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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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  1. #61
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Never hiked with poles before, but then I've never hiked 2200ish miles with a pack in one go either. Certainly not at those elevations. Climbing and hiking aren't new, just the height and extended miles.
    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.

  2. #62

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    Poles are like an extra pair of legs and also will keep you from falling and injuring yourself unexpectedly so they are better to use since you never know when you'll slip, although you are guaranteed to slip on the leaves in Vermont. They are also good for snake-whacking in PA.

    So I've been keeping you in mind, and I came across this tent just now that isn't too bad. Winterial has a decent reputation and these are $75!!!!! It would need to be seam-sealed so that would add ounces, and the stakes could be swapped for lighter ones to bring the tent under 3 pounds for $75. Use Tyvek for a groundcloth, it's much lighter and cheaper than a footprint. By the way REI's Quarter Dome is now well under 3 pounds but it costs considerably more.


    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MA4ZSWX?th=1

    I don't know if you need a cheap and reasonably light tent, but maybe someone does.

  3. #63

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    I am using WP shoes for the winter parts of the trail and then switching but also using high gaiters and rain pants, and my camp shoes are creek crossers too, so I stand decent odds of keeping the insides of my hikers dry. That or I'll skip the WP shoes and get WP socks but I like WP shoes at cold altitudes for the warmth. If they are really soaked you can cook some rocks and stick them inside to dry them overnight but that can get old fast.

    You can use trash compactor bags instead of stuff sacks and they are cheap and will keep your stuff dry. Just bring a few to keep your tent and clothes separate, and also your bag separate from both of those too. I am using a ULA bag and it's Dyneema which is waterproof anyway, so I don't bother with bag liners or covers, but I do use WP stuff sacks and that works for me. Many many thru hikers line the inside of their packs with a trash compactor bag because it's so light and cheap as insurance to keep stuff dry. That's required if you are using an Osprey bag or other sil nylon because those really soak up and transfer water in a downpour. There won't be any leaves to block the waterworks for a couple months. I plan on bringing an umbrella.

    Yeah, you will be able to find poles lying around here and there and eventually collect a set but you could really use them coming down Springer in the winter, so there's that... look for a used set on GearTrade.com maybe or look around at playitagainsports.com or ebay. Those are kind of expensive to ship so they may not be cheap to buy used. But I saw a nice set of Makalus new the other day for $55 (Leki) and they are virtually the same as Corklites to a lot of people. A little heavier and old-school but still very good and preferred.

    The REI branded ones are Komperdells and they will replace them for a year for free so you could always wait until right before you leave and get a set there. Then if there's a problem they'll be replaceable on the trail for free for your whole hike, although most brands will do that for a thru-hiker anyway. It's bad mojo to have thru-hikers trashing your gear all up and down the AT so they all bend over backwards to help generally when something breaks.

  4. #64

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    Ah, I HAVE TO CORRECT MYSELF, my ULA dyneema pack is not waterproof. It's robic grid fabric so it requires a rain cover and all that hassle. I used to have a full on dyneema pack and those are waterproof. The robic packs have dyneema threads (the white in the grid).

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwathHiker View Post
    Poles are like an extra pair of legs and also will keep you from falling and injuring yourself unexpectedly so they are better to use since you never know when you'll slip, although you are guaranteed to slip on the leaves in Vermont. They are also good for snake-whacking in PA.
    .....
    but this statement is interesting. I have read many statements where folks will stash them in their pack if traversing particularly tough areas, for fear that if the fall the poles will either prevent catching yourself, or more often for fear that they'll fall on the poles causing injury.... Am I misunderstanding that?

    I also read that some folks cut off the wrist strap so that they can more easily let go if fall is imminent.... to my thinking, this makes some sense...
    I've never hiked with poles but recently picked up a pair. Have yet to try them out....

  6. #66

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    Hiking anywhere for a few days will be informative.
    The actual elevation isn't a factor on the AT. It's the constant change in elevation.

