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  1. #1

    Default Gear List and Mail Drop Itinerary

    Hey all,

    I'll be hitting the trail May 14th. Anybody else planning on stepping out the door on or around that date?

    Pretty excited to start this year, as I am sure all of the '14ers are (to those of you already on trail, good luck)!

    Anyways, I've been whittling away at my gear list and itinerary for a few months now. I'm planning to average 25 mpd and hope to finish in less than 90 days. I'd like to avoid sleeping in hostels and making resupply trips to town so 90% of my resupplies are mail drops at establishments (nearly) directly on the trail. The other 10% of my resupplies are mail drops as close to the trail as I can get 'em!

    I'm going to post my gear list as it currently stands, which is nearly fully finalized. The linked google doc will update as I fill in a few blanks that are left. Here's my gear list.

    It currently stands at just under 7 lbs BPW and sub 11 FSO. I expect both of these numbers to increase ever so slightly before all is said and done. Hopefully somewhere between 7.5-8 lbs BPW at most.

    Items with asterisks are estimated and will be weighed and input with exact figures soon.

    Items in red are currently up for debate as to whether or not they will end up in my pack the day I walk.

    If people want to suggest lighter alternatives to my gear, feel free. Be aware, however, that my gear choices do have some factor of price worked in. For instance I know I could save 4.6 oz on my hammock by switching to a Darien UL 10ft, but it would be $48/oz of weight savings which I don't think I want to pay for at this moment. There are many other pieces of gear that I have considered alternatives for and, for the most part, find that I can't justify the price per ounce of weight savings in my current financial state.

    That being said, I'm always up for some new suggestions!

    Maybe you all can catch an error I've made, or perhaps my gear list can provide some insight to another hiker. Ideally both!

    I'm going to post up a link to my resupply points in case other hikers are seeking mail drop locations near (less than 1.5 mile round trip) or on the AT for the '14 season.

  2. #2

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    For any hikers interested in mail drop points extremely close to (mostly on) the AT, here is my list of planned mail drop resupplies for '14. I'm mail dropping everything because I want to avoid towns, maximize caloric density, and meet specific caloric intakes.

  3. #3
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    I will give my 2 cents, though i'm not a "committed" UL'er. I might have miss interpreting some stuff from your gear list abbreviations,but here it goes. Water storage for camp and bottle seems to be missing. And is water purification is solely bleach? I don't want to bring up tp, i think i've read enough about your (non)usage on this. I will be using the same hat on my hike, so if i see someone with same one, i may not shake you hand... Because of the lack of TP on your list. But in regards to the hat, the brim is firm enough to add a simple $12 micro light with velcro. My micro light weights a mere .25 ounces and i will carry a second as a backup. So if your looking to save some ounces there is a simple option. Cheers.

  4. #4

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    I've been looking at some little lights with clips for hat attachment... Haven't found one in a price/weight/lumen combination I like. Any suggestions brand/model wise?

    I may not have put my bottles on there. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    I am using an Inova microlight and removed the metal hanging clip. 2 brightness levels plus a strobe. On amazon, they are Cheeper than what i paid. I have not tested their water resistance yet. I also remove the metal clip and use double sided sticky velcro.

  6. #6
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Nice, KC. One thing I notice is that you do use a Post Office numerous times, and since you have a very aggressive high MPD schedule, this could burn you if you happen to arrive in that town mid-day Saturday through Sunday. This happened to me a couple of times last year and I learned my lesson to avoid using a Post Office as much as possible; use a hotel/hostel/supply store instead.

    I use a 1.7 ounce Mammut S-lite for my only illumination source, uses 1 single AA battery (included in the 1.7 oz). They might not be available anymore though.

  7. #7
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    Hey KC. I spent a few hours yesterday looking into maildrop locations close to the trail, so I really appreciate your sharing what you've found in such a easy-to-read format.

    I actually don't have any suggestions - just a question. I see we're both using the Gorilla. Great pack. I picked mine up this year and have been experimenting with different weights and configurations. The spreadsheet says "frameless" but I can't quite make sense of the weight. How do you have yours rigged?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambarrassment View Post
    Hey KC. I spent a few hours yesterday looking into maildrop locations close to the trail, so I really appreciate your sharing what you've found in such a easy-to-read format.

