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  1. #1
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    Default New Guy, more questions...

    I think we've cleared up the pros and cons of bringing my dog and my planned logistics in the other thread, so how about gear?

    Packs: I read that you should buy the pack last, so you know how big you need. True? Or has the question been asked and answered enough times? I like the idea of light. I like the Exos for that reason, but the Atmos and Aether were pretty comfortable, just twice as heavy. I'd like to try on the ULA packs and maybe Gossamer Gear before making a decision. I like the Osprey Any time, Any Where, Any Reason guarantee.
    Tent: Already bought. Got an REI Half Dome 2 Plus. On the heavy side, but big. There will be three of us in it with gear, and split between two packs, the weight isn't out of line. Plus REI had a great sale.
    Bags: I like the EE Revelation quilts. Mummy bags feel small. We're not starting till May somewhere in the middle, and heading north. Then flipping back and heading south, hoping to be done before the end of October. Seems like we miss the coldest temps at both ends? Do we still need 30 deg bags? 20? Do liners work?
    Pads: Leaning towards the Thermarest Xlite. Is the Xtherm necessary for warmth? Are there others out there just as good for less? The Thermarest's seem pricy.
    That's the big four.
    Pete


  2. #2

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    1. Everyone seems to like the Thermarest Neoair Xlite, light, comfortable, pretty tough, pricey and loud though.

    2. EE Revelation is highly thought of. 20 vs. 30, I don't know. Do you sleep warm or cold?

    3. Some like liners. I don't but I'm a hammock hanger.

    4. Packs: as many here will tell you, a well fitting pack with good suspension system can feel more comfortable than a lighter pack. Providing you don't go crazy with a 6 pound Maxpedition combat pack, I think there is very little difference in feel between 2-3 pound COMFORTABLE pack and a 1 pound pack that fits so-so.

    5. Buying pack last vs. first: Hmmm? If you initially buy a lot of "just in case" stuff which will later be discarded prior to your hike, then you'll end up with more volume that you need. If you can be ruthlessly disciplined in your approach to planning what to leave out, then I don't think it matters much. That said, if you are hiking with a dog, you'll need a bit more pack volume than hiking without.

    Have a great adventure!

  3. #3

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    Re: the Neoair Xlite. I think, next to the Sawyer Squeeze, the Neoair is the most commonly used item by thru hikers.

  4. #4
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    Packs: The reasoning behind the "buy the pack last" is that way you know how big a pack you need to carry all the crap you just bought. Or you can buy the pack and buy stuff which will fit into it. Something in the 60L ball park works out for most people.

    Osprey packs dominate at the moment and are the most common pack used on the AT in recent years. Seems 9 out of 10 hikers has a Osprey pack. But I've seen more then a few of them have problems with the suspension breaking. Osprey is good about replacing broken packs, but it's still a pain to do.

    The NeoAir works good. Mine is over 8 years old with lots and lots of miles on it and still working.

    I'm not convinced that a quilt has an advantage over a mummy bag. I like to be able to fully zip up the sack when it gets cold and while I don't really use the hood, it does keep my pillow in place. I use a silk liner most of the time. Adds a little warmth, keeps the bag clean, helps eliminate drafts and I would think is a must if you go the quilt route. As for temp rating, I'd go with 30.

    PS, can I house sit your place on the island while your gone?
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandPete View Post
    I think we've cleared up the pros and cons of bringing my dog and my planned logistics in the other thread, so how about gear?

    Packs: I read that you should buy the pack last, so you know how big you need. True?
    Or has the question been asked and answered enough times? I like the idea of light. I like the Exos for that reason, but the Atmos and Aether were pretty comfortable, just twice as heavy.

    I'd like to try on the ULA packs and maybe Gossamer Gear before making a decision.

    I like the Osprey Any time, Any Where, Any Reason guarantee.

    First hand experience, that phrase is a marketing sham. I had a thru hiking buddy, stitching fell apart on the pack after about 500 miles and they turned his nose up to him. Didn't offer any help.

