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  1. #1

    Question What should I expect for a NoBo April 7th Start Date

    I think I have pinned down my NoBo 2019 Thru hike start date to April 7th. I'm wondering what the weather will be like and what to be prepared for. I currently have a cold weather setup and a warm weather setup.

    My cold weather setup is, in addition to my my regular gear:

    -Mountain hardware Phantom15, 15 degree down bag
    -Down booties (sleep socks)
    -possum down gloves and liner gloves that can be paired with rain mitt shells
    -waterproof socks for freezing rain or slushy snow hiking (paired with my Altra Lone Peak trail runners)
    -Ghost Whisperer down jacket
    -wool buff (also have a regular buff and a beanie that I take on warm an cold weather trips)
    -long sleeve Smartwool Merino 150 Crew Base Layer
    -long bottoms Patagonia capilene 3 (mid weight)
    -Microspikes

    My Warm weather gear excludes the above and swaps out the Phantom 15 for a Sea-To-Summit Traveler 50 degree down bag / quilt

    My regular gear that I take on both warm and cold weather trips
    -convertible pants (worn)
    -under Armour briefs (worn)
    -darn tough socks ( one worn, one packed)
    -generic polyester short sleeve shirt
    -Altra Lone Peak shoes (worn)
    -brimmed hat (worn)
    -Arc'teryx long sleeve zip neck polartec fleece pullover (this is a very thin pullover that works perfectly for me for chilly starts and for standing still)
    -regular buff (has many purposes and I like to keep it on hand for that reason)
    -dirty girl gators (worn)
    -Zpacks Duplex Tent
    -Sleeping bag silk liner (in warm weather I often just sleep in the liner and have the 50 degree bag next to me just in case. In cold weather it serves to protect the bag from grime and also gives some extra protection from the cold)
    -Therm-a-rest Neo Air XLite pad

    Questions:
    First, from the winter setup, I'm wondering what I can leave at home for the start and end of my thru hike.
    Secondly, I'm wondering when I can change to my warm weather setup and if there is anything from the cold weather gear that I should keep such at the puffy jacket.
    thirdly, I'm wondering if I will need to get back some of my cold weather gear toward the end of my thru hike and about when.

    I am an experienced backpacker and have a moderately fast pace in what I consider the Appalachian foot hills (Red River Gorge, Cumberland Gap, Big South Fork, Etc.), however, I'm not sure how that will change on the AT, but I thought I would not try to push myself. I plan on starting out with 8 to 10 mile days and slowly work up to 15 to 20 mile days. My best estimate is 168 days start to finish ... plus or minus a week or two. In June, I should be in VA around mile 658, July in MD around mile 1046, Aug in MA around mile 1521, and Sept. in ME around mile mile 1928. Again, these are just estimates.

    Note, I purposely left out the other gear that I will have that is not relevant to the questions.

  2. #2

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    I forgot to include my rain gear:
    Heliun II rain jacket
    Helium rain pants

  3. #3
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    expect a ton of thru-hiker wannabes

  4. #4

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    Less cold weather, more thru hiker attempts and the same amount of walking as an april 8th start date
    Trail Miles: 4,090.3 - AT Trips: 71
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 116.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  5. #5

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    Very well researched kit(s) lots of high end , popular, trendy products.

    In all that research you didn't come across what the temperature would actually be in April?

    Don't plan on the summer kit until late May.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 07-09-2018 at 15:52.

  6. #6
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    I doubt you would need the microspikes with an early April start date.

    I'd switch to your summer gear after going over Mt Rogers; most likely in Marion, VA.

    You will need to switch back to the warmer bag in September when going through the Whites and into Maine.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  7. #7

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    I started April 4th. Microspikes not needed for me. I wouldn't take them.

    Started with a 10* quilt and XTherm and slept toasty. Many other hikers froze with their Zlite foam pads and 20* EE quilts

    I was # 19xx at the start and 8xx through Harper's .... I didn't pass 1000 people. Lots of people quit.

