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AT Ultralight Gearlist
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David Walters
(Skate) - F
AT Ultralight Gearlist on 09/10/2005 11:19:30 MDT Print View

Starting this post to narrow down a gearlist to do the AT starting the middle of next May going South to North in under 100 days. Giving this info so you have some ideas what temperature range I may be encountering.

ULA-P1 pack
TarpTent Squall with floor
Marmot Hydrogen 30 deg. Bag
Z-Rest 3/4 Pad
Tit. tent stakes
Trekkin poles Letki

patagonia island hopper pants
patagonia sw long sleave top
patagonia sw bottoms
smartwool light weight hikers (2 pair)
possum beanie
possum gloves
Shell mittens OR
patagonia specter rain top
specter rain pants(may leave home)
montane 3 oz windshirt
patagonia R-1 zip top (insulating top)
new balance 805's
Tilley LT3
Buff neck wrap

Giga Power Snow Peak stove
Small snow peak gas
Snow peak 600
Spork lexan
foil windscreen and lid
platy 1 L bottles (2)
aqua mira repackaged

First Aid (not sure yet)

I know I haven't listed everything yet, but I'm especially interested it what you folks have to say about my clothing choices. I was wondering if that would be sufficient or too little/too much? I have a R-1 vest and poly fill jacket, but in looking at temperature ranges I wasn't sure I would need it. Any help would be great, I read the posts everyday looking for new bp ideas. Thanks.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist on 09/10/2005 12:23:28 MDT Print View

My comments, from starting at Springer May 21 this year with the same itinerary:

Pack is fine. There are lighter options, but I've never heard a bad thing about the P1, and it will surely hold up.

I like my Squall, too, but I wouldn't use it solo on the AT. I found that I appreciated the flexibility of a tarp and headnet for pitching in crowded areas, and less weight to carry. Also much less volume. I used a GoLite Lair 2, then switched to an ID 5x8. I think you'll find that most shelters aren't too crowded at that time of year; you'll figure out soon enough whether you like them enough to stay or not.

The Hydrogen is a good choice. I used a 45deg bag, and only really stretched it 1 night in the Smokies and once on Mt. Rogers.

I never wore pants on my hike, just too warm. Always shorts, but I added LW Capilene bottoms in the evening and bedtime. It was plenty for me. I suspect you'll be fine without the rain pants, but maybe keep them ready to mail to yourself in the Whites. I wouldn't start with them.

I think the rain shell mitts are overkill. It's usually hot, so I'd switch to thinner, lighter socks that will take up less space and clean and dry more quickly. I'd subsitute a regular bandana for the Buff.

A switch to an alcohol stove will simply your life greatly for resupply. Also less bulk. I like the 16oz Platypus Sport bottle for fuel. It's .1oz heavier than the Lil' Nipper, but twice the volume.

I'd keep the R1 vest and the jacket in a bounce box for backup, so you can mix and match as you go along. The R1 zip should be fine for the most of the trail, though.

All in all, I think it looks pretty great. If you like, I can e-mail you my complete list I used to compare. Last comment: check out www.whiteblaze.net, a fantastic AT resource. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice in the forums there, too.
-Mark

Edited by mlarson on 09/10/2005 14:14:16 MDT.

David Walters
(Skate) - F
Re: Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist on 09/10/2005 14:30:27 MDT Print View

Seeing that you mention switching to a tarp and bivy instead of my squall, and using an alcohol stove (both set ups I have the equipment to use) bozeman bivy, poncho tarp, and 2 oz alcohol stove, should I switch to the uberlight G6? Or is that pushing the comfort level of a thru hike? I know comfort level is all in the eye of the beholder, but going with a tarp and bivy for the entire AT showed you no problems?

Also, what are people's takes on using shelters most of the time? Worth while or no?

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist on 09/10/2005 19:21:45 MDT Print View

Do you think everything would fit in a GG G6... even with the switch to a tarp/bivy? Remember, the G6 has no extension collar for when you're freshly loaded up with a pile of food. A G5 or Mariposa would be a better option. I can't see a G6 being thru-hike worthy. Unless you meant to say G5???

I've been looking at the Wanderlust Nomad Lite lately for a potential AT thru hike. I'm surprised this shelter doesn't get more attention. The design looks amazing. It's the same weight as a Virga with floor but with more space and amazing ventilation. One thing I find about sleeping in a Tarp Tent is that if there is a cool wind blowing... it comes right in at sleeping level with all the low netting. The Nomad Lite has all the netting up high. It's almost like a double wall tent really... and almost self-supporting... for the same weight as a Virga. Seems like a GREAT design.

