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  1. #1
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    Default New Hiker Here. Looking for Advice.

    Hey. New to White Blaze here. I'm loving all the info I've been able to find already. I recently just got done playing college baseball and want to get into hiking, eventually making a thru hike. I know nothing of reliable brands of things. I know I want a pack that I can eventually take on a thru hike. I've been looking at some and reading reviews. The one I like as of right now is the Osprey Talon 44. I havent had time to run to NOC Gatlinburg yet and look at others. Any thoughts, suggestions, words of wisdom? Anything is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    get yourself Andrew Skurka's new book "The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide"

  3. #3
    Registered User coach lou's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the44 means liters, way too small for me. I like to have stuff, when you go finger the packs they look huge in the store, but then you start putting stuff in it and it's full and you have a pile of stuff still sitting on the floor. Just my thoughts on that.

  4. #4
    Registered User The Old Boot's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=CN7Eagles;1296341]Hey. New to White Blaze here. I'm loving all the info I've been able to find already. I recently just got done playing college baseball and want to get into hiking, eventually making a thru hike. I know nothing of reliable brands of things. I know I want a pack that I can eventually take on a thru hike. I've been looking at some and reading reviews. The one I like as of right now is the Osprey Talon 44. I havent had time to run to NOC Gatlinburg yet and look at others. Any thoughts, suggestions, words of wisdom? Anything is appreciated.[/QUOTE]

    Do your research thoroughly and not just on the sales web sites. Read here and anywhere you can find (trails journals, other forums, magazines, etc, etc.)

    Think things through before you buy.
    Buy your pack absolutely last.

    Or you can do what a lot of people here have apparently done...buy it because you THINK it's what you want, then either sell it or have a closet full of stuff you don't use!

  5. #5
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    My first suggestion is get out and do some section hikes, get a feel for the type gear and clothing you will like, by trial and error. You may not like going extreme ultralight until you've got more backpacking experience. The Osprey Talon 44 is a good pack, but you may find the Osprey Atmos 65 much better, it's used by many thru hikers.

    There are other packs that would be great for a thru hike made by Deuter, Granite Gear, Gregory, ULA and some others. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    Llama- Thanks. Read the free preview. Seems really interesting and informative.

    Lou and Praha- I was thinking of getting that as kind of a starter pack for up to week long hikes to kind of experiment. My timeline is sometime in the next two or three years to hike the AT. Just kind of looking for a good starter pack.

    Although budget is an issue, I think i've read more posts about how you really get what you pay for. When I'm looking for gear, what are some good suppliers?

  7. #7

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    It will likely overwhelm you, but check out the Sticky thread "list of cottage manufacturers" - it's worth a look, and is on the board today.

  8. #8
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Get your gear first, your pack last.







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  9. #9
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    On the pack, I would suggest finding a used pack first. Two reasons for this :

    I know very few people that stick with their first pack for all that long. The more you hike the more you get to know your real needs.

    Also very few hikers end up hauling more gear as they gain experience. Most people tend to get lighter and take less as time goes on.

    I know there are still people that are using the same pack since they were a boy scout in 1977, but most of the people that hike a lot, go through a few packs before they find the sweet spot. I did meet one guy last year that has used the same pack for 40 years so ymmv.

    Like Blissful said, you are better off getting your other gear first. There is nothing worse than spending good money on a pack and finding out your gear won't fit.

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

  10. #10
    Registered User Driver8's Avatar
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    Invest in good trekking poles. For a long distance hike, they will do your knees, ankles and feet a big favor. There's a good thread on the topic active now - check it out for the pros and cons. Some do without them, especially younger more athletic sorts, but they confer a lot of advantage. Leki and Blac Diamond (Patagonia) are the premier manufacturers.

    Whether to go used or new for a lot of gear depends on your budget and preferences, time and patience. You can save a lot of money if you do.

    Wear synthetic fabrics and wool to the extent that you can. Especially when it comes to socks, these garments are worth their (light) weight in gold.
    The more miles, the merrier!

    NH4K: 21/48; N.E.4K: 25/67; NEHH: 28/100; Northeast 4K: 27/115; AT: 124/2191

  11. #11

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    Gear is overrated. Toughen the body, because hiking ain't a low-impact activity, and all will be good. It ain't rocket science.

  12. #12
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    The "buy your pack last" advice is good - but of course you want to get out on the trail, and if your kit is still changing rapidly, you need something to hold your gear! So:

    Check out the thrift stores first and see if they have something that will serve you for a while, until you know your hiking style and can choose for yourself. A thirty-year-old external-frame pack will still hold your gear, and even be reasonably comfortable. They're heavier than they need to be. They're designed for heavier stuff than most of us carry (today's gear is lighter). But they still work. And if you check out the Goodwill and the Salvation Army and the garage sales, maybe you can pick one up for five or ten bucks.

