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  1. #1

    Exclamation NOBO Thru-Hike Gear List, (Please Comment)

    Hey Everyone,

    Would appreciate any/all comments regarding my gear and packing list for an upcoming Northbound thru-hike, starting in early March. Had a fair amount of equipment stolen awhile back, so Im mostly starting from scratch (however, recently and luckily - came into a bit of money, so I have some leeway with choosing what I like). So what Id like is to do it right this time around (mostly had hand-me-downs and secondhand gear before).

    My goal is to go lightweight, but obviously not ultralight.


    Big Four (Five):
    Hammock Clark North American (48 oz.)
    Backpack ULA Catalyst (47 oz.)
    Sleeping Bag Marmot Helium, rated 15F (31 oz.)
    Sleeping Pad Homemade closed-cell foam pad, winged for hammock (16 oz.)
    Sleeping Bag Liner - CoolMax (16 oz.)
    = 158 oz. / 9.8 pounds


    • Chose the Clark North American due to ease of entry, headroom and pockets for gear storage/insulation.
    • Have heard nothing but good things regarding the ULA Catalyst.
    • Still unsure about the Marmot Helium; have heard the cover can rip easily, as well as issues with down leaking out. If anyone swears by a particular 15F ultralight sleeping bag, please let me know.
    • CoolMax liner to help keep the bag clean, and me dry during the night. Also can use as a sleeping bag when the weather turns hot in the summer, and the 15F bag is to be too much.
    Kitchen:
    Stove Homemade alcohol stove, with small Bic lighter (4 oz.)
    Pot Walmart camp pot (5 oz.)
    Utensil Lexan spoon (.5 oz)
    Fuel Container Plastic bottle (8 oz.)
    Water Treatment Aqua Mira
    Food Bag Mesh, plus 25 feet of cord


    Clothes:
    Socks, Wigwam Cool-Lite (3 pairs 2 hiking, 1 sleeping)
    Socks, heavy wool (1 pair, winter sleeping)
    Boxers, Patagonia (2 pairs)
    GoLite Drimove, short sleeve (5 oz.)
    GoLite Drimove, long sleeve (6 oz.)
    Mountain Hardware Mesa Convertible Pants (14 oz.)
    Nylon running shorts (1 oz.)
    Patagonia Capilene 2 Top (7.5 oz.)
    Patagonia Capilene 2 Pants (5.5 oz.)
    Patagonia R4 Lightweight Jacket (18 oz.)


    • For the cold weather in March, I figure I can layer the Capilene 2 top under the R4 Jacket, with a rain jacket over that if necessary (I usually hike pretty warm, even in winter).
    Rain Gear Frogg Toggs (16 oz.)


    Headlamp Petzl e-Lite (1 oz.)




    Poles Pacerpoles
    • Pacerpoles worth it?
    Shoes New Balance MT571 trail runners, with Superfeet


    Hygiene/First Aid: (16 oz.)
    Toothbrush
    Toothpaste
    Loop of floss
    Vitamins/Ibuprofen/Imodium A-D
    BandAids
    Hand soap
    Bug Spray


    Misc: (48 oz.)
    Paperback
    Bandana
    iPod/charger
    Journal/pen
    AT Data Book
    Thru-Hikers Handbook
    Sandals
    Bug Net
    Swiss Army Knife
    Digital Camera


    Base weight: roughly 20 pounds


    Any thoughts on improvements? Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
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    Great start, here are a few quick thoughts.

    I'd bring along a hat and some gloves.

    A second bandana couldn't hurt, also toilet paper might come in handy.

    You'll also want some water containers (like Gatorade bottles) and probably a waterbag of some sort.

    Don't forget extra batteries.

    You'll want a few stuff sacks to keep your things in.

    And always carry a few ziplocks.

    As well as some duct tape, which you can wrap around a water bottle.

    You may want to think about a pack cover, especially since you'll be hammocking, i.e. your pack will be outside a lot.

    And the info in the Data Book is essentially repeated in the Handbook so you probably won't need to carry both.

    And I hope you consider bringing maps.

