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  1. #1
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    Red face Hiking-noob cyclist going NOBO April 1st, what have I gotten myself into?

    Hello all,

    I completed a 144 day, 9,050 mile self-supported bicycle tour last summer/fall, Making a big "C" around the US (NY -> OR -> CA -> FL) and now I'm set on thru-hiking the AT! I'm a late comer, didn't decide to do this until the very end of February, and since I'm a hiking noob I've been spending the last two weeks reading up on everything I can regarding thru-hiking and hiking 5-10 miles trips around town.

    I've noticed lots of similarities to bicycle touring but also lots of differences, and I'm very curious how the two trips will relate. On a bicycle you can usually travel 75+ miles/day, ounces aren't as much of a concern, and you usually ride through at least one town a day (if not more), so water & food logistics aren't as big a deal. I am looking forward to getting off the roads though, I've been able to bike the KATY Trail, Great Allegheny Passage, & Erie Canal, all off-road bike paths, and there's just something special to being in the woods.

    I've found that most of my cycling camping gear won't cut it, too heavy, so I've been pouring over thru-hike gear lists and reading tons of threads and reviews, so much so my head starts hurting!

    So far I've gotten my larger items purchased:

    Backpack - ULA Circuit
    Tent - TentTarp Notch
    Poles - Black Diamond Carbon Cork (GF got them off steep & cheap last year)
    Sleeping bag - Mountain Hardwear Extralamina 20 (Re-using from bicycle tour)
    Mat - Thermarest Neoair Xlite
    Cooking - Caldera Sidewinder System (alcohol stove)

    Shoes - Marrell Moab mids w/ Superfeet green insert
    - Marrell Barefoot trail runners

    Socks - Darn Tough Merino Wool x 2 pair
    Water Bag - 4 Liter MSR DromLite
    Water Purification - Aquamira
    Gaiters - eVENT Shortie Gaiters, Dirty Girl Gaiters
    Light - Zebra Light H51 Headlamp
    Gloves - North Face Winter Runner's Gloves
    Underwear - Exofficio
    Rain Jacket - Mountain Hardware Stretch Typoon (Re-using from bicycle tour)
    Down Jacket - Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Down Jacket (Bought before, was on sale)
    Fleece - Long Sleeve North Face

    Electronics - Camera & SmartPhone & chargers

    Got some base layers from Dept of Goods coming soon to try on and see what works. Still need to pick up some smaller stuff (balaclava, hat, etc) but I'm feeling really good about this! ~18 days and counting!

  2. #2
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Looks good. Hope you have a great hike.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  3. #3
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    For a NOOB it looks like a pretty good list, at least the major items. I do think you will have to dial back your mileage a bit, 75/day is a bit much hiking.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    For a NOOB it looks like a pretty good list, at least the major items. I do think you will have to dial back your mileage a bit, 75/day is a bit much hiking.
    Thank you, it's mostly been from me looking at probably a few hundred webpages and distilling down gear recommendations. Spent a lot of time on this site too!

    I'm still trying to decide if I need waterpoof pants, or if I should just not care? On the bike I just wore my rain jacket when it rained and didn't care if my legs or biking shorts got wet, synthetics dry out quickly.

    As for the mileage, it's going to be different (mentally) only going 12-15 miles a day, one thing I liked about bicycle touring is that it was slow enough to enjoy your surroundings but every day you made decent mileage so you were in a new state about every week (excluding Cali & Texas) and I got to see a bunch of different parts of the US. Still super excited to be hiking the AT!

  5. #5
    Garlic
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    Yeah, looks pretty good. One minor comment, that's a lot of water capacity for the AT, but you'll work out those details.

    Incidentally, I just returned to cycle touring after about ten years of hiking. I rode the Northern Tier route last summer, Seattle to Bar Harbor. I applied a lot of lessons I learned from hiking and it made the cycling tons easier than it used to be. Weight matters a little more on foot, but light weight is real nice on a bike, too. You'll trade skin issues on your seat to skin issues on your feet.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Good luck.
    I must be dense. My backpacking gear is also my bike touring gear.
    Every clothing list I see hear reminds me of my winter gear for work in Kazakhstan. Not springtime in the SE. Go figure.

    Wayne

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    Yeah, looks pretty good. One minor comment, that's a lot of water capacity for the AT, but you'll work out those details.

