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  1. #1
    Registered User Tree Nerd's Avatar
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    Default Worn so badly it needs replaced?

    So what gear can a potential thru hiker expect to replace during or after their journey? Shoes, shocks, rain gear, pack, sleeping bag, tent, etc.?
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    I replaced trail runner every 5-600 miles along with two pairs of sock. My hiking pants lasted the whole trip (pct) with the butt was worn off due to glissading on snow. Other than that I only replaced a trekking pole that broke and a couple of small items that I lost.

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    yes , yes, yes, maybe, maybe, maybe

    tents are often traded out for a lighter one.
    Packs are often traded up for a lighter more comfortable one too.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 01-16-2013 at 17:49.

  4. #4
    Registered User Tree Nerd's Avatar
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    I figured shoes and socks would be the first to go
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  5. #5

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    Shoes, most likely unless you're using heavy boots and socks, probably. Water filter element if you're using one. Everything else should last the whole hike if it's newish to start with. People often replace other gear along the way not because the old gear is worn out, but because they find something someone else is using that they like better than what they are carrying, or they decide they need to go lighter. Fortunately, there are a number of gear stores along the way for that kind of purchase, or you can get things mailed to you from REI, Campmore, etc.

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    Some brands of water bladders seem to have limited lives. I tried a couple of brands before switching to my MSR dromedary whihc has lasted 10 plus years.

    Self inflating pads can get holes in them from careless use. Usually they get the holes from small sticks when tenting but it can happen in shelters. They are repairable but most folks dont carry a kit and wait until town.

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    I only used 2 pairs of shoes, although I walked for quite a while in each with big ol' blowouts. Went through 4 or 5 pairs of socks, but I got smart about after the first two pair of Smartwools and bought Darn Toughs - lifetime warranty! I wore out one pair of trek pole tips (the cheap kind) and broke a second pair (of the good carbide ones). Clothing, sleeping bag, neoair, tent/bivy, camelbak, pack and all the other standard items lasted the entire trail. Like always, your mileage may vary...

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    Shoes, socks, underwear, pants, water containers.

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    Boots and socks, sure. The men seemed to go through boots at a higher rate than I did as a woman (I was wearing the same brand as a lot of the men I knew). Everything else should last, though I needed new shorts and a T-shirt in Virginia from weight loss. I also tore out the seat of my replacement pants somewhere in Maine, repaired them with duct tape and they did last another few years of weekend backpacking in the Whites before tearing for good around the duct tape. Most stuff will last.

  10. #10
    Registered User Tree Nerd's Avatar
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    good news, glad to hear it wont have too much more cost to gear during and after my hike.
    Transcend the Bull$hit

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarFight View Post
    Boots and socks, sure. The men seemed to go through boots at a higher rate than I did as a woman (I was wearing the same brand as a lot of the men I knew).
    Probably because men typically weigh more. That extra weight will compress the midsole more quickly. I'm not sure how much difference this really makes. I'd love to see some testing on this.

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    I think that shoes and socks are the only sure things, but keep in mind that "still fine to wear/use" by thru-hiker standards might include say, a shirt that your wife would tell you to "throw that out now" when you leave the trail --- i.e., your standards of fashion shift down to that of a typical hobo along the way.

    I think the particular area you're hiking in is a factor. If you do much scrambling at all, of the type one does a little bit of in the Whites and thereabouts, that can be tough on pants. If you end up crossing many barbed wire fences (CDT), just expect to rip your pants in particular, and maybe other things will have to be stitched up.