    Expect that your style will evolve over time. Some people like to camp, carry big heavy packs, and don't mind not being able to make a lot of miles. Some people like to hike and cut way down on what they carry to go farther and faster. Some turn into total gram weenies and debate whether wearing pants on the trail is worth the extra weight.

    Half the threads around here are about reducing pack weight, because one thing in common, whether you're carrying 5 kg or 40, is that it's too heavy! The other thing in common is that all the people who pontificate about weight - in either the "you're a fool to carry that" or the "I'm not giving this up" camp - think the other side are idiots. (Is there a happy medium between "overburdened" and "wet, cold and hungry?" Or is there simply an area in the middle where you're overburdened, wet cold, and hungry?)

    But most hikers start heavy and move lighter - either as we trade up to lighter gear, or as we start replacing more gear with better skills. We gradually learn how to put things to multiple purposes or dispense with them altogether, and start to have the confidence not to bring useless items "just in case." That's why you can often find perfectly workable castoff packs in thrift stores and garage sales - their former owners have moved on to lighter weight.

  13. #13
    Registered User coach lou's Avatar
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    I have found that as I refurbish my old gear with newer- better- lighter, my pack weight does not change. My pack gets lighter and has more room so I take more stuff. I like stuff........it's a vicious circle!

  14. #14
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coach lou View Post
    I have found that as I refurbish my old gear with newer- better- lighter, my pack weight does not change. My pack gets lighter and has more room so I take more stuff. I like stuff........it's a vicious circle!
    That's what I was talking about up above. Some people value comfort over weight. They'll take as much as they can carry, so that they have comfort items with them. Then again, some people who've traded up to lighter gear need to trade "up" to a smaller pack so that they're not tempted. I won't even speculate which type you might be.

  15. #15
    Registered User coach lou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    That's what I was talking about up above. Some people value comfort over weight. They'll take as much as they can carry, so that they have comfort items with them. Then again, some people who've traded up to lighter gear need to trade "up" to a smaller pack so that they're not tempted. I won't even speculate which type you might be.
    I like stuff! But, I have stopped carrying my candle lantern.

  16. #16
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    there's a lot of good online hiking gear retailers, they all run periodic sales.... if you have an idea of a particular item of clothing, shoes, or gear, you can doa google search, and it will turn up the sale prices at different retailers

    some of the retailers I've used are: Campsaver.com; Zombierunner.com; ems.com; Backcountry.com; Backcountryedge.com; altrec.com; prolitegear.com and others. Sometimes you can get the best buys directly from the manufacturer websites like Patagonia or Smartwool. Just do some online searches and you'll find other online retailers, there are new ones popping up constantly. Some offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount, so if you lump stuff together on your orders you can get free shipping. Make sure you buy from retailers that take returns, and some pay for return shipping.

    I have bought 99% of my hiking gear and clothing and shoes from online retailers, all we have here is Sports Authority and Basspro. Good luck and have fun




    Quote Originally Posted by CN7Eagles View Post
    Llama- Thanks. Read the free preview. Seems really interesting and informative.

    Lou and Praha- I was thinking of getting that as kind of a starter pack for up to week long hikes to kind of experiment. My timeline is sometime in the next two or three years to hike the AT. Just kind of looking for a good starter pack.

    Although budget is an issue, I think i've read more posts about how you really get what you pay for. When I'm looking for gear, what are some good suppliers?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    Gear is overrated. ....
    DITTO

    Before you go out and buy "Ultimate Hiking Guide Books" and gear take a look at these links for free.

    Here's a great 10 page article that outlines what you can expect when thru hiking the AT including a summary of each of the major sections.

    Then, here's a tried and true gear list that includes all you really need. It gives you a 16-18 lb. base weight cold weather pack. Gloves and fleece beanie are givens. Include a trash compactor bag for a liner. Tweak for summer to go even lighter.

    Ignore the popups if you get any......

    Cheers!

  18. #18

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    I have a Cirque pack- can't remember which model. But I love it. It is not light weight, that is for sure, but it is not heavy either. It has lots of clips and some bungie cords on the back- great for anything that won't fit inside your pack.However, I find the pack roomy and it hold most of my stuff. It has an interior frame and is very comfortable.

    Getting you gear first is not a bad idea- and try looking up old issues of backpackers magazine, they have great articles and youtube videos on how to propperly fit your pack etc...

    Try on several in the stores and fill them with weight so you know it will feel like when you are carrying the rest of your gear.

    Good luck to you.

  19. #19

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    Read this classic Whiteblaze article.
    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...a-Professional
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  20. #20

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    Get your gear first, your pack last +1

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