Gear list for 40 mile hike on the AT

2:01 p.m. on October 23, 2009 (EDT)
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What would you guys add, keep or take away?

Gear:
Tent (optional) Sleeping bag, Sleeping pad, Bivy sack, Properly fitted, sturdy internal/external frame backpack, Head lamp with extra batteries, Stove w/ extra fuel/LNT fire bowl, Dryer lint, Waterproof matches, Flint and steel, Waterproof jacket and pants, Synthetic socks and sock liners, Sturdy hiking boots or shoes w/ camp shoes (sandals/crocs etc…) Hat/sunglasses, Sunscreen, Duck tape/mole skin Synthetic layers: pants, shirts, under garments NO COTTON!! Handkerchief or bandanna/trail towel, First Aid Kit w/ Benadryl, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen Biodegradable camp soap/toiletries/toilet paper/baby wipes/Gold Bond/dental floss, Topo map/compass/GPS Bear bag, rope, and carabiners.

I'm hiking from Newfound Gap to Fontana Dam December 28-31

I already have a food list.

4:53 p.m. on October 23, 2009 (EDT)
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Bic lighter, back up light, poncho or rain suit, camera.

Cold weather clothing, many people get caught by surprise with sudden cold snaps / freezes during winter months in this region. The topography plays a big role in this, and below the Blue Ridge Escarpment (NC /SC state line) cold air damming can freeze the LOWER elevations and this also catches people off guard. So be prepared and you will have a great time I'm sure.

You will give us a trip report won't you?

5:48 p.m. on October 26, 2009 (EDT)
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Yeah I am going to keep a journal and then i'll post it when i get back.

12:56 p.m. on October 27, 2009 (EDT)
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why a tent and bivy?

how about good wool socks instead of synthetic w/ liners?

personally never found much use for "camp-shoes", just always prefered to loosen the laces on my boots, or go bear-foot. :)

2:09 p.m. on October 27, 2009 (EDT)
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I have decided against the tent and just bringing my bivy now.

4:22 p.m. on October 27, 2009 (EDT)
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Asprin for your first aid kit. If you (God forbid) or someone you came across were having a heart attack, it very well could save a life. Ibuprofen can not do the same.

2:50 a.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm about to get hung alive... but why are you taking a map, compass, gps, and bear bag for the AT? All of the shelters have lines to hang your foodstuff (gear can go inside the shelter).. and the trail is very easy to pick out.. its the "Interstate 95" of trails in the Smokies.

So I'm either overconfident or just stupid, but I typically only take the Hikers Guide (little brown book) to the Smokies - I don't recall ever taking a map, compass, and GPS with me..


(awaits the lashings)

8:31 a.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm about to get hung alive... but why are you taking a map, compass, gps, and bear bag for the AT? All of the shelters have lines to hang your foodstuff (gear can go inside the shelter).. and the trail is very easy to pick out.. its the "Interstate 95" of trails in the Smokies.

So I'm either overconfident or just stupid, but I typically only take the Hikers Guide (little brown book) to the Smokies - I don't recall ever taking a map, compass, and GPS with me..

(awaits the lashings)

The reason I am taking a GPS, map and compass is because I am putting together a trip plan with exact milage for the backpacking merit badge for boy scouts plus I still need a little work with map and compass.

8:49 a.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm about to get hung alive... but why are you taking a map, compass, gps, and bear bag for the AT? All of the shelters have lines to hang your foodstuff (gear can go inside the shelter).. and the trail is very easy to pick out.. its the "Interstate 95" of trails in the Smokies.

So I'm either overconfident or just stupid, but I typically only take the Hikers Guide (little brown book) to the Smokies - I don't recall ever taking a map, compass, and GPS with me..

(awaits the lashings)

We are a compassionate bunch travelnate, we will not hang you alive, good rope costs too much these days.

Here is MY reason for carrying a map & compass on well established trails.

Practice! The best time to learn navigation skills is when you are not lost, or not at risk of becoming lost.

But you are correct, if someone gets lost on the AT God help them. Of course it has happened before, The Governor of SC, Mark Sanford was hiking on the AT and took a wrong turn, he ended up in Argentina!

8:31 p.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
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OMG, the AT goes to Argentina?!

11:17 p.m. on October 29, 2009 (EDT)
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It does for Mark Sanford.

4:25 p.m. on October 31, 2009 (EDT)
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You're traveling with scouts, right? Don't forget the hand sanitizer.

Items not mentioned yet:

extra garbage bags

water treatment method of choice

chap stick

whistle

I agree with bringing a map and compass. Despite many of these trails being obvious, the map and compass are good ways to check where you are in case you think you might have missed the turn at a junction, and for seeing potential routes out should your itinerary change for unforseen reasons. The Trails Illustrated version of the park is a good one. And set firm ground rules about everyone waiting at trail junctions if you have some that hike significantly faster or slower than others in the group. If a scout takes the wrong trail and he is ahead of or behind you, you won't know it for hours. The periodic trail junctions are good for making sure everyone is still together and going the right way.

The carabiner is a good idea as a backup method of attaching your bag to the cables when you hang it at night. Some bears will yank on the cables, and since it is a simple hook on the cable your food bag can be shaken loose. Use the carabiner to secure your bag. And do not leave food unattended in the shelters even for a minute. That is an open invitation to the resident mice.

