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AT 500 mile section hike
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JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
AT 500 mile section hike on 05/28/2010 08:08:26 MDT Print View

I am about to leave for a solo 500 mile section hike on the AT, starting in MA, hiking south to Harpers Ferry WV. I'm packing a few items of clothing that many may feel are not necessary. I tend to sleep a little on the cool side and prefer being warmer for a better nights sleep, I can ship home items that I feel are no longer needed as I hike further south and the night temps get warmer. I will be resupplying every 5-7 days in towns, estimated food weight going out of town will be 6-8lbs. Below is my gear list 155.7oz = 9.73lbs without food/water/fuel or clothing worn. I will be burning wood with my Tri-Ti stove as much as possible, esbit tabs (included in resupply boxes) as back up when it's raining and I need to cook under the vestibule. A few items have been shipped ahead with food and not in picture below, fire kit, esbit tabs, tent stakes, hand santi, AquaMira, DEET, Bonners etc.


packing- 34.7oz
pack ULA Amp with 2MLD waist belt pockets- 11.5oz
1-MYOG shoulder pocket for camera, lip balm, etc- 0.5oz
tent- GG The One, seam sealed, 8-6in Ti hook stakes (2 are for stove), stuff sack, Polycryo ground cloth- 21.9oz
2- MLD Cuben dry bags, 1 for clothes, 1 for down quilt- 0.8oz

sleeping- 31oz
NeoAir pad- 13oz
Exped inflatable pillow- 3oz
JRB Stealth down quilt- 15oz

cooking- 8.4oz
MLD 850 Ti mug/lid/handles- 2.3oz
Trail Designs Caldera Tri-Ti ULC, Gram Cracker stove- 2.2oz
STS-Long handle Ti spoon modified to make a spork- 0.1oz
mini bic- 0.4oz
Spyderco Lady Bug knife- 0.2
MYOG stuff sack for cook kit- 0.2
food bag silnylon- 1oz
Aloksak O.P. sack 12x20- 1oz
bear hang, 40" cord, rock sack, mini biner- 1oz

hydration- 6.3oz
2- 1.5L wide mouth Nalgene canteens with modified caps, (these fit in the side pockets of my pack and easier for me to carry than a 3L canteen)- 4.2oz
1- 1L soft side Platy- 1oz
AquaMira drops repackaged, includes premixing bottle- 1oz
1-nylon footie for filtering out larger particles- 0.1oz

hygiene- 2.2oz
includes the following, carried in a ziploc bag
tooth paste partially used travel size
mini spool of floss
contact lens solution repackaged
contact lens case
travel size pack of tissues repackaged
deodorant repackaged

fire kit- 1oz
includes the following, carried in a ziploc bag
2 cotton balls, 5-fatwood matches, 3-tender tabs, 1-firelite mini fire steel with modified handle and striker

first aid for personal, tent and basic equip repair- 2.9oz
I keep it all in one Aloksak- includes the following
personal solo first aid, 3-1" band-aids, 1-single neosporin, 2-2" gauze pads, 2-alcohol pads, 2-butterfly strips, 12" Leukotape P, 6-Tylenol caplets, 4-benadryl caplets, 1-Epi-Pen (bee sting allergy, Epi is carried in the waist pocket with benadryl)

first-aid for equipment
2 plastic zip ties, 24" of duct tape, mini tube of McNetts seam sealer, 2x2 patch for sleep pad, 1 safety pen, 1 needle large enough to thread dental floss

clothing carried- 25.3oz
Montbell down vest- 5.1oz
1-ls base layer shirt (sleeping)- 4.9oz
1-undies- 1oz
1-Capilene 2 pants (sleeping)- 4.6
1-Smartwool socks (sleeping)- 1.2oz
1-Wrightsocks extra pair for hiking- 1oz
1-fleece beanie light wt- 1oz
1.5-cotton bandanas, 1 has been cut down, 1 is full size- (I keep one clean for hands when taking out contacts, the other is for sweat and daily end of day clean up)- 1.5oz
1-visor- 1oz
1-pair of flip-flops for camp, town and public showers, lighter options are available, but I like these- 4oz

rain gear- 19.7oz
Marmot Mica- 6oz
Etowah Gear rain wrap- 2.8oz
umbrella- 6oz
MLD dog tarp, guyouts and stuff sack- (nice to have for extending a porch on rainy days/nights, lunch break shelter)- 4.9oz

misc- 21.75
Petzel e-lite, modified head strap- 0.9
SPOT- (yes I know it's heavy, but it keeps the husband happy and he's the one that finances my hiking)- 7.5oz
iPod- 0.9oz
sunglasses/yellow lens- (I wear these everyday all day except when it's raining, they help prevent contacts from drying out on windy days and keep gnats out of my eyes)- 1oz
GG Litetrek 4 adjustable trekking poles, also used as tent poles- 6.6oz
GG Sitlite sit pad for back pad inside of pack, sitting on and elevating feet while sleeping- 1.35oz