    I actually don't have any suggestions - just a question. I see we're both using the Gorilla. Great pack. I picked mine up this year and have been experimenting with different weights and configurations. The spreadsheet says "frameless" but I can't quite make sense of the weight. How do you have yours rigged?
    I'm using two 1/8" closed cell foam pads one in the pack body to give the pack rigidity and shape and another in the back panel to replace the stock "sit light" pad. I pulled out the aluminum frame to shed the 3.something ounces it adds and removed the pouch that normally holds a water bladder.

    I still need to shorten all the straps and then re weigh the pack.

    The double closed cell pad works for me because I'm hammock ing and it fills the need for insulation, pack rigidity, etcetera. Might not work for everyone.

  9. #9
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    Light setup. With your later start & intended pace, you won't need as much cold-weather gear as I did (starting 3/21/13). You do, however, have an ambitious itinerary.

    You have some long stretches between resupplies. PO's can be a pain. I remember having to really hustle to make a PO on Sat before it closed. Made it but it was worrisome. Just my $0.02, fewer PO food drops (if possible), more business food drops, & more food drops in general. Less food weight between resupplies should help with your pace.

    You'll walk by an outfitter in Hot Springs & just a short distance from a B&B / Hostel in Roan Mtn where you can do mail drops.

    I'd use Mt. Rogers Outfitters for maildrop in Damascus. It's right in town with restaurants & Dollar General next to it & a hostel across the street (stay and/or shower). Laundry just down the street as you leave town.

    Don't camp @ Native Landscapes. Traffic noise from Hwy, RR, & the auto-sprinkler that comes on in the early morning = no sleep.

    Good luck on your hike.

  10. #10

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    At 25 mpd my longest stretch between resupplies is 6.5 days. I had originally shortened those stretches but the 160 mile stretch had to be broken into a 40 and 120 mile and carrying a day and half of supplies just to resupply again seemed frivolous. If anyone can suggest a mail drop resupply that is on (or within a 2-3 mile round trip from) the trail which falls about halfway between my 160 mile resupplies, please do!

    I'm going to shoot for a 135-140 cal/oz (average of all food carried) goal. at 135 cal/oz and 32 oz of food per day that puts me at 4320 Cal / day. On my 6.5 day stretch that's going to be 13 lbs of food out the door of resupply plus my 7.5 pound BPW. All said and done I'll be carrying 20.5 pounds (excluding water) at the most at any one time. That weight will drop off sharply as 2 lbs/day will be consumed.

    I tried really hard to avoid PO's but the three that ended up on my itinerary are there because I simply couldn't find a better alternative within a reasonable North/South distance on the trail. Like I said, one of my goals was to find locations directly on or very very near to the trail to avoid hitching so that limited some of my options. If anyone knows of an alternative to my PO locations I would be really grateful to hear about them!

    I'll look in to Mt. Rogers Outfitters!

    I actually have an itinerary broken up nightly which I might post here soon. I'm not sure what good it will do for others but maybe someone researching a 25 mpd itinerary would find it valuable. I believe I had tentatively planned to overshoot Native Landscapes by a few miles after picking up my mail drop before camping. Can't recall off hand, but thanks for the heads up.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honuben View Post
    And is water purification is solely bleach?
    After some debate and research I've decided that I'm going to use only household unscented bleach for water disinfectant. I posted a thread here asking about bleach VS AquaMira and ended up finding more info on my own (which I posted to that thread). Long story short, bleach is widely recommended by reputable sources as a water disinfectant, seeming to be effective against most every waterborne illness except Crypto (even AquaMira has a hard time with Crypto).

    The other factor is that it will be much easier for me to resupply with (and much cheaper) than AquaMira. So I'm going to try it!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Nice, KC. One thing I notice is that you do use a Post Office numerous times, and since you have a very aggressive high MPD schedule, this could burn you if you happen to arrive in that town mid-day Saturday through Sunday. This happened to me a couple of times last year and I learned my lesson to avoid using a Post Office as much as possible; use a hotel/hostel/supply store instead.

    I use a 1.7 ounce Mammut S-lite for my only illumination source, uses 1 single AA battery (included in the 1.7 oz). They might not be available anymore though.
    Thanks for the lighting suggestion. As far as PO's go, I've tried my hardest to avoid having to pick up there but can't really find a suitable alternative to the three PO mail drops that I have chosen. If anyone has suggestion, please do tell! I have my itinerary broke down daily, so I know (within reasonable margins of error) how far I expect to be from the PO mail drops and on what dates so I should be able to project a reasonable schedule to make pickups on time. That's the idea anyways.

