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  1. #61
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    My doctor would not give me antibiotics either. You have time to get to town and see a doctor if you are sick.

    The biggest health risk on the Trail is Lyme Disease.

    I would highly recommend that everyone read up on this from multiple sources, as well as discuss with a Lyme-savy physician so as to have a plan of action ready should they discover an embedded tick. A tick should nothing to freak out over, but needs to be something everyone is ready to deal with.

    IMO one’s plan should be formulated IN ADVANCE OF STEPPING ONE FOOT ON THE TRAIL, and consider the full range all reasonable scenarios.

    If that plan includes a FAST prophylactic course of Doxy you may conclude a couple pills are something one should secure in advance. On the other hand, if you conclude that such a course of action would not be right for you, that is OK too. Just consider options now. If for no other reason than being confident in your decision when the time comes.

    BUT I do think there is one REQUiRED element of a first aid kit:

    Something better than tweezers on a leatherman micra or Swiss Army knife to remove ticks

    I have dug some rather ugly holes to get out all the bits left after using tweezers (incorrectly?) but I had great results with “Tick Twister” after finding one in a particularly difficult and sensitive spot.

    I also carry good tweezers, but will never be without one of those miracle devises — almost too good to be true (but this is based on a single experience using one, YMMV).

  2. #62
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Also probably a good idea to have a plan for blister care in your medical kit.

    Perhaps you do already with the duct tape and all. I still believe moleskin has a place, but am probably living in the dark ages.

    Speaking of the dark ages, is Tetanus still a thing? I recently ran a cut coat hanger through my finger and was surprised to learn that I had not had a booster in more than 20 years — just assumed I was up to date but time flies.

  3. #63
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    I’m a nurse. The “ fish” antibiotics are the exact same thing as what the local pharmacy supplies. If you have insurance it won’t work, but you don’t need a prescription.

    I have have very mixed feelings about antibiotics available without prescription, but it is an option.

    https://www.heartlandvetsupply.com/p...-capsules.aspx

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    Med kit too heavy. Leave most of that.
    Knife way too heavy. Get smallest you can find.
    Leave the awol guide. Use PDF version on phone
    You've definitely gotten good advice here. I did take notice of several things.

    My current first aid kit is one of these, but I suspect I could cut back.

    https://www.rei.com/product/695383/a...-7-medical-kit

    I've always used a very small, lightweight knife. This is my current one:

    https://www.opinel-usa.com/collectio...on-steel-blade

    On the guide, you can also carry photocopied sections in a plastic cover/ziplock, or simply cut it up and have it sent to you as needed.

    A silk/cotton liner is dead weight if it gets wet. You also list an emergency bivy, which appears to be reusable. It's OK to use it if you get too cold. A 30 degree quilt might need some supplementing through March, but a 20 degree should be good just with your long underwear. You can always wear your fleece jacket to bed, and wearing a knit hat is a given.

    I'm hardly someone with ultralight gear, but my base weight for March on the AT would be 21.5-22 pounds.

    Good luck from a (recent) Richmond local!
    Last edited by Patrickjd9; 01-05-2020 at 16:55.

  5. #65
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    I appreciate that you all have taken the time to help me get my packing weight down. I am considering all of your suggestions and have begun to lighten my load little by little. I agree with Traveler that a 2-3 day shakedown hike will really help me identify what I don't need.

  6. #66
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Lots of good ideas already out there. Here's what I used as a guide to get my pack down to it's current base weight of 12-15 pounds depending on season:

    https://www.backpacking.net/27-pound.html#pack

    I don't feel like I'm ultralight, or deprived at all. I hike & camp comfortably in all sorts of weather. I do carry an umbrella and highly recommend it.

  7. #67
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestral View Post
    I’m a nurse. The “ fish” antibiotics are the exact same thing as what the local pharmacy supplies. If you have insurance it won’t work, but you don’t need a prescription.

    I have have very mixed feelings about antibiotics available without prescription, but it is an option.

    https://www.heartlandvetsupply.com/p...-capsules.aspx


    With all due respect, this strikes me as a horrible idea.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    With all due respect, this strikes me as a horrible idea.
    besides almost certainly being a felony

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    besides almost certainly being a felony
    Buying fish antibiotics online? A felony? How did you come up with that nonsense, and why would you post it?

  10. #70

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    The issue of physicians providing prophylactic prescription to someone not demonstrating symptoms is problematic due to several factors. I have had three GPs over the past decade, none of whom would prescribe doxy (or any medication) without demonstrated need. These were not simple "no" responses and each took time to explain why they held this professional standard. Some commonalities were cited by each, including some States prohibit prescribing medications to patients who do not demonstrate symptoms that would lead to diagnosis warranting the antibiotic, MD ethics guidelines are also a concern for most MDs as well. The CDC provides information that specifically states antibiotics following any tick bite may be counter productive and delay onset of the illness unless specific symptoms are determined to exist (see the quote below from the CDC site).

