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  1. #1

    Default Gear list + a few questions

    I've been putting together my April nobo gear list to have all the items and their weights in front of me, and I'm on the fence about a few items. (A couple of these questions are female specific but not all, so I figured I'd put it in the general forum. Gentlemen, kindly ignore whatever does not apply to you. Thanks all!)

    1. Skirt? I like to hike in full-length running tights to avoid chafing and protect against ticks, and I'm debating bringing a short, lightweight skirt to wear over for the pockets and modesty while dropping the leggings to pee. Thoughts?
    2. Pack towel? I have one of those little sham-wow things from my swim team days. Worth it?
    3. External battery for the phone? My phone is new and lasts several days if I keep it in airplane mode during the day and off at night. Is the extra battery worth the weight to you? If so, how many mAh?
    4. Knife? I have a spork thing. I don't enjoy dried meats or hard cheeses so I wasn't thinking to bring one. Do any of you carry them, either for cooking or self-defense?
    5. Pepper spray? Worth it for the sense of security? (against two- or four-legged predators) I've never carried anything for self-defense before, but in October while backpacking alone in Spain I had a guy pass me, wait for me in a secluded area, and then try to expose himself to me while soliciting sex, so I'm going into this trip a little wary of creeps.

    Thanks for your opinions and advice!
    My full gear list is here, and any tips are welcome. https://www.tefltrekker.com/home/201...ian-trail-gear Cheers!
    A.T. 2018 Thru-hike Hopeful
    Follow along at www.tefltrekker.com

  2. #2
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    2. no towel, bandanna is better
    3. back-up batt for phone....yes
    4. Knife yes...you will need to cut stuff
    5. Pepper spray..no. I have been on this web page and other hiker type pages and I have never even once read a story about somebody spraying a bear on the AT. Not once. Read at lest 2 accounts of people spraying themselves.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightErrant View Post
    2. Pack towel? I have one of those little sham-wow things from my swim team days. Worth it?
    3. External battery for the phone? My phone is new and lasts several days if I keep it in airplane mode during the day and off at night. Is the extra battery worth the weight to you? If so, how many mAh?
    4. Knife? I have a spork thing. I don't enjoy dried meats or hard cheeses so I wasn't thinking to bring one. Do any of you carry them, either for cooking or self-defense?
    2 - A small bandana or cloth does come in handy at times. You don't need much.
    3 - Something large enough to recharge your phone one time can be helpful. 3-4000 mAH is more than enough.
    4 - I'm a big fan of carrying a very simple knife just for occasional use. The dermasafe knives available on Amazon weigh a fraction of an ounce and carry very safely in a plastic shell. You can buy a 5 pack for about $10. If you're rarely using it, the first one will probably last your entire through hike.

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    Yes on everything but the pepper spray.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    2. I like a small pack towel as well as a bandana, very useful. i have a small shammy type towel, maybe hand towel size, and I can take a shower with it and completely dry off with just the one towel. Comes in handy more often than I expected.
    3. I keep my iPhone on airplane mode about 99% of the time and it easily lasts a week or more. I don't carry a battery. But note that I don't really use the phone except to occasionally take a GPS reading or look for the weather radar. If you always have your phone out, for photos and music and texting and journaling, then the battery might be useful.
    4. I do carry a folding knife. I like cheddar cheese, what can I say? (Cabot Seriously Sharp, if you must know, and yes, it does hold up well on the trail)
    5. Not sure about pepper spray, being a big guy I haven't had issues. But I can see it as a useful option, and a lightweight peace-of-mind item. Plus when some idiot dude thinks that showing you his junk is some kind of turn-on, you can spray him. Aim low.
    Ken B
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    Registered User DownEaster's Avatar
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    The pack towel absorbs better than a bandana. When your shoes are wet (and they will be, frequently) you can stuff the sham-wow inside one for a while to absorb some of the moisture, wring it out, and repeat on the other shoe.

