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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Newbie needs some pointers

    Hi guys n gals,

    I think this a slightly different way to approach this! As one or two of you may have seen, Iím a wingeing limey who lives in Mexico who, poor him, doesnít have a decent outfitters anywhere, even in my home, the capital.

    I have a bit of the following stuff however a very large chunk of it is a shopping list for when I arrive for a couple of days in Atlanta. Will have a Sunday afternoon-Tuesday afternoon in the city to pick up most of this list and the bits I canít fly with. I don't have a choice unless I want to literally pay triple-quadruple here or 50% extra to have it shipped here without being able to see it.

    Anyway Iíd like you to have a look at my gear list. I understand this is amateur in comparison to othersí however this is all rather new to me. I have a 500 mile easy village-village hike under my belt (el camino de santiago). I know that doesn't mean much in comparison to the AT.

    April 4th Start
    I donít have weights of these as I donít have most of it!
    I just want a solid shopping list so I donít make stupid mistakes in my short time in Atlanta.

    Hubba MSR One person
    Hubba footprint
    20* Synthetic sleeping bag. My circulation shuts down in bad cold. 15* better?
    Full Thermarest Z Lite (will cut later if I want to)
    Stuff sac for s-bag/pillow
    Pack Pack - Iím going to buy this last and buy for the perfect fit of stuff and feel in REI.
    Trash compactor bag/large dry sac
    Cook Tangia Mini Ė will make own later no doubt. But Iím a noob.
    8oz Fuel bottle
    Heavy duty foil for screen
    Plastic spork
    ľ scouring pad
    Mini-Bic lighter
    Toilet paper
    Mini - hand sanatizer
    Small pack wet wipes (anti-chafe)
    Mini-bio soap
    Dental Floss
    Couple big band aids
    Duct tape round other things
    Luxuries/electrical/Safety etc
    Small Canon
    Couple data cards
    2 spare batteries
    Paperback book Ė no kindle, thanks
    AWOLís relevant section
    Cellphone Ė essential for me. No discussion necessary.
    Pack weatherproof cards Ė another essential
    Petzl headlamp w/batteries
    Small paper journal
    Hiking poles (was going to go without, but my ankles and knees are acting up a bit)
    Tips for poles
    Trail shoes (solid but old Ė 500+ miles) prefer to have that safety net, but know will be buying within month or so.
    2 Pairs light hiking socks
    1 pair liner (cheap synth. Socks)
    1 pair cosy sleep socks
    Pair light camp things.
    2 x compression shorts
    Cut off trousers
    Down pants (necessary?)
    Cotton boxers for camp.
    2 synth t-shirts
    Mid later long sleeve
    Light fleece
    Down jacket
    Camp tshirt
    Toasty gloves (v. bad circulation)
    Ziplocks for rain
    Rain Gear
    Unsure if packa or shell/cover combo. Tempted by packaÖ

    Other stuff
    Food - Maybe will do approach-Neel in bout 5 days taking it nice n slow
    Gatorade Bottle
    Food/clothes/luxuries/hygeine/cook sacks

    I threw this together a little quick, I hope I didn't forget anything.

    Any input, however critical will be massively appreciated! (sorry for the format and vagueness!)


  2. #2
    Saw Man tuswm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Philly/ OC MD


    only two small things that stick out at me.

    I dont like synthetic sleeping bags. Also when I am hiking on the AT I like staying in shelters. The ground is usualy hard wood. when you are NOT on soft ground a Z rest or other CCF pad is not comfortable enough for me. But they are indistructable and a fraction of the price of many other pads.
    "you cant grow old if you never grow up" ~TUswm

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Central KY


    Don't you need black powder for your small cannon?
    My name is Tabasco and I approve this message.

  4. #4
    mountain squid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Elizabethton, TN
    Journal Entries


    Looks pretty good. Some observations:

    small lighters are too small - get a regular size one
    50 ft of cord
    sm knife with tweezers/scissors (tick pulling/nail clipping)
    unless you plan to hike in down pants (and I wouldn't suggest it), probably unnecessary - if cold in camp, get in sleeping bag
    2 compression shorts?!?
    cut off trousers?!? - jeans?!?
    camp clothes might be unnecessary
    sunscreen - no leaves on trees
    consider leaving book and cards until you are used to walking all day/every day - you'll likely be too tired at night as well

    REI is probably ok for lots of the little things, but I would want to check out Mountain Crossings before making a major purchase, like a backpack or sleeping bag. Do the research online and if REI has the backpack you like, then you are good to go. Otherwise you might consider staying at the Hiker Hostel and arranging a ride to Neels Gap before you start your hike.

