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  1. #41
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    You do realize that 75 to 80% of hikers never finish a through hike? ~30% never make it out of Geotgia? Odds are, you wonít summit. Nothing personal, thats the reality of a long distance hike.
    The probability of finishing in a single season diminishes the earlier you start.
    Mapman of WhiteBlaze crunched the numbers. Ask him what the optimum start date was. I honestly donít remember.
    Wayne


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  2. #42

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    I'm not gonna read this all too carefully but I want to implore you to get a rain jacket that does not have fleece in it. Your rain jacket WILL SOAK THROUGH and then your fleece will be soaked and you will have nothing warm to wear. Forget that. Also forget that hammock idea, which is half-baked, in your case. If you can save up, buy some lighter gear. REI's new quarterdome tent is now only 2.5 pounds. Crazy! Get one of those. Klymit's 20 degree down bag is only 2.7 pounds and is only $149 on Amazon. Don't buy a used down bag because you need to rely on the fluff and DON'T EVER WASH THE THING WITH REGULAR DETERGENT. Many people do and ruin the down, so just buy that new on Amazon for cheap, if you can manage it. You can buy a cheap foam pad to sleep on though, those work. Get the thermarest old school one for $20 on sale and don't cut it down, just leave it full length and luxuriate in the length of it while everyone around you has 2 inch squeaky air mattresses. Get some quality high top shoes, not waterproof. Buy some cheap yak traks on sale. Pick up some used trekking poles on Gear Trade or look for cheap Leki Maluku's - those are like Corklites and you can find them cheaper yet they are very good. Look at the favorite thru hiking packs from a few years ago and then search for one on eBay. For example, a Granite Gear pack weighing less than 3 pounds can always be found on eBay or GearTrade and they are awesome for thru-hiking. You can find them new for $100. You have time to stalk the sales. Read all the forums and look at GearTrade.com for stuff.

  3. #43

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    That's Leki Makalu's

  4. #44

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    Also forget the fleece liner for your synthetic bag that also you should forget. Get that Klymit bag for $149 and get a Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Liner of any variety. I use the Plus Compact because I'm only 5'4" and it has double warmth only where I want it. It weighs 9 oz and add about 15 degrees to my 20 degree bag. It's the size of a soda can and I can send it home with my winter gear. A fleece liner weighs much more and takes up a lot more space, and adds maybe 5 degrees. The reactor liner comes in a lighter version that adds 10 degrees and another that adds 20 degrees. Just wait for sales for all the stuff you need, don't buy it all now. But get that Klymit bag as it usually is $179 and $149 is a great price. See you there!

  5. #45
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Great info and advice, I honestly appreciate all of it. Unfortunately for the gear that I already have, I will have to make do. For me spending another ~$400 or so to replace what I already have just to save 3 or 4 lbs isn't worth it. After shedding the brain of my pack and trimming off the extra lengths of straps I got my pack down to ~4 lbs. I can live with that.
    I haven't yet bought poles or shoes for hiking. I will look into those poles. I have been searching for a good lightweight boot, and much to my dismay nothing local has what I am looking for. Other than reading reviews online about them I really have no way to tell their quality. So many hikers use trail runners now, and I'm sure I will too when it comes time to recycle my boots, but I am not gonna try a Feb start in trail runners..stubborn yes, stupid no. Any lightweight boot brands to give consideration? I have a great pair now that I use for my day hikes but they are well worn and approximately 9 yrs old. I would just replace them with the same brand but they are no longer made.
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  6. #46

