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I'm new and seeking advice
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First Name
(SgtPepper) - F
I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 20:45:24 MDT Print View

I'm new here, but not to camping. I am resurrecting some of my camping skills from long ago.

We casually "family camp" with friends right now. Next year, I hope to raise funds for my wife's mission work overseas by hiking the Ga. part of the AT with friends sponsoring me per mile. My wife's group works with children and attempts to save them from sex trafficking and poverty.

I need to piece together some light gear for this trip. Right now, I have:

Jansport GoShawk 40 pack at 4.5 lbs

TexSport Knollwood Bivy Shelter Tent, 2 person at 3lbs.

Ozark Trails 0 degree sleeping bag (heavy) and blue pad.

GSI Outdoors nForm Ultralight Soloist Cook System

Snow Peak Stoves Giga Power Titanium Manual Stove

Some basic clothing/layers. Dri-duck poncho.

I'm open to any suggestions from you seasoned hikers. I hope to go in September. I have family to meet me at the major crossings to re-supply. I'm about 5'6 and sleep cold but I sweat like a horse during the day. My budget is limited to $500-$600.


Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 20:52:07 MDT Print View

So are you asking for suggestions for what you don't have, or for replacements of what you've listed?

First Name
(SgtPepper) - F
Re: I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 20:55:42 MDT Print View

Replacements on the main items (pack,bag,tent,etc). I'd like to lighten it up some.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 21:13:58 MDT Print View

Georgia in September, you could probably use a 40 degree bag, I would think. And I'd watch for used gear on here, like a Golite Jam or Pinnacle. And a 1 person tent from Tarptent.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
More Info on 10/05/2009 21:15:44 MDT Print View

Can you give us an idea of you're expected number of days on the trail, or between resupplies? The AT through Georgia is 75 miles; how many miles per day are you planning?

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 21:18:49 MDT Print View

im selling a Six Moon Designs COMET pack right now. good price for a well made cottage gear (USA) backpack

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 21:38:25 MDT Print View

If its a one shot deal you could do it pretty cheap.
If you expect to hike in the future buy good gear.

I would just replace the big 4 and peice that together with everything else you already have and try to keep the base weight down to 12-13#.

You will get other suggestions, but I would say a 25-35dF sleeping bag would be about right.

A Slumberjack superguide is cheap and under 3# but bulky. Buy a used pack here. Used prolite short pad. Spitfire tent is cheap, but not super light. Still under 3# with new stakes. You should be able to do all of that for about $250-300.

If you want a cheap down bag get a campmor.

If you want top gear which I would recommend because it will last, if you can afford it.

Get a Montbell #2 or #3 SS UL 800 or #3 spiral down sleeping bag, or a mountain hardware or other top name down bag. A montbell #3 spiral rated for 35dF weighs 19 oz.

If you want more safety and a warmer bag get a #1 or #2.

Get a regular size thermarest neoair. May want to try one out first or return if you dont like it. They are expensive.

Tarptent tent. The newest one the moment seems like a really nice tent, although I have not tried one.

Besides that buy a set of smartwool johns, 2-3 pairs of smartwool socks, and dont pack any cotton.

Maybe replace the cook gear with a 4-5 oz bag cookset including stove.

Edited by tammons on 10/05/2009 21:40:07 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 21:45:38 MDT Print View

Consider making two mind-shifts:

First start building a 'gear list' of the ALL the items that are going along, along with their weights. (Excel is a good tools for this.) By looking at what others are doing, and not just the sub-10 lists, you will see what is possible (sub-13 on gear and clothing is no problem especially in GA in September!), and you will know what gear you need to look for. Between now and June it Will show up on this forum. If you are ready to buy, it's yours, cheap. If you have to ponder, it will be gone.

Second, take a close look at how you are going to do food. Using the FreezerBag/CozyCooking method you can eat well on 1.5 pounds a day, and if your resupplies are at typical AT intervals you shouldn't be carrying more than 7 pounds of food.

That will make for a 20# skin-out weight. I think many here would suggest that sub-20 is very doable for a 5 day hike.

So it's not just gear, but the right gear, and the right meals, and close attention to the details.

