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  1. #1
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    Default 2012 Thru-Hike - Rip my gear list apart (or offer support?!)

    Let me preface this by saying - I love nature. I grew up desiring to be in the woods at any available moment. I know better than to go on trips like this unprepared, that being said - this will be the single biggest outdoors trip I'll have completed. I fly into ATL April 12th and will be on the AT by the 15th. I plan on doing the approach trail with 2 friends on the 14th.

    This is a pilgrimage for me of sorts. Actually - not of sorts. It's a huge break from life for me. I will have no other responsibilities than to complete it (by October 1st - have a wedding to attend later that month).

    Here's where I'd like some advice - words of encouragement - or whatever words of wisdom the board can offer.

    I'm "making do" with what I have. Because what I don't have is money for new or different gear. Not even a penny. Every penny I do have will be for food resupplies and what I need in any various towns. I'm worried about a few things I have. I'm not an ultralight enthusiast, or even lightweight enthusiast. I absolutely see the merits of both, just can't afford that route right now. So I'll only be bringing what I absolutely need, no home comforts except for an emergency cell phone and my camera and the chargers for both (I'm hoping to be able to get some free electricity while resupplying or visiting a town).

    Here's my gear list;
    Kelty Redwing Pack - Internal Frame
    3/4" Closed cell foam sleeping pad.
    Lightweight (but warm) REI sleeping bag
    MSR Whisperlite International stove w/ fuel bottle
    MSR Gravity Fed water filter
    Camelback bladder
    Nalgene water bottle
    750ml pot... spork
    Sandals for when lounging/0 days/around camp
    Extra pair of shorts, a tshirt for lounging, long sleeve wicking shirt to stay warm, extra socks
    Sunglasses
    Bandanna
    Bug spray/Sunscreen/Toothbrush/Paste/Deodorant/Camp towel/Trowel/Roll of TP
    Motrin/Prescription medicine/Chapstick/Eye drops
    Couple journals, pen, pencil
    Heavy duty trash bag to line the inside of my pack
    Heavy duty trash bag(2) rolled and velcroed to quickly cover the outside of my pack
    Small amount of paracord for tent tie downs (and lightweight tent stakes)

    My major concern is the tent. I have a Kelty Getaway 4. This is clearly larger than most anyone would bring, but it's literally all I have - it will keep me dry, keep out bugs, and those both matter to me. I don't plan on staying in the shelters unless really necessary. How big of a deal is this?

    Another concern is boots vs. shoes. My boots are amazing, they are broken in, can be waterproofed(ish), and have good ankle support. But they are HEAVY. The other option is tennis shoes. Which are lightweight, but if they get wet, will be torture. Thoughts here?

    The only other (small) concern is walking stick necessity. I love the idea of having one. I love the idea of finding/crafting one even more.

    I'm wordy - so I'll knock it off now. Thanks for any advice, support, laughs, words of encouragement, or "get the hell off the trail you are clearly out of your league"! See some of you out there this spring/summer.

  2. #2
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    Forgot to add - will also have the data book and trail guide - and I've been faithfully studying both and thinking out stops/ideal pace/etc.

  3. #3

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    A trip to Goodwill could add a warm sweater and a shell of some sort. Maybe some nice, ugly running pants as well. I would recommend ditching the tent in favor of a cheap tarp, and maybe some bug netting. If the boots work for you, great.

    Have a wonderful trip.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  4. #4
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    Shell of some sort - sorry, was doing my gear list from memory - I also have a pretty decent (weight/waterproofing capability) northface jacket and plan on bringing a rain poncho for myself.

    Trip to goodwill is a good idea though, I can't imagine I'd need pants knowing me, but it couldn't hurt - especially if I can get em for a handful of change.

    I'm thinking about the tarp/bug netting - but every penny does count in the lead up to this and there are still some small things on my list I need to get. I'll be playing with the rainfly over the next few weeks seeing if there's a way to leverage only that and find some noseeem netting, but (as it stands) the tent is going to be on the trail with me. I know the mantra is "hike your own hike" - but I also don't want to be "that guy".

