About | Blog | Forums | People | Free Newsletter
Trailspace is a product review site for outdoor enthusiasts. Use it to find and share great gear.

Appalachian essentials?

4:38 p.m. on May 30, 2008 (EDT)
8 reviewer rep
20 forum posts

Anybody with experience, please share what equipment you thought was absolutely necessary, what gear you could have left behind, and what gear you wish you had brought on the Appalachian trail. I'm doing a trip this summer and would greatly appreciate your advice. Thanx.

8:41 p.m. on May 30, 2008 (EDT)
26 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

Your question is too general. For example, shelter, sleeping bag, stove, and rain gear are essentials, along with the backpack. Within each of those are many options. Maybe you have already decided on those, so what gear are you most concerned about. What section of the trail are you planning to hike? What month? You might describe the sleeping bag you are planning to use and ask for opinions about its temperature rating. What is the volume of your pack? Ask about your shelter, stove, or sleeping pad. Is your pad a full length or 3/4 or torso? You might ask about the number of layers one should take for a specific section during a specific time period or the specifics about one layer. What do you use for rain gear? Describe your cooking gear. How far do you plan to hike? How are you planning your re-supply? The AT is one of my favorite places to be. I would be glad to chip in my opinions on you questions.

1:57 p.m. on June 1, 2008 (EDT)
26 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

But..here is a specific answer for you! I would take with you copied pages from either of these two guide books that refer specifically to the section of trail you plan to hike. No need to take the whole book.

http://www.appalachianpages.com/
or
http://www.trailplace.com/hb_2008edition.html

Also carry the AMC maps that cover your planned route. I always carry a compass.

3:26 p.m. on June 1, 2008 (EDT)
8 reviewer rep
20 forum posts

Wow. I didn't realize my question was so open-ended. But your right. I'm going with about 5 other guys July 9-15 on a 50-miler ending at Fontana Dam, NC. Alot of my gear I'm confident with. However, I've been told it gets "chilly" at night and at the same time "warm" at night. These two sources obviously were thinking of different sections of the trail. Do you know the evening conditions of this area (Nantahala NF)? I have a Thermarest Z-Lite. Will I even need it? Are warm pants essential? I didn't want to have to bring long johns or whatnot but I have a microfleece pullover by Columbia and I'm using the GoLite Virga jacket. Any info will be helpful.

11:08 p.m. on June 1, 2008 (EDT)
26 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

I passed through there in April. It was rainy, but not cold. A Z-lite will be fine and you will be glad to have its padding if you sleep on a shelter floor. You will not need "warm pants" or long johns, but even on a warm day when you stop and start to cool down you might well be chilly. I use Golite Reed rain pants as my "warm pants". Those are the only long pants I carry. If you do not carry rain pants, consider converta pants. For a long sleeve shirt I use a zip neck long underwear top and a 100 weight fleece or a light wool sweater. A fleece over a t-shirt is usually enough for the evenings, or the other top over your T. I have a dry T only for use in camp. It is nice to have the extra long sleeve in case of a cold rainy day where I need a long sleeve shirt to keep warm which means it might get wet, too. With your Golite Virga you have plenty of warmth. (So, IMO, 2 t-shirts, one long sleeve shirt, one fleece, Golite Virga = plenty for your upper layers)
Although there is a shelter and a campsite within a mile or two north and south of NOC, the NOC is a great place to stay. Inexpensive, showers, laundry mat, nice kitchen and bunks. (Pick up a towel and soap when you check in to save a hike back down from the cabins later!)
There is also a nice new shelter that was not on my map or in the guidebook. It is north of Wayah Bald, just beyond the junction of the Bartram Trail. It has a nice view and is only a few yards off the trail. Water is near by, too. (There is a tourist privy right on the trail at Wayah Bald!)
There is a nice campsite at the southern Junction of the Bartram trail just south of Wayah, and I lugged water up to it from a good spring right on Forest Service road #69, 1/2 mile south of the campsite. At some of the road crossings you will find trash barrels, so have your trash handy.
Check the map contour of the trail north of NOC. Prepare for plenty of ups, though good weather will reward you on the grassy summit of Cheoah Bald. If you plan to reach Brown Fork Gap in one day from NOC, brace yourself for the last mile or so. It goes straight up hill! Hike that and you will have hiked one of the toughest sections anywhere along the AT. There is also a spring just beyond the shelter and down to your right off the trail. The campsite there is not too level, however, so hike around another bend, if you still have the energy.
Just the opposite of what I expected, cell phone reception was great at NOC, but poor, if any, at Fontana Dam. There is a pay phone at the Admin building, just beyond the showers. Why are there free showers? They were originally outdoor showers built for the "colored people" who worked building the Dam in the 1930's. there is also plenty of parking at the Dam and the shelter is only a few yards from the road near the Dam. NC is beautiful. Enjoy your hike.

2:01 p.m. on June 2, 2008 (EDT)
8 reviewer rep
20 forum posts

Thanks alot. I feel more comfortable with my gear list already. And I'll be sure to use your help in my planning.

3:20 p.m. on June 2, 2008 (EDT)
26 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

One more note. The kitchen at NOC has a full size gas stove and a refrig. You have to supply your own pot.

9:32 p.m. on June 2, 2008 (EDT)
8 reviewer rep
20 forum posts

Haha. Good to know. Thanx.

7:12 a.m. on June 5, 2008 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
169 forum posts

Everyone has their own comfort thresholds, but personally I cannot imagine anything more useless than warm pants or long johns in North Carolina in mid July.

11:38 a.m. on June 5, 2008 (EDT)
26 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

My warm pants and only long legged pants are Golite Reed rain pants with a zipper added at the foot so that I can take them on or off with boots on. And, yes, I have worn them in the summer. One August in the Smokies something was itching my ankles and lower legs something fierce as I hiked along. The long pants solved the annoyance. I rarely, if ever hike without them.

8:44 p.m. on June 5, 2008 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
169 forum posts

I'm a shorts guy until you get temps into the low 50's (inactive) or mid 40's (active) - I guess we've all got our own comfort levels. I tried a pair of nylon "hiking" pants - very light - felt like I was wearing a sauna suit (at least how I imagine one would feel).

April 24, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: multifuel primus stoves: gravity or MF Newer: LaSportiva Spantiks
All forums: Older: Lincoln Hall Newer: La Sportiva Spantiks