Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2020
    Location
    White Post, VA
    Age
    23
    Posts
    8

    Default NOBO 2021 Thru Hiker, destroy my gear list so that I may become better

    Hey there, I'm an able bodied 23 year old Virginian currently working Trails Crew for the Forest Service in NW Montana looking to do my first ever thru hike in 2021! I'm planning on starting in early March despite what a lot of people say because I'm planning on meeting up with a friend at Harper's Ferry in mid-late May to join him as he does the second half. I was hoping I could get y'all to critique the gear I have so far. I still have a few things to get, mainly upper layers (I need a down puffy and a fleece). I will not be posting weights because I feel like most of my stuff is already relatively dang light and at this point the best way for reducing weight would be to eliminate gear rather than buying new gear, but as always I am very much open to suggestions.

    Pack: Gregory Stout 45, comes with rain cover and I put a quick dry Sea To Summit quick dry towel on one of the straps for facial wetness
    Will be purchasing Medium Osprey Pack liner (unless someone's got a good affordable or DIY alternative)

    Shoes: Keen Uneeks. I actually find them quite effective and comfortable in wet conditions, even snow. My friend who I'm meeting up with hiked the first half in his own pair and gave a dazzling review as well.

    Socks: Two pairs of Darn Toughs wool socks and an arsenal of Kirkland Signature wool socks (thanks mom) if I need more

    Legs: Prana Stretch Zions, Offbrand "32 Degree" leggings 47% Poly, 26% Rayon, 24% Acrylic, 3% Spandex. If I decide to ditch the pants in the warmer months I've got some light field and stream shorts that need patching

    Upper Body: Long John shirt made from the same material as the leggings, will have 100% poly shirts for the warmer weather cause I don't care about the stink

    Gloves: United by Blue Bison Wool gloves

    Poles: Cascade Mtn Tech Poles

    Rain: Marmot PreCip ECO (I know it's basic but it was so damn cheap)

    Headlamp: PETZL Tikka with rechargeable battery

    Lightweight buff for a bandana/face covering if weather is rough
    Fairly light, warm, weather resistant beanie, probably picking up a thrift store cap for the summer

    Hammock Set Up: Hummingbird Single+ hammock, Heron Tarp with HB Stakes and Warbler bugnet. Either getting HB straps or just going to use some 550 cord

    Sleeping Bag: REI Trailbreak 20

    Pad: Nemo Switchback

    Blanket: Kammok Firebelly, may swap out for a homemade wool blanket

    Sacks:
    3 OR Ditty Sacks, Small, Medium and Large
    15 L Dry sack
    20L stuff sack
    As many plastic ziplocs as needed

    Water: Sawyer with a couple liter water bottles

    Stove: JetBoil

    Utilities:
    Bic Lighter
    Swiss Army Knife
    Bamboo Fork, Spoon and Knife
    Bamboo Tooth brush and tooth powder
    Journal and Pen
    Toilet paper
    Shady Rays Sunglasses
    Guidebook, Compass and necessary maps

    What I think I need and would like suggestions on:
    Rechargeable Battery for devices
    Warm layers. Wind/rain layer, fleece layer and a polypro layer is what i've had suggested to me, I'll be making a run through some local Army Navy stores this weekend as well as my usual rounds to the thrift stores
    A better pooper scooper. The one I have is a super light plastic one that cant dig worth a crap. I'll probably just make one myself though

    Might've missed a few things, but I'm pretty sure that covers everything thus far. Like I said, please tear this apart so I can improve. This is my first time doing this so I'm basically just a knowledge sponge right now. I appreciate yall's time, happy trails!

  2. #2

    Default

    Good luck with the hammock set up in March. IMOHO, a tent is a much better choice for that time of year. I don't think that pad and sleeping bag will cut it in hammock. The usual cold weather set up is a down under and top quilt. Wide straps are recommended for hanging so as not to damage the tree bark. Your not going to need bug netting for months and in the mean time it will just get in the way, although it may provide some additional warmth. The thing I dislike the most about a hammock is the way the tarp slaps around in the wind and keeps me up all night, along with sucking all the heat out as it blows under the hammock. It didn't take me long to decide hammocks were not worth the trouble and hassle.

