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Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
NOBO AT list, Late Feb start on 09/23/2009 19:22:13 MDT Print View

My current gearlist for an Appalachian Trail NOBO thru-hike is at http://tinyurl.com/mjurzb (pdf file)
Thanks in advance for any sort of feedback on this, but in particular I'm interested in comments/suggestions/etc in the context of this trip.

I plan to start on the trail in late Feb, and thus have nearly 2 pounds (30.3 oz) of additional clothing that I'll start with and mail home from Pearisburg (resupply point past Mt. Rogers). It's possible that I'll mail some of these things home sooner, and I'll get at least some of them back just before entering the Whites in New Hampshire. In addition to clothing I'll swap sleeping bags at Pearisburg, saving a bit over 10 oz there. FWIW, I plan on five resupply boxes (Fontana Dam NC, Pearisbug VA, Harpers Ferry WV, Kent CT, and Glencliff NH).

My focus with this gear list isn't about weight alone, but on the mystical balance of weight versus safety/comfort/happiness that feels best to me personally. This seems to currently fall out at a 16.3 pound base weight to start, dropping to about 13.5 pounds for the middle 1000+ miles or so. Ideas to bring this down will be gratefully received (whether implemented or not ...).

My starting baseweight on the PCT in 2008 was 17.6 pounds, though I mailed a bit of that home early on, so not all that different from this except: I never got down below 16 pounds or so for that entire trip (and went significantly up in the Sierras), plus in general I should be carrying less food, water, and fuel weight on the AT.

I've tried to be very complete with this list; toilet paper isn't listed (a consumeable), though I will carry it, something on the order perhaps of 1 - 2 oz (lots of pit toilets along the AT). Rather than "glacier glasses", I might just carry cheap drugstore sunglasses. But apart from the occasional minor tweak like that, it should really cover everything.

The "Electronics" category is somewhat high for me; I reckon my personal luxuries are that category, plus perhaps comfortable padding at night (sparkling new 72" long Neo-Air ... cushy ...). The smartphone represents no "necessary" functionality, but a host of "nice to have" stuff --- to include on this trail the only maps that I'll carry --- and the bluetooth keyboard makes it easy to type up a daily journal entry.
I used a solar charger for much of the PCT to augment in-town charging opportunities; for the AT I've opted to go with higher capacity batteries for the phone.

I'm mixed about the Ursack; not that many bears, but lots of rodents as I understand it, and the Ursack (which I already own) is about the same weight as an Outsak (which I don't). One less thing to worry about or fiddle with at the end of the day. I've walked into town hungry with a thru-hikers hunger, and it's not pleasant.

A couple of items are tough to categorize: the GG "Nightlight" no-longer-torso-length pad (I carry 2/3 of one) is both thermal & abrasion/puncture protection under part of my Neo-Air at night, as well as back padding for my pack during the day (a 1/8" thinlight goes under the rest of the Neo-Air). The Gatewood Cape is both floorless tent and raingear. I've listed both of these in the "sleeping" category.

I'm not sure if I'll keep the gravity filter or not; on the PCT last year I did the first 700 miles with this gravity filter plus repackaged (fairly minimal) Aqua Mira as backup, didn't treat water much in the Sierras, and used just Aqua Mira for the rest of the trip. It's a tough trade-off. I was originally thinking of the filter because of anticipated cold temperatures (chlorine dioxide takes longer in the cold). But in fact, even in warm weather the water I treat is typically pretty darned cold anyway, and you have to worry that water that remains in the filter element will freeze. Another offset is just the ability to start drinking almost immediately upon reaching a water source, but a 15 - 30 minute treat time isn't that long, so ...
I might end up ditching the filter early on and going with just A.M. throughout.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
NOBO AT list, Late Feb start on 09/23/2009 20:17:27 MDT Print View

Its been a long time since I have been on the AT but just in general I think your list looks good. Actually it looks a lot like my list with similar gear and some extra goodies. That said I did not disect every part of the list.

A bit heavy and a lot of small stuff, but if its worth humping and it makes you happy and comfortable, thats a good thing. On the AT you are never very far from civilization so...

