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UL long distance list
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Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
UL long distance list on 02/12/2006 11:18:20 MST Print View

I have mentioned in the forums that I plan to thru hike the Appalachain trail in about 5 years. So for a couple of months, I have been working on a thru hike gear list. But this list is not only designed for the AT, because planning for a trip 5 years ahead of time is kind of foolish, so this list is more of a long distance list, that may be changed for special trips, for example. I beleive a bear canister is required while hiking the jhon muir, so that will be added.
But anyway I wrote up this list intending to create a very functional gear kit, not sacrificing anything, like I may on weekend trips.

I did the best I could on my own, And I like what I have come up with, but I am now asking you for recomondations.
Keep in mind though, I am not looking for the lightest gear, I already have a 3.5lb load for weekend trips, for a thru hike, I want durability, funtion and comfort.
if you compare my two lists, you will be suprised at how different they are, I would never carry this much stuff for a weekend, but I would never carry that little for a thru hike. I think I balanced it well, an 8 pound load in a pack comfortable to 30 may be more comfortable than my 3lb load in a pack suitable for 15. so I dont think the extra weight will affect my comfort at all

01.50 Headsweats super Visor
03.70 Under armour metal short sleeve TOP
04.00 Golite Marathon shorts
01.20 Wrightsock double layer coolmesh socks
30.00 Salomon XA pro 3D

06.40 BMW Stix pro trekking poles w/ duct tape
01.50 spectra lanyard with photon light, whistle, swiss mini champ, and Inka ti pen
02.60 Garmin Foretrex GPS watch

14.00 Golite Dawn
00.10 homemade stake bag
00.90 3x Med. NANO stuff sacks for clothing, Bag & food
00.20 1x small NANO syuff sack for essentials

09.50 Integral designs sil poncho tarp
01.70 BMW hi vis tent stakes (8)
00.30 Air core spectra 2 guy lines
03.70 Torso sized Nightlight
18.00 GOlite featherlite sleeping bag
05.50 Ti goat bivy

00.20 Tuna can esbit stove
00.20 foil windscreen
02.50 snow peak 450 ti mug with foil lid
01.00 2 bic lighters
00.50 lexan soup spoon
01.80 platypus 1 liter bottles (2)
01.00 40feet dyneema bear bag cord

02.50 Petzl tikka plus
01.00 homemade first aid kit essentials
02.50 packtowel, finger tip toothbrush, tp, & Dr. bronners for washing & toothpaste
01.00 banana boat spf 30 faces
00.50 ID, money, information

06.40 Mont bell stretch wind Pants
05.60 Mont bell stretch wind jacket
04.50 Golite lite weight long sleeve shirt
01.20 wrightsock double layer coolmesh socks
01.50 Reebok fleece hat

worn or carried 3.1 lbs
in pack 5.4 lbs

I am still trying to decide whether the montbell #5 or golite feather lite sleeping bag is a better option, along with BMW these are my top three fav. companies. tough decision they are the same weight, similar temp rating. MB has a hood and zipper, but golite has higher down rating and more breathable fabric

Edited by ryanf on 07/11/2006 08:22:46 MDT.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: UL long distance list on 02/12/2006 21:00:08 MST Print View

Overall, it looks like the list makes a lot of sense. I'd make some changes based on personal preference, though.
-I can't do the bag liner thing. Drives me crazy. I'd reinvest those ounces in a slightly larger shelter. I'd also take the GoLite bag over the Montbell because I'm a stomach sleeper and get tired of breathing into the hood.
-Wrightsocks dual-layer are fragile. I'd go with cycling socks [love those colors!] or thin merino wool.
-I'd switch to trekking poles to single-piece carbon fiber model. I've enough experience to trust mine. Leki's do offer the adjustability and great warranty, though. Add some weight back in a BMW Torsolite pad, or similar, with a GG Thinlight.
-GPS is overmuch for me. Maybe a lighter alti-watch, or my basic Timex. Put the weight back in with compass, databooks, and map if needed.
-I'd also ditch the cellphone, charger, and one of the notebooks. Reinvest the weight in a warmer bag, and a more beefy rain jacket, like an OR Zealot. I'd also add in a windshirt.