    You might be able to fit all your gear in a 45L pack, but adding up to 5 days of food is going to be tough. Adding a blanket will be a deal breaker for sure. Talk about bulky. Why would you want a blanket anyway? Anything which would be big enough and supply enough warmth to be worth while will fill up most of the pack. Get a sleeping bag liner instead. Lighter, more compact and you can wrap it around you like a blanket while sitting around.

    A 65L pack tends to be a more practical size for late winter gear loads. The other issue is how do you attach that pad to your pack? Personally, I don't like to have anything hanging on the outside of my pack.

    The PreCip jacket should be good enough, so long as it doesn't delaminate. I don't wear much while hiking, especially if I need to put on the rain jacket. Even in cold temps, I'll just have on my light weight thermal top, a Dickie work shirt, the rain jacket and still work up a sweat.

    The rule of thumb is to have a set of "hiking" clothes and "camp" clothes. Camp clothes are kept dry and therefore never hiked in. It's really hard to put on a cold, damp shirt on a cold morning, but the pain is short lived once you get moving and it is incentive to start moving quickly. Camp clothes are also town clothes. If I have to get into a car or hitch hike, I'll change into my camp shirt so I don't stick so much.

    I'm not a big fan of fleece. It's heavy, bulky and takes a long time to dry if it gets wet. I normally use a synthetic fill vest. A down "Puffy" is best, so long as you can keep it dry and have the $$$ to buy one.

    Trash compactor bag for pack liner is what I use. One package of them is a life time supply. Pack cover is optional, but it can be handy to have to empty your pack onto when the ground is wet (which it often is).

    Digging a 6" deep cat hole is nearly impossible along much of the AT, no matter what tool you have. I just kick a hole the best I can with the heel of my boot, burn the TP if the fire danger is low, then mix it all into the duff and roll a rock over it. I believe the poop decomposes faster when mixed in with the organic matter near the surface. Make sure it's reasonably far away from water sources. Or better yet, use the privy provided at all the shelters (except the Smokies, but there they have a real shovel available).

    Don't forget bear bagging line and throwing sack (I use a soda bottle for throwing line, adjust the weight with the amount of water in the bottle and does not get hung up in branches).

    There will be no shade for about 3 months along the ridge, so don't forget sun block. Many an expensive pair of sunglasses have been lost or broken along the trail - use cheap, easily replaced ones.

    Knee high gaiters are a good idea, since the trail is often wet and muddy. The gaiters help keep your lower legs clean, dry and warm. They also help keep water out of your boots. Along the same lines, waterproof mitten shells are real nice to have in windy, cold rain. I prefer mittens over gloves while hiking, but always have a light pair of gloves for camp when you need all your fingers.

    Water purification? Personally, I'll drink straight out of most water sources as much of the water on the AT is spring feed. But you need something for the iffy sources. I don't like using chemicals and I don't like waiting for them to work. I use a Sawyer filter, which is the filter of choice on the AT these days.

    How large a power pack you need depends on how much you use your phone and how good you are at power management. A 10,000 mAh pack is generally more then enough. I use a 5K one. Don't forget charger and USB cable.

    In the odds and ends category, a small bar of soap and a small bottle of shampoo is always handy. Often the hostel shower is lacking these, or just have liquid "body wash" soap, which I hate.

    First aid: Mostly what you need is for blisters. For that I find a bottle of "New Skin" liquid bandage works the best. A few band aids just in case. Maybe a tube of Hydrocortisone cream. If you get blisters and they become infected due to your feet being wet and dirty all the time will end your hike. Some hikers eat Ibuprofen like candy, but that's not a good idea.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-23-2016
    Location
    Virginia
    Age
    27
    Posts
    190

    Default

    Most folks just use a heavy-duty trash bag as a pack liner. Effective, light, cheap, and easy to replace.

    For a rechargeable batter, Anker tends to set the bar for durability and power to weight ratio. I had a 10,000mah one for my thru-hike that could recharge my phone twice and my headphones a few times. By keeping my phone in airplane mode, this meant I could go 5-6 days between charging up in town. If you think you need a lot more than this (like if you also use your phone a lot for journaling, watching videos in your tent at night, taking video, etc) then I'd recommend 2 10,000mah units rather one of the bigger bricks, just because 2 small ones can charge in a matter of hours in town if you have a charger with two USB ports, whereas a big 20,000+mah unit basically requires you to stay overnight to get a full charge.