As far as water I plan to carry a gravity filter and MSR sweetwater with aquamira tablet backup, but they are slow.
Sweetwater is fast.

I am going to carry a bear bag. I have read over at whiteblaze that there have been a lot of bear problems in the southeast. ChacoTaco (sp?) got some food ripped out of his tent while when he was asleep. Next to his head too. Others too from what I have read. Seems like now they are worse than when I was there years ago and have made the camp/tent/human/food connection so..
Leaving in Feb I doubt you would have a problem, but I have always hung my food even in dead winter.

Pays to be safe and not have to replace your gear half way through. Even with that I have heard about people having there packs pulled out of a vestibule and ripped apart even though nothing was in them. Just enough scent of some food or drink mix to get them going.

There is a good bear thread over at whiteblaze.

Actually you might want to post your list over there too. You will probably get a remark or two of get rid of all the small stuff.

My winter base right now is at 13.6 with a 15dF bag, bluepad, reg neoair and tent.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Whiteblaze ... on 09/23/2009 23:22:55 MDT Print View

Thanks, Troy. In fact, I looked pretty carefully at Whiteblaze and couldn't find any clear place to post a gear list there --- certainly I could put it in either their "thru-hiker specific topics/Q&A" or their "Ultra-light hikers forum", but as there seemed no particularly logical place for it ...

"Small stuff": It's true, my "other" category has a lot of small items in it. I suspect that it's longer than for most people because of some combination of (a) My list is more complete than some (??), (b) some folks combine some of these items and list the combo as a single item, and/or (c) in fact I've got a lot of crap ...

Any feedback on specific items would be particularly helpful, i.e., "you listed your data pages both in items worn/carried-in-pockets and in items packed" (which I just now noticed ...).

Hmm, I suppose even data pages could be considered a "consumeable" but I'm inclined to go the other way --- low weight consumeables that I generally have "some of" with me like this are perhaps better handled by listing a sort of average/typical weight & quantity. Spare batteries, matches, toilet paper if carried, ibuprofin, sunscreen, etc etc --- leaving all of that off the list would be one way to show a lower base weight! On that note, I'm putting T.P. back on the list.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback!

Edited by brianle on 09/23/2009 23:23:25 MDT.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
Re: Whiteblaze ... on 09/24/2009 07:50:47 MDT Print View

I think most people put their lists in the general gear talk forum.

I will look through again, but if you hiked the PCT last year you have more recent hiking experience than me. It actually looks like a more realistic list rather than trying to strip every last ounce out.

Only big diff I could see from the PCT is maybe more places to re-supply, more h20, shelters, privies. East coast weather is a biggie. It can just be soggy and wet for days and the reason I will be carrying at least a driducks top, but you can always pick one up on the trip.

I basically count everything that is in my pack and hanging on my shoulders. In my pockets, I dont count and those are items I carry every day.

I know my pack weight will go up about 2-3# when I get out on the trail mostly because of change in actual use, IE I will probably load up too much food, in oder to stay a little more comfortable are a bigger bottle of hand sanitizer, 1/2 oz is okay for me for a weekend but on an extended trip that will probably end up being a 4oz bottle. Other items too, like I bag cook. 1 in morning 1 at night. Cant see buying 6 bags every few days. That will probably be a box at a time, but thats consumable too.

4-5 Gallon freezer bags will probably be added into the mix since I want to make sure some items stay dry

I keep bouncing a lot of small stuff around on my list but I know how I am when I get out there and I will probably want certain things that will add weight.

If I can keep my total weight at 25# max with 5 days of food and 2L of water that will be about 20# lighter than the last time I was up there.

Edited by tammons on 09/24/2009 07:53:24 MDT.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
NOBO AT list, Late Feb start on 09/24/2009 08:23:13 MDT Print View

Not to be critical..
and you can always send some of this stuff back too.

I would say ditch the ULA water filter for something lighter.
Ditch some of the electronics as you have 1.5# of the stuff.
I will carry 3 pairs of socks total.
I Dont wear liners.