  3. #3
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOBO'er View Post
    Hey Everyone,

    Would appreciate any/all comments regarding my gear and packing list for an upcoming Northbound thru-hike, starting in early March. Had a fair amount of equipment stolen awhile back, so I’m mostly starting from scratch (however, recently – and luckily - came into a bit of money, so I have some leeway with choosing what I like). So what I’d like is to do it right this time around (mostly had hand-me-downs and secondhand gear before).

    My goal is to go lightweight, but obviously not ultralight.


    Big Four (Five):
    Hammock – Clark North American (48 oz.)
    Backpack – ULA Catalyst (47 oz.) Excellent!!!
    Sleeping Bag – Marmot Helium, rated 15F (31 oz.)
    Sleeping Pad – Homemade closed-cell foam pad, winged for hammock (16 oz.) May not be enough for the early part of the trip, can be pretty cold and hammocks can be pretty cold. I would recommend double layer of pad for ground dwellers, definitly for hangers.
    Sleeping Bag Liner - CoolMax (16 oz.)
    = 158 oz. / 9.8 pounds


    • Chose the Clark North American due to ease of entry, headroom and pockets for gear storage/insulation.
    • Have heard nothing but good things regarding the ULA Catalyst.
    • Still unsure about the Marmot Helium; have heard the cover can rip easily, as well as issues with down leaking out. If anyone swears by a particular 15F ultralight sleeping bag, please let me know.
    • CoolMax liner to help keep the bag clean, and me dry during the night. Also can use as a sleeping bag when the weather turns hot in the summer, and the 15F bag is to be too much.

    Kitchen:
    Stove – Homemade alcohol stove, with small Bic lighter (4 oz.)
    Windscreen? Alchy stoves very suseptable to wind.
    Pot – Walmart camp pot (5 oz.)
    Utensil – Lexan spoon (.5 oz)
    Fuel Container – Plastic bottle (8 oz.)
    Water Treatment – Aqua Mira
    Food Bag – Mesh, plus 25 feet of cord


    Clothes:
    Socks, Wigwam Cool-Lite (3 pairs – 2 hiking, 1 sleeping)
    Socks, heavy wool (1 pair, winter sleeping)
    Boxers, Patagonia (2 pairs) Many find boxers unnecessary, myself included.
    GoLite Drimove, short sleeve (5 oz.)
    GoLite Drimove, long sleeve (6 oz.)
    Mountain Hardware Mesa Convertible Pants (14 oz.) Good, I like convertibles
    Nylon running shorts (1 oz.) Not necessary with the convertibles
    Patagonia Capilene 2 Top (7.5 oz.)
    Patagonia Capilene 2 Pants (5.5 oz.)
    Patagonia R4 Lightweight Jacket (18 oz.)

    Don't forget gloves and hat.


    • For the cold weather in March, I figure I can layer the Capilene 2 top under the R4 Jacket, with a rain jacket over that if necessary (I usually hike pretty warm, even in winter).Problem won't be staying warm while hiking, but while in camp in the evening and morning. Also on breaks during the day. Need some type of insulation layer, primaloft or down would be best, heavy fleece could work but is not as compressable. Maybe the R4 will be adequate, I don't think it would for me. Try it out in below freezing temps for a few hours just sitting around, see if it works.

    Rain Gear – Frogg Toggs (16 oz.) Good


    Headlamp – Petzl e-Lite (1 oz.) Very good for camp chores and reading. I've used one for 4 years now and just changed the batteries for the first time. Not ideal if you plan a lot of night hiking, ok for occasional.




    Poles – PacerpolesExcellent!!! I've been pushing these for years now.

    • Pacerpoles worth it? YES!!!!!!!

    Shoes – New Balance MT571 trail runners, with Superfeet Love Superfeet.


    Hygiene/First Aid: (16 oz.)
    Toothbrush
    Toothpaste Personal choice, I forgo
    Loop of floss
    Vitamins/Ibuprofen/Imodium A-D
    BandAids
    Hand soap
    Bug Spray
    Sunscreen
    TP
    Hand sanitizer with TP (I'm a firm believer that most gastro-intestinal problems are the result of poor hygene more than contaminated water.