    Get your gear figured out that you can now (footwear, shelter, pack, etc) while enjoying a nice hike. Then test the specific cold weather gear when it's colder..

  7. #67

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    I would suggest a different bear bag line. Paracord gets wet, sappy, tangled, etc. I used to use it and got tired of trying to untangle it every time I wanted to hang my food. I would roll it in a ball, do an electricians weave, and other various wraps but was never happy with it. I switched to some dyneema Z line slick cord from Zacks. The stuff is really slick over tree branches, weighs next to nothing and doesn't seem to absorb water. I store mine in a ziplock bag with the carabiner on it so I can easily find the end. I essentially just stuff it into the 1l ziplock back and I have not had a tangling issue yet. Here is their site in case you want to consider buying some: http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/spectra_cord.shtml
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  8. #68
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turk6177 View Post
    I would suggest a different bear bag line. Paracord gets wet, sappy, tangled, etc. I used to use it and got tired of trying to untangle it every time I wanted to hang my food. I would roll it in a ball, do an electricians weave, and other various wraps but was never happy with it. I switched to some dyneema Z line slick cord from Zacks. The stuff is really slick over tree branches, weighs next to nothing and doesn't seem to absorb water. I store mine in a ziplock bag with the carabiner on it so I can easily find the end. I essentially just stuff it into the 1l ziplock back and I have not had a tangling issue yet. Here is their site in case you want to consider buying some: http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/spectra_cord.shtml
    For me, itís a question of on hand in the garage, gear closet or backpack.
    I did however purchase 20í of a more substantial 5 mm Dyneema line to secure my Ursack if hanging was not an option.
    In practice I got really lazy. Iím still alive to tell the tale. Loksacks/Opsaks not used. Find my Ursack.

    Wayne


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  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
    but this statement is interesting. I have read many statements where folks will stash them in their pack if traversing particularly tough areas, for fear that if the fall the poles will either prevent catching yourself, or more often for fear that they'll fall on the poles causing injury.... Am I misunderstanding that?

    I also read that some folks cut off the wrist strap so that they can more easily let go if fall is imminent.... to my thinking, this makes some sense...
    I've never hiked with poles but recently picked up a pair. Have yet to try them out....
    On particularly steep accents and descents in Maine and NH (also known as rock scrambles) where you need three points of contact, poles can get in the way. In that case I either throw them up above me or drop the down below me (and hope they don't skitter down off the cliff) so I can use my hands to hold onto roots, rocks or trees.

    On long, reasonably flat sections or road walks, some hikers will put the poles away as their really needed then.

    I don't use the pole straps because I keep getting the little basket at the end of the pole stuck between roots or rocks and if you use straps, that can yank on your wrist really hard. If you don't keep the little basket on at the end of the pole, the pole will push into the ground too far and cause a similar problem, much more often.
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  10. #70
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    About trekking poles - what Slo said.

    When the going gets super steep, where you really need to use one or both hands, the poles get in the way. So if it's a short segment, I just throw them down or (if uphill) maybe leave them dangling from my wrists using the straps. If it's going to be a long stretch, fold them and stash them.

    As to using the straps or not... I can go both ways. If the going seems treacherous, I'm likely to slip out of the straps. Otherwise, I use them. It's not like I have to commit to one or the other for all time.

  11. #71
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    decent tent, nearly identical in features to the one I have. Thing I love about my tent though is I can set it up free standing and don't have to worry about stakes. It comes with them but I have used it without them and there isn't much difference. I don't know how much the stakes weigh, but they feel about as heavy as the tent itself minus the footprint. Leaving them home or replacing them would likely drop my shelter weight by about the same.
    I see a lot of use of carabiners... would it not be as effective to tie a bowline and run your line through it? eliminate the extra weight altogether?