    Tent: Already bought. Got an REI Half Dome 2 Plus. On the heavy side, but big. There will be three of us in it with gear, and split between two packs, the weight isn't out of line. Plus REI had a great sale.
    Bags: I like the EE Revelation quilts. Mummy bags feel small.
    We're not starting till May somewhere in the middle, and heading north.
    Then flipping back and heading south, hoping to be done before the end of October.
    Seems like we miss the coldest temps at both ends?
    Do we still need 30 deg bags? 20?
    Do liners work? Yes but if you gauge your bag right, shouldn't really need one

    Here are my recommendations that have worked for me (and sometimes my dog when he goes with me)

    Tent: Hard to go wroung with either TarpTent line by Henry shires OR Zpacks. The stratospire 2 is pretty much the same design as the zpacks duplex, just different materials

    Bag: I love Montbell and Western mountaineering but I would go a good 10-15* rating lower then the temps you will be sleeping in. And I would get a summer bag and a winter bag. If your not going to be on the AT Nov-March then I would get a 15-20* bag for spring and fall and something like a western mountaineering highlite for the summer.

    Pack: I am a huge fan of ULA, and their customer service is great. As well I would like to try a zpacks arc.

    Pad: Inflatable option: Exped has outstanding customer service, and the pads are comfy cons: Pricey and there are more durable options.
    csf pad (non inflating) thermorest zlight (silver and neon yellow folding pad)


    I base a lot of my gear purchases off who is going to treat me the best when I have a gear malfunction/ failure, and how comfortable the gear is vs its durability. I don't have the most durable gear but its comfy and IF something happens to it, customer service is going to help me if they can.
    Appalachian Trail Shuttle Drivers
    Ron Brown GA Shuttle Driver Atlanta to Fontana Dam:# (706) 669-0919
    Trail Miles: 2419.9
    AT Miles: 1080.7

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by orthofingers View Post
    1. Everyone seems to like the Thermarest Neoair Xlite, light, comfortable, pretty tough, pricey and loud though.

    2. EE Revelation is highly thought of. 20 vs. 30, I don't know. Do you sleep warm or cold?

    3. Some like liners. I don't but I'm a hammock hanger.

    4. Packs: as many here will tell you, a well fitting pack with good suspension system can feel more comfortable than a lighter pack. Providing you don't go crazy with a 6 pound Maxpedition combat pack, I think there is very little difference in feel between 2-3 pound COMFORTABLE pack and a 1 pound pack that fits so-so.

    5. Buying pack last vs. first: Hmmm? If you initially buy a lot of "just in case" stuff which will later be discarded prior to your hike, then you'll end up with more volume that you need. If you can be ruthlessly disciplined in your approach to planning what to leave out, then I don't think it matters much. That said, if you are hiking with a dog, you'll need a bit more pack volume than hiking without.

    Have a great adventure!
    Quote Originally Posted by orthofingers View Post
    Re: the Neoair Xlite. I think, next to the Sawyer Squeeze, the Neoair is the most commonly used item by thru hikers.
    Don't know how I sleep, but my wife says I'm warm. Wasn't sure if the Xtherm would be better than the Xlite for the R-value. The Sawyer Squeeze is already on the list. As far as the adventure goes, no question. But as a sometimes ferry pilot one of my favorite quotes is "Adventure is usually the result of poor planning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Packs: The reasoning behind the "buy the pack last" is that way you know how big a pack you need to carry all the crap you just bought. Or you can buy the pack and buy stuff which will fit into it. Something in the 60L ball park works out for most people.

    Osprey packs dominate at the moment and are the most common pack used on the AT in recent years. Seems 9 out of 10 hikers has a Osprey pack. But I've seen more then a few of them have problems with the suspension breaking. Osprey is good about replacing broken packs, but it's still a pain to do.

    The NeoAir works good. Mine is over 8 years old with lots and lots of miles on it and still working.

    I'm not convinced that a quilt has an advantage over a mummy bag. I like to be able to fully zip up the sack when it gets cold and while I don't really use the hood, it does keep my pillow in place. I use a silk liner most of the time. Adds a little warmth, keeps the bag clean, helps eliminate drafts and I would think is a must if you go the quilt route. As for temp rating, I'd go with 30.

    PS, can I house sit your place on the island while your gone?
    I'm still going back and forth on the bag/quilt question. Bags can feel claustrophobic, but I guess you could unzip and have a quilt when you wanted one? If you stayed on the island while we were gone, it would solve the whole "Don't take your dog" issue too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Here are my recommendations that have worked for me (and sometimes my dog when he goes with me)

    Tent: Hard to go wroung with either TarpTent line by Henry shires OR Zpacks. The stratospire 2 is pretty much the same design as the zpacks duplex, just different materials

    Bag: I love Montbell and Western mountaineering but I would go a good 10-15* rating lower then the temps you will be sleeping in. And I would get a summer bag and a winter bag. If your not going to be on the AT Nov-March then I would get a 15-20* bag for spring and fall and something like a western mountaineering highlite for the summer.

