A.T. Section hiker

3:16 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I am in progress of planning a section hike on the A.T. for next summer and need some help planning my 600-700 mile trip. I have never been on a trip of such magnitude, i have been on many long weekend backpacking trips and countless one night or day hikes in the Rocky Mountains in Northern and Southern Colorado. Im currently in the process of updating my gear list right now its not very far along because because alot of the gear I own I didnt mind carring on my back for a weekend but dont want to carry for 600 miles and lots of it is dated i.e. Dad's old gear that has been passed down that was bought when he was in college, 1980s. My goal is for my pack to be 35-40 lbs. Also i have not had to deal with hanging my pack for bears before because they are not very populous in Southern Colorado so some information about that would be awesome ive read a quite a few articles but nothing beats first hand.

So far my gear list consists of

Osprey Aether 60 w/bladder

Thermarest Trail

Sleeping bag (its old, i believe 30 F, I was thinking with a compression sack it would be ok because it is a little bulky but I've used it on my trips in Colorado in the summer and had no problems.)

Im still debating Tent or Hammock

Aquamira water purification

im still doing research on cooking gear and and a stove because the one I currently have is really heavey and bulky and there is no way im going to carry it on my back for 600 miles

The rest of the list is still a work in progress

Thanks for all the help!!

6:24 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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What is your time frame and where are you starting?

6:37 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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..tent!

11:08 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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If you are actually starting your trip in the summer months meaning June through August and are going South to North you could get by with a 45+ Deg bag easily and that could save you a lot of weight.

As I am starting my own A.T. section hike in Oct. I have been playing a lot with the idea of a hammock vs. a tent both have strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered, and I am still weighing them out myself. I am starting to lean more towards taking a small ultralight tent but it's still up in the air especially considering it would only be an emergency shelter if I could not make it to an actual A.T. designated shelter.

Don't worry too much about the bear bagging, most if not all shelters have a steel cable system setup that is easily used to hang your pack/ food bag.

11:21 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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I have Job ties through the first week or so of June and have College classes starting back up in the last week in august so I would like to spend about 2 months on the trail, Mid June through Mid August. I would like to start in Georgia, even though it will be really hot but have not made that a final decision. Why I want to start there is because I would like to complete the entire trail over a course of three summers and just pick up where I left off the previous summer.

1:45 a.m. on July 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Yea, during that time of year it will be really HOT and humid, this in some ways can be used to your advantage by using a summer sleeping bag like the Deuter Dreamlite 500 or a Marmot Trestles Trails. You could also consider using an alcohol stove or a canister stove like the Snowpeak Litemax.

Also you might want to take into consideration the random thunderstorms/ hard short rains throughout the summer in determining your shelter, if you do go with the hammock make sure you have a big fly for it.

1:47 p.m. on July 28, 2010 (EDT)
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Ok Thanks! I have not looked into the alcohol stoves yet I was looking at the Snowpeak giga, MSR Pocket Rocket and the Brunton Raptor so far, because ive heard some fairly good things about all of them and they are lite.

Storms have played a major role in my selection of my shelter, also that August is hurricane season and create many storms if one were to hit land while I was on the trail. So far the only advantage Ive found from having a tent is that it can protect you from the wind easier than a hammock but rain wise with a tarp rig correctly everyone that Ive talked to hasnt had a problem with the hammock and the tarp when it comes rain.

12:31 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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If your still deciding,perhaps I can Be of some help. I`ve lived and hiked on the a.t. most of my hiking days. First I would like to commend you on asking us like you did instead of already thinking you know it all, as many people who go unprepared are wanton to do. I know that the last long trip I took I had no trouble finding alchohol at virtually all hiker oriented stops along the trail and each town has gas stations and some hardware stores. I1ve used hammocks for most of my life but recently went to a oneman tent and tarp combo but only to save some weight. But in the warm weather you plan to go in a tarp and hammock is probably the lightest way as you`ll not need under insulation. And yea, aquamira is the best choice on the a.t..

3:52 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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So Ive been doing some more research into the Hammock idea and have narrowed down my decision to a Grand Trunk or an NEO to take with me on a weekend backpacking trip to South Eastern Oklahoma, there is actually trees down there, in oklahoma imagine that. I feel that after that trip I can make a better decision on what works for me because I don't want to get on the trail for an extended period of time and not have my form of shelter work for me.