    I get a lot of grief about my pack, but after stripping off what I didn't need it's reasonable for the price I payed. It's durable and comfortable to carry, though knowing now what I know about some of the lighter packs I probably wouldn't recommend it to another hiker, but it will do me fine. Until I joined forum this UL wasn't something I'd ever heard or thought about. All in all I think I did okay with my purchases. Not the lightest, but considering my pack started off weighing 5.5 lbs I still managed to keep the weight of every thing in it under 30 lbs. ( will an over estimation of 8 lbs of food, everything I will be carrying with the exception of PB will be dry.(I wanted to see it worst case scenario) )

    I still need to plugin my phone ( not yet purchased i dont use them off trail) and toiletries which I haven't packed up yet, but I expect all that to be under 1 lb
    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. #72
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Trying to talk my wife into giving me her phone and getting herself a new one, this way if Murphy gets me, he's just getting an older well used phone... I think she likes this idea
    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.

  13. #73
    Registered User DownEaster's Avatar
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    If you don't know anything about trekking poles, you can just get a cheap starter pair at Walmart or Amazon. I got these when for a few days (no clue why) the red ones were half the price of the other colors. My total price (shipped, with sales tax) was $20.50. I like the cork grips, and the weight (8.5 oz each pole) seems in line with name brands (Leki, Black Diamond). But you can go cheaper, like these.

    You'll undoubtedly get some value for your money from your starter pair, and can then decide if you want to go pole-less, or if there are particular characteristics you'd like to change. It seems kind of foolish to pay name brand prices when you don't know anything yet about what would work for you on the trail. In my case I'd read enough to know I wanted cork grips and flick locks to adjust length for uphill/downhill changes, but that's really the extent of what I could ascertain before buying my starter poles. I haven't used them enough yet to know if they'll work for the length of the AT, but I also haven't discovered any reasons why they wouldn't.

  14. #74
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    I have read the same things about the cork grips and if I were to get a pair that would be one of the first things I would look for. Also I'm not a small guy, if I were getting poles to prevent falling (though I do have catlike balance) they would have to be able to support my weight without bending. I have done enough climbing to be used to using my hands to assist my ascent/descent. In instances like those I would imagine them being more in my way than useful. I will do my winter test without them, then evaluate whether or not I want to carry/use them on my 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.

  15. #75
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Even in Maine and NH, I find hiking with them more useful, than not. True, they sometimes get in the way on really steep ascents or descents, but thankfully, on the AT, there isnt that much rock scrambling.

  16. #76
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    As a noob with only a week of the PA AT under my belt I can say my poles felt completely alien to me and seemed a waste of good money until the first 30 minutes of hiking. By that time my body had miraculously picked up a rhythm and cadence that seemed natural and the poles became very helpful. Despite being pretty much over loaded with 40+lbs of pack I never once tweaked anything on my body and attribute that to the stability of using the poles. I think it reduced my energy expenditure because I could maintain my balance leveraging from the top of my body(shoulders) instead of the normal foot(bottom) balance.
    Bottom line: dont judge poles or the need for them except in actual use.

  17. #77
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sovi View Post
    ... Thing I love about my tent though is I can set it up free standing and don't have to worry about stakes. It comes with them but I have used it without them and there isn't much difference.
    That clinches it.
    You are a disaster looking for a place to happen.
    All the best to you! Good luck.
    Youíre going to need it.
    Wayne



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  18. #78
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Yes Wayne, i know lol. I should use them since it's designed to be used with them. The times I used it without them it wasn't in rain or high winds.. just an average breeze. If I use them tho, I will be replacing them with lighter ones. Kids wanted to go to the zoo this weekend so I'm going to have an opportunity to hit REI this weekend as well while in jacksonville. Gonna be scoping out several things while there.
    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. #79
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Ok. I learned the hard way. No tent is free staying.
    Unless your stakes weigh a pound a piece, donít waste money on new ones.
    Wayne


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  20. #80
    Registered User Sovi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Ok. I learned the hard way. No tent is free staying.
    Unless your stakes weigh a pound a piece, don’t waste money on new ones.
    Wayne


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    no, but I believe they're steel. I cannot bend them. I had extra's so I tried. They probably weigh a pound altogether(extra included)
    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.

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