    The usefulness of an external battery pack depends on your power use. I've got a phone, 2 headlamps, and bluetooth earbuds that all use USB power, so I get pretty good leverage from my Anker power bank. I don't have to worry about power if I take a lot of pictures, or decide to sit out a miserable wet day in my tent entertaining myself with books and music on my phone.

    A knife is a useful tool. I've used one to whittle a couple replacement, beefier, tent stakes for high winds.

    You'd probably get better use out of a whistle than out of pepper spray.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightErrant View Post
    I've been putting together my April nobo gear list to have all the items and their weights in front of me, and I'm on the fence about a few items. (A couple of these questions are female specific but not all, so I figured I'd put it in the general forum. Gentlemen, kindly ignore whatever does not apply to you. Thanks all!)

    1. Skirt? I like to hike in full-length running tights to avoid chafing and protect against ticks, and I'm debating bringing a short, lightweight skirt to wear over for the pockets and modesty while dropping the leggings to pee. Thoughts?
    2. Pack towel? I have one of those little sham-wow things from my swim team days. Worth it?
    3. External battery for the phone? My phone is new and lasts several days if I keep it in airplane mode during the day and off at night. Is the extra battery worth the weight to you? If so, how many mAh?
    4. Knife? I have a spork thing. I don't enjoy dried meats or hard cheeses so I wasn't thinking to bring one. Do any of you carry them, either for cooking or self-defense?
    5. Pepper spray? Worth it for the sense of security? (against two- or four-legged predators) I've never carried anything for self-defense before, but in October while backpacking alone in Spain I had a guy pass me, wait for me in a secluded area, and then try to expose himself to me while soliciting sex, so I'm going into this trip a little wary of creeps.

    Thanks for your opinions and advice!
    My full gear list is here, and any tips are welcome. https://www.tefltrekker.com/home/201...ian-trail-gear Cheers!
    1. You won't wear leggings except coldest days. Bring running shorts. Wear over them , or skirt.

    Don't worry about modesty. We see yoga pants.....in church....at store....everywhere.

    2. Towel....if you like. If it's really small. Really small. You don't need large.

    3. Batt ok. Phone lasts long time when .....off. a 4000 will recharge me once +, that's enough between towns for sure. I carry a 6000 sometimes for a week, it's plenty for me even with sporadic gps use.

    4. I carry tiny 0.28 oz derma safe knife. I used it to open mountain house that didn't tear once, about 2000 miles ago.....

    5. Bring the little mace if it makes you feel better and in control. You don't need it. But if you feel better, it's good . You can throw away any time...
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-03-2018 at 23:15.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

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    HI Sibley. Pics of Ouzad Falls and Casablanca were enjoyed. It's so good to see a young woman enjoying herself not afraid of traveling to Spain and Morocco. Have to look further at your Camino Fisterra trip. It's amazing what you've done already.

    With those trips under your belt your ready to tackle an AT NOBO. I'm stoked for you.

    If in short order you don't start receiving replies from women you should consider listing your thread also in the Female Forum. Im fairly certain all replies have been from males so far.

    Everything you asked has alternative approaches. There's no one right way for all people all the time to gear up or approach each hike.


    1) lots of woman hikers do skirts, they offer many benefits
    My immediate thought is if you want to do tights under the skirt go with 3/4 length ones not full length and make them of a design that has side or other venting options of a fabric and wt appropriate for quickly warming weather

    If I was a woman I'd ping some of the noted LD/thru hikers through their sites asking how they would layer a skirt in context of what gear you already anticipate using and the details of your hike. These woman are usually busy but are usually very supportive of aspiring new young female hikers.

    2) depends on what else you anticipate carrying. Many LD female hikers I know carry pee rags.

    3)depends how much you wind up utilizing your electronics. Most mid 20 US woman would want or need some external battery source.

    4)bring a small pocket knife. It can be used for more than food.

    5) pepper spray for either creeps or bears can be handled or avoided in other ways most of all is good common female sense

  9. #9
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    Why not just spandex shorts instead of leggings?

    As small as can be

    Also small. I carried a 10k miliamp charger that gave me three full charges and was never without power. Your phone will last for days in airplane mode.