    See you on the trail,
    mt squid

    some observations

  5. #5
    Registered User Six-Six's Avatar
    Join Date
    Georgetown, South Carolina, United States


    just a little suggestion: get a long handle titanium spoon instead of a plastic spork. Reaching down into a bag/pot of food is easier with a longer handle and you don't get food on your hand. And, if you're sharing a tub of ice cream, you don't want to share hand gunk.
    Everyone's first question:
    "Wow - How tall are you?"
    Answer: "I'm 6'6""
    Ergo, my trail name: 'Six-Six'

  6. #6
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Winston-Salem, NC


    You should not need the Hubba footprint. A simple piece of thin plastic or Tyvek will work as well, weigh less, and cost much less. Even a large garbage bag sliced down the sides so it lays flat will be fine.

    I too dislike synthetic sleeping bags. If you do have problems with cold weather, a 15 or 20-F down bag from a reputable manufacturer will be more compact and last longer. You can check these out at REI or Mountain Crossings, too, and find one that fits well and fits your pack.

    Good idea to buy your pack based on how it fits and feels in the store. In general, look for something in the 4000 cubic inch (60 liter) range that weighs 3 pounds or less and has a frame of some sort.

    Hiking poles are useful, You don't need spare tips. If you end up needing to replace the tips, buy them at an outfitter along the way.

    Compression shorts are handy if you like them, not sure you need two pairs. Down pants aren't necessary unless you get *really* cold around camp, and then you just get in your sleeping bag. Down jacket, on the other hand, is very useful both around camp and to extend your bag at night if needed.

    Overall your list is very good. I think you've had several suggestions in this and other threads to buy much of your gear and clothing at Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap. I would again recommend this to you. It's not that much more difficult logistically than getting around Atlanta to the REI stores, especially if you have some help from The Hiker Hostel. REI is a great store, and I've been a member for >20 years. But much of their gear and clothing is aimed at recreational weekend backpackers, not long distance hikers. Everything at Mountain Crossings is designed for long distance hiking, and the staff are experienced hikers who can recommend their gear based on personal experience and that of many other hikers.

    Good luck and happy trails.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  7. #7


    Thanks for the tips guys. I really appreciate it, and glad to see I've learnt something from this great website!
    The knife - yes forgot that on my list, as it's actually one of the items I do have!

    The big things I know I want I'm going to order in at REI 2/3 weeks before I arrive so I've got a small bundle of stuff waiting. I'm going to stay at hiker hostel so I could pay extra to get a shuttle up there. Will consider that. Makes more sense to spend more on a shuttle and the gear and be advised correctly.

    whistle- yep, will add that too.

    cut off trousers - sorry I meant zip off.... the usual sort.

    Down pants - I don't know how cold I'll get, but I'll buy them in Neel gap if I think I need them

    Sunscreen - yeah that too, I'm a real whitey. thanks

    Hubba print- yeah that was my overkill item I felt. If thin plastic works just as well, then I'll go for that.

    book - I'm going to be going very slow to start with so having a book will make it less likely I'll do extra miles I shouldn't

    pole tips - I'm not sure what they're called. The ones that damage the land less, or do they generally come part of the package when u get the poles?

    Down sbag - I'll consider that for sure. Bound to be more comfy I suppose!

    1 compression shorts makes sense. I have big chafe issues and they fix it, will buy new as I need.

    Definitely gonna get some black powder for my cannon!!!

    Thanks again!

  8. #8


    There are probably some things I overlooked but thats it for now.

    >20* Synthetic sleeping bag. My circulation shuts down in bad cold. 15* better?
    Too heavy and bulky. Suggest a Down bag or a Climashield Quilt.
    A Climashield quilt will still be more bulky than down, but about the same weight and definitely smaller
    than a synthetic bag.

    I agree with above about a better pad, but if you can sleep comfortable on a CCF pad then it does not matter.

    Pack Pack - I’m going to buy this last and buy for the perfect fit of stuff and feel in REI.
    Good Idea

    >Cook Tangia Mini – will make own later no doubt. But I’m a noob.
    Set up an alcohol freezer bag cook set. You can do one for basically free and it will weigh about 5-6 oz.