    Pack: I am a huge fan of ULA, and their customer service is great. As well I would like to try a zpacks arc.

    Pad: Inflatable option: Exped has outstanding customer service, and the pads are comfy cons: Pricey and there are more durable options.
    csf pad (non inflating) thermorest zlight (silver and neon yellow folding pad)


    I base a lot of my gear purchases off who is going to treat me the best when I have a gear malfunction/ failure, and how comfortable the gear is vs its durability. I don't have the most durable gear but its comfy and IF something happens to it, customer service is going to help me if they can.
    There are a lot of very nice VERY light tents out there! We already bought the one we have, big enough for 3, and a little heavier and more durable than some of the ultralight options. And REI had it on sale for $150!
    I need to get up to GA to look at and try on the ULA packs. If they fit us well, that will probably be what we get. The Exos was pretty comfortable for me, as was the Atmos and Aether, but they're pushing 5 lbs. My wife liked a Deuter, but it's also heavy.
    I'll take a look at the Exped pads.

  7. #7

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    IMO no need to make the trip to GA, best thing is to call ULA, and they will help you out taking measurements, you can email them pictures of your body type this is what I did and had good luck with it. My comment on ULA is that they have a standard neck measurement for the straps and as a larger person I found that to be a little tight, mailed them the pack and they corrected it for me.
    Appalachian Trail Shuttle Drivers
    Ron Brown GA Shuttle Driver Atlanta to Fontana Dam:# (706) 669-0919
    Trail Miles: 2419.9
    AT Miles: 1080.7

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    IMO no need to make the trip to GA, best thing is to call ULA, and they will help you out taking measurements, you can email them pictures of your body type this is what I did and had good luck with it. My comment on ULA is that they have a standard neck measurement for the straps and as a larger person I found that to be a little tight, mailed them the pack and they corrected it for me.
    By standard neck measurement, do you mean the strap spacing? If so, that's something I'd like to talk to them about, regarding my bum collarbones...
    I'll call them.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandPete View Post
    By standard neck measurement, do you mean the strap spacing? .
    Yes, the spacing between the straps was tight on me, and was actually causing a lack of blood flow. They corrected it and now the pack is close to perfect for me
    Appalachian Trail Shuttle Drivers
    Ron Brown GA Shuttle Driver Atlanta to Fontana Dam:# (706) 669-0919
    Trail Miles: 2419.9
    AT Miles: 1080.7

  10. #10
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    You guys are great!
    Probably going to be on the fence about the pack till we get closer. Looked up the Exped pad. Seems almost identical in specs to the Xlite and got good reviews. It is also on sale at REI, so it's on the way.
    Aside from the pack, most of the big stuff is accounted for, unless I'm forgetting some big stuff. So, what might a new guy like me be forgetting?
    How about the little stuff. Ursak? Necessary or not? Gaiters? Headlamps? Rainsuit vs Poncho? Guidebooks? Who likes what?

  11. #11

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    Where can you look at ULA in GA?

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandPete View Post
    By standard neck measurement, do you mean the strap spacing? If so, that's something I'd like to talk to them about, regarding my bum collarbones...
    I'll call them.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandPete View Post
    You guys are great!
    Probably going to be on the fence about the pack till we get closer. Looked up the Exped pad. Seems almost identical in specs to the Xlite and got good reviews. It is also on sale at REI, so it's on the way.
    Aside from the pack, most of the big stuff is accounted for, unless I'm forgetting some big stuff. So, what might a new guy like me be forgetting?
    How about the little stuff. Ursak? Necessary or not? Gaiters? Headlamps? Rainsuit vs Poncho? Guidebooks? Who likes what?
    You can't go wrong with AWOL's AT guide book.
    Black Diamond makes a few great headlamps, and Dirty Girl Gaiters are pretty awesome!!

    Sent from my N9519 using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineiac64 View Post
    Where can you look at ULA in GA?
    Mountain Crossings in Neels Gap sells them. There's an outfitter in southern VA I believe too?

    Quote Originally Posted by LongBlaze2019 View Post
    You can't go wrong with AWOL's AT guide book.
    Black Diamond makes a few great headlamps, and Dirty Girl Gaiters are pretty awesome!!