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    Well, don't trim your straps just yet because you may need them. I did that when I started and realized too late that I actually needed the length to stick my foam mat to the outside of the pack, etc. You really can't rely on a rain jacket with a fleece lining though. Not for rain. You'll need to plan to keep it dry at all costs, so you'll need another rain jacket and you'll have to take that one off in the rain, if that is also your winter jacket? Otherwise you'll be hypothermic in no time. I'm not trying to talk down to you, I realize that you are an adult. But I do have experience with living out in the cold for extended periods of time, as you will be doing, and nothing will end your trip faster than being wet in the cold. You'll have no way to warm up. That fleece will take hours to dry in front of a fire, and what will you be wearing for that time? A sleeping bag? And if it is still raining, how will you be making that fire? And what about when it is 30 miles or 2 days to the next town and you are soaked, and it is still raining, and there is no fire, and you have no clothing to wear? You will be stuck in your sleeping bag asking someone to call you a rescue because you can't hike in your sleeping bag in the rain, or that too will be wet. This stuff actually happens to people. It's not a leap of imagination at all. It's a natural progression of thought based on the experience of spending several days in the rain in the winter, miles from civilization.

    Shoes you can get on sale. Amazon has Zappos shoes with free returns but sale prices. Just put shoes in your cart and monitor the prices for drops. Put several options in there. Go to an REI or a Cabelas to try on some that are popular and then stalk them on Amazon. Good ones are Solomons, Oboz, I also like the North Face Hedgehog Fastpackers. I probably will get those myself in both the boot and the trail runner lows for winter and summer. But in the past I've liked the Solomon trail runners and I like some of the Oboz but not the Bridgers as they are over-structured. You don't want real boots, even in winter, because they are heavy and slow, and not agile, and unnecessary. I'd get something like the Hedgehogs where you can get the low and high in the same shoe so that your foot will be used to the same last. I also like La Sportivas a lot. They have really good shoes. All of theirs.

    Actually, it is best to get them at REI so you can wear them and return them if you don't like them, even used. Look in their Garage selections and return them to the store to avoid return shipping. I just tried on some Oboz in the store the other day. They had the same thing on clearance on the website but not in the store. I learned I didn't like them AT ALL (the Bridgers... way too stiff). I'll go with the Hedgehogs probably because I really like them and have no problems with them. Failing an REI move, try Amazon for better prices, or just Google the exact shoe and you'll get price options. Probably you know all this but some people don't.

    I don't want to nag you too much!

  7. #47
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    the fleece and rain jacket separate, it just so happens they can zip together too. The fleece also has a thermal reflective layer on the inside.. which might actually work against me if I wear it when hiking. I do plan on adding a down jacket to the mix at some point, for now I only plan on using it in camp and tent when needed. The closest REI is 123 miles from me. So a store trip isn't a likely event unless I happen to be down that way. I will check out those brands you mentioned and see if I can find something that works for me. I too need some flexibility in my soles.. sturdy but flexible. Also looking at inserts so I don't have to break in my replacement shoes on the trail. I will have easily put the rec. 40 miles on my starter shoes.
    Thanks for the advice
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  8. #48
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Now would be a good time to go on overnight hikes to see what works for you, and what doesn’t. Experience on the trail doesnt have to come on your through hike. You can even set up your gear and sleep in your backyard. Find the weak spots when warmth and safety is only a few steps away.

  9. #49
    Registered User Pastor Bryon's Avatar
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    Mixed in with commentary, I think there is some good advice here, and it sounds like you are sorting thru to find and use it. My 2c would be to get a handful of nights out in wintry conditions this winter before you go. It does not guarantee how you will do on the trail, but just test drive it and see. While you are out there, imagine one of your pieces fails, rips, breaks, etc. and then consider - do you still have the right gear to stay safe?

    Additionally, with your training work on stretching your knees and especially your Iliotibial band. I'm just a year older than you and I can say that on my hikes that is the only part of my body that really gives me issues. I do section hikes so I can power thru it for a few days, but for a thru, I would want that thing as loose and limber as possible. You'll have enough challenges that you can't control to get hung up on things you could have addressed sooner.

