Yep thats a lot of questions.
I would suggest whatever you buy to do a 3-7 day hike anywhere to test out your gear before you head out on the AT through hike. You will probably find out PDQ what does not work.
I am also planning a AT trip but starting very early. Right now I am stuck on my sleeping setup although what I have will work. I currently have 3 bags and a quilt and still can not make up my mind.
The Eureka Velox 3 is a really nice tent. 2 entries, vestibule, big, weighs 5# even. I tried one out, but I dont really need a 3 person tent. The Velox 2 is just as good but a bit smaller, 3# 8oz I think. They are out of production, but you can still find them like at several stores. Other than that I would say a tarptent double rainbow might be big enough and much lighter or maybe one of the other tarptent models.
As far as a tarp,tent,etc there are a few ideas to throw around. If you are going to sleep in shelters almost every night you might not need a big tent or a big tarp and could probably get away with a small tarp and waterproof bug bivies or a bug tent.
I personally like some privacy, in which case I definately want a tent of some sort most of the time.
Stuck in the driving rain or rainy cold for days, I personally would prefer to be in a good roomy tent, rather than under a tarp. I definately dont want to be under a 5x5 tarp and a bivy in rain for 3 days.
My idea of a good tarp setup is a flat tarp set up into a shaped tarp setup, or either a shaped tarp, either with a hybred bug tent, IE maybe 2 walls are sil nylon for more rain protection.
That said there are quite a few tents that dont weigh much more than a tarp setup like above.
Definately Montbell UL SS 800 for down bags as far as I am concerned. Rating depending on what layers you will take or a liner. I dont use a regular liner. I have an extra set of johns to sleep in.
Synthetics are going to be bigger and heavier. Montbells SS synthetics are nice, but heavier. Ultralamina 15 or would probably be a good choice. Weighs about 2# 14. Montbell #1 or #2 SS synthetic would be more roomy. #1 weighs 3#11, #2 weighs 3# 3, but its a 25dF bag.
A synthetic quilt would be way lighter.
Cant believe you did not like the neoair. I tried out a exped syn mat and thought it was comfy and warm. Heavy though at 2#. I actually like the neoair better. Have you tried one on top of a 3/8" blue pad ?? (4oz)
Sleeping Bag Liners
Dont use them, but I would say probably silk.
I am built a Cuben, inflatable, with poly insul inside, with a silk cover, but I noticed you mention no inflatables. That does not leave many options. Polyfill ofsome sort in a silk or momentum cover.
A few ways to go. Either a poncho so you can keep your pack under or a 2 piece rain suit with a pack cover, or umbrella and a suit and cover, add chaps if you want instead of the bottoms. Poncho/tarp would be nice if you want to extend your vesibule, main tarp etc. You could also use a top only, and a rain skirt made from a garbage bag.
My setup is probably going to be a driducks suit as an extra layer in cold weather with an umbrella, driducks top, garbage bag bottom and an umbrella rest of the time.
I have used a poncho exclusively since the 70's on all sorts of trips, including one where I was at 12,000 feet in Estes park above the treeline and caught in a sudden thunderstorm with wind driven rain. Temps dropped to mid 30's in about 15 minutes in june and I got wet and froze my ass off, got a mild case of hypothermia. That is one of the only times I ever really wished I had a breathable rainsuit.
Rainsuits are nice, but easy to over heat in them.
I will pass on this one.
You mean like a bladder ?? Both of my 2L bladders are right at 6 oz ea, so not so light.
1L soda bottles or platys are lighter.
With the main things out of the way here are a couple of other questions.
What types of clothes will we need and how many of each item should we bring? I talking basics, like how many pairs of underwear and socks, all the way to the more complex things.
2 of each of outerwear is my preference, unless you want to go super duper light then one, but make as much as possible ultralight and either wool, silk or synthetic.
An extra set of Thorofare Trekking Pants and shirt would weigh 10 oz.
Underwear is more personal. I dont wear it anyway unless its winter and the boys need more insulation.
I think 3 pairs of socks with one to sleep in, 2 sets of johns if you sleep in them (1 clean) or if you will use a liner I think one set would do.
In the old days preparing for longer trips I thought I had a good pack going, until I added my clothes. Clothing can be heavy and bulky.
Should we bring a clothesline line to hang our clothes?
Besides your food bag gear, take a couple of 50' lengths of kelty triptease anyway. Its super light.
Another thing to think about is what will you wear while you wash clothes. If you have a rainsuit you can wear that. Heard of people wearing a garbage bag, but never seen it.
Is it alright to ditch out on most of the items in a typical first aid kit and bring an assortment of bandaids and mole skin? Also what is the most a self-made first aid kit should weigh and what things would you put in it if not just bandaids and mole skin?
Mine weighs about 4oz.
1 mini tube krazy glue
aspirin, Advil, Excedrin,Psudophed
1 butterfly bandaid
2 Suture strip bandaids
2 regular bandaids
Tiny surgical sponge
3x4 non adhesive pad
Poison oak/ivy block
Small clot pack ??
My kit is sort of a modified store bought kit that weighs 4 oz. Now that I think about it that is really more stuff than I even have at home. The AT is mostly never too far from civilization anyway. I read where one fellow said he did not carry anything except for quickclot and a wrap in case he has a serious accident and that makes some sense. Might add that.
How much should toiletries weigh and what should they consist of?
My hygene kit with everything is about 5-10 oz depending on quantities. I dont carry all of this all the time.
Toothbrush and tooth paste
toilet paper partial roll
A woman will have different needs to stay healthy, so you better get some female hiker advice there.
Do I need bug netting for my face?
I have one.
Well thats about it. If there is any other essenticals that you can think of which I am forgetting, please fill me in. Trust me I am sure I am forgetting a crap load. Thanks!
How about a small survival emergency pack ??
The AT is not that remote anyway so a lot of this stuff might not be worth carrying.
Survival pack Moded Med Emer pack - weighs 4 oz
added lighter, 8 aquamira h20 tablets,
Gorilla tape, Micro compass on cord, 4 rubber bands
Items from factory pak
2 pc wp paper
Heavy alum foil