    Get a Ursak Minor to keep the critters out of your food. Dont eat in or keep your food in your tent.

    >Down pants (necessary?)

    >Cotton boxers for camp.
    Skip all cotton.

    >Camp tshirt
    Merino or synthetic

    Rain Gear
    If you use a jacket and rain pants those can better be used as a cold layer.
    Mountain Hardwear Epic jackets are on sale on the web right now for $60. Pit zips, nice hood, Nice
    Mine is an XXL and weighs 13.5 oz.
    Driducks suit weigh about 10oz and cost about $15. You can find those in Atlanta.

  9. #9


    I am not trying to steer business away from Mountain Crossings, or any other small shop for that matter. But I think that there are a number of worthwhile items that one can pick up from REI and it will be beneficial along the trail considering their return policy (and no, I don't mean abuse it). Among these, IMO are a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles and clothing.

    I picked up both my Marmot Helium and my NeoAir from REI. Both are top quality items. I did pay full price, which will more-than-likely be the case at the smaller shops, especially at this time of year, but I also got 10% back, which equaled about $55 back on these 2 items. However, I would not suggest to skimp on a good sleeping bag. Crawling inside of a nice warm, cozy, comfortable down bag is priceless after a long, hard, cold days hike...This is one lucury that should not be overlooked...

    I have a pair of Leki poles that I got from REI. Again, top quality and even got about $12 back...not much, but still, it would cover the cost on the long handle spoon that six six suggested, which is a great suggestion, IMO. Also, I wouldn't worry about those pole tip protectors on the end of the trekking poles. I find that the carbide tip does a much better job at helping me get traction.

    Among clothing, wool socks, underwear, base layers and pants are all fine IMO from REI. My preferred insulation (Montbell) and hard shell is not available at REI though, but are available at Mountain Crossings. As well, Mountain Crossings does indeed sell the Montbell UL Down Inner pants. However, I will also warm you to maybe call ahead and ask about a few of the big ticket items and their stock on them. This is a very busy time for them, so their stock may not be as full as other times of the year. I am sure that they allow and allot for this, but still, it never hurts to be sure before you get there. It would suck to leave a store behind full of inventory only to head to one that is low or out.

    Also, you can go to a hardware store and pick up some of the polycro window wrap. Cut that into appropriate sized sheets to fit under your tent. This is light, strong and water proof. (And remember, cut it so that it is just a bit smaller than your tent's footprint. If it is wider and sticks out past your tent footprint, water can run down the tent and onto the top of the ground sheet which will then trap water between the ground sheet and your tent floor. Not good.) Or even some of the 2 mil plastic sheet will work. A bit heavier and not as strong maybe... Also, use the ground sheet on the shelter floors when you do not sleep in your tent. Keeps your gear cleaner and helps to protect it from sharp objects.

    Keep in mind tuswm's words too... those shelter floors are a lot harder than the ground and a ccf pad does little in the way of comfort...

    Hope this helps!

    happy hiking.
    ...take nothing but memories and pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill only time... (Bette Filley in Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail)

  10. #10


    You are on the right track. You'll learn a lot as you hike and there few good outfitters along the trail if you need to make a few tweaks.

    How many monkey butlers will there be?

    One at first. But he'll train others.

  11. #11
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Kingsville, Texas


    Ain't nothin' lighter than a hole. You don't need nothin' under your tent.

  12. #12
    Registered User Nutbrown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Chapel Hill, NC


    I don't think you'll need 3 tshirts. If you are usually cold, change into the longsleeve at camp. I think you might find the circulation in your hands improves with use of the poles. Mine used to swell a lot, then I tried the poles, changed everything! I wouldn't worry so much about the poles tearing up the ground. The zillion of ya'll that will be hiking will tear it up just fine. Ive seen boars tear up the ground a heck of a lot more than any bity pole. Take a look at Osprey packs, they are pretty comfy. ...and since you have a bit of time, play around with a soda can stove. Easy and cheap, and if yours sucks, you can still get the trangia. Have a great hike!

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Venice, Fl.


    Campmor ( just discounted the Kelty Light Year 20 degree down sleeping bag to $119. I just got one with discount for $107 and it includes free shipping. Have it mailed to Atlanta...

  14. #14


    thank you thank you thank you

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