I don't carry heavy rope - parachute cord or similar is usually sufficient.

Sounds like fun. Keep up with the weather forecast before you leave to see how cold it might get up there - count on 15-20 degrees colder than Knoxville if the atmosphere is unstable. It can actually be warmer up there in the winter if the air is very calm, since there is often an inversion in the valley.

5:55 p.m. on October 31, 2009 (EDT)
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Good advise on keeping the group safe by waiting for others to catch up at trail junctions, especially with impulsive young ones.

About those mice, short story here: Several years ago I was tenting close to a shelter, I was camping / backpacking solo with my dog.

I went on a quick fishing trip, 'bout 30 minutes. I had left my dog in the tent, leashed to a tree through the tent door. Something i don't do anymore BTW. It was February and not a soul in sight, so I wasn't too concerned.

When I got back and entered the tent, I discovered my dog had dug a hole in my tent floor, and there was dirt all over my stuff.

After counting to ten, I set about fixing the mess as best as I could. While breaking camp the next morning I found a dead field mouse under my tent, looked like it had been chewed on a bit.

Go figure.

10:39 p.m. on November 1, 2009 (EST)
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trout, you'd really carry that high grade of a rope ? :)

or is that your luxury item. Mine is always liquor. I could never part away from it.

11:48 p.m. on November 1, 2009 (EST)
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Naw not really, I don't climb, so the cheaper stuff works fine for me.

I usually carry a small bit of spirits to help me relax and enjoy myself, but tying one on is not a safe practice for me, it makes me sick and I get terrible hangovers for some reason, maybe a good thing. I prefer Captain Morgans or Brandy, in moderation. I think it is wise to keep a clear head in the back country.

I have used the 151 in my alcohol stove before, but it does not perform too well.

6:59 p.m. on November 2, 2009 (EST)
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you aren't supposed to cook the 151....

7:00 p.m. on November 2, 2009 (EST)
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omg.. one more post and you are at 1,500!!!!!

7:56 p.m. on November 2, 2009 (EST)
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Yeah well, your right.

I don't worry about post count though, I've tied my shoes a lot of times too, still mess it up a lot. HaHa

Post count doesn't make you right, just means you run your mouth a lot! Um.....sorry Bill, and others, just joking you know.

I used to have a gear list for the AT, I have no clue where it is. Then again, at the time I had no clue about proper gear really. I was just having fun.

4:49 p.m. on November 3, 2009 (EST)
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I'm still trying to figure out why you'd try to boil 151. Unless its a new way to repeal those damn mosquiterz

5:21 p.m. on November 3, 2009 (EST)
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Hmmm...hadn't thought of that!

Bill s. says Ultrathon works best on mosquitoes, but they won't hold still long enough to get any on them.

Last time I hiked the AT, I used 100 DEET, got some on my compass and it melted the side of the compass a little. That's mean stuff.

10:08 p.m. on November 3, 2009 (EST)
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I always carry a map and compass when hiking the AT. For the GSNP the AT trail map is also the Nat. Geographic map for the park. GPS optional. The AT is highlighted, but all of the other trails are shown. When I come to a junction, I like to know where I am on the map, so I can caculate ETA at the next point of interest, either another junction, road or shelter. I also like knowing the contours. I have road maps in my car, I have trail maps in my pack or pocket. I carry a compass just like some might include matches. Emergencies. One can not walk in the woods for very long on a straight line without a compass.

Winter in the Smokies, I would probably carry a zero degree bag or at least a 20 degree bag. I would not carry a tent, but would have some sort of protection or shelter in case I could not make it to a shelter. Wool hat, mittens and water-proof shells. I want to keep my hands both warm and dry.

Try to calculate just the right amount of fuel. Do not carry much extra. Fuel is heavy. Have a flexible water container in case the water source is low or shallow, so that it is easy to scoop up water. If you are using a filter be sure water does not freeze up in it. Do not force water through, it will get through, but burst the filter, so the water will not get filtered.

Why take a guidebook? Just take the pages you need, or copy them, so you just carry a few pages, not the whole HEAVY book.

http://www.trailplace.com/hb_2009edition.html

Have fun.

8:49 p.m. on November 9, 2009 (EST)
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I think you should bring some bungee cords too. They are lightweight and you can always find a use for them....next to rope they are one of the best tools in camping

11:02 a.m. on November 10, 2009 (EST)
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I agree about the compass. I bring one just to familiarize myself to my surroundings, see if moss really grows on trees a certain way, etc.. I doubt the indians made quartz/wood/water compasses either.

10:36 a.m. on November 12, 2009 (EST)
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Thanks again for the feedback, you guys are a big help!

12:39 p.m. on December 14, 2009 (EST)
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Didn't see a pack saw on your list for down wood. Did the other side from Newfound to I-40 in October with 8" of snow and a fire at night was great.

4:01 p.m. on December 14, 2009 (EST)
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I am looking forward to to snow if it does, considering I am going in late December, plus it will make the hike a little more challenging.

6:05 p.m. on December 18, 2009 (EST)
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Snow is great as long as the boots will keep it out. But if it starts to melt, you will be in deep slush since the AT is worn into the ground in many places. Been there, done that (with the scouts).

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