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Thread: Starting late!

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    Registered User evansprater's Avatar
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    Default Starting late!

    So I'm planning on starting at Springer here in the next two weeks or so, and I'm not sure how far I'm gonna go but I don't have any other obligations right now and enough money so who knows? Any tips on starting this late in the season? I have plenty of warm gear and a +20 Kelty Cosmic with a fleece liner so I think I should be ok at least until the winter really kicks in. I've also read that the fall hike can be even better because of no bugs/snakes and amazing views of the leaves changing colors and extended views once the leaves fall. Any thoughts are much appreciated.

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    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Could get winter conditions in the Smokies. Be sure to have blaze orange; will be in the middle of hunting season.







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    Registered User evansprater's Avatar
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    Yes, definitely! I plan on getting a bunch of orange stuff at Walmart... Vest, hoodie, maybe some orange tape or something for my pack as well.

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    I would guess that you will make it to Harpers Ferry by Xmas. In the Southern Appalachains if you see Winter weather coming don't sleep up when a few miles further will take you down. It can be a huge difference between 6000 ft and 3000ft. It's pointlessly up and down anyway. Sleep down. Big storm coming...find a town.....

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    I've been on Roan Mtn Thanksgiving weekend and it was 9 degrees with a 40mph wind blowing. Don't under estimate the weather. A little extra fuel and food never hurts in case you have to hunker down. If you are going with a partner, you could each carry a med size plastic tarp. Stretch them across a shelter face to block the wind, and you can make a cozy little nook. Also, surveyors flagging is bright orange and weighs next to nothing. Could hang a few strips off your pack for almost zero weight gain.

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    Def true about the colors/views just be prepared for winter conditions in November in the Smokies for sure and do NOT trust any weather forecasts you hear for the park. Most of the park is fairly high up and weather changes a lot. I did an overnight on the AT last November and the forecast was for sunny and in the 30s. Turned out to be 3 inches of snow and single digits at night...luckily I was prepared.

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    Definately a better plan then starting at the other end this time of year

    I would think you'll have a couple of months of decent hiking before it gets a bit too crazy to continue. Get your reading list together, you'll be doing a lot of it for something to do during those long evenings. Think about getting an old fashion candle lantern. They put out a decent amount of light.
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    Oh and carry extra fuel in case you get stuck in one place AND bc water will take much longer to boil when it's 45-50 degrees

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    White gas stoves work much better in cold/windy weather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    White gas stoves work much better in cold/windy weather.
    True. I forgot to ask what kind of stove he was taking. Def recommend something like a Whisperlite Universal or Simmerlite or something similar

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    ive used an alcohol stove down to 0 and in wind. never a problem. everybody told me later that it wouldn't work?
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    ive used an alcohol stove down to 0 and in wind. never a problem. everybody told me later that it wouldn't work?
    It will work, but it takes a long time and eats a lot of fuel. I used a lot more alcohol then I expected last week in Maine, and it wasn't even especially cold. I nearly ran out.

    White gas is a much better way to go for a long haul in consitantly cold weather.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    ive used an alcohol stove down to 0 and in wind. never a problem. everybody told me later that it wouldn't work?
    And I've seen expeditions in Nepal coming off 8,000 meter peaks with butane/propane stoves very similar to the Pocket Rocket. You just have to warm up the fuel if it's really cold.
    Those whisper-lite's are heavy and anything but whisper-like.
    I'd definitely carry some good fire starters as you'll be spending a lot of time in camp with the long nights.
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    Registered User Donde's Avatar
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    I'd consider a warmer bag, though if you are careful about what elevations you sleep at and have plenty of dry clothes you can get away with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    And I've seen expeditions in Nepal coming off 8,000 meter peaks with butane/propane stoves very similar to the Pocket Rocket. You just have to warm up the fuel if it's really cold.
    Those whisper-lite's are heavy and anything but whisper-like.
    I'd definitely carry some good fire starters as you'll be spending a lot of time in camp with the long nights.
    At very high elevations canisters boil out at much lower temps than on the AT. Go for the white gas stove.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whack-a-mole View Post
    I've been on Roan Mtn Thanksgiving weekend and it was 9 degrees with a 40mph wind blowing. Don't under estimate the weather. A little extra fuel and food never hurts in case you have to hunker down. If you are going with a partner, you could each carry a med size plastic tarp. Stretch them across a shelter face to block the wind, and you can make a cozy little nook. Also, surveyors flagging is bright orange and weighs next to nothing. Could hang a few strips off your pack for almost zero weight gain.
    I've been saying this pretty much all along. This is where the "right tool for the job" goes haywire. You spend the night in a valley in a bivy bag at 50F. Two days later you're at 6,000 feet in a four season tent bolted down with every stake in a 10F blizzard wind. The right tool is a multitool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    It will work, but it takes a long time and eats a lot of fuel. I used a lot more alcohol then I expected last week in Maine, and it wasn't even especially cold. I nearly ran out.

    White gas is a much better way to go for a long haul in consitantly cold weather.
    Definitely go with the white gas. A 22 oz fuel bottle typically last me 17+ days without resupply. In the dead of winter a bottle will go close to 10 days. I've seen enough guys fumbling with alcohol stoves on winter trips to rethink that option. It's sort of comical. They'll be sitting around cooking but the flame blew out 10 minutes ago.

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    Registered User evansprater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I've been saying this pretty much all along. This is where the "right tool for the job" goes haywire. You spend the night in a valley in a bivy bag at 50F. Two days later you're at 6,000 feet in a four season tent bolted down with every stake in a 10F blizzard wind. The right tool is a multitool.



    Definitely go with the white gas. A 22 oz fuel bottle typically last me 17+ days without resupply. In the dead of winter a bottle will go close to 10 days. I've seen enough guys fumbling with alcohol stoves on winter trips to rethink that option. It's sort of comical. They'll be sitting around cooking but the flame blew out 10 minutes ago.
    Alright! SO - what I've gathered is:

    1) White gas! (this will work with a regular screw on stove-top I'm assuming?)
    2) Sleep "down": Get to low elevation if possible for the night.
    3) Be prepared for cold and for unexpected weather: I've got plenty of layers and my poncho doubles as a tarp.
    4) Plenty of orange: Got a bright orange gore-tex cap today at Academy. Found an all orange nike dri-fit shirt at Marshall's. I like the idea about the orange tape.

    Other than that, I have some good thermals, two pairs of wool socks (might need to wear both at once if its super cold right?), a lands end shell w/ fleece zip in, and a "layer 8" running thermal (exactly like nike dri fit). I also got an insert for the Cosmic that adds another 20 F of warmth, so it'll be a 0 F bag with that in it.

    Thank you guys so much for the responses!

    Any other thoughts/ideas? Do you know if I'll get cell reception in spots in case anything happens?

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    are white gas stoves and canister stoves the same thing??
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    Registered User evansprater's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm just wondering if I can burn white gas in my regular camping stove?

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    Quote Originally Posted by evansprater View Post
    Yeah, I'm just wondering if I can burn white gas in my regular camping stove?
    No. White gas is like gasoline, but more refined and without the additives. "Coleman fuel" is the common brand name. White gas stoves are more complicated then canister stoves and have a definate learning curve to them. The Coleman "Peak one" stove is still available and is one common version of a white gas stove. The MSR whisper light is another.
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