    Water purification, I used a Sawyer squeeze. Most of the water is spring fed, but there are still lots of opportunities for contamination, and in a lot of the middle of the trail, you're walking in agricultural land, and occasionally in the north, you might need to drink from a pond. Unless someone gets tested specifically, it's hard to know how many hikers get water-borne illnesses verses other gastrointestinal bugs like noro, so it's possible actually contracting an illness from the water is quite rare on the AT... but if you filter water and practice good hand hygiene, you won't have to worry about either one. Others might disagree with this risk assessment, but for me, filtering water was a very minor inconvenience if there's even a small chance it helped me avoid 5 days of diarrhea!

    I'm not a hammock camper so I don't have any feedback for your camp setup, but the only other things I'd mention is that you seem to have a lot of stuff sacks and a lot of eating utensils. I never have more than 3 stuff sacks-- one soft one for my sleeping bag and clothes (which doubles as a pillowcase), one waterproof one for hanging my food, and one medium sized to keep all my toiletry/glasses/contacts stuff together. I use a long-handled sea-to-summit spoon for all food and I've never felt the need for a fork and knife.
    A.T. 2018 Thru-hiker
    Follow along at www.tefltrekker.com

  4. #4
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-21-2014
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Age
    60
    Posts
    653

    Default

    For the hammock, I wouldn’t use paracord, due to damaging of trees and weight when wet (which it will be often on the AT). Invest in a lightweight tarp line, straps and hardware from Dutchware. Bear bag rope is hardly ever paracord any more. A daily set up and tear down, especially in cold or rain, should be quick and efficient. For March you will still need a good underquilt. I also purchased a NeoAir XLite in Gatlinburg, to get through the Smokies and used it all the way to Katahdin when in Shelters and one or two Hostels. Check out my You Tube page if you want to see pack load out and other Thru Hike thoughts. In the end, just don’t over think it. You will figure it out, throughout the Journey.
    "gbolt" on the Trail

    I am Third

    We are here to help one another along life's journey. Keep the Faith!

    YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCik...NPHW7vu3vhRBGA

  5. #5
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-17-2012
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,462
    Images
    6

    Default

    A trash compactor liner does a fantastic job of keeping stuff dry in the pack. You might even be able to find a box at your local grocery store.

    Anker makes reliable battery packs for charging your electronics on the trail. Keep an eye out around Thanksgiving, and the time where there would normally be Black Friday Sales. Amazon usually has the various models for decent prices.

    Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer is a decent jacket. Some people prefer the no hood option... With an early March start, you might consider a jacket with a hood. Helps keep the neck and head warm in camp. Bonus - you can usually find these jackets on sale (online) around Thanksgiving, or as soon as they release their newer models/colors for the next year.

  6. #6

    Default

    I bot a really nice pack liner that I thot was great until I tried closing it and then I weighed it.No thanks.I do like the nylafume bags that Litesmite has,very light and just about indestructible BUT I will double bag with a compactor bag as the outer layer.Night/camp clothes go in their own nylafume bag as do the down top and bottom quilts as I do use a hammock with great comfort down to about 25 degrees F.At those temps I don't want to sleep outside in any configuration.I use a bug net hammock year round now as they do help retain warmth in cool weather with little condensation issues.Hammocks aren't for everyone though.

  7. #7

    Default

    Note: If you go with a trash compactor bag be SURE to get one that has not been "scented" as you don't want to attract unwanted wildlife.

  8. #8
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    02-25-2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Age
    53
    Posts
    4,580
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    5

    Default

    Even in cold temperatures, I'm usually hiking in just shorts and a synthetic t-shirt (and usually sweating).

    So when I did a JMT thru hike, I carried three sets of the core clothing: Shorts, underwear (bathing shorts "rub" me the wrong way), t-shirt, and socks.
    I would keep one set that was strictly for camp like Slo-go'en says, and I would rotate the other set... wear a set for two days, wash it and wear the other set while the 1st one dried
    (even in the dry air of California, it took more than a day to dry out those wool socks)

    But then I've also done week long hikes in the Smokies, where the 115% humidity doesn't allow anything to dry...
    Still use the principle of one set of cloths for sleeping. But if the trip is short enough, I'll never wash the hiking cloths, or will wash them and let them drip-dry (they won't dry) over night and put them on wet in the morning (because again... sweat is going to have them wet soon enough anyway). I'll still carry three sets of wool socks. That way, I again have at least one dry pair to wear at night, and if I wash stuff, I can try to let the wool socks dry over multiple days (and if I don't wash, the extra dry set is nice in case the 1st pair get wet from rain or a creek accident).


