and I definitely needed the warmer bag immediately after then. There were some SOBO's who used a 20 degree bag the full length of the trail. If you are using a 20 and a 40, it is probably best to use the 20 until Hanover, NH, then swap to the 40 and then back to the 20 at Harper's Ferry or Front Royal. I kept my 30 until Daleville, but I would have been quite uncomfortable with a 40 through Shenandoah National Park, as my 30 was borderline.

    The other switch I made was I sent my rain jacket home from Hanover and didn't get it back until Daleville. Once I got through the cool June weather in Maine into the Whites in July, I found that when it rained, I was just as wet with or without the rain jacket, as I sweated profusely with it on. I opted for one pound less in my pack for 1000 miles and hiked in the rain with no rain protection. It was fine, as the rain was warm during the peak of the summer.

    The other thing I added in Daleville was another layer ... a long sleeve base layer to wear over my short sleeve base layer. I found that I needed all of these warmer things starting at Daleville, as I had everything in my pack on just two days further south.
    Last edited by wcgornto; 01-04-2014 at 23:05.

  9. #9
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    Found this chart in my old files. It's almost 20 years old, but I doubt overall average climate has changed that much.

    Average Temperatures Along the Appalachian Trail

    Weather recording stations are not always near the A.T.
    Where the A.T. is higher than the nearest recording station,
    subtract 3.5° per 1,000 ft. to approximate actual trail temperatures.
    Some examples are provided—click town name for details.
    Guidebooks and maps include detailed elevation information.
    The higher the mountain,
    the colder, windier and wetter
    you can expect it to be.
    Temperatures shown = high / low, in degrees Farenheit
    Location
    Jan.
    Feb.
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    Aug.
    Sept.
    Oct.
    Nov.
    Dec.
    Millinocket,
    Maine
    450 ft
    25
    6
    29
    7
    38
    18
    50
    30
    64
    40
    73
    49
    79
    56
    77
    53
    68
    45
    57
    35
    42
    27
    29
    12
    Pinkham Notch,
    N.H.
    2,000 ft
    27
    7
    28
    7
    35
    16
    47
    28
    61
    39
    69
    48
    74
    53
    72
    51
    64
    44
    55
    35
    41
    24
    29
    11
    Mt. Washington,
    N.H.
    6,252 ft
    14
    -2
    14
    -2
    19
    4
    31
    17
    36
    23
    51
    39
    53
    42
    54
    43
    44
    34
    30
    16
    27
    14
    17
    1
    Barre-Montpelier,
    Vermont
    1,122 ft
    27
    8
    29
    9
    37
    18
    51
    31
    64
    41
    74
    51
    78
    55
    76
    52
    68
    44
    58
    36
    44
    27
    30
    13
    Somerset,
    Vermont
    2,080 ft
    27
    7
    28
    5
    36
    14
    48
    27
    61
    38
    70
    47
    75
    51
    73
    49
    66
    42
    56
    33
    41
    23
    29
    12
    Pittsfield,
    Mass.
    1,170 ft
    30
    12
    32
    14
    39
    22
    53
    33
    66
    43
    75
    52
    79
    56
    78
    55
    69
    47
    59
    37
    46
    29
    33
    17
    Location
    Jan.
    Feb.
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    Aug.
    Sept.
    Oct.
    Nov.
    Dec.
    Bear Mountain,
    New York
    1,300 ft
    32
    18
    33
    19
    43
    27
    55
    38
    66
    48
    75
    57
    79
    63
    77
    61
    70
    54
    60
    44
    47
    33
    35
    22
    Mt. Pocono,
    Pennsylvania
    1,915 ft
    31
    16
    32
    15
    41
    22
    54
    34
    66
    43
    74
    51
    77
    56
    76
    55
    69
    48
    60
    39
    46
    28
    33
    18
    Harrisburg,
    Pennsylvania
    338 ft
    38
    24
    41
    26
    49
    31
    64
    42
    75
    52
    83
    61
    87
    65
    85
    63
    78
    56
    67
    45
    52
    35
    41
    26
    Hagerstown,
    Maryland
    560 ft
    41
    25
    44
    27
    51
    31
    63
    40
    74
    50
    82
    59
    86
    63
    84
    61
    78
    54
    67
    43
    53
    34
    42
    26
    Shenandoah N.P.
    Virginia
    3,535 ft
    39
    20
    40
    21
    47
    26
    59
    37
    67
    46
    74
    54
    76
    57
    75
    56
    69
    50
    60
    41
    49
    30
    39
    22
    Peaks of Otter,
    Virginia
    2,605 ft
    41
    24
    45
    27
    49
    30
    64
    43
    72
    52
    77
    58
    81
    63
    79
    62
    73
    56
    63
    46
    51
    35
    42
    27
    Location
    Jan.
    Feb.
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    Aug.
    Sept.
    Oct.
    Nov.
    Dec.
    Burkes Garden,
    Virginia
    3,300 ft
    42
    23
    43
    23
    51
    29
    62
    38
    70
    45
    76
    52
    79
    56
    78
    55
    73
    48
    64
    38
    51
    29
    43
    23
    Watauga Dam,
    Tenn.
    1,760 ft
    49
    29
    52
    30
    55
    32
    68
    41
    77
    52
    83
    59
    86
    62
    86
    62
    81
    55
    71
    46
    57
    33
    48
    27
    Banner Elk,
    N.C.
    3,710 ft
    44
    24
    45
    24
    51
    29
    61
    36
    69
    44
    75
    52
    77
    55
    77
    54
    73
    48
    64
    38
    52
    29
    45
    24
    Hot Springs,
    N.C.
    1,480 ft
    51
    31
    52
    32
    60
    37
    70
    44
    78
    53
    85
    61
    87
    64
    86
    63
    82
    58
    72
    47
    60
    36
    51
    31
    Gatlinburg,
    Tenn.
    1,454 ft
    51
    27
    54
    28
    61
    34
    71
    42
    79
    50
    86
    58
    88
    59
    87
    60
    83
    55
    73
    43
    61
    32
    52
    27
    Blairsville,
    Georgia
    1,917 ft
    52
    27
    54
    29
    60
    33
    70
    41
    77
    49
    83
    57
    85
    61
    85
    60
    80
    54
    71
    42
    61
    32
    53
    27
    This chart is adapted from the 1993 edition of ATC's
    Walking the Appalachian Trail Step by Step.

