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AT thru hike mid feb. departure
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David Wills
(willspower3) - F
AT thru hike mid feb. departure on 02/05/2009 21:59:44 MST Print View

Hey everyone, im leaving for the AT in a little over a week and im still tossing up a lot of gear options. Im leaving on the 15th, and it has been unseasonably cold the past few weeks. I want to be able to be good down to 0*, be comfy when at camp, and have a flexible setup to be able to lighten my load when the temps warm up. Im also having cold feet about the overall quality of the gear list (or maybe something else, anyone a psychologist?), and i dont know why. Here is what i plan as of right now-
Clothing worn
Under Armor hoodie 11 oz
wool army gloves 2 oz
gym shorts 4 oz
lightweight poly thermals 4 oz
liner socks 1 oz
Adidas Kanadia TR shoes 26 oz (size 13)

Homemade backpack 14oz
walmart egg crate pad 13oz
5x9 tarp 8 oz
meteor bivy 8oz
25* topbag 22-28oz (could make new lighter one of 5oz climashield, smaller dimensions, less foot insulation)
Cooking (1L SS pot, supercat stove, cozy, Ti folding spork, 2L water bottle, 16oz plastic jar for protein shake, bottom of milk jug bucket) 11oz
Camera + Charger 9oz
Accessory Kit (stakes, med kit, toothbrush, dr.b's, iodine, headlamp, knife, 40' dacron, WP journal, pencil, thru-hikers companion [heavy!], cotton balls, whistle, 8"x8" rag) 29 oz
Clothes carried- here is where i get a bit lost when trying to combine these with a sleep system to stay warm and be able to send things home/ trade things out. here is what i would do if i left today:
Homemade jacket 5oz/yd climashield fill- 22oz
reversible nike fleece shirt (windproof/wicking polyester side, warm fleece side)- 11oz
dri ducks jacket - 6oz
Polarguard 3D pants 3oz/yd fill- 7oz
Epic Pants- 4.5 oz
ULA rain wrap clone - 2.5 oz
1pr liner sock, 1 pr wool socks - 5oz
Cabelas synthetic booties- ~8oz - dont know the weight b/c they are shipping, but they were free
fleece mittens, fleece balaclava - 3oz
heavy wool hat- 3oz

This leaves me with a base weight of just over 12 lbs which is fine for cold weather anyway ;)

I have some other gear that could work to allowing me to drop weight after the smokies for example, but im not sure what the best options would be. I would prefer not to have to rely on home to mail me gear to a place on time, but rather drop weight on the go. here is some of my other gear:

montbell thermawrap parka 2.6oz/yd fill 14 oz
45* quilt 2.5oz/yd climashield fill 13 oz
Yet to be made vest- 4 oz primaloft fill ~6oz
YTBM Half bag- 2.5 or 5 oz climashield fill 8-14oz
Windvest to replace nike top for hiking - 3 oz. Would need something to sleep in/ town.
Big Agnes Insulated Aircore - 26oz

Also, I was wandering which items should be the first to get sent home/ traded? I appreciate the help, ive been staying up late at night because of this.

Edited by willspower3 on 02/05/2009 22:26:43 MST.

Robert Bryant
(KG4FAM) - F

Locale: Upstate
Re: AT thru hike mid feb. departure on 02/05/2009 22:37:52 MST Print View

I would wait at least a month to use that setup. The only way for it to even remotely work is if you sleep in everything you own and even then I bet you would be cold. You say you want to be good down to 0 but you are relying on all your clothes to take you down 25 degrees from the rating of your sleeping bag. That is a big difference in temperature. Too big of a gap for my tastes.

Dropping weight after the Smokies is a bad thought to even mention even if just for an example. Plenty of cold still to come after that, especially for this early of a start. You always hear to drop the winter gear after Mt Rodgers, but I have heard recently a suggestion to wait until mid may which sounds more reasonable. That puts you three months in so therefore up past Harpers Ferry before going completely over to summer gear.