    "In areas that are highly endemic for Lyme disease, a single prophylactic dose of doxycycline (200 mg for adults or 4.4 mg/kg for children of any age weighing less than 45 kg) may be used to reduce the risk of acquiring Lyme disease after the bite of a high risk tick bite. Benefits of prophylaxis may outweigh risks when all of the following circumstances are present:

    1. Doxycycline is not contraindicated.
    2. The attached tick can be identified as an adult or nymphal I. scapularis tick.
    3. The estimated time of attachment is ≥36 h based on the degree of tick engorgement with blood or likely time of exposure to the tick.
    4. Prophylaxis can be started within 72 h of tick removal.
    5. Lyme disease is common in the county or state where the tick bite occurred (i.e., CT, DE, DC, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WI, WV).

    Antibiotic treatment following a tick bite is not recommended as a means to prevent anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or other rickettsial diseases. There is no evidence this practice is effective, and it may simply delay onset of disease. Instead, persons who experience a tick bite should be alert for symptoms suggestive of tickborne illness and consult a physician if fever, rash, or other symptoms of concern develop." (https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/tickbornediseases/tick-bite-prophylaxis.html)

  11. #71
    Registered User The Old Chief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinybee View Post
    Does anyone have any suggestions on reducing the weight of my med kit? Also, I have heard of people taking Doxycycline with them on their hike. Is this typical? I can't seem to get a prescription from my doctor. I am aware that treatment can require different doses. My concern is that if I do need to take the medication that I might be too far out from a pharmacy/2-3 days from a town.
    Your best bet is to treat your hiking clothing with permethrin to keep tick bites from becoming a concern. Some hikers also treat their backpacks and tents with permethrin. I've had Lyme disease twice from hikes on the AT, and for the past 4 years have treated all my "outdoor" clothing with permethrin. You can treat your garments yourself with available sprays from Walmart or Tractor Farm Supply or you can send your garments to InsectShield and for $10.00 per garment they will do a treatment that will last for at least 60 washings. I do both and haven't had a tick on me for the past four years. In North Carolina we have to worry about Lyme and Alpha Gal so I think it's a good investment and precaution.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Chief View Post
    Your best bet is to treat your hiking clothing with permethrin to keep tick bites from becoming a concern. Some hikers also treat their backpacks and tents with permethrin. I've had Lyme disease twice from hikes on the AT, and for the past 4 years have treated all my "outdoor" clothing with permethrin. You can treat your garments yourself with available sprays from Walmart or Tractor Farm Supply or you can send your garments to InsectShield and for $10.00 per garment they will do a treatment that will last for at least 60 washings. I do both and haven't had a tick on me for the past four years. In North Carolina we have to worry about Lyme and Alpha Gal so I think it's a good investment and precaution.
    Without a doubt a must!! Above all other concerns please do yourself a huge favor and make sure this gets done before you leave!!

  13. #73
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    Treat your pack and tent as they spend alot time on the ground! I remember reading somewhere that the tick population in order to get killed off, there has to be 10 or more consecutive days of 30' or less. And the winters we get anymore that rarely happens. So last year's ticks still remain along with ever increasing breeding !! Here we are almost the middle of January, Saturday temp. Expecting almost 70' so crazy !!
    Last edited by JNI64; 01-09-2020 at 12:45.

  14. #74
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Chief View Post
    Your best bet is to treat your hiking clothing with permethrin to keep tick bites from becoming a concern.
    +100. I use permethrin religiously now. When I'm hiking with others who aren't using it, the difference in the number of ticks they see is stark. I treat any fabric that will absorb it - it just runs off most tent flies or tarps, but if it soaks in, the ticks will fall right off.

  15. #75

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    JT Eaton makes a permethrin gallon premix that is labeled for use on clothing,luggage,etc.Kills ticks and also bedbugs.Yes,bed bugs are becoming a "thing" now.

    I spray the Eatons's product on my outer articles of clothing and the waist band of underwear and totally treat socks.As a hammock camper I do not treat my hammock or tarp but I have treated my groundsheet in the past.

    It could be a wives tale but B complex vitamins and apple cider vinegar are said to repel mosquitoes and I believe ticks as I have been bothered by neither since I started using the supplements.Of course the data would be flawed since my clothing is treated with permethrin.However,when I get up in the middle of the night in untreated clothing the mosquitoes are no longer an issue.YMMV.

    So as not to be guilty of thread drift.Over the years I have cut the total weight of my load by 50% and that includes food for 4 or 5 days plus 2 liters water.Most of the gains have come from better technology and simply saying "no" to some of the items I want to take.