Edited by davidlewis on 09/10/2005 19:25:41 MDT.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist & Wanderlust on 09/10/2005 23:37:25 MDT Print View

My main issue with the G6 would be volume and durability. I ate A LOT of food, easily 600-800ci for a 3-day load.

I did not hike the entire AT. Should have made it clear earlier that I did the southern 1/3. I didn't use a bivy, either, just a groundsheet. I used the shelters frequently because there was usually room and it allowed me to make an earlier and more efficient start. A few hours of social life was also nice, because I usually didn't see the same people more than once [mileage differences]. They also have this magnetic quality about them, despite the occasional irritating noises, stomping, snoring, mice, potheads, etc.

My thought was to carry the lightest shelter that I'm very competent with, mostly for back-up or for pushing the miles; my main shelters were those pre-built along the way. A poncho-tarp is a bit beyond my comfort range, but a small tarp is not. I guess it's balancing probabilities. The odds of a situation in which a shelter is full, there is a drastic rainstorm, there are no decent campsites, and you won't be able to dry out in a couple days... very slim. At the same time, I would have been comfortable using the 5x8 every day. There just wasn't much need to do so. I'd use the lightest items you'd be happy with day after day after day. I wouldn't want to carry around my 'heavy' Squall for 3 months, but I have friends who wouldn't want to do the daily fiddling and re-inventing that a small tarp needs. It's all good.

As for Wanderlust, the owner has developed a reputation for a couple things 1] a well-made and dependable product 2] disappearing from the face of the earth, not answering phone calls, delivering products after agonizing months without contact, and in some cases, he is alleged to have failed to deliver after payment. The forums on www.backpacker.net have lots of anecdotes. Buyer beware.
-Mark

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist on 09/11/2005 03:08:41 MDT Print View

G6 actually has a small expansion volume above shoulder straps top attachment points. my summer gear fits in the pack with the top "rolled down" to that level. the remaining volume, when the top is fully unrolled, will handle food (i would actually place the food lower so that the pack's CG will be lower). since haven't used it yet for more than an overnight, can't be much help about how many days of food might fit in that volume. the outer pocket contains windshirt, poncho-tarp, and a small stuff sack containing items that might be accessed each rest/water stop. a GG NightLight Torso Pad is affixed to the pack's back panel and so is NOT inside the pack. no spare clothes other than socks (in the shoulder straps) are carried. base pack wt. is ~4.96 lbs (calculated by summing up the wts. of the individual items, including the pack). hope this info gives you an idea of the carrying capacity of the pack.

i'm a bit hesitant to guess at the maximum volume when the top is unrolled. perhaps GVP will see this post and inform us of this.

durability: own both the G6 and the G5 (made of the same spinnaker fabric as the G6). have several hundred miles on the G5 & it still looks very good (no off-trail; the G6 is newer & so less mileage). have only recently, late spring, worn a small hole in a hipbelt pocket of the G5. it's about the size of a nickel & was created during one afternoon's stint on the trail. the fault was entirely mine as i had used some velcro to attach a water bottle to the lower portion of the shoulder strap. The "hook" portion of the velcro rubbed the spinnaker there with each stride. to put it in perspective, i'm sure that my skin would have been rubbed raw and bloody had it been subjected to similar abuse. Some duct tape repaired it and have had no further problem with that hole - i.e., it hasn't grown in size. however, the fabric appeared that it sure would have easily shredded further had the hole not been noticed and repaired with the duct tape.

Edited by pj on 09/11/2005 03:14:00 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist & Wanderlust on 09/11/2005 05:05:47 MDT Print View

Hey Mark... yes... I noticed that his delivery times, as stated on the website... are up to 3 months. And he himself admits to not answering emails due to a computer crash or something. Sounds like an excuse... but whatever. All that aside, the design does look pretty fantastic. I like the design a lot better (in theory) than the TarpTent. With all that netting above you (great for star gazing) and a "fly"... it's essentially a double walled tent for the weight of a single wall. I appreciate that he likes to make the tents himself to maintain quality control... but 3 months is a bit of a wait. And it's pretty expensive too. I'd love to see him offer his design as a DIY kit.

Thanks for the insight on the Whisper Paul! I've been thinking about getting one. I'm just not sure how I would handle water as I'm not fond of bladders (heavy and you can't really get a good big gulp) or having to open the pack or take it off to get to the back pocket to get your water. I've grown quite used to using the small side pocket of my Mariposa pack for water.

I'm gonna try using water bottles next trip (Aquafina for example) strapped to the shoulder straps with shock cord on my next trip (Adventure Racing style). Say one 500 mL bottle on each strap. That would distribute the weight nicely too... both from side to side and front to back. One thing about a 6 to 12 pound pack is that you actually noticed when it's off balance by 2 pounds (i.e. 1L of water)... lol :) Another option might be to sew some small grosgrain lash loops into the side of the whisper that you could use to attach shock cord for lashing bottles to.

