Basic Needs for hiking/camping

8:40 p.m. on January 17, 2010 (EST)
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What are the basic needs to fill my backpack. I have a 65L and i am going on a 4 day 3 night hike on the Appalachian trial in tennesse. I am wonder what all i need to make the trip comfortable and smooth as possible.

8:51 p.m. on January 17, 2010 (EST)
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Welcome, I'm sure you will get plenty of good advise here on Trailspace,

but you can get great advise if you can give us a few additional details such as:

Are you going as part of a group, or by yourself?

Is this trip being planned for winter or later in the spring?

What gear or supplies do you already have? If not that is okay!

Do you know which section of the trail your are doing?

How much hiking experience do you have?

We will be glad to help, we just need more info to offer you the best advise.

Good to have you around!

9:42 p.m. on January 17, 2010 (EST)
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11:18 p.m. on January 17, 2010 (EST)
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Are those list of links easily accessible together somewhere? Maybe sticky those links!

11:50 p.m. on January 17, 2010 (EST)
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take some sleds for your shoes. The AT thru Tennessee and GSMNP is very very muddy & slick. If you hike around Newfound Gap, take an ipod to cover up the noise from all the freakin kids going to Charlies Bunion (where there is an actual sign to watch your children, I'm assuming a few hikers have thought about pushing them off.... AND I SWEAR I'M NOT ONE OF THEM!! (whistles)).

Icewater Springs is the "party shelter" if you like to "party". You can walk by and "feel good" if you inhale deeply...

7:23 a.m. on January 18, 2010 (EST)
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Wow, these would be alot easier w/a lil more specifics......

12:43 p.m. on January 18, 2010 (EST)
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I have a backpacking checklist that I made and use myself, but mainly created some time ago to help the newcomer. If there was a way to email it to you that would be ideal.

-moderators, is there a good way to post something like that? It is a pretty detailed list for the unitiated.

1:22 p.m. on January 18, 2010 (EST)
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yea my eamail is

1:24 p.m. on January 18, 2010 (EST)
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Im going with a buudy of mine he has already done part of the trail in tennessee. I am going March 5th. all i have now is a backpack high sierra 65L. a sleeping pad (foam) and a sleeping bag rated to 10 degrees. I have camping and hiking experience but none for the mountains. I grew up in florida where its flat and swampy, so mountains not so sure what to bring.

1:59 p.m. on January 18, 2010 (EST)
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I'm from Fort Lauderdale & hike in the "swamp"... the AT will be similar to the trails in the Everglades--- moist, slick, and muddy.

The one thing you MUST pack for is cold weather & blizzard-esque conditions. I backpacked 30 - 40 miles of the Smokeys last March and heard about some rescue missions up to Mt LeConte and near Clingmas to get unprepared hikers. While it was 60/65 down near Sugarlands, it was almost sub-zero at night up along the AT.


3:20 p.m. on January 18, 2010 (EST)
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I will email that list to you tonight (I only have access to my work email now & can't use it for personal)

Depending on the elevation you will be traversing, conditions coud range from cool-wet-&-muddy, to bitter sub-zero high winds blizzard. Hopfully you'll have some nice clear weather, even if there is snow on the ground, but you need to be prepared for the worst. Though The ground might be wet, slick, and muddy, like FL, the terrrain will be quite different. You can expect to pull 1000+ feet of elevation in a mile- potentially mile after mile- so be brepared for some strenuous hiking.

Just a few weeks ago I was up in the Citico Wilderness (Cherokee National Forest) for a weekend trip. Where I started at 1900ft of elevation it was damp, cool, and muddy. By the time I reached camp at 3200ft of elev, only 1300ft higher, I was in nearly a foot of snow and everything was covered in ice. It snowed all night, got down to 10 or 15, and I woke to over a foot of snow. Loved every minute of it, but being unprepared could get you in a bad way fast.

10:58 a.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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Something triggered a memory -- we had a thread about checklists last year -- did a search and here it is:

Some pretty informative suggestions there as I recall.

11:04 p.m. on January 19, 2010 (EST)
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thank you guys..I appreciate all the advice.theres quit a bit more stuff to get than i antisipated..I work at dicks sporting goods so aquiring this stuff shouldn't be a problem..

I also have another question what is better to stay in a tent or the shelters on the trail..and if its a tent is there really any places to set up camp.I mean the path has to be pretty narrow..

2:27 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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depends where you are going along the AT. You aren't supposed to pitch a tent at sites with a shelter in the GSMNP - which can be good, less weight! - and the shelters can be chilly without a fire or tarp to block the main entrance.

5:22 p.m. on January 20, 2010 (EST)
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Shelters are nice, especially if it is raining. You can keep your stuff a little dryer than if you are in a tent. Plus it shaves off some weight. Just be sure you book reservations for the shelters you are going to be staying in, otherwise you will be shafting someone else or potentially sleeping on the ground w/o a tent. Also, I recommend gaiters for hiking in the smokies. Keeps your boots and feet dry and clean. Also bring a big stuff sack to throw all your food items in for the bear pulleys. You don't want to have your whole pack hanging out there getting rained or dewed on.

11:00 p.m. on January 21, 2010 (EST)
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If you take a poncho-tarp, you can use it for rain on the trail and protection at the shelters. You could tie it down with string and twig tie-downs between the leaky planks of the platform. Using a downed tree branch(s), walking stick or poles, you could rig the poncho-tarp for wind protection.

7:54 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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There is a company called Mary Janes Orgainics that sells cheap dehydrated meals. They also sell bulk. I tend to get a 3 lb bulk of one thing and then just have that for dinner every night. Its reasonably priced and easy to make, not as convienient as the packets but much cheaper. I like thier red pesto pasta and their santa fe pasta. For lunch I go with the tuna creations from sunkist, or sometimes I find chicken in packets, then I bring wraps to eat it on, or just eat it out of the packet. Breakfast, Oatmeal, coffee, Emergen-c.

9:48 p.m. on January 26, 2010 (EST)
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ATRemy--Yeah, I just got a big order from Mary Janes Farm--3lbs of Outrageous Oatmeal and 3lbs of Mashed Potatoes and 3lbs of a Rice and Tofu thingie. Good stuff! And the Sicilian Polenta is possibly the best backpacking meal ever developed. It grows on you.

Jrod1750-- People here have good ideas and recommendations and I can only offer a few pointers. A 4 day-3 night is very short, so any gear mistake you may make won't make a big dent in your overall health. Heck, you'll only need a couple days of food and probably no stove.

As others have said, you will need to be prepared for cold and need warmth, and such warmth comes with more weight: a heavier bag, thicker pad, more clothing. I always consider the 7 Holy Nylons:



**Sleeping Bag





99% of all backpackers carry these 7. The pack can be a 7000 cubic inch load monster to a butt pack. The shelter can be a hammock or a tent or a bivy bag or a tarp. The sleeping bag can be goose down or synthetic, a quilt or a blanket. The pad can be a thin ensolite or a beefy 2 inch Thermarest or Exped Down Mat. The clothing can go from t-shirt to merino to polypro to capilene to fleece to primaloft to a $500 down parka and down pants. The food can be noncookables or all dehydrated. The water has to be carried in something.

June 20, 2018
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