    I only used my knife to cut cheese and open packages. I liked having it, though. The lightest one you can find will work. Unless you have a fixed blade and know how to fight with it carrying for self defense isnít exactly practical. And probably not necessary.

    I wouldnít bring it; just be smart. Itís big and heavy and not necessary



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    Otherwise your gear list looks great; youíve done your research and will be a step ahead of a lot of the people youíll meet early on


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  11. #11

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    Thanks for all your responses! @Dogwood, I appreciate your encouragement and the fact that you took the time to read through a few adventures on my travel blog. Your feedback made my day.

    Regarding the leggings, I am fairly set on using them vs. shorts due to ticks as I mentioned, and also the perk of not flaunting my unshaved legs. I've worn that type of quick-drying, moisture-wicking legging for 500 miles in dry Spain and 200 miles in humid Virginia, both trips in July, and felt like that was a good option for me. As I said, the part I'm debating is the skirt, not because I feel like the leggings themselves are immodest, but because I feel very exposed while peeing off trail. So I'm considering the skirt for that (and bc it has good pockets) at least until the leaves and the undergrowth come in and provide a bit more cover. (I live conveniently close to the trail in southwest VA, so it will be easy to switch out some items at home in late May when I'm passing through.)

    I'll definitely keep all the advice about the towel, battery, and knife in mind. I'm leaning yes on the battery and knife but no on the towel, or at least my towel, since it's about 24" by 36." Might replace with something smaller or a bandanna, or else just plan to use my buff for drying things.

    Interesting thing about the pepper spray question: I posted the same question and list on the AT Women's facebook group and almost every woman said yes, and almost every guy here said no. Just goes to show how differently we tend to perceive our environments. When I section hiked Shenandoah in 2016 I saw 5 bears and lots of strangers and felt perfectly safe the whole time, but I was pretty shaken after my run-in with the creep in Spain this past fall. I know that hiking trails are statistically very very safe, which is reflected in the fact that I've had just one experience in 800 miles total backpacking where I felt uncomfortably vulnerable. However, that leads me to believe that statistically speaking, on a 2200 mile trail, it's reasonable to expect 2-3 uncomfortable encounters. Would such encounters require a weapon of self-defense? Probably not, especially since I'm starting in the tail end of the bubble and there will be lots of good people around looking out for each other. But I still find myself on the fence about the pepper spray.
    A.T. 2018 Thru-hike Hopeful
    Follow along at www.tefltrekker.com

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    Thank you for the kind words. You've done some unusual traveling compounded by being a young woman. I think that awesome. Its refreshing. Great noticing anyone challenging their comfort zones with prudence.


    Those travels made you better able to read people and situations and how to avoid female problematic ones. Apply that to your AT hike. Several excellent threads here on WB from a female perspective. But, you'll find some great advice from men as well. The women on WB are highly supportive of other woman.


    Tick borne diseases are a real threat on an AT thru. That doesn't mean we have to be afraid. Its better to be knowledgable - solution minded - and apply it to being safe - more aware. Same for the two legged variety of creepy things. That's probably repeating what you're already aware of but reassuring you. Many articles including here on WB have covered both these topics from a female and male perspective.


    Not going to regurgitate all that has already been written other than: treat the outer surface of your leggings/skirt/shirt/socks/and undergarments for tick prevention. Washing in or spraying on permethrin or, alternatively as I use, essential oils in an alcohol/witch hazel/ or almond oil carrier base. It smells better hiding more of the LD hiker funk, can have some skeeter repellency, and depending on the base offer moisturizing. I make this myself. Some permethrin treatments last much longer than others or the essential oil mixture for ticks...as far as I observe.


    If you decide on the pepper spray I strongly encourage you not to rely on it as your sole means of avoiding negative black bear or creep encounters. Do practice spraying it directly at a small face size target - the eyes - from various distances before the need might ever arise on trail; it should be kept quick at hand, or it can be useless to carry. This is something you should do with anything you decide to carry on the AT; pre-hike familiarize yourself with your kit while beginning to establish your AT NOBO individually specific rhythm and approach. This is not an in the basement or living room exercise. Do it outside.