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  8. #8
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    Yeah, microspikes are overkill. For the rest, check the forecast around April 1. The weather is way too changeable that time of year to even guess at this point, other than to assure you you WILL encounter sub-freezing weather, possibly for several days.

  9. #9
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I started my thru on April 7. Had a couple of below freezing nights the first couple of weeks and snow on Max Patch around the end of April. I used a 25 degree Mont Bell bag with liner and never was cold. I would have not had any use for waterproof socks, down booties, micro spikes, and down gloves. I got rid of my cold weather gear in Pearisburg since I went home to take care of some business for a few days. Got a summer bag then. Got my cold weather gear again in Hanover in August.
    More walking, less talking.

  10. #10

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    Thanks, soilman!! Surely you had some sort of gloves? Possum down are kind of like wool gloves, only they are made from possum "fur", which I guess is considered down because a possum is a bird?...I don't know, but they are not like goose down gloves. Micro spikes out for sure. Probably will take wool sleep socks instead of the down socks. Waterproof socks I'm still on the fence about. Might still take them unless I hear from someone else who uses waterproof socks and they suggest they would not be needed. Have not heard anything about the puffy jacket--whether or not to keep the entire trip or send back back home with the winter stuff. Your comments and the comments of others have been very helpful, so thank you all!

  11. #11
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    I will 2nd no waterproof socks for that time

    you do not end up with dry feet in them as the sweat cannot get out - what they do is keep your feet warm in the worst conditions - deep snow or slush

    here is what you will mostly encounter - 4 out of 5 days walking in shorts and light shirt, all the clothes will be seldom worn
    my theory is to have a sleeping bag to deal with the rare worst possible weather, instead of having lots of extra clothes, just hang out until the weather improves - might cost 10hrs of hiking time in a whole trip, but save 5lbs of clothing that is almost never worn

  12. #12
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    This is a great, informative thread. My target start date is March 11, and I've been researching before buying, and this is definitely making me rethink some choices I had in mind.

  13. #13

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    April in Georgia is typically fairly mild. Once you get into NC though, it can get nippy at times. I've done okay with a 30 degree bag and silk liner on the couple of early April trips I've done down there. Might have one or two nights which get real cold, but can suffer through them.

    A pair of light liner gloves is all you need, or use your spare socks. Chances are you won't need them.

    A good midweight base layer (top and bottom) goes a long way in keeping you warm at night. Resist the temptation to hike in them though. It's pretty chilly in the morning, but once you get moving you warm up quick enough. Then you either get those layer wet from sweat or have to do a wardrobe change 15 minutes after you start. You want a warm layer, a down puffy jacket is a common item these days, I just use a cheap fleece vest. Coming out of a cold climate, I'm pretty acclimated to the cold so don't have to get too crazy. A warm hat is important.

    The main issue is it can be really wet in April and early May. I prefer GTX boots to keep my feet dry, but I guess waterproof socks might work as well.

    Early March start is a different story. Then you need winter gear as you'll be up into the 5-6000 foot mountains of NC/TN before long and have a better chance of encountering a stray cold front/late winter storm with snow and/or ice up high.

    Most important : Don't forget the sun block! With no shade for the next 2 months, you'll need it.
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  14. #14
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    Lots of good information here.

    Like others have said you probably wonít need a lot of winter stuff buttttt you will see below freezing at least a few times.

    I started March 12th last year with 20 degree quilts (hammocker) and that was just fine except for a bad blizzard early on that day single digits. No one was happy but I think anything warmer would have been too much for the average nightís weather.

    I swapped out to my 40 degree quilts some time after Marion. Some times it was too damn hot but the 40s stuck with me through Vermont, where I had just my 20 underquilt sent to me and that was perfect.

    I used my Patagonia thermals for maybe the first few weeks (sent then home with my winter quilts) and slept in them twice after Vermont. My winderbreaker was a much more useful mid layer (active) over the course of the entire hike.