    Thanks for the response!

  5. #5
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    There are many others more qualified which will help you here regarding your list.

    My only input is what I asked for days earlier and sounds like you are asking the same question above. What I was told was:

    You are only FORCED to use a shelter in two areas of the entire A.T.
    [If the shelter is full, you may then tent next to the shelter.]

    Great Smoky Mtn. Nat. Park (GSMNP) – 82 miles
    Baxter State Park – 10 miles

    My understanding is that there is < 92 miles that you are forced to use a shelter on the A.T.

  6. #6
    Registered User Edwardo Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Well for me I use trail runner shoes last year on the John Muir Trail, I cross the creeks and snow fields with them one day going over Muir Pass I had to cross about 5 miles of snow and my feed where drench. But I had no problem with blisters last year. Am planing on the AT next year and in a way am in the same boat with you not that much money. Just keep in mind that difficultly you may face put one foot in front of the other keep your eyes on your goal and you shall reach the end. Just make sure you can sew, repair and patch what gear that might zip, brake or fall apart on you. Good luck and hope you have a journal that we can follow

  7. #7
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    Thanks - I'm fairly handing so sewing/patching/repairing shouldn't be an issue - and I know that stuff will crop up on me.

    When I read other peoples journals and see the word "boring" or "bored" - I want to scream. The punishment that my body will face (whether it be physical or mental) is part of why I think I'll LOVE every second out there. There will be "ugh" moments, I know - but I'm going to relish on getting past those. What I'm noticing now, being a mere 25 days away or so, is the anxiety as I start to work out the small details making sure I'm as prepared as I can be.

    Re: Journaling. What's the best way to do this? My best idea has been to write (a physical journal), and then digitally transcribe when I can get my phone some juice and connectivity. Probably just use tumblr because it'll be the easiest to upload photos/videos/text. I also want to make sure I'm keeping track of metrics (distance traveled, elevation, weather, etc...).

  8. #8
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    handy* - my engrish and typing skills are awesome at 2am.

  9. #9
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Hey, underscored,

    Get out on the trail. You'll figure it out. A couple of comments:

    The 8 pound tent is going to be an issue. If there is any way you can figure out how to get a <4 pound solo tent (sub 3 pound is better), that would help a lot. Maybe an early (really early) holiday present?

    You can make an alcohol stove from a soda can. The soda can is free from any public trash can. That will cut your stove weight from ~10 ounces to about 10 grams. Alcohol fuel is readily available on the trail.

    A 1-liter Gatorade bottle weighs ~1.5 ounces (less than half as much as a Nalgene bottle), and comes prefilled with Gatorade. Three of them would be lighter and easier to deal with than the Camelback/Nalgene combo.

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

  10. #10
    Registered User 4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Headlamp? My recommendation is Black Diamond Spot but any small one that takes AAA's will do. (You need some sort of flashlight)
    A few feet of duct tape (You probably have some)
    Base layer, tops and bottoms? (Thrift store or WM if you don't have)
    Hat (wool or fleece)? (You probably have one somewhere)

    Ditch the 8 lb tent and just bring a <2 lb poly tarp and sleep net, and stay in shelters when the weather is really bad.

  11. #11
    Registered User coach lou's Avatar
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    The rain fly on your big tent can be hung/ set-up, and a bug net can be found. Unless you are cooking for 4+ , the International' needs to be downsized. And I'll carry my nice comfy Thermarest, thank you! Have a good walk!

  12. #12
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    Right now--Put all your stuff into your pack, add a one gallon water jug to simulate your food bag. Find a tall building with nice stairways and spend an hour or so walking up and down. If the weather is nice go outside for this. Then go home and lay all your stuff out on the iving room floor. You will see your gear in a very different light than when you first packed your pack.

    Make the change you feel you can make. Then repack and do the above over again.

