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  1. #1
    Registered User Isa23's Avatar
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    Default Feb 2018 AT NOBO Gear List needs review and critique :)

    Hey all, I REALLY need help with my gear list from hikers-in-the-know. I am planning to thru-hike the AT starting February 15, 2018 and am attempting to do so with as much of an UL pack weight as possible. However, I have no backpacking experience myself so all the information I found online regarding hiking clothes, packed clothes, layers, etc. is over my head. As such, I have no idea if items in my list (clothes in particular) apply for the category I've put them, or even if some of my categories are redundant, or if specific items are redundant because some camp clothes should be the same as my hiking clothes, etc. Seriously, for clothing, I simply added every #1 rated item from Outdoor Gear Lab reviews for each category. So actually, this is more like a gear wish list. So please advise on items that aren't good for a said category, alternatives that are better, or better advice on the layers!

    Also, although I don't have ANY gear of my own; I'm starting from scratch; I'm trying to be UL; all my prices are conservative/worse-case scenarios of full-price; and I do plan to keep an eye out for sales/deals, the $$ total in my list is about 1K more than I'll be able to save by the time I start. So any lower-priced alternatives that you all know of, that don't significantly increase pack weight, would be greatly appreciated.

    So, please look over my draft gear list in the Google Sheets link below and let me know your thoughts, critiques, advice, suggest edits, and let me know if I'm missing anything. I tried to make it as clean, thorough and organized as possible. Thanks so much for the help!

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing


    FYI, I realize "no backpacking experience" and "February" might freak some people out but some 2016 hikers who live close to the trail and had a Feb start offered for me to come up and train whenever I needed so I intend to take advantage of that if I can. I'll make a separate thread sometime soon seeking help and advice with the aspects of a winter-start hike

    Spreadsheet Footnotes:
    * I'm a female
    * The Big 3 and the sleeping pad have already been or will be purchased this Black Friday weekend so those are unchangeable unless a BIG concern is noted.
    * This a Winter gear list (heaviest pack weight) but I intended for it to also include ALL my gear for a full thru because it includes summer gear where you see Generic (read Walmart) in shirts and shorts. (Again, tell me if I'm wrong!)
    * In all my past overnight camping during Fall in Georgia, I've always slept cold and wake up repeatedly throughout the night, so warmth is a big player in my choices here.
    * Price columns with "purchased" or "own" indicate items I already obtained prior to the creation of this list and thus their prices did not play a part in this list's total
    * Clothing weights were mostly guesses/estimates since I couldn't find weights listed on manufacturer websites (if you know real weights please let me know!)
    * Red weights (in lbs) are the total in pounds for the corresponding red category

  2. #2
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    That is a very expensive list of very nice things. http://www.pmags.com/ has lots of good info
    http://sectionhiker.com/ great real reviews. I would rather carry a little more weight and have more to spend on the trail. Still with a base weight of less then 10 lbs for 3 season kit.

    Good luck Thom

  3. #3
    Registered User rashamon12's Avatar
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    a footprint isnt nessasary unless you choose poorly over and over again where to place your tent. In addition camp chair is not needed as long as you have something waterproof to sit on like poncho or rain pants you will be fine. You could easily get a digital bible and look at it on your phone as long as phone power is not an issue. Depending on how frequent you go into town and if you carry a battery pack.

  4. #4
    Registered User Isa23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheyou View Post
    That is a very expensive list of very nice things. http://www.pmags.com/ has lots of good info
    http://sectionhiker.com/ great real reviews. I would rather carry a little more weight and have more to spend on the trail. Still with a base weight of less then 10 lbs for 3 season kit.

    Good luck Thom
    Thanks for the input, I will be sure to check out these sites. I'll actually have nearly 7K saved up just for my hike alone (on top of gear)

  5. #5
    Registered User rashamon12's Avatar
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    personally some cheaper alternatives are out there like Darn tough socks
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_15?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A2419358011%2Ck% 3Adarn+tough+socks&keywords=darn+tough+socks&ie=UT F8&qid=1479860210&rnid=2941120011

    trekking poles like as well as your other gear you should take a look at this site because you can get some crazy deals here too
    sierratradingpost

    its all a matter of opinion and what you are willing to do without in order to save weight and or money. sierratradingpost is a great place to cut some cost especially if you let them email you they can send additional deals and even with your first package they send a 20% discount on purchases over $75 or more as long as they aren't close out. if you buy wisely you can save a significant amount of money