Ditch the sleeping bag liner and carry some silk johns to sleep in. Probably heavier but dual purpose since you are leaving early.

Seems like you have an awful lot of bottles.

What is the plastic sack and 2 rubber bands ??

If you are freezer bag cooking you could lighten up a bit on your cook kit. I have a brand new .9L evernew pot and its not going.

I will be taking my last cookset nester that weighs 4 oz with everything but the fuel bottle. The plastic container is so thick you dont really need a cozy. I just wrap it with my microfiber dishcloth.

You can do a lighter windscreen.

Trade the duct tape for gorrilla tape.

Thats about all I see. You could probably ditch about 10-12 items on your list that will see little use. Should be easy to lose 2#, but some of that will be luxuries.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Specifics --- thanks! on 09/24/2009 11:32:13 MDT Print View

I appreciate the specific comments, Troy. Some responses --- not as "argument", just interaction:

"I would say ditch the ULA water filter for something lighter."

I'm considering this; it's a balance against true weight carried, but Aqua Mira did me fine for most of the PCT, I might well go back there.

"Ditch some of the electronics as you have 1.5# of the stuff."

"some of the electronics" ... I have basically a smartphone with bluetooth keyboard and an MP3 player. I'm not sure what part you suggest I drop, but I've got pretty solid reasons for carrying each of those. I could opt to save 1.8 oz by carrying one less spare phone battery, but that's something that's easy to adjust on the trail (easier to mail home than to ask for it to be mailed out later).

"I will carry 3 pairs of socks total. I Dont wear liners."

I'm kind of the opposite --- I normally only wear liners. The wool socks are for cold temps. I recently added a second pair of wool socks for the start, so "foot warmth" weight is higher than normal for me to include the Integral Designs Hot Socks (dedicated sleeping socks+). The second pair of (walking) wool socks was based on the idea that maybe I could in fact dry out a spare pair of wool socks during dry periods by wearing them on my hands. TBD, can always mail them home.

"Ditch the sleeping bag liner and carry some silk johns to sleep in. Probably heavier but dual purpose since you are leaving early."

I'll ditch the liner at Pearisburg, but I'm using my wife's 20F down bag from the start, and want to keep it nicer --- hence the liner. I always sleep in my clothes, so silk long johns are kind of a PITA as you have to take off pants and shoes to put them on. The cocoon pants at least only require removing the shoes, and they're much warmer than long johns while not much different in weight. And hey, I bought them on this site, gotta get in a plug for our hosts when we can, eh? :-)
Seriously, if it gets too cold to wear just pants when walking, I'll add the GG rain chaps, though I've rarely walked in those --- they might go home early.

"Seems like you have an awful lot of bottles."

Yup. They add a lot of flexibility. It's in part another trade-off related to Aqua Mira vs. filter --- with A.M. it's nice to always have one platypus I'm drinking from and another I can fill and treat, given the treatment time lag (this is the sort of thing that makes the filter vs. chemicals trade-off harder to figure out). One gatorade bottle serves effectively as a "cup" for any flavored drinks & protein shake, the other soda pop bottle is helpful in getting water out of streams either for gravity filter or filling a platypus. The combination also gives me decent total capacity for any (rare admittedly on the AT) places where water is rare, though the intro to the 2009 data book gives a "drought advisory" on page 5 for "most of the southern half" of the AT ...

The pee bottle is incredibly handy in cold, rainy, or buggy conditions for obvious reasons.

The nice thing is that I incrementally make the decision on 3 out of 5 of those bottles in each trail town --- I can always ditch either a gatorade or soda pop bottle anytime I find a garbage can if so inclined. They've proven worth their weight to me, however.


"What is the plastic sack and 2 rubber bands ??"

Additional waterproofing for my down bag.
One thing I in fact left off my list was a backpack liner. The plastic sack is double insurance for my down sleeping bag --- I use a better-than-typical type of bag you get when out shopping, put the stuffed (but not over-compressed) sleeping bag inside and hold it on with rubber bands.