Edited by davidlewis on 09/11/2005 05:07:49 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist & Wanderlust on 09/11/2005 06:47:36 MDT Print View

i shock cord either two 0.5L Platy's or two 1.0L Platy's to the shoulder straps. sometimes, i'll bungee two 0.5L Platy's to the shoulder straps near my chest & bungee two 1.0L Playt's (all with 'Sport Caps') to the lower webbing portion of the shoulder straps. gravity pulls them down as low as possible. even not having much shoulder joint flexibility, it's easy to slide them up to remove them from the bungee & drink & then replace them. also, sometimes, if there are a lot of things i want handy (i hike so slow, generally ~2mph that i won't stop for rest breaks - just water), i'll have a fanny pack (worn 180 deg backwards so it's right in front of my lower abdomen). in it i can fit another Platy, + Gu + GORP in an O.P. sak, in addt'n to bugHeatnet, gloves, lt. wt. balaclava, etc., contents vary depending upon time of yr & other conditions, e.g., later in the evening, might xfr a headlamp to there to have it handy as i move in & out of tree cover during twilight. i think you get the idea. Dancing Light Gear sells 1.75oz (total wt., not oz per yard) silnylon fanny packs if you want what might be small, lightest fanny pack.

Edited by pj on 09/11/2005 07:12:50 MDT.

John Pickron
(pre) - F
more or less on 09/24/2005 06:50:16 MDT Print View

ULA-P1 pack
TarpTent Squall with floor
Marmot Hydrogen 30 deg. Bag
Z-Rest 3/4 Pad
Tit. tent stakes
Trekkin poles Letki

patagonia island hopper pants
patagonia sw long sleave top
patagonia sw bottoms
smartwool light weight hikers (2 pair)
possum beanie
possum gloves
Shell mittens OR
patagonia specter rain top
specter rain pants(may leave home)
montane 3 oz windshirt
patagonia R-1 zip top (insulating top)
new balance 805's
Tilley LT3
Buff neck wrap

Giga Power Snow Peak stove
Small snow peak gas
Snow peak 600
Spork lexan
foil windscreen and lid
platy 1 L bottles (2)
aqua mira repackaged

First Aid (not sure yet)


GREat list--I know because I have some of the same gear--muhahaha---Mutual Admiration Club..

Try a set of windpants for day and sleep use--get 2 if ya wanted they only weight 3.3 oz patagonia houdini L. I'd leave the beige pants and the specter pants at home or bounce them...

With the weight saved==i'd upgrade to a lightweight wool longsleeve--over the longsleeve capilene. This will add 2-4oz's but try one and tell me it's not worth it...

look into adventure 16 bug bivy

ihave r1 vest also-then found pata micropuff at 6.3oz L--makes a better pillow and light enough to just leave in my bag for just that..

love my marmot hydrogen bag--

I've got an umbrella that does extra duty as a block for the front of the tarp if it's blasting... also nice as a sun shade if out on a bald...but 9oz is considerable..

Gregory Staley
(steadyed) - F
Re: Re: Re: AT Ultralight Gearlist on 11/23/2005 21:09:56 MST Print View

One essential I would never leave home without: earplugs. When you do choose to shelter (and there will be some nights when it will make good sense) they can tame the snoring beast beside you. In the woods, those birds wake plenty early. Give yourself every chance you can for a long, full, good night's sleep. As well, I hiked in a bathing suit. The legs have a tendency to bear up in cold weather better than the core. Just some thoughts. Godspeed. You will love the people out there. Spend some moments with them. BearBehind GA>ME/04

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: more or less on 11/24/2005 07:36:49 MST Print View

A couple of thoughts:

Don't be married to small canisters. While canister fuel is available all along the AT, it will often be a lot more convenient to buy a larger canister (I'm assuming that you can easily get eight or nine nights out of a large canister, as opposed to four or so out of a small one), than dealing with towning more frequently to find fuel or shipping fuel to yourself.

I heartily recommend windpants too.

Earplugs are a wise addition.

One other uncommon piece of gear that is specific to the AT: get a UPS account. Use UPS to deliver supplies as much as possible. You win three ways: UPS is lots cheaper than USPS; You can pick up your drift box or resupply packages outside of post office hour; You can also arrange pickup of your package by calling a 1-800 number and be on their way. Seriously, scheduling resupply stop around when the post office is open (especially if you are doing major days and are often into town after the post office is closed) or even getting to the post office is spread-out towns like Franklin, NC makes using UPS a great deal. The only problem is that UPS doesn't let you ship canister fuel.