Good Luck. Getting to September will be a fun journey in itself.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Bag on 10/05/2009 21:45:55 MDT Print View

Sounds like a cool idea. I've wasted more money than I care to think about by not thinking things through so here are a few general ideas. You don't have to do a complete overall, I would say some people here (me included) can go overboard on getting the lightest and best gear. Sure I have a 12 oz pack but you can go fairly comforable just by packing smart.
I might start by replacing that sleeping bag. I picked up a Quest sleeping bag at Dick's Sporting Goods for something like $40. It weighs about 2 pounds and is rated to 40 degrees. I've seen similar deals at Gander Mtn. There are better bags but for $40 dollers you are saving 2 pounds so thats not a bad deal.
If you want to go lighter a cheap 8 by 10 foot tarp should work if you know how to pitch it. If you want more look for a cheap tarptent. I would hike in all nylon clothes because they dry fast. I really like the mesh Athletic Starter shirts from WalMart. They are cool, cheap and dry fast. I should warn you that bugs bite through them but they're so darn comfortable I'd just ad more OFF. If its cold bring more rain gear, if its hot a poncho and quick dry clothes are good.
I would replace the pack last if at all (unless of course its uncomfortable). You want to know how much space and weight bearing ability you'll need.
Personally before I bought anything I would get a complete list of what I wanted to buy, what it would cost and how much weight it would save. That would have saved me a lot of wasted gear when I was buying stuff. For example replacing the bag might cost $40 and save you 2-3 pounds plus a lot of space. Cutting your pack weight down 2 pounds is going to cost more.
Good luck,

Edited by Cameron on 10/05/2009 21:49:06 MDT.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Comet on 10/05/2009 21:50:49 MDT Print View

That Comet would be perfect for an AT pack. Seems likes it's around 28? oz with the stay? That would save you nearly 3 pounds right there. SMD gear is good stuff, really well respected around here.

The place to spend some money is on a good bag/quilt. A nice down quilt will last for decades if cared for. I'm thinking you'll be camping/backpacking with your wife in the future, so I would take a look at one of the JRB large quilts. Pretty light at 1.5-2 lbs, and big enough to use as a couples quilt.

Are you planning on sleeping in the shelters? If so, how about just taking a light tarp? A silnylon tarp could be had for $50 or so. Pick up a Sea to Summit sleepnet for $30 to deal with bugs and keep the mice at bay in the shelters. Combined with a few stakes and some guyline, that setup should be less than 2 lbs and very versatile.

Not sure if you sew, but MYOG is a great money-saver. If you can just sew a little bit, a tarp and synthetic quilt are pretty easy projects.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
I'm new and seeking advice on 10/05/2009 22:30:26 MDT Print View

A good gear list, and patience, and you could have some great gear, and way under your budget. On my gear list, I'd have a range of packs that would work (tents too), so I could watch the classifieds and be ready to buy. At various times, I have purchased a Jam2 for $50 (21 oz), a Marmot Atom for $100 (21 oz), and a Tarptent Sublite for $120 (19 oz). I think 3# 13oz for a big 3 is pretty respectable, especially at $270. And I'm just using the Jam2 as an example, I don't think I'd go with a framless pack (that Comet sounds good though).

Edited by skinewmexico on 10/05/2009 22:33:20 MDT.

Aaron Zuniga
(gliden2) - F

Locale: Northwest
Re:I'm new and seeking advice on 10/06/2009 11:15:57 MDT Print View

Don't go too cheap on any part of your new system; especially since you've been out of the game for a while.
With a budget of $500-$600, here's some BIG 3 suggestions I came up with...
*Pack-The SMD Comet Te-wa is selling would be a good score if the size is right for you. If not a Golite Jam or Pinnacle wouldn't be a bad choice; you can find them at Prolite Gear for $100 and $120. Also look take a look at the ULA Conduit($100) and Ohm($130). Great packs at fair price, made in Utah. I've used the Conduit and Catalyst with great success. Just got a new Conduit, can't wait to get back on the trail with it; One of my favorite packs ever!
*Shelter-Since you have time, i would consider a Duomid from MLD. Great protection, ventilation, and would be palacial for one. The silnylon version is only $205; great price for a near flawless shelter @ 15.5 ounces.
*Bag/Quilt-Te-wa also makes quality custom quilts; i'd chat with him to find out more details. The Backpacking Light PRO 90 Quilt($130-non member)is also an affordable option. You may need to add an insualtion layer to boost the rating;YMMV.
After shipping you will still have a couple bucks. I'd invest the rest into a nice sleeping pad; the Cult Classic Neoair would be a good choice. Or if your a minimalist, the BPL Torsolite always helps me get my ZZZZ's.