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    https://www.traildesigns.com/

    this is good cook kit

  7. #7
    Registered User dudeijuststarted's Avatar
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    ditch the bracelet with the compass, striker, and whistle. You won't likely be starting fires and if you do your lighter will be fine
    ditch the bible (sorry, but can't your phone store the bible?)
    ditch the pencil and sharpener

    you'll also lose a bunch of pack weight when summer comes. 30-35lbs is pretty normal for winter. If you're hiking NOBO you'll be at an outfitter within a few days of hiking, so if you're not sure about an extra item, consider saving your cash until you get there. Even experienced section hikers such as myself regeared a fair amount once on trail in Georgia for a few days. Believe me, there will be more than enough people giving you plenty of advice (solicited and unsolicited) when you get there :-)

  8. #8
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    You have duplicates in packed and worn gear. Did you really find the most expensive stuff you can find and list it? Vargo titanium stuff? Smartwool? Its good quality stuff, but after using it, wearing it for a hike of several months, its going to get trashed and most of it will be replaced at some point.

  9. #9
    Registered User Isa23's Avatar
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    I'll definitely see to switching to Darn Tough in my list and will sign up for Sierra Post emails today, thanks I only added the Z-Seat because I read it was an indispensable luxury item on multiple sites; adding to their mental comfort. But I'll re-examine how important/how much effect that actually is, as you say.

  10. #10
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    At the risk of being flamed into a pile of ashes, do not skimp on your sleeping BAG! A fellow who goes by Just Bill has explained this repeatedly. You sleep cold. You're starting in mid February, a topic for a whole other thread. You need a proper full coverage sleeping bag.
    From my personal experience I would heartily suggest the Western Mountaineering Versalite or Antelope. I own the Antelope and Alpinlite. Very conservative honest temperature ratings. Impeccable construction. Buy once and done.
    Save money elsewhere. It's easy. Thrift shops, Craigslist, used gear here at WhiteBlaze. A pack from ULA will work just fine and save you money. A tent from Henry Shires at TarpTent will work fine.
    Don't spend any money this weekend. You need to learn more.
    Good luck. Spend all the time you can on trails at elevation. You've got time to knock out a few hundred miles. Go play in the snow.
    The Xtherm Large is my favorite pad in the past 40 years. Lighter and cheaper than the MAX.
    Have fun!
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  11. #11
    Registered User Isa23's Avatar
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    Will ditch the bracket Thanks

    I did consider the app vs. physical bible but it's more about saving as much battery power as I can. I will have a iPhone _s Plus so drainage is a concern for me. However, if you guys think my listed external battery will be more than sufficient for the time between towns then I'd probably reconsider. (Again, I have no experience)

    I plan to have no apps besides Guthook, the Bible and FB & Insta (town only) so my phone can be a lightweight, glorified camera while hiking. So maybe it's enough?

  12. #12
    Registered User Isa23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    You have duplicates in packed and worn gear. Did you really find the most expensive stuff you can find and list it? Vargo titanium stuff? Smartwool? Its good quality stuff, but after using it, wearing it for a hike of several months, its going to get trashed and most of it will be replaced at some point.
    Yeah I was almost certain I had duplicates. Can you specify which items? I'd like to get rid of any redundant items I have, so it'd be a big help. (By the way, if a worn item says "same as packed" it means that it's the same item being used in both categories, not two of the same)

    As for expensive, yeah I pretty much did. I kind of chose the items in this list to make sure I didn't underestimate the money I would need for gear. Worst-case scenario/max, if you will. I'm not married to any brands if others have the same weight for less $.

  13. #13
    Registered User rashamon12's Avatar
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    if you are overly concerned about battery power look at the specs online for your phone for the milliamp hours (mAh) than find an external battery that will allow a charge. i went with
    external battery

    I still would make sure to have a compass and a way to start fire like a lighter but that would only be if you easily get disoriented and want to have assurances in case you get lost in the woods. Venchka is right, the sleeping bag is one of the most important things because that should be your warmest place even in the worst of conditions. I know i went anti ultra light on this but i got the military modular sleep system (MSS) because survival rating it is rated for -30 and has a bivy system. Its not the most pack-able but i will be carrying the winter bag and bivy with me which will give me a -10 rating easily. (i will be hammock camping). Ultra light is all about having just the bare bones in both weight and extras, only carrying what is absolutely needed. I will not do ultra light because i am a survivalist type and will not take risks where they are not necessary.
    look to find what will get the job done with minimal extra weight. Each item if it can take care of more than one role the more space and weight you can save in the long run. For example my flashlight is dynamo and solar charged removing the weight and need to stop for batteries.