10 day supply personal meds carried in small ziploc bag- 0.1oz
DEET repackaged- 0.5oz
Dr Bonners repackaged- 0.25oz
1-stubby yellow crayon, wrapper removed- 0.1oz
1- 3" pencil- 0.1oz
lip balm- 0.3oz
sunscreen repackaged- 0.3oz
hand santi repackaged- 1oz
1- 1 gal ziploc bag for washing socks, bandanas etc- 0.4oz
whistle and Micro LED light (on lanyard around neck)- 0.45
small pet box turtle with 36" Spectra cord leash- 2oz and growing

TOTAL 155.7oz = 9.73lbs

other items carried - weight TBD
camera, drivers license, cash, CC, insurance card, phone card, carried in small ziplock

2-3 chapters from a paperback, pages from guidebook burned in camp or disposed of at resupply stops

clothing worn- s/s base layer shirt, skirt, Wrightsocks, Salomon XA Pro 3-D Ultra trail runners with SOLE insoles

Paul Siegel

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Turtle? on 05/28/2010 08:25:26 MDT Print View

You have got to explain the box turtle.

Nathan Baker
(Slvravn) - MLife

Locale: East Coast - Mid Atlantic
Re: Turtle? on 05/28/2010 08:29:03 MDT Print View

Is it the equivalent of "no brown M&Ms" ?

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: AT 500 mile section hike on 05/28/2010 08:29:18 MDT Print View

nothing to add..have a great trip JJ

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: AT 500 mile section hike on 05/28/2010 09:04:09 MDT Print View

I am not even going to ask about the box turtle.

That looks like a great list. The only thing that I would suggest is to drop the SPOT, but if someone would finance my hiking, I would carry the 7.5oz too!

BTW: What is the yellow crayon for?

I hope you have a great hike!

James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
re: AT 500 mile section hike on 05/28/2010 09:55:20 MDT Print View

Wow - awesome list.

Only one thing I could think of...
+ NIX one or both of the canteens - plenty of water on the AT, no need to carry 4Ls.

Otherwise, great list & enjoy the turtle's company!!!!

Peace, James.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
AT 500 mile section hike on 05/28/2010 11:59:59 MDT Print View

I think you have way too much clothing for this time of year up here. I'd ditch the vest, the rain wrap, and the long underwear.

Rain jacket + dry bags + umbrella seems excessive.

You can resupply every 3-4 days on this stretch of trail. Why carry food for 5-7 days? Also you should plan on around 2 lbs. of food a day (3000+ calories) unless you want to lose a ton of weight (and even if you have the weight to lose, this isn't good for your body).

If you weren't joking about the box turtle, leave it at home. They're officially endangered in Massachusetts and you can get in trouble for just possessing one (not to mention the risk that your turtle will spread disease into the wild population). Don't bring it.

Russell Slater
(russellds) - MLife

Locale: Georgia
Re: AT 500 mile section hike on 05/28/2010 13:36:28 MDT Print View

Is it a lemon flavored crayon? Crayons make great emergency rations! Mmmm.... crayons!

b willi jones
(mrjones) - F

Locale: NZ,,, best place in the world !?
Re: AT 500 mile section hike on 05/28/2010 16:48:34 MDT Print View

yeah, i think you should shorten up on that spectra cord leash, - those box turtle things sure can move, you dont want it to get away on ya, i would hate to see another hiker get savaged.

if it does have something to do with brown m n m's, then disregard this post, thanks

Edited by mrjones on 05/28/2010 16:49:58 MDT.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
omit on 05/28/2010 19:50:42 MDT Print View

I see items on your list that I used to carry on the AT, but no longer do.
Umbrella, 3 L bottle sand a pillow. Umbrella spent too much time just carrying, plus trail is narrow and branches catch. I did pass an umbrella hiker last week who believed her umbrella kept her feet drier, however!
I used to start out carrying two liters which would last me the day, then fill up with tree liters at night. Now I just carry a one liter platypus. Drink 1/2 liter at a time, and drink up at stream crossings. At night one liter gives me enough for dinner with some left over.
With a full length pad, a pillow s not needed, or i stuff rain gear in an emty stuff bag and that is enough pillow.
Omit your MLD dog tarp. Too much trouble for a small rewards convenience.