Back to the alcohol stoves, I know that they usually burn cooler than a butane stove and usually require more fuel, from what Ive found out so far if that information is correct. also I have heard of people making their own stoves out of food or drink cans to save wieght. I have never used an alcohol stove before and know very little about them. I have used the butane stoves with out any problem in trips in the past but I have never gone on a trip of this magnitude where resupply is necessary. I know that most outfitters carry butane because of its popularity but also since im on a budget that also plays a factor. Cost wise though does a alcohol stove save you money and wieght versus a butane stove?

4:07 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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I have a Grand Trunk Ultralight Hammock and a 2 person ENO and like them both a lot, I would take the Ultralight because it's only 12 oz or you could look at the Nano 7.

look at http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htm thats where I found the info to make my stove.

8:14 p.m. on July 29, 2010 (EDT)
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If you are serious about it, I can help and save you time. My 7 to 10 day pack weight, including food but no water is around 20 lbs. and that was on the A.T. last Dec/Jan when I did about 450 miles solo.

I've done alot of research, thinking and even gear making because some of what I wanted did not exist, but most of my techniques are easily available if you know where to look.

I'd like to contact you outside of a public forum such as this, not sure how to do it, but can start here. Let me know. Good Luck to you.

TheThriftstoreMountaineer

uSa

9:36 a.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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I wonder if any official test has been done on this since alcohol is now so popular. If you are actually cooking rather than just boiling water, a propane set up is superior in all aspects. I personally just make meals that just need to be brought to a boil, as freeze dried and instant and the occasional coffee and tea. So for me alcohol is best and as I said the most available, Not much heavier than food that cant be cooked cause you ran out of fuel and can`t find any. With the low weight of an alcohol stove you could take one along as an emergency spare if you decide to go with propane. Bum the emergency alcohol from other hikers.

5:48 p.m. on July 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Most of the food I am looking into taking is food that just needs boiling water, whether it be freeze dried or instant meals where u just add boiling water. Nothing extensive I like to keep things like that simple. I really just want to take one or the other, alcohol or butane not both just becuase I want to keep my pack weight low and save as much space as possible. I know that they both can be light wieght but I dont feel that bringing two stoves is practical. Whereas I could use that space for something thing else I feel useful but might not bring if I had two stoves or just save that space.

Thethriftstoremountaineer I have a general yahoo email that I use seperate from my school and work emails as more of a personal email you are more than welcome to contact me there, curtblanks@yahoo.com

I love to hike and really want to get into alot more backpacking since Ive been on a handful of trips and I loved them, im HOOKED. I feel that I know some but there is always more you can learn and I want to learn as much as possible about it. Goes to show, Im not a big reader never have, Ive bought and read 4 books in the past two weeks that are about individuals expireinces with backpacking and just about backpacking in general. So please feel free to shoot me an email anytime! Im always up for sharing ideas.

3:35 p.m. on July 31, 2010 (EDT)
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if you really want to save weight, i have the BEST solution. it only costs $1.99 and weighs next to nothing.....earplugs. since you are hiking the AT, you should just stay in the shelters. its a much better experience that way. you aren't an AT hiker until you can sleep peacefully with a pair of feet on either side of your head. leave the tent and hammock at home! better yet, save yourself the $ and get an ultralite sleeping bag (1lb) with it. i just saved you at least 5lbs and made you a bunch of new friends!

1:39 p.m. on August 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Yes that is a way to save wieght and money, but I dont want to limit myself to staying in the shelters. I know on certain portions you are required to but in areas where you are not required to stay in the shelters I hate to put limitations on my trip because I have to stay in a shelter because I didnt bring one on my back. Besides I feel that you may never know when you need a shelter and no matter where you are on the trail its only a couple minutes of setup away(if that).

Thank you for the Idea though, its just not for me.

12:28 p.m. on August 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Definitly shelter living is not for everyone. I`ve rolled into shelters after a long day and found them already full of people of all kinds as you can imagine, from smash your bottle on a rock when done types to the dozen children type. It is really a wise choice to have an alternitive method of camping.

October 21, 2014
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