    Incidentally, I just returned to cycle touring after about ten years of hiking. I rode the Northern Tier route last summer, Seattle to Bar Harbor. I applied a lot of lessons I learned from hiking and it made the cycling tons easier than it used to be. Weight matters a little more on foot, but light weight is real nice on a bike, too. You'll trade skin issues on your seat to skin issues on your feet.
    Ha, I also cycled the Northern Tier last year, from Syracuse, NY to Muscatine, IA (probably not the most scenic part of the NT) I then turned south to bike along the Mississippi to St. Louis, then jumped on the KATY trail and rode that to Kansas where I picked up the TransAmerica route. I hope you got nice tailwinds along Lake Erie, all I got was constant headwind every day going westward!

    As for the 4L water bladder, I figure I'll only ever fill it up when grabbed water at the end of the day for camp/cooking use and to fill my 1L waterbottles the next morning, as I've read a couple people say that sometimes the water sources are enough of a hike from the lean-tos that its better to haul all your water in one trip then have to make a second trip in the morning.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post
    Good luck.
    I must be dense. My backpacking gear is also my bike touring gear.
    Every clothing list I see hear reminds me of my winter gear for work in Kazakhstan. Not springtime in the SE. Go figure.

    Wayne
    I only had about 3 weeks after getting laid off from work to plan my bicycle tour before I took off, so I used a mix of older stuff I already owned and used on a couple week-long bicycle trips and some new stuff I bought right before I left. I didn't go for the ultralight stuff when I was bicycle touring because you can go for a little more comfort (bigger tent, bigger air mattress, etc) and the additional weight isn't as much a factor (and stuff's cheaper)

    If I had it to do all over again and bought stuff in mind for ultralight hiking, I totally would have bought gear that could do double purpose. Oh well! If anything, next time I do a bike tour I'll be able to drop a few pounds of gear weight!

  9. #9

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    To be honest i'm in a similar boat as you when it comes to actually getting the gear and planning. While i spent a few years literally getting the means (money/freedom/time) by switching jobs, working hard, etc... these last few weeks are boiling down quickly.

    I just got back from REI yesterday and they said a dividend and a 20% off in-store and online coupon are suppose to be mailed out this week and next. So i'm waiting to purchase my tent (Copper Spur UL1 ) and other pricier items. As of right now, i probably wont see the trail until the first or second week of April.

    Funny you mention rain gear because at this moment i was looking at poncho's vs. the frogg toggs i have from my motorcycle days.

    Also jealous of your bike tour. I've been wanting to do something similar too. I recently read about a mountain biking trail that runs near the continental divide trail (crisscrosses it all the way north).

  10. #10
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faxanadu View Post
    To be honest i'm in a similar boat as you when it comes to actually getting the gear and planning. While i spent a few years literally getting the means (money/freedom/time) by switching jobs, working hard, etc... these last few weeks are boiling down quickly.

    I just got back from REI yesterday and they said a dividend and a 20% off in-store and online coupon are suppose to be mailed out this week and next. So i'm waiting to purchase my tent (Copper Spur UL1 ) and other pricier items. As of right now, i probably wont see the trail until the first or second week of April.

    Funny you mention rain gear because at this moment i was looking at poncho's vs. the frogg toggs i have from my motorcycle days.

    Also jealous of your bike tour. I've been wanting to do something similar too. I recently read about a mountain biking trail that runs near the continental divide trail (crisscrosses it all the way north).
    Which REI store do you use? The one on Westheimer @ Voss or Willowbook? I live closer to the Willowbrook store, but if the Uptown store has a better selection, I could make the trek south.

    Wayne

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by faxanadu View Post
    Also jealous of your bike tour. I've been wanting to do something similar too. I recently read about a mountain biking trail that runs near the continental divide trail (crisscrosses it all the way north).
    Oh yes, the Great Divide trail --> http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/greatdivide.cfm I met a guy in Yellowstone doing it on a MOUNTAIN UNICYCLE, the guy was awesome! There's also a documentary about people racing it "Ride the Divide"

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venchka View Post

    Which REI store do you use? The one on Westheimer @ Voss or Willowbook? I live closer to the Willowbrook store, but if the Uptown store has a better selection, I could make the trek south.

    Wayne
    I use the one by Willowbrook. I believe the Westheimer one is bigger if i'm not mistaken.

  13. #13
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    Great list.

    I would go with a 2L Platy Bottle instead of the 4L Drom. No need to cary that much water on the AT. It will save you 3.8oz.

    Sorry for such a knit picky suggestion.
    "... I know it is wrong, but I am for the spirit that makes young men do the things they do. I am for the glory that they know." --Sigurd Olson, Singing Wilderness.


    AT '12, LT '13, CT '14, PCT '15

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