    Misc: (48 oz.)
    Paperback
    Bandana
    iPod/charger
    Journal/pen
    AT Data Book
    Thru-Hikers Handbook
    Sandals
    Bug Net
    Swiss Army Knife
    Digital Camera


    Base weight: roughly 20 pounds


    Any thoughts on improvements? Thanks for the help!
    Generally looks pretty good.

    I'm sure others will jump in with their observations.

    HAVE FUN!!!!!

  4. #4
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Hope you've hammocked in cold weather. Can get to single digits up to early April. Might consider a tent to start then switch for late spring and summer.

    Need three pair of GOOD hiking socks for sure. If your feet go, that's the end (and I can say from experience this week). I'd leave the wool socks at home. Go with 1 pr of fleece for sleeping and camp.

    I would NEVER forgo toothpaste. (!) - not sure why that was recommended. (????)

    Hope you have a good insulating jacket. You might hike warm but camp is cold, esp if you have sweated at all.

    No need for shorts with convertible pants

    Crocs instead of sandals, IMO, esp to start.

    Get a sea to summit dry bag for your food bag. Not mesh.

    Don't need both data and thru hiker handbooks. Pick one.







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  5. #5
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    Take this with a grain of salt, because I've never thru-hiked. But I am a hanger and I honestly don't think that you can get down to temperatures anywhere near that in a hammock with only a single pad. At least not comfortably. I'd seriously recommend using an underquilt for the first few weeks/month and then switching back to pad only in the warmer months. Personally, I much prefer an underquilt only solution (even in warm temps), although I will sometimes supplement with a pad under my legs (cut short). Especially when using a 3/4 length UQ such as the Yeti from Warbonnet.

    Then again, in the end everything is personal. Depending upon what the weather is like where you live, this time of year (and the next month or two) might be perfect weather to test out your system(s). I would highly recommend that you test out your proposed system in some cold weather to see if its comfortable and keeps you warm. Try it for a few nights at least. In your backyard might be ideal in case it gets too cold and you need to bail. If it does keep you warm, screw all our advice and go with it. If it doesn't, come back here and ask for recommendations and/or try a different set-up.

  6. #6
    Registered User scooterdogma's Avatar
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    I'm with Jofish about the use of an underquilt. Try out your system in your backyard in the 20 and teens w/wind and snow/sleet. I wouldn't think of going out in winter conditions w/out an underquilt. I use Jacksrbetter Mt. Washington, w/maccat tarp pulled low and close. I didn't see a tarp? I use a NA and the weathershield is not enough protection, it is a great added protection beneath a tarp. Let us know about your test, it's all about sharing info to make us all safe out there.

  7. #7
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    I carry baby wipes
    2 Lighters, 1 in pocket 1 in pot

    I don't carry toothpaste, bug spray, hand soap, sunscreen, books, ipod ( if you got time, journal - tune in not out ), sandals

    Hike your own hike...sometimes I wish I had stuff I didn't bring...like toothpaste
    I do carry altoids and barter with them for stuff.

  8. #8
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    I would NEVER forgo toothpaste. (!) - not sure why that was recommended. (????)

    Years ago, a Dentist advised me that at least once per day, to thoroughly brush my teeth with just water and a brush. Said that toothpaste, while helping to remove stains and making your mouth feel fresh, actually was detrimental to removing the plaque. He said that it is generally the formation of plaque that causes most bad breath and decay. He was not opposed to brushing more than once, and using toothpaste, but the brushing without was what was most important. He also spent plenty of time teaching his patients how to properly brush and floss. Most folks don't really know how.

    While at home, I follow his advice, using tootpaste only some times, I forgo it all together on the trail. While I've always been plagued with crowded teeth, and fairly frequent cavities as a result (never any orthodontics which probably would have helped), I am frequently complimented on how clean and plaque-free my teeth are when I go to the dentist. Been to several over the years, and most have commented on this.