    Sent from my N9519 using Tapatalk
    The AWOL book would have been my first choice, didn't know if there was anything else out there?
    Dirty Girl Gaiters have style for sure, and the name!

  14. #14
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    I use long, knee length gaiters in the spring when the trail is wet and muddy. After it dries out I don't use them, but I always wear boots, not low cut trail runners and that makes a difference. If you wear low cut shoes, Dirty Girls are a good choice to keep crap out of the shoe.

    A cheap headlight from Walmart works just fine.

    There are two guides, the AWOL and the ATC companion. The companion is also available in pdf form, but if you want a phone based guide, the Guthook app is the way to go. I find the pdf guide a pain to use.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post

    There are two guides, the AWOL and the ATC companion. The companion is also available in pdf form, but if you want a phone based guide, the Guthook app is the way to go. I find the pdf guide a pain to use.
    Agree 100% on this. I use the companion at home and to keep track of progress, but I have not never ever seena companion in use on the trail. I have see awol many times on the trail. I use gut hooks on every trip
    Appalachian Trail Shuttle Drivers
    Ron Brown GA Shuttle Driver Atlanta to Fontana Dam:# (706) 669-0919
    Trail Miles: 2419.9
    AT Miles: 1080.7

  16. #16
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    Does Guthook replace the AWOL if you have the phone? Or add to it?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineiac64 View Post
    Where can you look at ULA in GA?
    Mountain Crossings on the AT.
    Other dealers in the area: Little River Trading Co. Maryville, TN. , Bluff Mountain Outfitters, Hot Springs, NC, Mt Rogers Outfitters, Damascus, VA.
    The dealer list is on the ULA web pages.
    My advice regarding ULA packs:
    If you are on the edge of sizes, S-M or M-L, etc. buy the larger size.
    Buy the S shape shoulder straps regardless of gender.
    Ursack on the AT: Not required on the AT. If it makes you feel better and sleep better and you hang it properly use it.
    Wayne


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandPete View Post
    Does Guthook replace the AWOL if you have the phone? Or add to it?
    Nothing is as good as AWOL'S guide. Guthook is a good GPS app though.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IslandPete View Post
    I think we've cleared up the pros and cons of bringing my dog and my planned logistics in the other thread, so how about gear?

    Packs: I read that you should buy the pack last, so you know how big you need. True? Or has the question been asked and answered enough times? I like the idea of light. I like the Exos for that reason, but the Atmos and Aether were pretty comfortable, just twice as heavy. I'd like to try on the ULA packs and maybe Gossamer Gear before making a decision. I like the Osprey Any time, Any Where, Any Reason guarantee.
    Tent: Already bought. Got an REI Half Dome 2 Plus. On the heavy side, but big. There will be three of us in it with gear, and split between two packs, the weight isn't out of line. Plus REI had a great sale.
    Bags: I like the EE Revelation quilts. Mummy bags feel small. We're not starting till May somewhere in the middle, and heading north. Then flipping back and heading south, hoping to be done before the end of October. Seems like we miss the coldest temps at both ends? Do we still need 30 deg bags? 20? Do liners work?
    Pads: Leaning towards the Thermarest Xlite. Is the Xtherm necessary for warmth? Are there others out there just as good for less? The Thermarest's seem pricy.
    That's the big four.
    Pete

    Both ULA and Granite Gear make nice alternatives to Osprey, I have no experience with Gossamer Gear.

    With a May start, you'll probably be fine with a 30* quilt to start, but depending on how fast you hike north you may end up wishing you had gone with a 20* in New Hampshire and Maine.

    Liners do work, we like the Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor liners.

    For your chosen start date, I wouldn't bother with the Xtherm...probably too warm for most of the hike. If it gets chilly up north, you can always add a thin ccf pad. Also, consider the Nemo insulated Tensor, in my experience it beats the NeoAir in every aspect.
    “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” –Socrates

  20. #20
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    +1 for the ULA packs!

    When you talk w/ ULA, they should be able to steer to the right pack & size. The Circuit worked great for me. When in doubt, buy two sizes, figure out which one fits your better, and then send one back for a refund. Let them know you're going to do that in the first place. One guy I met on the AT did that when he bought his Circuit.

    Good luck on your hike!
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19
    Schedule: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...t1M/edit#gid=0

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