    I don't bother with pack covers... for starters, they don't totally enclose your pack, so rain (and sweat) can usually get to the side of your pack towards your back.
    So I instead put my sleeping gear and cloths inside a trash compactor bag, and anything that is in an outside pocket of the pack that can't get wet, I put inside a waterproof stuff sack or ziplock bag. The idea is that my pack can sit out in the rain if it musts and everything I NEED to be dry will be dry inside the liner.
    {But check your liner for leaks... I occasionally run into other hikers that do the same thing only to find there was a hole in their liner and over the coarse of a rainy day, their sleeping bag got wet}

    For short hikes in the Smokies, if the weather is cold, I will bring a fleece pull-over. But for my JMT thru, I took an ice-breaker base layer. But in both cases, the piece of warm gear I appreciate the most is the puffy jacket. It's great to slip into your puffy jacket as you get out of your warm sleeping bag in the morning. I've also found that when temperatures are borderline for your sleeping bag, laying the puffy over the sleeping bag like an extra blanket adds some warmth to your sleep system for no extra weight penalty.
    {You're usually not going to sleep in a puffy jacket because it's not going to add as much warmth as you might think because you'll be compressing the loft between you and your bag}


    Rules for hammocks in Great Smoky Mountain National Park requires that you use wide "tree saver" straps so that you don't damage trees (I'm sure other places have similar rules).
    GSMNP also has rules about hammocks can't be attached to a building, so you can't set them up inside the shelters.


    I'll double up on Water Rat's suggestion for the MH Ghost Whisper. Bought the jacket (without the hood) specifically for my JMT thru in 2016, and have been loving it on my GSMNP weekend hikes ever since. Packs very small, very light weight, but with 800 fill, keeps you nice and warm.
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 09-11-2020 at 10:30. Reason: Fill Level: 600 --> 800

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2020
    Location
    White Post, VA
    Age
    23
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Excellent on the Ghost Whisperer thoughts, alot of people been recommending that one to me and its so expensive, Thank you! I'll have to look into these trash compactor bags, never heard of them.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2020
    Location
    White Post, VA
    Age
    23
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Any suggestions for the underquilt? I was thinking of just getting a heavier bag instead and I know little about underquilts and topquilts in general. I'll check out the long version of your gear list video and others as well, thank you!

  11. #11
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    02-25-2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Age
    53
    Posts
    4,580
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    5

    Default

    Trash compactor bags are basically really thick/strong trash bags. But most have a smell impregnated into the material to help with trash smells. So you have to find a place that sells unscented trash compactor bags. Ace Hardware store brand are unscented, but not all Ace Hardware stores carry their own name brand.

    As for the Ghost Whisperer, look around and you should be able to find one around 1/2 of the full retail price (so you should be able to get one in the general ball park for a little more than $150. You might have to wait for a sale, but I would expect that come Christmas sales or after Christmas clearance you should be able to find such a sale.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cmax4 View Post
    Any suggestions for the underquilt? I was thinking of just getting a heavier bag instead and I know little about underquilts and topquilts in general. I'll check out the long version of your gear list video and others as well, thank you!
    hammock gear - they make very good underquilts/top quilts with reasonable prices

    for a hammock thru hike gear check out frozen he hiked it last year with hammock and did daily vlogs...

    https://www.youtube.com/c/FrozensAdventures/videos

  13. #13

    Default

    Scented trash bags: The scent will eventually go away if you leave it out in the open for a while. Takes maybe a week or two. Maybe washing it would help reduce the smell.

    Hammocks: the problem with using a sleeping bag in a hammock is first, you crush the insulation on the bottom and if there isn't anything else for insulation under you, it's like not having any insulation at all. Rigid pads don't work well in a hammock for insulation since they can't conform the the shape of the hammock, which narrows significantly at the ends. Plus it doesn't provide quite enough insulation.

    The other problem is once you get in the hammock, you can't move anything around so it makes it hard to zip up the bag.