But it does look like a great list that makes a lot of sense. I just wanted to offer a different way of allocating that approximate weight load based on personal preferences.

Michael Demchak
(mikey) - F

Locale: new england
comfort level on a thru-hike... on 02/13/2006 11:54:31 MST Print View

nice gear list Ryan, i deffinitly agree with a lot of your choices. just curious are you going to bring like an mp3 player or radio? i find it helps me zone out, during the somewhat boring lonely stretches of a trail. but thats deffinitly a personal thing. anyway I plan on hiking the AT next year, and i to am thinking a lot about gear, even more then i think about pretty ladies (which is a lot ;) ) the thing that im curious about is,the way your body and mind will view what is comfortable after a few months. for instance, when hiking the Long trail this summer, i saw a hiker heading south and in his golite dawn, all he was pretty much carrying was a fleece liner, a pair of long johns and some food. he told me that he had hiked the AT the year before, and he doesnt need much anymore to be comfortable. of course he was shelter hoping, but even just the fact he has no pad, and sleeping on hard wood floors every night eating cold food. he seemed very happy even though for me i would be pretty uncomfortable and cold. so i wounder how ones comfort level changes over the course of a few months. has anyone ever experianced a big comfort level change during a long hike? should something like this be expected?

Edited by mikey on 02/13/2006 11:59:05 MST.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: UL long distance list on 02/13/2006 14:12:43 MST Print View

I'll raise one big eyebrow on this list.

A down jacket on the AT is a bad idea. If you are a northbounder, especially, you will have several extremely cold and rainy periods in your first months. 35F and hosing rain isn't optimum conditions for a down jacket. Even with raingear layered over it you are going to be constantly struggling to keep that jacket dry. I' heartily recommend a synthetic insulated jacket even though it adds extra weight.

If you feel you need to take the cellphone (and I can't blame you, they've proven immensely useful to me on AT trips), you at least should put the charger in a drift box. It isn't like you'll be able to charge on the trail very often anyway.

Be careful about having one "list" for your through-hike. Conditions change quite a bit over the course of a trip that long, and while your list looks quite reasonable for Maine and New Hampshire and Vermont and more-or-less okay for the deep South in early spring (except for that down jacket) your clothing list is total overkill for points north of Daleville, VA.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: UL long distance list on 02/13/2006 16:37:52 MST Print View

Thanks guys.

thanks, I will probably go with the golite bag, I am used to hoodless bags, and the hoods can be uncomfortable sometimes.
The liner I have is light, it is an insurance peice of gear, that will keep me warm when the temperature drops, but most of all it will be folded up and used as a pillow or folded under the legs for extra insulation, and can be my main bag for those hot and humid nights of the hike.
I have never had a problem with my wright socks, never had a blister with them.
I like the adjustable poles for certain tarp set ups, but I may switch to some BMW trekking poles, but right now I have no experience with single peice poles.

I hope to get one of those cell phones with mp3 capabilities. If not I may add a small high gear mp3 player.
but for now I will say that my cell phone has mp3 and will add the head phones weight
A couple of days ago, there was a thread on fast packing, and it got me thinking about minimalist camping, its not for my thru hike, but for weekend trips, I will basically bring a liner, sleeping bag cover, rain jacket and first aid kit, in a camelbak with non cook food. and a lighter and mp1 water purifacation tabs. but this is only for trips I feel like running. But this light load, will let me go 60 miles in two days.

You are right, A montbell thermawrap jacket or BMW cocoonwill probably apear on my list,
I live in VA, and I am sure some of my family will visit me for a weekend on the trail, any clothes or gear I think I dont need anymore, or havent used enough to carry the weight will be sent home with them, this will probably include the rain mitts and mabey the tights.

thanks again

Edited by ryanf on 02/13/2006 18:03:06 MST.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
UL long distance list on 02/16/2006 18:53:18 MST Print View

I am thinking I can loose a ounce and a half and another peice of gear if I can use my pack cover as a bear bag,
do you think that a ID sil pack cover would work if you cinch up the draw cord tight to make a bag?