  14. #14

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    To minimize initial weight, you could drop the crocs and get them in warmer weather if you want them then.
    Digital bible will be fine. I use the same phone things you will (other than bible), including lots of kindle app reading, and you'll be fine for battery. That battery pack is a bit overkill and you should be ok with something around 5-6 oz and 8000-10000 mah. This would give you 2-3 charges and allow some room for efficiency loss with time
    People don't really carry 6.4 oz of TP, so you could knock that down a bit on your list
    I don't use footprints, but I know some do

  15. #15
    Registered User rashamon12's Avatar
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    the charger i posted only weighs 2.7 oz and would give you 1.2 full charges on most typical phone batteries. its lipstick sized and is only like $20 shipped to your door. wouldn't say its overkill at all

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isa23 View Post
    Yeah I was almost certain I had duplicates. Can you specify which items? I'd like to get rid of any redundant items I have, so it'd be a big help. (By the way, if a worn item says "same as packed" it means that it's the same item being used in both categories, not two of the same)

    As for expensive, yeah I pretty much did. I kind of chose the items in this list to make sure I didn't underestimate the money I would need for gear. Worst-case scenario/max, if you will. I'm not married to any brands if others have the same weight for less $.
    You seem to have lots of clothes. 2 sets of base layers, 2 pair of long john underwear, 2 t shirts, fleece R1 and synthetic jacket, 2 rain tops (poncho and jacket).

    Drop the poncho and I'd think about switching the synthetic insulation jacket for down. You should only be wearing it in camp.

    During the day you need to be warm without sweating.

    I can't see you wearing long john bottoms, bottom base layer and long pants all at once, you will quickly be sweating. Get rid of the long john underwear.

    Tops - I'd get rid of one t-shirt, and the R1. Get a light weight merino t-shirt and a wind shell ( I have the zpacks one). This gives you good layering options for different weather, whilst walking, with a wool t-shirt, base layer Mid, wind shell, and then hard shell.

    You will only get to know what suits you by getting out in the appropriate weather and testing. Fine for you at the moment with it getting colder, it's a little warmer here 92F and 80% humidity and it's only spring.
    "He was a wise man who invented beer." Plato

  17. #17
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Toaks Titanium stuff is good and its cheaper. You can make an aluminum windscreen from a turkey basting pan that the stores all stock this time of year. Use a mini bic for your lighter. I usually have 2 to 5 on me stashed in various pockets in my pack, pouches, baggies, food bag, stove, wherever. Its one of those fears I pack. Can use the sack the pot comes in as a scrubber, or use sand or dirt or your fingers. No need for a sponge. A simple plastic spoon works fine. I use a long handled lexan spoon I got from REI for $1.50. Don't really need dry bags if you keep all your stuff in a trash compactor bag. You may want to keep your down jacket and sleeping bag in a dry bag, just to be safe. After several days of rain, everything is going to be damp regardless. Get used to it. As was mentioned, its unlikely you will be wearing baselayer pants while hiking. If I'm cold in the morning, I wear my rain pants and take them off after I warm up a bit. Some people don't use rain pants, but in the Winter, I prefer them to a kilt or poncho.

    Think of your clothing as a system. Base layers, warming and insulating layers, wind shells, rain shells. You can mix and match all layers or even wear all layers if its really cold out, or windy. Your Puffy you only wear when you are stopped, or in camp socializing before bed. Most of the time, it stays in your pack nice and dry.

    One set of baselayers for sleeping in, one set for hiking in. That and socks should be your only duplicates (maybe underwear, but that's a personal choice)

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    Several tips, but first to address the phone. You may not know what phone you'll have at the time. Do you have Verizon? Because that is the only carrier you'll want if you're on the trail. So part of your homework is, between then and now, timing your jump to Verizon so you only have to be with them for a year or less. They're the stingiest when it comes to data and the most expensive. But also the most reliable on the AT. Also look at upgrading (downgrading) to the iPhone SE or whatever it's equiv will be in 2018. It's the same specs as the iPhone 6S but with the dimensions of the iPhone 5 series, that wonderful text with one hand form factor, and the battery life is better than the 6 series. Plus, they're practically giving them away.

    If you're wedded to the idea of using an alcohol stove, buy it now and start using it this winter outside in the snow. Ask to borrow friends' MSR setups or even a JetBoil and test them as alternatives. There are benefits to having hot water in 3 minutes instead of 15. I know some people swear by alcohol stoves, but you may not.