    I kinda think your 15 is overkill but you should still start with it and just feel it out. By the time youíve made it to Virginia youíll pretty much be a pro and easily know what you want your gear to be

  15. #15
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    Iíd also lean away from waterproof shoes....when it rains all day every day for weeks straight, your shoes will wet out.

    Itís just gonna happen. Forged anything takes forever and a day to dry once thatís happened.

    But if it gives you peace of mind, start with em and when you wear them out youíll know what you want.

    I started with the standard Altras and even in the teens my feet were ok so long as I was hiking

  16. #16
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kulliman View Post
    Thanks, soilman!! Surely you had some sort of gloves? Possum down are kind of like wool gloves, only they are made from possum "fur", which I guess is considered down because a possum is a bird?...I don't know, but they are not like goose down gloves. Micro spikes out for sure. Probably will take wool sleep socks instead of the down socks. Waterproof socks I'm still on the fence about. Might still take them unless I hear from someone else who uses waterproof socks and they suggest they would not be needed. Have not heard anything about the puffy jacket--whether or not to keep the entire trip or send back back home with the winter stuff. Your comments and the comments of others have been very helpful, so thank you all!
    I carried a lightweight pair of fleece lined nylon gloves. I used them more than I did my raingear. I used a Mont Bell synthetic jacket and sent that home in Pearsiburg. I switched that out for a Patagonia thermal weight capilene long sleeve shirt. That coupled with my Marmot rain jacket was all I needed for the few chilly nights in the middle part of my hike. By the way, an opossum is a furry marsupial.
    More walking, less talking.

  17. #17

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    An inexpensive 100 weight polartec fleece pull over was one of my most versatile pieces down in the south when it was cold. You can hike in it but it's fleece and dries so fast you can wear it to bed. It breathes very well. Nothing fancy. Sometimes I paired it with a Montbell windshirt and that was an EXCELLENT combo for cold and wet hiking.

    I use a quarter zip from EMS. It cost like $20.

    I'll be picking it up back in NH for the whites and maine.

    It also a super comfy lounging around piece and not expensive so you don't mind just plain old using it.

    If it wasn't a million degrees out to right now and humid all the time. It would probably still be in my pack as my camp Shirt. But it's just too damn hot.

    I would 100% bring it again.

    People who didn't have a hiking midlayer like the fleece pull over were hiking in their down jackets... Inexperience I presume. Cause anything more than my breathable quick drying fleece would have been way too much warmth for hiking it.

    I'll restate. A light fleece pullover and a windshirt is awesome for the start of a northbound AT hike.

    People we're jealous. And don't hike in your down jacket. That's for camp so you don't freeze at night.





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  18. #18

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    #vanitycheck
    "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change". Charles Darwin

  19. #19

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    I'm planning an attempt starting around the same time for 2019, late March or early April. I've heard some conflicting philosophies on rain pants. Some people swear by them; some people claim standard hiking pants are more than sufficient.

    Any thoughts??

  20. #20

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    I was much more comfortable hiking in that freezing rain with my underwear and rain pants on rather than my hiking pants. It was cold enough that alot of us hiked all day in our rain pants with no problems.

    If it's gonna be a crappy day. Don't wear your rain pants over hiking pants. Keep your hiking pants dry in your pack.

    People with rain skirts said they worked well it depends on the length of the skirt.

    I had a buddy do allright in just montbell wind pants.

    If I were to do it again. I'd prob opt for the wind pants. they'll soak through, but offer enough warmth.

    The thing about waterproof rain pants is they keep the rain/sleet/snow OFF you. Which is great in certain conditions.

    Also, it depends on where your from. All the people from Florida were freezing to death in 70* weather. they said the cold weather was brutal for them.

    I hiked with a chick wearing rain pants when it was 70*+ cause she got cold easily.
    Quote Originally Posted by williamgymnst View Post
    I'm planning an attempt starting around the same time for 2019, late March or early April. I've heard some conflicting philosophies on rain pants. Some people swear by them; some people claim standard hiking pants are more than sufficient.

    Any thoughts??
    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

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