  10. #10
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    Thanks Blissful, I actually read your blog a few weeks back and its go some good stuff for me to look into on my early resupplies.

    Wcgornto, I keep thinking about it, and flipping in my mind how to go. I've been acclimated to the warmer weather for 10 years now. The warmer bag seems safer to start with and change it out as I get adjusted. Its funny that you mentioned the rain coat issue, as I've run across the wetter under the jacket issue here in Hawaii. I enjoy the rain to cool off.

    4eyedbuzzard - great chart, i was looking for historical temps for individual cities, this takes care of them all. I wonder how much temps have changed over that time frame.

  11. #11
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honuben View Post
    Thanks Blissful, I actually read your blog a few weeks back and its go some good stuff for me to look into on my early resupplies.

    Wcgornto, I keep thinking about it, and flipping in my mind how to go. I've been acclimated to the warmer weather for 10 years now. The warmer bag seems safer to start with and change it out as I get adjusted. Its funny that you mentioned the rain coat issue, as I've run across the wetter under the jacket issue here in Hawaii. I enjoy the rain to cool off.

    4eyedbuzzard - great chart, i was looking for historical temps for individual cities, this takes care of them all. I wonder how much temps have changed over that time frame.
    I doubt temps have changed much at all, even given all the science and pseudoscience that we have been subjected to. BUT these are only AVERAGE hi/low temps from several years of data. The extremes could be significantly higher, and more importantly lower. And I have personally witnessed it snow (quick shower) on Mt. Washington in mid July once (but that was really rare and didn't last - just a freaky cold day), but you don't camp above timberline anyway. That said, I think if you plan on seeing 10 degrees lower at times AND have a way to increase warmth such as adding a base layer, vest, etc you are probably okay in late spring through early fall even if a cold snap hits. The winter extremes/deviations from average are worse than summer ones almost everywhere. Summer temps tend to be more predictable and heat waves aren't a gear change issue.

  12. #12
    Registered User q-tip's Avatar
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    I have a number of extensive spreadsheet for gear (weight , cost), food/calorie requirements, training. If interested send me your email, they are too large to send PM

  13. #13
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    Thanks Q-tip for the info.

    Was wondering if anyone could recommend a mp3 player that runs off of AAA batteries.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honuben View Post
    Thanks Q-tip for the info.

    Was wondering if anyone could recommend a mp3 player that runs off of AAA batteries.
    I can't speak to that question , Honuben But, if you need a place to send ur "swap box" 2, other than the PO in Daleville, VA. Let me know. I've kept boxes for other hikers at my place. I live close to the trail in Daleville and would be happy to allow you to send ur box to my place. I have the space.

  15. #15
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    Thanks HikerMom I will take you up on that offer.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honuben View Post
    Thanks HikerMom I will take you up on that offer.
    OK.. no prob. I'll PM you my address, then.

  17. #17
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    Think i finalized my gear for the my thru hike. This is what I'm starting with and will carry past the Whites. From there i will lighten my gear and receive my cold weather gear in VA. I would appreciate some criticism/critiquing of what got. My warmer winter gear is not included so keep in mind this is just for the first 500 miles or so. There are a few items i don't have weight on like the AM, Tp, carabiner, and will add those but those don't seem to be a significant weight, though its funny how the ounces add up. Also some background on my is that I'm relatively inexperienced as a backpacker, but do hike a lot here in Hawaii. Also I am 6'3 230 lbs and relatively good shape, so could stand to go heavier if i missed something. Thanks

    http://lighterpack.com/r/btpua5

  18. #18
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    This looks really good Honuben. June start? Does that tarp tent have mosquito netting? I see you have a headnet. A small bottle of Deet would be a good idea.

    Forrest

  19. #19
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    Hey Forest. Yes should have posted that starting June 14th, after flying in on the 12th and taking the 13th to relax and pick up the stuff i cant carry on the plane. The tarp has a bug net and bathtub floor. I don't have the deet yet,forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder.

  20. #20
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    It looks like my start date will be pushed back between july 20th and august 1rst. Starting out in Maine doesn't bother me on those dates but am a little worried about the weather down south. I'm glad that 4eyedbuzzard shared those historical temps. Has anyone started in August and what should i expect with the later start.

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