    When you start to feel good about your kit--then go on an overnight with real food and see how reality compares with dreams. Then go home and make some more changes.

    Start now so you will be ready when your feet hit the trail.

    There is just no substitute for doing this--though we do try to be helpful here.

    grayfox

  13. #13

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    There's been some discussions on this site regarding lightweight/cheap 1-person tents-- I seem to remember the Eureka Solitaire (2lb 9oz)winning the "debate." It's widely available and shouldn't cost you much-- I just did a quick search and found one for $62 + shipping:
    http://www.wildbillwholesale.com/eus...kw=eusoteflsi2
    "We can no longer live as rats. We know too much." -- Nicodemus

  14. #14
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    Thanks all for more advice. Some updates as I'm awake and thinking (clearer) this morning.

    Duct tape, flashlight, super small firestarter, compass, knife - are all part of my standard "better have with you gear."

    Gatorade bottles - this is a good idea and something I'll look into. I like the bladder because the way I have it setup, it integrates nice with my pack, I can drink on the fly (I drink a TON of water when hiking), and it actually kind of acts as an extra cushion between the internal frame of my pack. That being said, I'll play around with this idea.

    (Part of...) the reason for the stove - it was recommended and I already had the fuel bottle. Plus I like the idea of cooking for random new friends or sharing a meal. As much as I'm going to enjoy being in my own head - I'm certainly planning on meeting people, sharing a swig outta my flask, and bs'ing as my way is made north. Cooking for people tends to ease any social awkwardness I deal with.

    I'm playing with some rainfly only options today. Even at this point - the money I have is enough to get my food - a couple beers for my buds picking me up - and 3 food resupplies until I actually have my trail budget deposited. Plus a small "emergency" reserve that I won't touch. I do have a couple overnight weekends planned where I'll take my gear setup with me (even though for the specific weekend it'll be overkill) - that give me a feel and I'll find anything I can do without/might still need.

    Thanks again everyone. I tend to "share" a lot on these forums, so expect updates and more questions as the "go date" gets closer.

    ...and Winds - I just noticed you're from Shelby Township - I actually grew up there (and am right down the street at the moment). Small world!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by underscored View Post
    ...and Winds - I just noticed you're from Shelby Township - I actually grew up there (and am right down the street at the moment). Small world!
    24 & Dequindre here. Where you stationed at now then? Ha.

    Have a great hike!

  16. #16
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    At the moment - an outdoor patio table, Killians in hand, 21 & Hayes. I grew up behind the old Four Bears deathtrap...errr waterpark on Auburn between Dequindre and Ryan.

    Thanks!

  17. #17
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    Thinking.... wonder If I can find anyone who would possibly have a need for a larger tent and would trade me for something more appropriate. Just an outright trade? My tent is super nice and it's done me well, but - it's obviously overkill. I'd maybe be "losing" a little bit actually, but the worth of getting something lighter would make up for that.

    Or I get lucky and make a little extra scratch in the next few weeks and can get that Eureka Solitude. It looks basically perfect for what I need.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by underscored View Post
    At the moment - an outdoor patio table, Killians in hand, 21 & Hayes. I grew up behind the old Four Bears deathtrap...errr waterpark on Auburn between Dequindre and Ryan.
    Yeah, that place was a trip for us growing up. When the guns entered the scene, we vacated. You are close - I will be at 25 & Van Dyke (my gym) soon. Enjoy that beer on this awesome afternoon!

  19. #19
    Registered User Edwardo Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Well last year on the John Muir Trail I did both a physical journal and a video journal and post it on youtube "mexican on the jmt" have to find out what will work best for you. There are so many unknown factor that goes on a Thru hike a person has to turn to their outdoor skill to see them past what ever they may see. You will be push to your limits and at that point you have to find it with in you to get past those trials and push forward one step, one mile and one state at a time.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwardo Rodriguez View Post
    ...You will be push to your limits and at that point you have to find it with in you to get past those trials and push forward one step, one mile and one state at a time...
    Love this.

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