"If you are freezer bag cooking you could lighten up a bit on your cook kit. I have a brand new .9L evernew pot and its not going. I will be taking my last cookset nester that weighs 4 oz with everything but the fuel bottle. The plastic container is so thick you dont really need a cozy. I just wrap it with my microfiber dishcloth."

I am FBC, or at least, I'm cooking dinner meals in a quart ziplock in a cozy (not preparing a bunch of FBC meals ahead of time at home this year though).
"Cookset nester" is a bit ambiguous; 4 oz sounds pretty good, so details (enough to web search on, or even better a URL) would be great! FWIW, however, I don't use a dishcloth, but if your *total* FBC type cook gear is significantly less than 9 oz (incl fuel bottle, windscreen, the works), it would be great to get details.

"You can do a lighter windscreen."

Pointer or searchable text to find out how? I used to use a brasslight stove, and just kept using the aluminum foil windscreen that they helpfully describe, at http://www.brasslite.com/windscreen.html


"Trade the duct tape for gorrilla tape."

Because ... ? I'm guessing that you suggest gorilla tape not as a weight saving alternative, but because it sticks to stuff better. I have no experience (this would likely make a good but different discussion thread ...), but I've read trade-offs. I.e., it's not as good as standard duct tape for blister repair, and is heavier: http://gearjunkie.com/gorilla-tape
Another site says "Gorilla tape uses more glue than Duck tape. This has caused problems. When the tape gets warm, the glue gets soft and the tape shifts."
http://www.octanecreative.com/ducttape/ask/index.html

The type of repairs I had to do with duct tape last year all worked fine; where duct tape doesn't work, dental floss does, and as far as I can tell nothing I'm willing to carry does much good for certain types of shoe problems.

Again, no argument or disrespect intended by any of the above, I just find that I get more out of this sort of feedback if I wrestle with it a little to try to get as much from it as I can.

Edited by brianle on 09/24/2009 11:45:02 MDT.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
NOBO AT list, Late Feb start on 09/24/2009 14:18:19 MDT Print View

Interesting on the gorrilla tape. I will have to check it out.

As far as the cook kit its this one...

Not the 2 thin cups at 3 oz. They also work, but using the short country time lemonade container at 4oz total.

The bag of food goes in the container, fold the edges over pour in the water and put the top on. Wrap it with the cloth shown or anything else and thats it. Open 10 minutes later, leave the bag in and eat. It makes a good container to eat out of.

There enough of a gap that the top will screw on over a freezer bag. Also works on the tortellini bags, IE cook right in the factory bag.

It actually works so well Thats how I have been cooking my rice at home.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=24102

Edited by tammons on 09/24/2009 14:19:11 MDT.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
brrrrr on 09/24/2009 17:28:27 MDT Print View

i think you're going to have some cold nights leaving in february with a 20 degree bag.

perhaps you're planning to suppliment w/ the thermawrap, cocoon pants, and the hot sox. if you've done this before, as i'm sure you have, and are comfy down into single digits, then you probably will be ok

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
re: brrr on 09/24/2009 18:25:47 MDT Print View

I *think* I'll be fine at those temps; I had no problems with about the same setup in the Sierras in June last year, and in fact didn't use all the clothes I brought there. But in the Sierras you can "walk high and sleep low", so I'm pretty sure I never had to deal with anything like single digit temps. Still, indeed I do plan to wear my insulative clothing inside the bag when that seems appropriate.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
beer can pot, nestor on 09/24/2009 19:21:19 MDT Print View

Thanks for the clear details on what you're doing for "kitchen" stuff, Troy. Assuming your 4 oz weight is 4.0 oz, that compares to 6.8 oz that I'm carrying, as you're not including in that a windscreen, matches/lighter, or fuel bottle. Or am I misunderstanding and does this rig need no separate windscreen??

I've been tempted by the beer can pot system before. Infrequently I want just a bit more than 2 cups of water, but never much more. I'm not certain that in cold temps the Country Time lemonade plastic will be (sufficiently) as good as a custom ziplock cozy, but I guess if I were able to keep food off the outside of the plastic container I could wrap that in clothing.