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: UL long distance list on 02/22/2006 12:58:29 MST Print View

I dident get a reply so I will ask again.

Do you think an ID sil pack cover could work as a bear bag for up to 4-5 days of food?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UL long distance list on 02/22/2006 13:14:31 MST Print View

Ryan, I will offer a suggestion about your question.

Q- "Do you think an ID sil pack cover could work as a bear bag for up to 4-5 days of food?"

A-If your pack cover will close up like a bag why not? I would load up your pack cover with the weight you think your food would weigh and hang it up in a tree in your yard or someplace and see how it works.

I plan to "try" and use my Gravity Water Filter bag for a food bag when hiking along the AT or other trails in the East. Haven't tried it yet but I see no reason why it will not work. I don't use a pack cover but will have a couple of stuff sacks that I could also try.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: UL long distance list on 02/22/2006 13:23:07 MST Print View

thanks Bill,

I dident even think about stuff sacks, if there is not enough room in the pack cover I have a bunch of stuff sacks to string up. as well.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: UL long distance list on 02/22/2006 14:45:25 MST Print View

pack cover/food bag?
Consider what happens in the rain. Will your pack cover fill with water? That would be a miserable outcome.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Re: UL long distance list on 02/22/2006 14:49:38 MST Print View


any suggestions, to keep water out.

I could twist the top and secure with a ruberband or something

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UL long distance list on 02/22/2006 15:26:37 MST Print View

Speaking for myself:
1st - Hang it up-side down and the rain?? can't get in. At night if I was using a pack cover as my food bag my pack and gear would be under what ever I was using - tart or tent or a shelter.

2nd - My pack material is waterproof but everything that needs to stay dry is also in a waterproof stuff sack - light Cuben Fiber.

3rd - whose 's, on third, I don't know. No, I don't know, is on .......................

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
UL long distance list - Can the pack cover. on 02/22/2006 15:55:59 MST Print View

Personally I'd ditch the pack cover all together. It’s one item of gear that becomes more useless the more it’s needed. A pack cover may work for a short duration rain storm but after 4 or 5 days of on and off rain, it becomes useless. Your gear is just as soaked as if you didn’t have the cover. A long distance hike isn’t like a short weekend jaunt. You’re going to get wet, your feet are going to be wet and your gear is going to get wet.

What’s important is learning to protect the gear that’s really important, sleeping bag, extra clothes, etc. I prefer placing them in a heavy plastic bag inside your pack. A trash compactor bag works great for this. They’re tough, cheap, light and will last most if not all the journey. A wet pack, tent and other gear may not be fun but a wet sleeping bag and no dry backup clothes can do much more than simply ruin your day.

I know some people say that pack covers keep the pack from soaking up excess moisture. But with ultralight packs there isn’t that much moisture the fabric can hold. Besides that, the pack will soak up water simply from the high humidity. Also the areas that are most prone to moisture absorption (back panel, hip belt and shoulder straps) aren’t protected.

The other arguments of keeping the pack clean and providing additional protection against abrasion also diminish as pack weights and sizes decline. Smaller packs have less chance of catching on brush when hiking. At camp they can easily be brought inside any ultralight shelter. Plus they are frequently used either for additional insulation under the legs or as a pillow.


Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: UL long distance list - Can the pack cover. on 02/22/2006 16:40:48 MST Print View

thanks Ron,

I know those pack covers are not that reliable, But for a thru hike I decided I would rather have seperate rain gear than carry my poncho tarp

the dyneema in my jam pack is waterproof, but I want a little extra protection provided by the cover.

I dont usually use a cover, but I think with a cover, and WP pack is a good combo

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Re: UL long distance list - Can the pack cover. on 02/22/2006 17:20:01 MST Print View

>> I dont usually use a cover, but I think with a cover, and WP pack is a good combo <<

I understand the desire for a bit more protection. However you need to really understand what you're trying to protect and how potentially vulnerable it may be.

If your expectations for the pack cover is to keep the contents of the pack dry. It's a recipe that's likely to fail, especially with long durations of rain you're likely to find on the AT.

