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Fill in the Blanks
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Tim Testa
(MichaelRedbeard) - F
Fill in the Blanks on 08/28/2009 02:24:02 MDT Print View

My girlfriend and I will be doing the Appalachian Trail in 2010. We will start in the middle of May at Georgia. Lately I have been extremely flustered with trying to figure out what gear to buy. So I had an idea! Why not come on here, tell everyone what I have so far, and get opinons on things I know I still need and things I have never thought of.

Here we go, I hope this will be as fun as it is for me as it is for you Keep in mind, this is going to be my girlfriend and I going, do don't look at this as a one person trip.

So far here is what we have:

(Me) Granite Gear Short Nimbus Ozone Backpack. [2LBs 13ozs]

(GF) She will either be getting the Vapor Ki or Vapor Trail [1LB 14ozs]

(Me) Gossamer Gear LightTrek 4 Regular Poles w/straps [8.2ozs]

(GF) Gossamer Gear LightTrek 4 Short Poles w/straps [8ozs]

(Me) Petzl Tikka XP Headlamp [3.35ozs]

(GF) Petzl Tikka XP Headlamp [3.35ozs]

(Me/GF) MSR Miniworks EX Water Filter [14.6ozs]

(Me/GF) SnowPeak GigaPower Stove Starter Kit. Comes with .7 liter Titanium Trek 700 Mug and Spork. Plus we got another Titanium Trek 700 Mug and Spork so we both have one to eat out of. [11.75oz]


...and thats about it Now here is what I am looking to get. You fill in the blanks. Everything on this list is a must have for us. Therefore, saying something like, "You don't need a pillow, cross that off your list", trust me I need a pillow with how bad my neck feels in the morning using just some rolled up clothes.

*List 1 traditional brand name single or double wall tent and 1 tarp tent or alternative. That way I have some choices to work with. Tent must be made for 3 people or be 60 inches wide at the head of the tent if its a two person tent. In other words, it could be 60 inches wide at the top and 40 inches wide on the bottom. All tents/shelthers must have a floor and bug netting.

Sleeping Bags________________
*Please list 1 down and 1 synthetic bag. We are still unsure of whether or not my girlfriend will react to down in the manner that she thinks she will. So we need to get recommedations on both just in case. I am 5'6 and my girlfriend is 5'2.

Sleeping Pads________________
*Pad must be at least 2.5ins thick. Also please list 1 that is 20ins wide and 1 that is 25ins wide. We are unsure of whether or not we want to have a nice wide sleeping area or can deal with a narrower one. The pad can be no shorter than 65ins in length. No NeoAirs. We tried them and do not like them.

Sleeping Bag Liners___________
*We want these to keep the bags clean and do not want to wear silk long underwear because we dont like the air tight feeling of the clothes on our skin when they are dirty over the course of several days.

*I cannot even begin to describe how important pillows are to us. I had a Large Thermarest Pillow and it just did not do the trick for me. I need something that is nice and lofty which will not lose its cushion as my head sinks into it over night. I am almost at the point of saying screw it and bringing my pillow from at home even if it is 2lbs, thats how badly I need head support. Nothing inflatable please.

*I am a novice in this area. We need something that is light and effective.

Hiking Boots____________
*Trailrunners will not work. We both have bad ankles from playing basketball. We need something with high ankle support.

Hydration Pack__________
*Seems like it would be lighter than a water bottle. Although maybe I could be wrong. If you feel as this is an unneeded item, this is the one item that you can tell me that I can do without.


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.

Should we bring a clothesline line to hang our clothes?

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?

How much should toiletries weigh and what should they consist of?

Do I need bug netting for my face? I found it quite hilarious when someone made mention of this to me once I told them I was going to do the AT in 2010. However, maybe I was wrong for laughing. Thoughts?

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!

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Re: Fill in the Blanks on 08/28/2009 04:36:40 MDT Print View

Wow this thread is a bit daunting with all those goes nothing:

Tent: Big Agnes Seedhouse SL3

Sleeping Bags: I dunno....if you got the coin get Western Mountaineering down bags. I don't know anything about synth bags

Sleeping Pads: MEC Kelvin Summer Sleeping Pad. 3"+ thick, $40

Sleeping Bag Liners: Just wash your bag after the trip

Pillows: Check out Target for a cheap one you can abuse

Rainwear: Marmot Mica jkt (198g/7oz) for you, Marmot Crystalline for her. GoLite Reed pants.

Hydration Pack: I like platyBottles. They are ultralight (28g) and unlike a bladder you don't have to dig into your pack to refill it.

Clothes: Pack 1 pair socks, 1 part undies. Wash these every night and hang them off your pack to dry during the day. That's it.

Clothesline? No, just use your bear bag cord or some guy line. Clothes don't dry at night anyways so just put em on the line in the evening and then use it to guy down your tent when you go to bed (if necessary).

First Aid? Mine weighs about 50g. I have a bunch of bandages, tylenol, antibiotic cream, tape, safety pins, gauze and this is probably not enough.

Toilettries: I use a mini (20ml) travel sized toothpaste tube (about 20g), a small travel toothbrush (16g) and I share a mini travel deoderant with my wife (37g).