  10. #50
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Now would be a good time to go on overnight hikes to see what works for you, and what doesn’t. Experience on the trail doesnt have to come on your through hike. You can even set up your gear and sleep in your backyard. Find the weak spots when warmth and safety is only a few steps away.
    Waiting for a good rainy forecast.. still too warm out to test what I really need to test. It's too bad I don't know anyone with a good walk in freezer...
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  11. #51
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Made a few more changes, to my dismay I dropped the hammock.. will take a move from wayne's playbook and sleep on top of my collapsed tent when/if I want a sky view.. added my clothing current pack weight 26.86 lbs with assumed 8lbs of food.. skin out weight 34.21 lbs also assuming 8 lbs of food...
    Stuff still to add. .trekking poles( undecided on those still) stuff sacks for food, dry sack for sleeping clothes( may just stuff them in my sleeping bag stuff sack), bandana's...let's see what I neglected.
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  12. #52
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Thanksgiving through your Blast Off date will provide good testing weather. You may need to drive to the mountains.
    Wayne


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  13. #53
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Thanksgiving through your Blast Off date will provide good testing weather. You may need to drive to the mountains.
    Wayne


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    Agreed, I wont get optimal testing temps at this altitude.
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  14. #54

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    Trust me, get GTX lined boots to start with. You can switch to non-waterproof trail runners later in the summer, but for the wet spring conditions GTX boots are the way to go.

    I can understand your not wanting to spend more money upgrading your gear, not with a wife and 4 kids left at home to fend for themselves, but gear is your life and you want to carry it for 5 months and 2200 miles. Once you have to start replacing gear on the trail because it blows out or it's too heavy, you'll spend a lot more then you would if you do it now. Mountain Crossings at Neel gap makes a lot of money replacing peoples poor choices just 3 days into the trip. Your going to have to blow through 4-5 grand doing this trip anyway, so what's another $1000 on gear which will go the distance and not break your back doing it? (And if you think you'll do this trip on the cheap, you really won't get far)
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  15. #55
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Trust me, get GTX lined boots to start with. You can switch to non-waterproof trail runners later in the summer, but for the wet spring conditions GTX boots are the way to go.
    This was my original plan, and I was advised against it because my feet were going to get wet either way and it was better to have quick drying feet than "waterproof".
    From my reading of post by you both, I'm taken to believe you're both experienced.
    I am comfortable in boots, they last longer, provide better foot support, and impact resistance to a point. So my obvious first choice. expect to replace once on trail regardless of wear due to foot swelling. Stay wet longer.
    Never lugged a 35lb pack in runners, expect to replace up to 5 times due to wear and foot swelling. Fast drying and lightweight( rumor has it 1 lb on the foot is equivalent to 5 lbs on the back)
    choices choices
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  16. #56
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I like goretex boots for Winter, not so much for three season hiking.

  17. #57
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    I like goretex boots for Winter, not so much for three season hiking.
    I think I will buy the trail runners I picked out and use them on my gear test this Dec. Gonna bounce between the first two shelters after springer for a few nights, see if the shoes A. keep my feet warm enough, B. dry overnight( or enough that I don't get frostbite hiking to the next shelter), and C. provide enough cushion to support my pack and I.
    Should they fail to do any of those 3 I will opt with the boot until the snow melts. (i'll also be packing a pair of boots in case they fail miserably)
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  18. #58
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    This will also likely be the time that I make my decision on trekking poles. A few days damn I wish i had poles is better than however long it would take me to find them on the trail on a thru.
    My evolving gear list, some links provided
    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=44571

    To each their own, get all the advice you can, then figure out your own path.

  19. #59
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sovi View Post
    This will also likely be the time that I make my decision on trekking poles. A few days damn I wish i had poles is better than however long it would take me to find them on the trail on a thru.
    Finding poles on a thru? Piece of cake.
    Outfitters on/near trail. Neels Gap, Franklin, Hot Springs, Damascus
    Mail order pick up at hostels, post offices, etc.
    Wally World in Franklin, NC.
    Pick up a suitable stick.
    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
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  20. #60
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    You will probably be able to pick up poles along the trail. I broke a pole just before I started out at Baxter headed South last year,had a pair overnight shipped, went through the 100 mile Wilderness and got to Shaw's and they had barrels of them, lol.

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