  9. #9
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    That might be your dentist's recommendation but it is not my dentist's nor have I ever heard it is detrimental to plaque removal. Though I have heard brushing with baking soda is a preferable toothpaste substitute.







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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambler1 View Post
    I don't carry toothpaste, ..

    That's a little to ultra lite for me. I always carry toothpaste and use it twice a day. I like the way it leaves my mouth feeling. I don't carry a big tube, just one of little ones. And replace it when i need to. And I do agree that you should brush your teeth even if you run out of paste.

    panzer

  11. #11
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    That might be your dentist's recommendation but it is not my dentist's nor have I ever heard it is detrimental to plaque removal. Though I have heard brushing with baking soda is a preferable toothpaste substitute.

    No desire to hijack the thread, or to get into an argument. You asked why anyone would recommend such a thing, and I explained why.

    It's not as cut and dried as you would imply, here is one independent study (key term) that supports the position.

    http://www.healthvideo.com/article.php?id=78

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    Hope you've hammocked in cold weather. Can get to single digits up to early April. Might consider a tent to start then switch for late spring and summer.

    Need three pair of GOOD hiking socks for sure. If your feet go, that's the end (and I can say from experience this week). I'd leave the wool socks at home. Go with 1 pr of fleece for sleeping and camp.

    I would NEVER forgo toothpaste. (!) - not sure why that was recommended. (????)

    Hope you have a good insulating jacket. You might hike warm but camp is cold, esp if you have sweated at all.

    No need for shorts with convertible pants

    Crocs instead of sandals, IMO, esp to start.

    Get a sea to summit dry bag for your food bag. Not mesh.

    Don't need both data and thru hiker handbooks. Pick one.
    I'm with this person but instead of tooth paste, tote some baking soda.
    Tooth care, antacid, and bug bite paste all rolled into one.
    Get 1/2 or 1/3 of a Turtleback sponge to carry with you.You won't regret it.

    Learn to rig your Clark on the ground like a bivvy in case it gets colder than you are comfortable with.
    Another reason for a Clark over " the other"

    In the old days a compass and maps were damn near necessary on a lot of parts. From the sound of it you just follow TP, cig butts and beer cans to find the way
    Uniquely Amurkin...altho I watch some Utoob of Brit survivalists finding all sorts of crap. Must be genetic.

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    A sleeping bag liner seems to me like it could be a real PITA in a hammock, though I have no experience with the Clark. My somewhat limited hammock experience suggests an underquilt to me too. I wonder if some sort of JRB underquilt (if money is truly available for great gear like that) could also serve as a warmer weather blanket --- and if of the No Sniveler ilk could serve as cold weather warm clothing besides ... ditto if money no object consider the http://www.nunatakusa.com sleep system. Perhaps more extreme in approach and cost than you're looking for.

    Paperback? Obviously something you can easily adjust on the trail. I do know some thru's carry books; could never see it myself, there's enough to do during the day and then just jump in the sack and sleep at night.

  14. #14
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    Default On your way...

    NOBOer,

    First, you are headed in the right direction - NORTH BOUND. The trail is tough enough without seeking more bugs, rain and MUD.

    You are definitely on your way with your list. A couple of comments, since you asked. There is more than one way to do the trail, but this is based on what I did and what I saw most other finishing thru hikers do.

    I only knew one person who finished the trail still using a hammock (2009 GA - ME among the people I met). That's not a scientific study, but I would guess there were about 10-15% of the hikers using hammocks in GA and NC. It is an observation and I could only conjecture on the reasoning.

    The Lexan spoon or spork - I had one and it broke. Picture how thick that cold peanut butter will be when temps are below freeing. I replaced it with a titanium one which allowed me to dig deeply and aggressively into peanut butter and icre cream all along the trail.

    I would use the Appalachian Pages instead of the 2 references you have listed. It's heavier than the others but much more full with information - relevant information. You will pass through Damascus, Duncannon, Delaware Water Gap PA, and Hanover at least - so you can break that heavy book up and deal with it in sections.