I'll have to mull over the work involved for the 2+ oz weight savings, but I really appreciate the input --- thanks.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
NOBO AT list, Late Feb start on 09/24/2009 19:56:07 MDT Print View

That does not include lighter or a fuel bottle so it might be more of a waste of time than anything else. It is cheap though. That same rig to handle 3 cups with an entire fosters can weighs 4.6 oz.

The country time lemonade containers are tough and crush proof, but a bit heavy.

I like the 2 cupper because its compact and simple and cheap, and I can measure in it or the lid.

I can put my bag in it to hydrate and eat out of so I have something substantial to hold onto, and I can make coffee or tea in it.

I have a lighter setup but I like this one better.

Edited by tammons on 09/24/2009 20:02:33 MDT.

Misfit Mystic
(cooldrip)

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Curious about NeoAir temps on 09/24/2009 23:34:32 MDT Print View

Hi Brian, I'm curious what kind of temps you've had the NeoAir down to? You're almost certain to see temps in the high singles/low teens. I typically use a 1.5 inch Thermarest 3/4 with a Riderest or Mt. Washington in winter around here. I'm guessing your bag combined with a full layer of insulated clothing will be plenty. You can always do things with extra clothing, hot bottles etc. to warm up a bag, but a pad that's too light is hard to compensate for.

Edited by cooldrip on 09/24/2009 23:38:51 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
re: Curious about NeoAir temps on 09/25/2009 08:49:49 MDT Print View

Good thoughts, Scott. Crap, as I go through this exercise I'm afraid the result is going to be to add to rather than reduce my pack weight, but I can always send stuff home if I don't need it ...

This BPL thread addresses the specific issue you raise:
http://tinyurl.com/yd3jf85

From discussion there it does indeed seem like I could be feeling cold on nights where it gets into the teens or single digits. My plan has been to use the Neo-Air plus a 1/8" thinlight, but maybe I'll add in an additional 1/4" thinlight pad, another 3.5 oz.

When it gets about as cold as it ever does in the area I live in the winter (high teens if I'm lucky otherwise low 20's) I'll sleep in my backyard a couple of times and experiment with different combinations.

Anyway, great point --- thanks.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F
NOBO AT list, Late Feb start on 09/25/2009 11:17:12 MDT Print View

A 3/8" blue pad from walmart should do it. Weighs about 4 oz and cheap. Thats what I am taking, but I am a side sleeper and also find it more comfortable. Toss it when it warms up and mail drop the 2 oz pad.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
filters in winter on 10/17/2009 10:08:42 MDT Print View

Keep an eye on your filter if you are in freezing weather. Remember that ice can easily form in the filter mesh. If you force water through by pumping, the filter can tear. Water will flow easily, but be unfiltered. I guess the only issue with a gravity filter would be the water not getting through at all, blocked by ice. Probably won't be a problem, but store it in the back of your mind.

One advantage of the AT is the convenience for swapping out gear. Along with the frequent post offices, the trail passes within a few yards of outfitters that cater to gear that is popular on the AT.

Neels Gap 30 miles in is the Walasi Center famous for its large scale at its doorway to weigh your pack and send gear home right from the store. Hikers have benn known to send home 40 lbs.! The AT almost goes through their shop!
From GSNP its an easy hitch ( maybe less so in Feb!) from Newfound Gap (mile 203) to Gatlinburg where 100s of thru-hikers frequent the Happy Hiker, left at the first light. They keep count!
Standing Bear Farm just after the Smokies in Davenport Gap has a small store with basics or bare essentials you might need from peanut butter to matches and TP.
Hot Springs, NC (mile 270) Bluff Mt. Outfitters is right on the trail as it goes down the main street.
Damascus, VA (459) Mt. Rogers Out fitters on the AT as it passes through town.
Perisburg , Harpers Ferry, Boiling Springs, PA, Port Clinton, PA, Delaware Gap, ....etc.....etc

Most do not use Ursacks, just hang nylon bags in the shelters. Save a little weight.
February is a great month to start ahead of the mid- March early April popular times. You'll be further along for April showers.