It's either find better water protection or be stuck hiking from shelter to shelter, thus using the shelters as an extension of your gear. This is something that's generally not considered a wise idea, though it's certainly done.

Even if you carry a pack cover, you should still plan on carrying something that provides maximum water protection. This is in addition to general waterproof stuff sacks like the silnylon or cubin fiber ones.

I know this seems like overkill but water can easily pool in the bottom of a pack and soak through most common stuff sacks.

You can minimize the pack weight and reduce the redundancy by protecting what is really important and not worrying about the rest.

Just thought I'd share a bit of knowledge having already traveled painfully through that experience. In the end, like all long distance hikers, you'll have to find what works for you. Failure is a harsh task master and the best teacher.


Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Re: UL long distance list - Can the pack cover. on 02/22/2006 17:39:20 MST Print View

Thanks Ron, You may have saved me from some misirable nights at camp with wet gear and clothing, I think I will replace some of my stuff sacks with sea to summit sil dry sacks. at least for my sleeping bag and clothing.

and if not dry sacks, I will line the stuff sacks.

Edited by ryanf on 02/22/2006 18:49:25 MST.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: UL long distance list - Can the pack cover. on 02/22/2006 18:47:05 MST Print View

>However you need to really understand what you're trying to protect and how potentially vulnerable it may be.

Thanks, Ron. When I read your first message I was wondering how things would get wet if you kept your pack covered all the time, but then what you said about 'humidity' sunk in. Wet air getting on, around and under the pack cover would eventually transfer sufficient moisture under the pack cover to wet things out.

I'm definitely going to pay more attention to my stuff sacks. Most are waterproof but I've been lazy about seam-sealing some of them. No more. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: UL long distance list - Can the pack cover. on 02/22/2006 21:42:06 MST Print View

I sortof agree with Ron on not using a pack cover on thruhikes except that they are so handy for so much stuff. But he's dead right that your pack will get wet from the back (a good reason to use a poncho), and that it isn't so much of an issue with UL packs and that good internal sacks make more sense.

A pack cover makes sense only if you use it for multiple duty. Examples:
* containing the pack explosion at camp (but if you keep your sleeping bag and clothing in a compactor bag, that will serve as a gear reservoir).
* water carrier/water bag for filtering/camp reservoir.
* wash basin for bathing, etc.
* gear hammock under hammock or in shelter.
* backup pack protection in conjunction with poncho.

Remember, both silnylon and even conventional coated Cordura pack cloth do not stand up to much water pressure. The impact of rain drops exceeds the sub 10 pound pressure head limit, so water splatters through. The pack cover reduces the impact pressure of rain, and that is the way it really protects the pack. The back of the pack is another matter. If you weat a conventional rain jacket, the pressure of your back against the pack is sufficient to force water through.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UL long distance list on 02/22/2006 22:33:55 MST Print View

Ryan, By the time you do your AT Thru-Hike (5- years from now) I will bet your pack will be made out of one of the current or in-development Cuben Fibers.

Those companies that don't switch to Cuben will fall by the wayside for pack sales where the pack weighs from 2/3oz up to about 12oz or so and higher weight for some special purpose packs. I will be making a couple of packs and a 4-season very roomy one-man tent sometime this summer out of some super strong Cuben. Still very light but really strong.

Working on a line of SUL Cuben Fiber gear may even bring me out of retirement.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: UL long distance list on 02/23/2006 12:58:19 MST Print View


How strong is the lightest cuben fiber?

The whole reason I switched to dyneema was for durability, but if cuben is strong it could be the answer.

I just always thought it was down there with sil nylon and spinnaker.

I think I am going to ditch the pack cover, and bring a hoodless poncho tarp with the isotope. and some chapps. this will save alot of weight, and I can still be able to go out from under my tarp during a storm and return dry.
the only reason I wanted seperate rain gear was because I would get wet while setting up the tarp.
mabey a cuben tarp/poncho.

if I do switch to a cuben pack it would be G6 style, my G6 is just the right size even for a thru hike.

and I will also carry a cuben or silnylon water bag/ bearbag/ cleaning basin

Edited by ryanf on 02/23/2006 13:23:05 MST.