    Buy a small multi-tool instead of a knife. What do you need a knife for, are you going to fight a bear or get into a street fight?

    Get an anti-gravity "write anywhere" pen instead of pencil. If you're taking a Rite-in-Rain notebook, might as well get the recommended pen for writing in it. And Rite-in-Rain paper is awesome. I've taken notes in pouring rain out in the field with those notebooks and the antigravity pen, and it just works.

    Why are you taking tooth paste? Just one more thing to attract critters. You're probably not gonna be kissing many people on the trail.

    Last, if you're starting in February, think down, not fleece. Heck, take one of each, but down will make your life tolerable when you stop hiking at the end of the day.

    Great good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by Isa23 View Post
    Will ditch the bracket Thanks

    I did consider the app vs. physical bible but it's more about saving as much battery power as I can. I will have a iPhone _s Plus so drainage is a concern for me. However, if you guys think my listed external battery will be more than sufficient for the time between towns then I'd probably reconsider. (Again, I have no experience)

    I plan to have no apps besides Guthook, the Bible and FB & Insta (town only) so my phone can be a lightweight, glorified camera while hiking. So maybe it's enough?
    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
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  19. #19

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    Trim down the clothes:

    1 set of hiking clothes. You may want to switch out certain things when it gets warmer. I do carry an extra L/S fleece in cooler weather because I get cold easily.
    1 set of camp clothes (your base layer and wool socks) to sleep in
    1 down puffy jacket
    2 pair of hiking socks (I love my Darn Tough Quarter Crew) and 2 pair of U/W...wear one carry one of each
    Lose the crocks

    A rain jacket will do decent double-duty as a wind-breaker so lose the hardshell

    Lose the chair, bracelet and ground sheet (I've never found a need for one with my Duplex)

    You could also save some money by going with an Enlightened Equipment quilt instead of ZPacks. You could almost get two bags/quilts for the same price. Get a 10* Convert for the colder months and then a 40* Revelation or Prodigy for the warmer months. 900FP down reacts to the humidity worse than a lower FP down so bear that in mind when you purchase a sleeping bag/quilt.

  20. #20
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    My advice is probably something you won't want to hear.... I absolutely understand the desire to get the gear and then get acquainted with it, but you can really save yourself lots of money if you have friends who will let you borrow their gear for practice. That will give you the opportunity to see what does/doesn't work for you. Gear is a very personal choice and what works for someone else (or comes in as highly rated online), doesn't necessarily mean it will work for your hiking style.

    I would hold off on buying for now - There are lots of sales to be had...especially when companies are looking to move product in order to make shelf space for the newer colors/style of gear.

    If you can borrow any of the gear on the list, that would be the best case scenario so you can try it and see if it will work for you.

    Definitely try out the different stove options out there.... Some people have found that they actually prefer canister stoves for their ease of use. There is also the whole "fire ban" issue that could come into play. Currently, there are sections of the AT where a canister stove is the only stove that can be used. Not trying to talk you into any one type of stove, just trying to offer some suggestions for you to mull over during the fun of picking out the new toys.

    You mention sleeping cold - Sleep is extremely important. Lack of sleep can lead to illness, injury, and not enjoying the hike. Make sure you have a sleeping pad that is insulated and keeps you warm and protected from the heat-sucking ground. That is just as important as whichever sleeping bag/quilt you opt to use during your trek. If you are not warm and comfortable while sleeping, that will just increase your odds of spending more money to fix the situation. It will also increase the odds you will just "bag it" and head home.

    While I absolutely love my Zpacks Arc Haul, I also know it is not for everyone. Do you have any friends who have this pack, so that you could try it on? Zpacks is located in Melbourne, Florida and might be worth a road trip to head there and see/feel the pack and tent first-hand and sleeping bag first-hand. The folks at Zpacks are great about answering questions.

    Don't worry about clothing right now. You have a lot of time to think and research. Concentrate more on your sleep system (tent, sleeping bag/quilt, sleeping pad), your pack, and your stove options...then worry about the small stuff.

    As for your question regarding getting the prices down, it is absolutely possible. Keep your eye on Black Friday sales, end of season sales, pre-season sales.... Some sites you might want to peruse are:

    backcountry.com - http://www.backcountry.com/
    Sierra Trading Post - http://www.sierratradingpost.com/
    Campmor - https://www.campmor.com/
    Campsaver - http://www.campsaver.com/
    REI - https://www.rei.com/

    And...White Blaze. There are definitely gear sales to be had on this site. Sometimes people get all their gear only to discover that thru-hiking...or backpacking...really is not for them.

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