  13. #13

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    For anyone interested in how to plan a daily itinerary (most of you are not, I realize this) here you can find my daily itinerary for the hike. It has all the state border crossings incorporated as well for anyone who might want to know at what northbound milages those happen.

    This is a separate itinerary from my resupply itinerary. I made the resupply itinerary first by pouring over the AT Guide to find mail drop locations that fit my criteria. Then I broke those mail drops up into ~25 mile days. There are sub-20's and 30's in there but it averages out right around 25 mpd.

    Hopes it's helpful to somebody out there.
    Last edited by Kc Fiedler; 03-28-2014 at 19:09. Reason: spelling

  14. #14
    Registered User Sandy of PA's Avatar
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    How cold have you tested your sleep system down to? I had 25 degrees on May 24 last year at Overmountain shelter, and many nights around 40 as I traveled South from Damascus, VA to Springer in June. Something to think about.

  15. #15

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    Thanks for the temperature input.

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    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kc Fiedler View Post
    For anyone interested in how to plan a daily itinerary (most of you are not, I realize this) here you can find my daily itinerary for the hike. It has all the state border crossings incorporated as well for anyone who might want to know at what northbound milages those happen.

    This is a separate itinerary from my resupply itinerary. I made the resupply itinerary first by pouring over the AT Guide to find mail drop locations that fit my criteria. Then I broke those mail drops up into ~25 mile days. There are sub-20's and 30's in there but it averages out right around 25 mpd.

    Hopes it's helpful to somebody out there.
    I wish I was young & strong enough to pound out those kind of miles.

    A buddy hit Davis Farm Campsite (0.5m from AT) & later complained about it. Long way from the AT & no water (2013 was a wet year). You might consider check w/ SoBos to see if you can get any water intel about that site. Otherwise, maybe push to Jenkins Shelter 3M further (downhill).

    Bryant Ridge Shelter was a really nice shelter. My mileage didn't jive to stay there on my hike.

    You got three 28m days in the Whites. You also got a 30M day that includes the Mahoosuc Notch & Arm (really slow going in the Notch). Bad weather can really play havoc on schedules in NH & ME.

    I had a spreadsheet of my itinerary that I carried. Followed it religiously at the beginning (shooting for about 15M/day; 152 days). Got ahead of it in the middle. Lost some days at the end (VT, NH, & ME slowed me down). Ended up summitting on schedule (Aug 19th). It gave me some structure on the trail. Looking back with what I know now, I could have shaved a few days off here & there. Maybe taken few zero days (took 12; well below average).

    Again, good luck on your hike. Pack extra Advil.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlZ993 View Post
    You got three 28m days in the Whites. You also got a 30M day that includes the Mahoosuc Notch & Arm (really slow going in the Notch). Bad weather can really play havoc on schedules in NH & ME.
    To say this is an ambitious schedule would be an understatement. OP is either a superman or a dreamer. I'm guessing one out of 100 successful through hikers moves at these sort of speeds.

  18. #18
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    To say this is an ambitious schedule would be an understatement. OP is either a superman or a dreamer. I'm guessing one out of 100 successful through hikers moves at these sort of speeds.
    You knew these kind of poo-pooh, negative, na-ga-da posts were coming I assume, 10K.

    Good luck on your quest! It's not for everyone, but I like your detailed itinerary. I assume you're keeping a journal somewhere online? I'd like to follow this one. I might see ya up in NH or ME when I flip around to SOBO in late July.

  19. #19
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    KC-
    I'm with ya buddy-Your hike is very doable- you just need some fine tuning to give it your best shot. Happy to help if I can, so are a few others.

    A bit of advice if you want it-

    Gear-
    As long as you are a warm sleeper and have your hammock system down you will likely be fine. On a speed hike a few cold nights won't kill you. Assuming you plan on bringing the Nano Puff as your safety piece you should be okay. You could probably lose the bottom thermals at those temps.

    OTH- it may make more sense to have a slightly warmer bag in lieu of the nano and thermal undies as you won't likely wear them at any time other than sleep. You won't be sitting around camp much in your jacket- so might as well put the pound into a 35 degree quilt instead. Add the jacket for the whites/southern maine only.