Add to first aid, more stuff for blisters, eg. moleskin, 5 day 2nd skin blister pads. Apply Tinactin, or anti fungl cream before you get athlete's foot. Occasionally apply first aid ointment to the feet, too, for preventative care. For socks wash a pair, pin to bag to dry as you hike, wear a pair and keep one pair only used at camp in the evening. I like to remove shoes and socks to dry out in the sun at mid-day during a break. Remove the foot beds at night.
I had a box turtle once. It loved Japanese beetles!

Carry only the maps you need for a section, rip pages out of your guide book rather than carry the whole book.

I, too, would keep the long underwear for awhile longer. I live in MA, today 60 felt chilly. Send the warm stuff home, soon, however. I, too, might cary a couple of extra days of food rather than have to walk 2 miles to a town. Save re-supplies for the towns that the trail passes through or very close-by.
I like to mail drop clean socks and undies and mail dirty ones home.

Have you coated the cotton balls with vaseline? To ignite with a spark, pull the fabrics out in thin stands to catch the spark. (Vaseline is good on the feet at night, too.) Use you knife to split sticks for your fire especially if the fuel is wet. Look for the ends of pine branches still on the trees to collect your first layer of kindling. Cooking with wood fires is fine, but you need patience.

With 500 miles you will have plenty of opportunity to fine tune your gear list. Have fun. Tired of hiking? Catch an early morning bus from Delaware Gap and spend a day in NYC! The bus depot (Port Authority) is only a few blocks from Times Square.

Head lamp?

I like your nylon footie idea!

These ;ittle funnels fit on the tops of platypus bottles. put the screen (nylon) over the top and you have an easy aim filter system. A piece of no-see-um bug netting works, too.

Edited by rambler on 05/28/2010 20:19:21 MDT.

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
AT 500 miles section hike on 05/30/2010 14:22:33 MDT Print View

aaaahahahaha, my turtle Fluffy is a feisty little guy/girl, box turtles don't eat much, take up very little space, likes rainy conditions, doesn't bark or damage gear, best of all carries it's own shelter.

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions, they're all worth considering. This will be my third 500 mile section on the AT, every year I refine my gear list and getting lighter. At this point I'm very happy with my sub-10lb weight

two wide mouth 1.5L canteens-
sorry I wasn't clear, I don't carry that much water all at once, it's for camp use, cooking, cleaning up, washing socks and undies, one trip to the water source at the end of the day is enough for me. When I said I could fit the 1.5L in my side pockets, what I meant and didn't say was, if I cross water on the way into camp I will fill up then, walk to camp rather than coming back for it. While hiking I drink from the 1L Platy that I keep stored in a side pocket, filling as needed, as someone said water is plentiful on the AT, yes it is, however I like having plenty for camp use.

food resupply-
I dehydrate much of my food in order to meet my dietary needs, resupplying in local stores is hard for me and usually doesn't work out in a positive way, resupplying every 5-7 days saves a lot of time and fewer trips to town.

5x5 dog tarp-
been using it a lot this year, extremely nice to have the extra room at the end of a rainy day, cooking is easier and safer. But, this is the open piece I'm not fully committed to taking.

extra clothes-
I sleep on the cool side, being warmer means a good nights sleep for me, so the insulation stays until I'm comfortable with not needing it, then will ship it home

umbrella- rain jacket- rain wrap-
After reading Jardine's book and how he used a brella it made perfect sense, so I gave it a try this spring while hiking in GA and really liked it, had only minor problems with it catching on limbs. Yep, my feet stay dryer, and I stay cooler, will still keep the rain jacket for when it's too windy to use the brella, rain wrap, kinda need to wear something when doing laundry in town and I find the wrap is multi use, jacket is good to wear while setting up camp in the rain and if it's cool at night I have a l/w layer

maps and or guide book pages-
yep, I already removed what pages are needed for each section, they will be shipped in resupply boxes, same for maps

Russ the yellow crayon is lemon, just right for drawing sunny faces in the trail registers and curving hunger :^D

I'll post a trip report when I finish, including how my gear choices worked out or not.

Lee Fitler
(tdilf) - F
nice list on 06/03/2010 11:17:05 MDT Print View

You may want to consider having some backup shoes available to bounce ahead – PA can kill footwear.

If it was me I would add an extra pair of socks and ditch the Dog Tarp.

Have a great hike.