First Name
(SgtPepper) - F
comments on 10/06/2009 14:26:04 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments and suggestion so far. I'm trying to keep up checking out the gear you have all mentioned.

I found a guy named Shug on Youtube and he has me a bit interested in hammocks, too. In Florida, though, you can't hang anything on the trees at all (at least the places I've been).

I'm going to do a lot of reading and planning and when I see a good deal, try to grab it. I think if I can find a good bag, pack, and shelter that works for me, the rest will come together.

Thanks to all! I'll keep reading your posts. I have been for some time now.

Edited by SgtPepper on 10/06/2009 14:27:01 MDT.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: comments on 10/06/2009 14:53:55 MDT Print View

In Florida, though, you can't hang anything on the trees at all (at least the places I've been).

i dont agree with that entirely, there are plenty of hangers on the hammock forums from Florida. a recent thread is about a "florida group hang"
maybe in State Parks you cannot? but it seems there are plenty of places to hang. its a big state, right? :)

also, i have a couple of vids on youtube that might interest you. peace, mike

also, the Comet would be great for an AT trek, and many an AT trekker has used them. it has a big extension collar for those re-supplies and the stays carry loads into the upper 30#'s. You'll still need a pad to help transfer load, and a Gossamer Sitlight will be included in the sale. you may find your inflatable folded into 1/3rds is what you want. but i'll throw in a sitlight just for poos and laughs.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 10/06/2009 15:08:01 MDT.

First Name
(SgtPepper) - F
Re: Re: comments on 10/06/2009 15:21:19 MDT Print View

The only 2 places I've camped in Fl. were State Parks and they were serious about nothing tied to lanterns, hammocks, children...

What are you asking for your gear you want to sell. I will check it out online for the pack specs/pics.

I'd like to check out your videos....links?

Edited by SgtPepper on 10/06/2009 15:22:13 MDT.

First Name
(SgtPepper) - F
Re: More Info on 10/06/2009 15:23:47 MDT Print View

Being new...I was assuming 7 to 10 miles a day. I have no clue how reality-based that would be.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: More Info on 10/06/2009 16:01:36 MDT Print View

comet pack:

warbonnet hammock and te-wa underquilt:

te-wa underquilt up close:

with the warmer, mild weather in FL my standard would be a perfect choice. id push it to 25° without worry.

hey, by the way i wanted to inform you that according to some reports, the last "Trail Days" party in Damascus had more hammock and hammock related gear booths than ground dwelling product booths. IF that doesnt tell you something, i dont know what will...
there are a few hangers i know that are doing an AT thru with just hammock. John Quoddy is a guy who is doing hammock/tent depending on the situation. maybe he'll chime in?

the comet pack is not listed on SMD site it has been discontinued but i think its 29oz total, 3700 cubes, and it has the nicest suspension system of any pack i own.
i carried up to 1 gallon of water and 6 days' food in it and it worked like a champ. it was in no way maxed out and could have taken on another several pounds. I think i was around 28# or so.. now consider, that im usually in the 6-8lb base weight area with a normal weekend pack weight of (totalling everything, and consumables) less than 12 pounds. I cannot possibly find a use for this pack, please take if off my hands. !!! mike

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 10/06/2009 16:03:16 MDT.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Mileage on 10/06/2009 16:04:55 MDT Print View

I'm betting you'll be doing something between now and then in terms of physically preparing for your hike? I think your mileage goals are low, especially if you're used to hiking before you start. Think about it this way: if you spend 8 hours walking in a day, at 1.5 mph, that's 12 miles. 8 hours isn't alot when getting up the trail is your goal, and 1.5 mph is a leisurely stroll. I bet you could knock down 12-15 miles/day easier than you think. Especially after we help you knock your pack weight down!