(I have not thru-hiked, but sectioned hiked all but most of VA, alas, the state with the most AT miles.)

For fun....hop an early morning bus from Delaware Gap (mile 1279) and spend the day in New York City. (Buses run almost hourly in the AM starting around 4) drops you a couple of blocks from Times Square. You could just go to Grand Central Station. Like the hiker from Maine who found, "There was so much going on at the Depot, I never did see the town".

Edited by rambler on 10/17/2009 10:11:51 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Filters in Winter on 10/17/2009 10:25:10 MDT Print View

Thanks, Frank. I came to the same conclusion about the filter --- I'll just go with Aqua Mira throughout. The filter idea came as a random thought about how long chemicals are supposed to 'cook' in colder (or murkier) water, but then it later occurred to me that the water I treat even in warm weather tends to be pretty darned cold coming out of the streams.

Indeed, the Ursack could end up going home sometime along the way. OTOH, I kind of like the idea of having my food close to hand whereever I'm sleeping --- and all things being equal I'd prefer to spend less time in shelters unless the weather is pretty nasty. Like all pre-long-hike intentions, this might quickly fall by the wayside, but is my current guess!

It's been very helpful posting here; in particular I'm upgrading my torso warmth layer, and at not too much of a weight delta. A shakedown trip that got just below 20F at night confirmed my sleep system is fine. Might be a bit awkward at times in trail runners in extended both cold and wet conditions, but I'll deal with it.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: NOBO AT list, Late Feb start on 10/17/2009 11:03:33 MDT Print View

You have slightly over 18 ounces just in bags and sacks... not counting all the ziplocs that individual things are stashed in, which I'm betting adds up to another 2 or 3 ounces... over a pound and a quarter. Easy place to lose weight. I know you have a system you've used and liked, but if you're looking to shed some weight you might give consideration to changing the system a bit. I struggled to cut down my stuff sacks and "organization," but now am at least as organized and only carry 3 or 4 bags. One dry sack for sleeping bag and clothes, one dry sack for food, one organizer bag for all my miscellany, and usually one other small dry sack for layers I might lose through the day. Everything else just gets stuffed in the pack. The organizer bag keeps things quite functional and easy to find.

You have a half-pound in bottles. Again, I understand you have a certain system worked out, but if you want to shed some weight you might want to consider slimming that system down. Do you really need a pee bottle for 3-season travel?

You have a pound and a half in electronics. Ouch! Easy way to lose nearly half pound is the keyboard. A small pad of paper and the pen you're already carrying could work great for journaling... I'm not up on the latest electronic tech stuff, but it seems like a half-pound cell phone would somehow have the capacity to play mp3s?

There are little things... do you need 50 yards of dental floss? Have you ever actually used safety pins on the trail (not saying you haven't, but if you haven't, then...). A can opener? I dunno, maybe that one's a town thing. A second light? I know all these things are fractions of ounces, but those fractions add up to whole numbers, ya know?

Anyhoozit-

Ross Williams
(xavi1337) - F

Locale: Korea
Lighter on 10/18/2009 09:20:13 MDT Print View

It is now once again legal to carry lighters through the airport, as long as they are disposable ones

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Little things on 10/18/2009 10:28:55 MDT Print View

Everyone else has done a good job on the big things. I see an extra knife just for spreading peanut butter.

The Thru-Hikers Companion is available in PDF format. I find that very convenient not only for the weight savings, but because it is searchable in my smart phone. I hate the tiny screen though, but the bigger IPhone is a power hog.

I personally don't like to rely on chemical-only purification because of the time. A Sawyer 0.1 micron filter is very light, backflushable on the trail, and compact. I put mine in a ziplock and sleep with it or put it in an inside pocket when I'm hiking to keep it from freezing. It's not a big deal. I also like the fact that while it's filtering, I can be doing something else like gathering wood.