    I think the response depends significantly on factors such as (a) how worn/used was the item when you started the trail, (b) how much of an "ultralight" (and thus perhaps less durable) of an item is it, and (c) how careful with or hard on your gear are you. So of course YMMV. I hiked the last part (last state) on the CDT with a fellow who was also finishing his third trail, and at one point we talked about which gear items he had carried on all three trails --- he had a few, including a jacket that was in pretty sad shape. I think you can get one thru-hike out of most things (but shoes and socks), and somewhere along the second one I'd guess you'll be having issues but can repair some of those. Things carried in the pack and not used often, like a pocket knife or titanium spoon --- stuff like that can last indefinitely barring something stupid or unlucky.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianLe View Post
    I think that shoes and socks are the only sure things, but keep in mind that "still fine to wear/use" by thru-hiker standards might include say, a shirt that your wife would tell you to "throw that out now" when you leave the trail --- i.e., your standards of fashion shift down to that of a typical hobo along the way.
    By New Hampshire, the right leg of my shorts was ripped half-way up the thigh from the bottom, but I clipped it together with some safety pins that I found at Chet's in Lincoln, NH and kept on going. My polyester shirt also had a deeply foul odor that no longer had any resemblance to the usual smell of sweat and reappeared a few hours after every washing, but I kept wearing that as I hiked too. These were victories for persistence but failures in every other sense of respectability and personal dignity. So consider your warm-weather, on-your-body-while-hiking clothes as something that might need replacement.

    Other than that, from your list, I would say shoes and maybe socks. My rain gear, pack, sleeping bags, tent, water bladder, drybags, everything I can think of held up (in the sense of "was still usable for its purpose") the whole way. Sometimes my friends' water bladders failed in one way or another, so consider that as a possibility. If you're going with plastic bottles, like Gatorade or SmartWater, for your water, you'll obviously be replacing those along the way.
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    If you use trekking poles, odds are pretty good that over 2200 miles you bend or snap one.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarFight View Post
    Boots and socks, sure. The men seemed to go through boots at a higher rate than I did as a woman (I was wearing the same brand as a lot of the men I knew). Everything else should last, though I needed new shorts and a T-shirt in Virginia from weight loss. I also tore out the seat of my replacement pants somewhere in Maine, repaired them with duct tape and they did last another few years of weekend backpacking in the Whites before tearing for good around the duct tape. Most stuff will last.
    Perhaps the wear on foot wear has more to do about the load that is placed upon them then gender, and women tend to weigh less then men. Then it could be that men tend to be heavier on there feet then women, perhaps someone has conducted a study on the issue.

  16. #16
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    I went through 4 trail runners, 1 micro-rocket stove (the threads got FUBAR'd), and 1 LS shirt. The seams snapped on my Gossamer gear bag after 100 miles and then the strap broke at around 500miles. I contacted the company and they said to mail it in and they would repair it, but that leaves me without a pack, so I just ghetto-rigged it and kept going. Some more stuff broke on the pack and I just adjusted accordingly...

  17. #17
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    I only replaced shoes twice, and a few new pairs of socks, one shirt just cause i wanted it =) If you start with gear in decent shape and take care of it you shouldnt have to replace much.

  18. #18
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    There is no hard and fast rule regarding what will need to be replaced. There are many variables to consider. Other writers have already given you some pretty good ideas of what MIGHT need to be replaced.

    Let's face it, by the end of a thru hike---much of your stuff will be very used (especially the cloth items). You will have used or worn many of these items daily (or maybe the equivalent of every-other-day) for 4-6 months. These items will have been exposed to dirt, perspiration, water and other things for 4-6 months. After a thru hike, whether you continue to use those items or whether you replace them will mostly depend upon your personal tolerance for wear-and-tear on an item.

    Other big variables would include how durable of clothing and gear you originally purchased and how "gently" you used your gear and clothing.
    "A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world." - Paul Dudley White

  19. #19

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    I recently met the German Tourist on a trip into the Big Frog wilderness and she has some in-depth stuff to say about gear as she's out all the time. Check it out---

    http://www.christine-on-big-trip.blo...s-learned.html


    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...e_pagination=1

  20. #20
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    Thank Tipi-Walter! I actually have a page on my blog that deals exclusively with the life expectancy of gear:

    http://christine-on-big-trip.blogspo...n-and-why.html

    I think that page should answer the OT's question.

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