  16. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Treat your pack and tent as they spend alot time on the ground! I remember reading somewhere that the tick population in order to get killed off, there has to be 10 or more consecutive days of 30' or less. And the winters we get anymore that rarely happens. So last year's ticks still remain along with ever increasing breeding !! Here we are almost the middle of January, Saturday temp. Expecting almost 70' so crazy !!
    Not to pick a nit here, however the adult black-legged tick (aka deer tick) is still active at 35-degrees but starts to slow its activity at that point. At about this temperature ticks typically start to seek shelter in leaf litter and other ground detritus, venturing out again when temperatures reach above 30-degrees (or if sunlight warmth is favorable) to try and catch a ride on a warm mammal. It takes several days of sustained temperatures of 10 degrees or less (in some scientific circles Zero is the benchmark) to have much population impact to ticks actually exposed to the elements. However, when covered with insulating forest floor litter and snow, they can easily survive below zero conditions for a long time. I have always been amazed to find a tick or two when out on snowshoes in robustly cold weather that sense the body heat or a stove and are drawn to it.
    Last edited by Traveler; 01-10-2020 at 08:23.

  17. #77
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    All good in the woods brother, I very much enjoy reading your posts. Always well spoken and well versed as well as perfect punctuation. Me not so much, I just throw my thoughts down. One that's been around for awhile can tell you know what the hell you're talking about. What info you posted is even more disturbing. I knew they burrowed down into leaves and such to survive. The point here is to enlighten everybody and the new hikers to the east coast the dangers of these little boogers straight from hell.
    Last edited by JNI64; 01-10-2020 at 13:26.

  18. #78
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    When I moved to northern NH (Littleton area) in the early 90's we had very few, if any, ticks in the area. You usually didn't encounter them until you got further south and into the lower elevations in the Connecticut River valley. But over the last 20 years, the winters have generally been milder and the frost depth has been shallower. Last year, while cleaning up my old property up there, I removed several ticks almost daily when out and about in late spring. Their range has moved northward at an alarming rate.

  19. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by tinybee View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I am gearing up for my 2020 AT thru hike. I thought I could figure out this puzzle of what to take with me but in the process have become very frustrated. My issue is my pack weight. I am already at 52 lbs (food and water included). I am not sure where/what I should/can cut from my pack. Of course, in my opinion, I NEED everything on the list. Any suggestions on how to whittle this list down would be helpful. I will be starting the trail at the end of February and have tried to account for cold, snow and ice in my gear.

    https://lighterpack.com/r/694if5
    You said it yet have not fully grasped what you said. Reducing pack wt is not always a finalized end goal. It is a process, an evolutionary journey...that sometimes people eternally obsess. Chill. Most AT thrus go through processes like reducing pack wt by changing out gear, changing logistics, etc. A LD hike is similar. There are learning and adaptive curves. Sure, the geographical starting pt and final end pt are integral to the hike but the real experiences, the most time and energy is spent in between. Embrace that.

    Want to reduce TPW(Total Pack Weight) consider a greater focus on the consumables category(food, water, fuel, etc). Reducing TPW also includes this category!
    HOW: 1) Resupply more often. AT thru hiking is as logistically ideal as it gets on the Triple Crown Trails for accomplishing this. It was a major factor in how Garlic, a TCer who posts here on WB, says to his very low TPW when he thrued the AT.
    1.b.) Learn to food and resupply supplement near or on the AT and not stopping the hike for a full food resupply ie; Neels Gap - Mt Crossings, Pine Furnace, walking through Hot Springs NC and Hanover NH, AMC Huts, etc
    2) Aim for a 120 cal/oz ratio and, this is important yet often ignored, high overall nutritional density. Maybe even a greater cal/oz ratio early on when it's cold and you're adapting to trail life. The higher good fat content, when your body adapts to burning it, may snowball into getting less cold hence needing less insulative less bulky lower wt apparel. See the potential positive wt saving and perhaps comfort trade offs? Let you bod shed some wt as temps warm to get into that svelte LD hiking condition.
    3) Carrying only the amt of water wt necessary. It also may be a process assessing that personal need but again chill. You don't need to know everything pre hike or have the supposed perfect kit. One advantage of your start date is you may not require as much drinking water. However, understand pack wts trend down as weather transitions to late spring and summer. Yours will too!
    4) Don't buy into Newbie posting UL Internet sites that obsess over reducing wt only or primarily by myopically focusing on gear. I suggest accessing the advice of LD UL serialists, those that live the life across a diversity of environments spanning a longer range of yrs - Cam Honan, Andrew Skurka, Erin Saver, Liz Thomas, Justin Licther, etc

  20. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by tinybee View Post
    In regards to the sun block, I don't wear it at all. I have an allergic reaction to it. Any suggestions to what I might use in place of the standard zinc oxide type sun screens?
    My daughter is allergic to sunscreens as well, but there are two main types (that I know of). The first group works by using chemicals, such as Octinoxate, avobenzone, or octocrylene. These are the most common sunscreens. Then you have the other group of mineral-based sunscreens that use either zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. We cannot use the chemical sunscreens without her face blowing up and burning, so we have to use zinc oxide, and then we have to check the label and make sure there's no funny inactive ingredients in there. If you have truly narrowed it down to zinc oxide causing the allergy, try one of the other ones. But from what I've read, it's almost 100% guaranteed that it is the typical chemical based sunscreens that are causing your allergic reaction. That seems to be the more common allergy. And the ones labeled "for sensitive skin" or "child safe" or even the really expensive neutrogena stuff seemed to be the worst offenders for us. Good luck!

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