    I'm no expert. I did post a list of things I had when I finished the trail - the UN PACKING LIST - so like the titanium spork, these are the items that evolved and made it to the end in the form described. You can find the list by searching Rugged Shark posts and the question from Mudblaster - "totally new to this" or something like that... The only items not on my UN PACKING LIST are toilet paper and hand sanitizer - both recommended.

    Overall, I'd say you're right there and just doing the real fine tuning...

    Rugged Shark

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    if you haven't already, go and register at hammock forums, the best place for hammock info.

    if you are serious about the hammock do not get the sleeping bag and liner, opt for quilts instead. 48 oz seems a little heavy to me, there are lighter options out there.

    i would also consider replacing the rain fly on the clark with a real tarp. in addition to providing better protection a tarp also allows you to go to the ground without having to bivy in the hammock.

  16. #16
    Registered User Jofish's Avatar
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    Yeah, your proposed set up is actually 63oz if you take the pad into account. You could definitely go lighter. I made a heavy duty top quilt that will probably get me down to zero (or possibly even lower!) with a decent underquilt. That quilt weighs 24oz. If you went overkill with a full winter underquilt (like the Jacks R Better Mt Washington 4) that takes you down to the zero degree range you'd still be lighter. The MW4 weighs 28oz. A set up like that would save you 10+ oz PLUS would get you down to MUCH colder temperatures.

    You could very easily go even lighter with a 3-season underquilt. Just using the Jacks R Better again as an example, you could go with something like the Nest which should get you into the upper 20's (and its $80 cheaper). That would save you 7oz over the MW4.

    You could go even lighter if you went with a 3-season top quilt as well. Something like the Speer TopBlanket. That should get you into the mid-20's and weighs only 18oz. With a set up like that (Nest & TopBlanket), you should be able to get to the mid 20's and it would only weigh 39oz. Thats 24 oz (1.5 pounds!) lighter than the set up you proposed. And it will keep you warmer. You could probably even take a set up like this even lower with good clothing.

    Please note that these are just some examples of products that would save you weight and keep you warmer. I'm not trying to endorse any one product over another. I do own all of the quilts mentioned, other than the Nest. All excellent products. Like others have said, head over to hammockforums.net to get more info. There is a LOT of it over there. Hope my post helps.

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    A Bic lighter is good to take, but you should bring a small pack of waterproof matches or at the very least something that will create a spark. At higher altitudes, especially during colder weather, your Bic might have trouble working.

    Fuel - do you think 8oz will be enough? I'd recommend at least 12oz. You may find that you want to heat water for bathing, cleaning, drinking etc..., not just food prep.

    Food bag - If you use a mesh bag make sure that all the food you carry is in waterproof packaging or have ziplocks or something to keep water out when it's raining.

    Hygiene - You might want to consider bringing body glide for chaffing & travel size gold bond for sweaty feet.

  18. #18
    Author, Awol on the Appalachian Trail
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugged shark View Post
    NOBOer,

    I would use the Appalachian Pages instead of the 2 references you have listed. It's heavier than the others but much more full with information - relevant information. You will pass through Damascus, Duncannon, Delaware Water Gap PA, and Hanover at least - so you can break that heavy book up and deal with it in sections.

    Rugged Shark
    App Pages is heavier than the Data Book, but is not heavier than the THH. Both are comparable in weight and differ more in presentation than in content. App Pages will no longer be published. "The A.T. Guide" will be published next year, building on the App Pages style innovations.

  19. #19
    Registered User beas's Avatar
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    ditch the frogg toggs. after wittnessing my hiking partners sloppy, ill fitting, nasty mess of pants on a 9 day section i'd never have a pair. not sure how dry they kept him but once they are muddy they are muddy. a good pair of rain pants that can be hosed off might be better. same for the jacket. they also seem to be just plane ole to big in the legs arms etc.

    just my 2* worth
    BEAS

    "Maintain a Rigid State of Maximum Flexibility"

  20. #20
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    by the way he threw the pants in the garbage as we walked off the trail at clingmans dome
    BEAS

    "Maintain a Rigid State of Maximum Flexibility"

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