    Extra battery for the E+ lite is only a few grams. Are you night hiking? You may be a little light on your battery/main lamp set up if so, but that time of the year you may not need it. If not night hiking at all- ditch the BD and AAA batteries and go with just the E+.

    Keep the bear bag and line- light enough even if you don't sling your food every night.

    Water storage missing as mentioned.

    Bleach- Matt Kirk "used" bleach. It works fine just remember that the residency time is what's needed to make it work like all chemicals. In the heat of the summer will you want to stay patient? You have a bandana- but what will you use to pour/strain silty/dirty water. No biggie really- just think on it and have a plan.

    Resupply/itinerary-
    Start with your daily- IMO it's not realistic only because you have ignored the trail itself. Regular 4 month hikers hit high 30's in the easy parts and low teens in the hard ones. You should plan for the same. I see pretty average miles daily miles all the way through your schedule. Matt Kirk held average, but Jen Davis and everyone else has mileage all over the place. Likely you will see the same.

    I included two sheets for you to look at- both 90 day schedules based upon Map Man's average speeds for hikers. One is the true average, one is a speed hiker average. (I can explain more if needed but, long story short- these schedules help you take into account the fact that you could be busting some 30's in the middle of the trail and some 15's in the whites. That is real life- plan for it and your goal will be easier to achieve. It's futile to try to hold an average in the hard spots, and silly not to stretch your legs in the easy sections.

    Once you build a more realistic daily schedule you can build better resupply's around it. One big thing missing from your sheets is the actual day. You will likely need a few P.O.'s. Once you have it locked in you can slide your actual start day based upon the projected day of the week you will hit those P.O.'s. You will likely find if you slide your start date around a bit you can time your p.o's to hit on a Wednesday- the perfect day as that leaves you two days in either direction to play with before you hit a weekend.

    You also need to look harder at holidays- you are resupplying at a state park on july 4th. Maybe you called and that's fine- but check that stuff too.

    Nero's- I think every speed hiker here and elsewhere has preached the benefits of doing resupply's in combo with a shorter mile day. Arrive in the afternoon, sleep in and leave a bit late. By doing two back to back days at 75% of your average miles you build a rest day without taking a rest day. At 90 days you have time for it. Simply hitting town in the afternoon and having a lunch, dinner, breakfast, bar visit etc. is a nice break and you're still out of town by 10:00am.

    Supplemental supplies-
    Either I missed it or you didn't show it well- one of the greatest things about moving quick on the AT is that you pass food all the time. You don't seem to be taking advantage. You shouldn't need to carry much more than 4 days at 25MPD. That doesn't mean resupply every 100 miles but it does mean you may pass a gas station or other chance for a meal to make a three day supply stretch to five trail days.

    Review the attached resupply sheet for some ideas, but simply put- if you pass a hot dog stand on day 3 of a stretch, grab lunch and dinner there and don't carry a lunch and dinner for that day.

    Continued best of luck!

  20. #20
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    Here are a couple of suggestions.
    1) Break you your 160 mile resupply and even your 132. I would not suggest going longer than 5 days max and would target 3 days if possible. Also, I would not limit yourself to maildrops only. You can easily add a couple days worth of food and carry the special mail stuff for both the mail and store legs.
    2) do not underestimate what a meal or hot shower will do for mental health. It may seem to be a waste of time but will help in the long run.
    3) I believe your 4300 calories will be way too low, unless you either way 120lbs or have a fair amount of excess fat. I would target 1 calorie per mile per lb of body weight (including pack).
    4) often you can hitch into town quite easily. I wouldn't rule that out.
    5) take a look at this mileage summary from my PCT hike. While a different trail there are many similarities. the Sierra is conceptually like the Whites in regard to lower mileage, especially the year I did it. For an total average of 26.5 total I had 19 days at 35-45mpd. If you look here http://postholer.com/journal/viewJou...entry_id=26640 you will find the breakdown of mileage on full hiking days. For the most part I put about the same effort toward each day yet there were major variations in daily mileage. You will need to plan for that and bank miles early in the hike to offset harder miles up north.
    6) gear. You have that dialed in.
    7) water treatment. I would suggest getting a full course of metronidazole in case you end up with giardia. I took that with me as part of my first aid kit. PM me and I can let you know how to get it if you want.

    enjoy, drop me a note when up you hit PA.

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