Speaking of which; an ultralight wood stove eliminates carrying heavy fuel. My fully enclosed stove weighs 4 oz. It's one of the biggest single weight reductions I've made to my pack. That said, if you don't have experience with it, I'd recommend a series of increasingly longer hikes with wood to learn how to deal with fire starting under adverse conditions.

9 Ibuprofen tablets? You are a most fortunate person if that's all you need. I pull one of those wheeled suitcases behind me to hold my vitamin I supply ;)

I get a fair number of long askance glances for typing in my journal with a Bluetooth keyboard, but I don't have the patience for thumbing. If you like to journal, I say good on ya!

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
some hasty replies ... on 10/19/2009 04:38:18 MDT Print View

I appreciate the recent responses (Brad, Ross, Keith). I'm actually in China just now and somewhat jet lagged, so my response might not be entirely coherent, but just off the top of my head ...

I was surprised at the 18 ounce figure for "bags and sacks". The Ursack is a big chunk of that, at 7.5 oz plus another 1.2 oz for the odor proof liner. This might end up sent home; it's a balance between a little more weight vs. time and hassle spent each night in camp. Other than that, I count 5.3 oz, which all still does sum to 14 oz. I'm not sure where the other 4 oz are; I consider the 0.6 oz in bread bags as 'clothes'.
In fact, however, I found myself carrying extra ziplocks in a couple of sizes on the PCT last year, which even increases this. On the wetter AT, I'd expect to do the same.

Point taken, but when you say you only carry 3 or 4 bags, that's not much different from me --- one is the food bag. One is for clothes. One is for "small stuff I use a lot", and another is "small stuff I don't use so much" --- i.e., first aid kit, that sort of thing. I also have a ~waterproof bag that I carry my torso warmth layer in; I use the normal stuff sack for my sleeping bag and put that inside a plastic shopping bag from a store somewhere. Indeed it's a lot of weight in sacks, but ...

Bottles: I think this came up before (?) but the disposeable bottles I can adjust any time I'm at a grocery store --- or a garbage can, to lighten up. Pee bottle: even in 3-season travel, when it's raining much out or the bugs are bad, it can be quite nice to retreat inside a shelter and just stay there. Again, it's a disposeable container, easy to add or discard.

Electronics: yup, a luxury for me, and IMO worth carrying. The keyboard makes it much easier to write literally a daily journal entry, which I did on the PCT last year.
Cell phone can indeed play MP3's. It's a matter of (a) power budget, (b) DRM, and (c) storage space.
(a) With a light standalone MP3 player, I don't have to worry whether my music or audio book use is stealing power that I'll later regret spending.
(b) My phone isn't DRM compliant, which means I can't put audio books on it, and
(c) I couldn't anyway, as my particular phone only accepts a 2 GB microSD card, not big enough for maps and photos and various other stuff as well as MP3's and audio books.
Short answer: I think it's worth it. Maybe less on the even-more social trail that the AT is, who knows.

50 yards of dental floss: I've decided to use the original plastic packaging, and that's the key; dental floss itself is pretty light, and of course doubles as thread. Not worth focusing on, IMO.
Safety pins: yes, I've used them (drying clothes mostly), and only carry a couple.
Can opener (very light) --- in fact, I never did use this; I might on the AT, i.e., open a can bought in town and repackage contents. A pretty small concession to thru-hiking.
A second light: again, very small pinch type light. I used this once to change the batteries on my main light after dark.

Extra knife for spreading peanut butter: this is slightly handy given the low weight and discardability; I find the utility marginally outweighs the tiny weight penalty.

In fact I am carrying the pdf version of the companion, and that will be my only guide, other than printed data page style stuff culled from the companion.
"I hate the tiny screen" --- that's why I carry really small and light reading glasses.

Bushbuddy or the like: I'm not clear on when a wood burning stove is legal where campfires aren't allowed, and I would guess that on the so-populated AT that trying to get even twigs to burn on a regular basis might not be such a great idea. Alcohol is pretty easy to find.
Ibuprofin: maybe I will carry more, I had a lot more resupply boxes on the PCT ...

Again, thanks all for your feedback. None of the above is meant as "argument", but rather as "feedback on the feedback" !