    There are many strong unafraid knowledgable female LD hikers who have blogs and/or on Facebook/Twitter/trail Journals: a few that immediately come to mind I'd rec are Liz Thomas, Heather Anderson, Jennifer Pharr Davis, Erin Saver, Sage Clegg, Felicia Hermosillo, Jackie McDonnell. I like the wanderings and musings of Ashley Hill also.

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    Registered User ggreaves's Avatar
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    one small thing... whatever knife you decide to use, it should be a fixed blade with a sheath, or if it's a folding knife, it should lock open. It's really easy to injure yourself with a folding knife that doesn't lock open. Have a great hike!

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    It’s funny...not funny ha-ha, but that carrying bear/mace against creeps. As a woman who hunts, backpacks, and camps solo, only time I carry bear spray is for potential encounters with someone who may harm me. And I’m not talking bears...even though I’ve had two black bear encounters.
    My NOBO attempt isn’t until next year, and had considered bringing my bear spray, but have been talked out of bringing it by everyone on hiking sites. I know I’ll have anxiety for the first few days, but just hope there’s nothing to worry about.
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    If you donít already have one, please carry a signal. Where you can get to it immediately.
    https://www.moreprepared.com/orange-...RoCWvIQAvD_BwE
    All the best to you!
    Wayne

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    Should be:
    Signal Whistle. Sorry.
    Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by ggreaves View Post
    one small thing... whatever knife you decide to use, it should be a fixed blade with a sheath, or if it's a folding knife, it should lock open. It's really easy to injure yourself with a folding knife that doesn't lock open. Have a great hike!
    Wow. Really. I've been carrying a knife for probably 50 of my 56 years and have never chosen to use a lock-blade or fixed blade knife for safety. . . especially for backpacking. What kind of foolish things do you do with your knife while backpacking that requires a rigid, instead of a simple folding, knife?

    That's not to say that I haven't been stupid and folded my knife onto one of my fingers, I have, on a couple occasions over the last 50 years, but good god, I've gotten in more car accidents than I have cut myself by folding my knife and I still drive cars.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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    Registered User BowGal's Avatar
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    I heard this quote today on YouTube, regarding a hiker getting a pack shakedown. He had a big enough knife, fixed blade...to which the guy from Mountain Crossings said: the bigger the knife, the bigger the fear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BowGal View Post
    . . . the bigger the knife, the bigger the fear.
    So, I guess I've grown over the years from using my dad's hunting knife with an 8" fixed blade to my current knife which is a Victorinox Commander with maybe a 1" blade. Or maybe I'm only 1/8th the man I used to be. Whatever. Maybe I'm now old weak and love carrying less useless gear.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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    Registered User ggreaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Wow. Really. I've been carrying a knife for probably 50 of my 56 years and have never chosen to use a lock-blade or fixed blade knife for safety.
    That's awesome. You must be very proud. want a cookie?
    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    What kind of foolish things do you do with your knife while backpacking that requires a rigid, instead of a simple folding, knife?
    Any poking or possibly trying to carve a hole in a piece of wood or maybe trying to stab or slash at someone who is trying to assault you after exposing himself could cause the blade to collapse. The OP did mention self defense as a potential use. But don't let that get in the way of calling someone who doesn't run their life the way you do foolish by all means.
    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    That's not to say that I haven't been stupid and folded my knife onto one of my fingers...
    Ah... so it does happen. Even to you. Good thing you weren't 2 days walk from the next town with a deep cut that got infected.

    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    ...I've gotten in more car accidents than I have cut myself by folding my knife and I still drive cars.
    I'm 51 and haven't had a car accident yet and, unlike you, I learn from my mistakes.

    Anyway, it's no big deal. Just an added piece of safety advice that someone can folow or ignore. Any downsides you can think of why carrying a locking or fixed blade knife is a bad idea?

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