Edited by KG4FAM on 02/05/2009 22:38:38 MST.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: AT thru hike mid feb. departure on 02/06/2009 04:41:08 MST Print View

I agree with above. A 25 degree bag isn't going to cut it with that early of a start. You probably need something closer to 10 + clothing.

b s
(smyth) - F
Re: AT thru hike mid feb. departure on 02/06/2009 07:42:28 MST Print View

I would anticipate that you are going to be walking through and sleeping on a lot of snow with a mid-Feb departure. Will that egg crate pad alone provide enough insulaton? Will liner socks + shoes with a mesh upper keep your feet warm while postholing and in camp? Would gaiters and a set of microspikes be beneficial?

In addition to the above comments on your sleep system, those are the first questions that come to my mind. I saw snow on top of Springer Mtn. the first week of April a few years ago. Also got a foot of snow in late April in the Smokies. I used my 15* bag through April and sent it home when I reached Damascus.

I would take that YTBM half bag or 45* quilt in addition to the 25* topbag to start at a minimum. Would also take the insulated air core in addition to the egg crate pad. ymmv. Good luck. Should be quite a trip. Enjoy.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: AT thru hike mid Feb departure on 02/06/2009 09:53:20 MST Print View

Gotta agree with everyone else here, I just don't think you have enough insulation to deal with probable conditions this time of year. I have been on a number of early spring trips in the Smokies, and it is usually still deep winter on the divide. On a thru-hike you'll be spending at least one night between Clingman's and Tricorner; Leconte has seen nighttime temps well below 0F recently, and I've spent two different nights at Tricorner where temps were around 0F. I would expect these conditions from Newfound Gap to Rodgers this time of year.

FYI I have begun planning an AT thru-hike starting next January and I'm planning on bringing a WM Antelope and down pants and hoody, total top-layer loft about 5"-5.5". A similar setup kept me really warm a couple weeks ago on an 8F night high in Linville Gorge. Tried my Marmot Hydrogen in nearly the same spot with the same layers on an 12F night; I didn't freeze, but I'm glad I didn't have to do another night like that.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: RE: AT thru hike mid Feb departure on 02/06/2009 10:49:12 MST Print View

I guess I was banking too heavily on my jacket for warmth. Its made with the same amount of insulation as what I would consider a 20-25* sleeping bag has and I figured it would get me down to 0*. bringing a half bag sounds like a good call. When I was out in the yard the other night at 10* with the clothes and a 35* bag, my upper half was fine, but my feet were very cold. I guess it couldn't hurt to bring a super comfy inflatable pad either, or maybe a foam torso length. Would a 1/8" GG pad do the trick?

Brett Grizzle
(bdgriz) - F

Locale: Northeast GA
re: At thru hike on 02/06/2009 23:59:26 MST Print View

I live in the Dahlonega area (very close to Springer Mt.) I'll go ahead and tell you that we have been having one of the coldest winters in probably 30 yrs, plenty of nights in the low teens, I'm sure it's been colder in the mountains. I'm also an AT veteran, I started in mid March 06 and used a 15 degree bag until Perisberg VA, I was glad to have it the first month, my coldest night was around 10 degrees just north of Franklin NC.

Remember that you will almost never have to carry more than 4 or 5 days of food at a time on the AT (often only 3-4 days will get you to a resupply) and 2 liters of water is plenty except maybe during mid summer in PA or NJ/NY so a little extra weight in the clothing/sleeping bag area shlouldn't be a big issue.
Also keep in mind that is rains a LOT on the AT, you'll wear your rain jacket more than you think, not just for rain but for warmth and wind protection as well, I'm not sure how well the dri ducks will hold up.

I would be glad to help you out any way I can when you get here, e-mail me at before you leave, I'll give you my cell#. Also the folks at Mountain Crossings (Neels Gap) are very helpfull, some good friends of mine work there, so that's another phone # to keep handy in case you need to be picked up somewhere early on, search for thier web site on the net to get the number.

Good luck, always expect the unexpected and above all else, just have fun no matter what, It's going to be one hell of an experience!

Edited by bdgriz on 02/07/2009 00:01:19 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: AT thru hike mid feb. departure on 02/07/2009 03:01:56 MST Print View

Where are the snowshoes?