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Fill in the Blanks on 08/28/2009 14:41:40 MDT Print View

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.

Sleeping Bags....

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.

Sleeping Pads

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.

Hiking Boots...

I will pass on this one.

Hydration Pack

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

Might add

Poison oak/ivy block
Anti-diarrhea medication
Hydrogen Peroxide
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.

Hand sanitizer
Toothbrush and tooth paste
toilet paper partial roll
Plastic Trowel

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
Scapel blade
Fresnel lens
Signal mirror
2 pc wp paper
Micro pencil
Heavy alum foil
Nylon thread
Nylon cord
SS wire
Fish hooks
fire tinder
Sewing needle
Fish hooks
Safety pin

Edited by tammons on 08/28/2009 14:52:16 MDT.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
At thru on 08/28/2009 15:26:49 MDT Print View

Someone posted that you should basically be prepared to spend 3 days in a tent waiting out a rainstorm on the AT? that's not how thruhikers handle rain. If the weather was really that bad out there, it would make more sense to just hike to the next shelter and wait it out there.

It seems you need to zero in on a general system of gear before you decide on specific products. That said, here are some of my thoughts:

-I really wouldn't bring a filter--Aqua Mira or the like is so much easier (you'll also think so when your filter starts to slow down and your arms are killing you)

-If you go for a tent, I would recommend a 2-person. You won't always find enough room for a tent when you really want to just stop for the day. The smaller the tent footprint, the better.

-Is your girlfriend allergic to down? I don't know why she is apprehensive about it. It's lighter and any down bag you buy will last forever, synthetic bags will be close to death at the end of a thruhike.

-ditto on no sleeping liner. Wash your bag when you are finished--it will hold up fine for the hike.

-I always stuff all extra clothing, stuff sacks, pack covers, etc into a silnylon bag for my pillow. It doesn't compress overnight, is no extra weight, and works fine.

-Rainwear: I'm not into ponchos, as they can obstruct your view when on tricky terrain and heavy blowing rain can make it miserable. cheap pants I like are Red Ledge Thundersomething or other. I like Rainshield jackets, but they are fragile, so maybe a hardshell for you?

-With the amount of weight you seem content on carrying (a lot) I wouldn't recommend trailrunners with your bad ankles. I would recommend that you drastically lighten up your load, strengthen you calves and ankles, then get some trail runners. Or check out an ASO ankle brace (I use one).

-water: Water is everywhere on the AT. You could get by with a side 1L soda bottle and a 1-2L bladder in your pack.

Seems you both need to get out and start backpacking to learn what you like/love/dislike/loathe, then refine from there. I started with a 52 lb pack on the AT (23ish lb baseweight!) and now have an AT gearlist that has a 6 lb baseweight. The less you carry the happier you will be, as terrain in certain sections of the AT is downright hellish.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Fill in the Blanks on 08/28/2009 17:53:49 MDT Print View

That 3 day comment was more of a general statement about shelter types, not that you should prepare for 3 days in the rain sitting in a tent. All I was trying to say is its a lot more comfortable in a tent you can sit up in if you get stuck.

I have been on the AT when it rained and rained for days, and a few of times in early winter with sleet and freezing rain etc, but I surely did not sit in a tent the entire time. Got stuck in Colorado once at 9000 ft and it rained hard for several days. Nasty to the point we almost bailed. We trenched around the tents, and weathered it out for the worst of it for about 2 days then we finally started hiking again when it slowed down a bit.

Shelters are an option in nasty weather, but there might not always be one depending on where you are, IE not neccesarily on the AT.

Edited by tammons on 08/28/2009 17:54:49 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
re: Fill in the Blanks on 08/28/2009 18:31:21 MDT Print View

I'm thinking of doing the AT next year too; my wife has plans for the fall which precludes a CDT attempt, so I'm thinking of an early March start (pretty tentative yet).

If I go, I'm thinking in terms of a Gatewood cape as raingear and shelter throughout, augmented with a light Oware bivy for the early and late parts of the trip, swap to SMD's net tent inside for the middle part. I'd carry a 1 - 2 oz "disposable" poncho for raingear to use just around the campsite, get rid of it if it turned out I didn't use it much.

I'm thinking of a 32F WM bag throughout, augmented by clothing at start and end (cocoon pants, integral designs hot socks, thermawrap jacket).

I think most stuff would stay the same as for any longish hike. I'm mixed about bringing my ursack, but ~same weight as an outsak and I already own it so I probably would to keep the vermin at bay.

In terms of filling in blanks, I suggest just reading through a lot of existing gear list threads, here, and on

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Fill in the Blanks on 08/28/2009 19:01:14 MDT Print View

I was just going to suggest looking around at Tons of AT info there.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Head net. on 08/28/2009 20:25:32 MDT Print View

"Do I need bug netting for my face?"
Starting in May from GA, you'll miss the black flies in the north.
You might be hitting lots of mosquitos in New England (parts of Mass. are bad now). If you have a tent and DEET, you probably don't need one.

Pillow -- I use a stuff sack with spare clothes in it. Experiment with a stuff sack or pillow case filled with clothes you'll carry. Silnylon stuff sacks are too slippery for this in my opinion.