    There is a definite learning curve to using a hammock, there are a lot of pieces to deal with. This can lead to disaster if your trying to learn on the fly at the start of a hike in March. Like one guy I saw who didn't get his tarp set up properly when it rained the second day on the trail and got everything soaking wet on a 40 degree morning. Never did see that guy again.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cmax4 View Post
    Any suggestions for the underquilt? I was thinking of just getting a heavier bag instead and I know little about underquilts and topquilts in general. I'll check out the long version of your gear list video and others as well, thank you!
    Hammock Gear offers both goose and duck down quilts.The duck down is said to be good enough and is much more economical.Slogoen is entirely correct-you cant really use a sleeping bag in a hammock.I know because I tried it and also pads.Sooner or later you have to conform to the more expensive down quilts and once you get over the sticker shock it soon becomes evident that it is the only way to go.

    Note that underquilts for hammocks come in both full and 3/4 lengths.Lots of people use the 3/4 length with great success as do I.Being short helps as does a piece of reflectix insulation like your A/C duct is wrapped in.You can get all the info about hammocks on hammockforums.Be sure to check out Sean Emery on YT as he is a fountainhead of useful info on everything related to tarps and hammock use.

  15. #15
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    02-25-2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Age
    53
    Posts
    4,580
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Scented trash bags: The scent will eventually go away if you leave it out in the open for a while. Takes maybe a week or two. Maybe washing it would help reduce the smell.
    I didn't find that to be the case... not with the 1st set of scented trash compactor bags I purchased from WalMart.
    It's a MUCH better idea to start with something that is unscented.

    The ACE store brand is not scented:
    https://www.acehardware.com/departme...h-bags/6186779

    However the last time I checked out an ACE store, that particular store only had Hefty, and they seem to be unscented as well:
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hefty-Tra...Count/16664568
    I don't recall the name brand of that first roll I tried from a WalMart, but at the time, the only thing I could find in stock was something like this:
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Brute-Sup...t-Tie/10997361
    If you look at the last image, you'll see the package says "Clean Fresh Scent" and "Odor Protect"

  16. #16

    Default

    If you are on a budget, I personally wouldn't get into things like a ghost whisperer unless it's at a huge discount, at least until you've reduced weight on other items. Getting a cheap puffy that is 4 oz heavier is fine at this point if it makes sense to allocate your resources elsewhere
    The bulk on the sleeping bag you listed will be significant and may cause problems in a small pack (like 45l that you mentioned), and it's also quite heavy

    Hammock gear econ quilts start around $150 and would reduce your bulk/weight quite a bit there.

  17. #17
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    02-25-2007
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Age
    53
    Posts
    4,580
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikingjim View Post
    If you are on a budget, I personally wouldn't get into things like a ghost whisperer unless it's at a huge discount
    Full Retail is $300-325.
    But I don't know if anyone ever sell it at that price... they seem to ALWAYS be "On Sale".

    Even the Mountain Hardware website has the latest version on sale for $180.

    A google search shows that opticsplant.com currently has certain colors and sizes as low as $140. That's about as cheap as I've ever seen this jacket offered.
    Typical prices are closer to the $150-180 range.


    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    with 600+ fill, keeps you nice and warm.
    Actually, the MH web site says 800 fill (I'll have to fix that post).

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cmax4 View Post
    Excellent on the Ghost Whisperer thoughts, alot of people been recommending that one to me and its so expensive
    The Montbell Superior Down Parka is better in pretty much every way, about an ounce heavier, and always $209(at least I've yet to see them on closeout).
    https://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2301237

    MH does have Ghost Whisperers cheap right now, though. Not much selection, and sure not to last. Two colors in size L when I looked, for $195. Frankly, I'd pay the $14 more for the Montbell.

    Definitely agree on replacing that sleeping bag!
    Last edited by OwenM; 09-12-2020 at 01:35.

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-28-2015
    Location
    Bad Ischl, Austria
    Age
    63
    Posts
    1,263

    Default

    May I comment on the pack:
    My wife has this Gregory Stout 45.
    She loves it, well, she has a somewhat stout built and it fits her well.
    With this stout built of the pack comes the disadvantage that adding anything to the outside of the pack makes it too bulky to be practical.
    On the bottom there are two flimsy straps that might, or might not hold a sleepingpad, and thats it.
    The brain of the pack doesn't help to hold any additional stuff.
    Never lose the rain cover and always put it to use, the material of the pack absorbs water like a sponge.

    As others have already stated I'd rather go with a 65lt pack.

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •