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Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start
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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/15/2006 10:15:28 MST Print View

Thanks for your nice comments.

I have been "blessed" with a good recovery from my episode with cancer and for my friends that are not comfortable with the term "blessed" I use "lucky".

I also think it is important to be very open about all of the story. There can be a life after cancer and I want people to know that. It may not be the same life you had before but it is still Life.

I told my Doctors that if they can kill the cancer I will figure out how to deal with what is left of me. Having my 11 bottom teeth pulled after trying hard to take care of them all those years was really hard. But the possibility of losing my lower jaw bone and the effects of that made having my teeth pulled a no-brainer. Was I happy about it - He_ _ no.

As I once wrote to JP, I maybe old but I am not foolish.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/15/2006 11:28:40 MST Print View


That is a great attitude, one we can all aspire to be strong enough to have. My father is also a cancer survivor (pancreas). He is now diabetic since he has no pancreas at all. It is difficult for him to be an athlete (triathlon) again even with a pump and he feels similar to you do "teeth you took care of for all those years". He took care of his body, did not smoke, drink or be overweight and yet now he has to be a diabetic. I, however, am greatful that he is alive and still here to talk with me and guide me when I need it. And that when we see each other we can still ride our bikes and swim and run together with only a few minor stops to check blood sugar levels or eat more.

Thanks again for contributing the story.

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/16/2006 19:39:58 MST Print View

Bill, your creativity is amazing. I have used your designs as examples of creative thought many times over the last couple of years.

I am glad that you are headed for the AT. Your story is an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. We do not get to select the events that impact our life. You have chosen to maintain an incredible attitude.

I look forward to hearing about your hike.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: Re: Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/16/2006 19:51:34 MST Print View


You have inspired me to go that extra gram, ounce, and mile or hardship in my thinking. So much thanks.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
RBH VaprThrm NTS-Shirt&Pants on 01/23/2007 15:01:09 MST Print View

Adding the RBH Designs VaprThrm NTS Shirt and VaprThrm Pants to my gear list.

I first learned about RBH Designs when BMW offered for sale the "FeatherLite Vapor Mitts". RBH Designs made the Mitts for BMW. I looked at their web site and ordered a pair of their VaprThrm Insulated Socks. At the time they were working out ideas for a shirt and pants. RBH VB items came back up when Ryan J was planning the SUL Winter Challenge. The weather wasn't cold enough and Ryan's hike was cut short. I sort of forgot about the Shirt and Pants till I read that Andrew had one of their shirts. I called RBH and ordered a NTS Shirt with the optional sleeve zippers and a pair of their NTS Pants. I can wear a medium shirt if I can get them made with a long arm sleeve length and sent my sleeve length to them. I also sent them a foot pattern for another pair of their VaprThrm Insulated Socks.

Last Saturday I received my new VaprThrm NTS Shirt, VaprThrm Pants and a new pair of their VaprThrm Insulated Socks. Everything fit great. Over the last couple of days I have had a chance to wear the VB shirt and pants.

Everything looks very well made.  If someone had been watching me as I was examining the shirt and pants they would have had a good laugh. I was looking at how everything was sewn together. The material also is interesting. 
Weight of things:
Socks - 4.11 ounces - size 9.5

Shirt - 12.8 ounces - size M - The shirt can vent with the front zipper, the two pocket zippers and the optional sleeve zippers. The pockets are made out of some type of mesh. You can see the large mesh panel on one of the pictures of the inside of the shirt.

This picture shows what the inside material really looks like. The flash on my camera washed out the color on the other pictures.

Pants - 13.7 ounces - size M - The pants have a 16" side zipper that starts near the waist and goes toward the knee.

None of that weight matters as long as they are on my
back.  While hiking I will wear them day and night till I find the point where the temperature / heat / sweat is to much to control by what I wear or by venting.

First test:
Saturday 20 January 2007 - 40 degrees "F" with a light rain. I was wearing nothing under the NTS Shirt and only a pair of briefs under the NTS Pants. At first I was just a little cool.  That is really how I like it.  At about the 30 minute mark I was just right.  No venting yet.  I stayed at the "just right" feeling till I got back home.  When I took off the shirt and pants I had a slight damp feeling across the back of my shoulders but no moisture.

Second Test:
21 January - Sunday Night.
I wore the shirt (nothing under it again) and pants (only briefs again) late this afternoon. It was 56 out. I started with all vent zips open and the shirt front main zip about 1/3 of the way down.  By the time I got about half way down the hill on my street I had pulled the zips on the pants closed about 75% of the way.  Zipped the jacket up till it was about 85% closed.  Arm zips were left opened and sleeve opening was left open all the way.  I left everything like that till I was almost home when I unzipped the jacket a little along with the leg zips.  I wasn't warm but was just trying to cool a little before I got home.  Again the only slightly damp area was across my shoulders. I have a really light weight sleeveless running top made out of a very breathable material.  I will wear it under the shirt tomorrow and see how that works.  It should let me unzip the shirt more or maybe even all the way without a chill on my bare chest. On my hike I will carry my #2 wool zip hoody and #2 wool bottoms if it gets to cold for just the NTS Shirt and Pants. I will have warmer items to put on when I stop moving and when I am in camp.

The initial results of wearing the RBH VB shirt and pants are one of the big reasons I am re-thinking my winter gear list.

I believe the VB NTS Shirt and NTS Pants can be worn to a much higher temperature than most have thought in the past. My goal is to find out if this is possible and what MY high temperature range will be. It may not be for everyone but will be for those that are really in-tune with what their body is doing.

I will continue to test this gear until I leave for my hike. While hiking I will have a chance to find out for sure if I am right or wrong.

Edited by bfornshell on 01/23/2007 15:11:39 MST.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Vapor Barrier Clothing on 01/23/2007 15:40:10 MST Print View

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the information and intial review of the RBH Vapor Barrier Clothing. Please keep us posted on your assessment and if you feel that the additional features and added weight of the clothing are worthwhile compared to something like the Stephenson's Warmlite Vapor Barrier clothing. My Warmlite Vapor Barrier clothing with the fuzzy stuff weighs: 2.6 oz for small socks, 5.4 oz for large top, and 4.4 oz for medium bottoms.


David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: RBH VaprThrm NTS-Shirt&Pants on 01/23/2007 22:25:35 MST Print View

"None of that weight matters as long as they are on my

GASP!! Someone has hacked onto bill's name.

That fuzzy stuff seems pretty cool though. a bit pricey. I wonder if any comparable fuzzy VB fabrics are available from people with at least reasonable prices.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: RBH VaprThrm NTS-Shirt&Pants on 01/23/2007 22:43:31 MST Print View

Bill F.,

Thanks for the insight on the RBH gear. If I read it right they are like a heavy duty windshirt type of product that might mean carrying the VaprTherms NTS and only one other base layer, like a merino wool or capilene long john and top? Is that right? bd

Edited by bdavis on 01/23/2007 22:44:12 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
RBH VaprThrm NTS-Shirt&Pants on 01/23/2007 23:45:44 MST Print View


I have never seen the VB stuff that WarmLight sells. I have one of their DAM's and thought about buying a few yards of the "fuzzystuff" but never got around to it.


GASP!! Who has hacked onto my computer?

What I meant to say I think was that if I am wearing my VB stuff 24 hours a day it would not count with pack weight. It is really funny, almost as fast as I posted that entry I got an email from a friend in the UK about my comment. I should have changed it but thought I would see how long it took for someone else to "jump on me about it". Do you know that I lived in Dahlonega for 11 years (89 to 2000).


This is real high energy output - low temperature stuff. If you look on the RBH web site and read some of the "testimonials" most of the folks wearing these thing are into extreme cold weather activities. I am trying to see if there is any advantage for the average (light weight) winter hiker to use something like this.

I want to see if by wearing the NTS Shirt and Pants, more or less 24 hours a day, I can drop some weight on other items that I have to carry all day in my pack. Can I go with a lighter sleeping system, outer garments for camp wear in camp etc? That is what I want to find out.

The shirt and pants may seem heavy but if I would need to wear a base layer and something on top of that for normal cold weather hiking and I can get by with only the NTS Shirt and Pants when moving, then the weigh may even out or drop. Then I wear the NTS things to sleep in and that replaces something else and should let me carry a lighter sleep system. When I have to wear something with the VB things they would go over them not under.

I haven't left for Georgia yet as I am remaking some of my gear to work with what I think the NTS Shirt and Pants will allow me to do. I will start the AT in Georgia to see how things work in what I expect to be mild weather but then I may go North in search of snow and low temperatures.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: RBH VaprThrm NTS-Shirt&Pants on 01/24/2007 06:52:31 MST Print View

"I will start the AT in Georgia to see how things work in what I expect to be mild weather."

Well, Bill, you may well be right about mild weather. My Smokies trip this Christmas was the warmest time there I can remember in quite a while. And here in Nashville, we teachers can't seem to catch a break!! Where did all our snow days go?! But of course, all bets are off once you actually get into the mountains.

Good luck with all your gear and your thru-hike. Please stay in touch when you can and let us know how every thing is going.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Warmlite Vapor Barrier Clothing on 01/24/2007 07:20:35 MST Print View


If you were referring to the cost of the Stephenson's Warmlite fuzzy stuff, I do not think it terribly expensive for a Vapor Barrier Shirt at $25 (S & M) or $30 (L & XL) and Vapor Barrier Pants at $39 (with a fly overlap). They are light and well made. But like other lightweight gear you do have to have some care in their usage.


Edited by naturephoto1 on 01/24/2007 11:43:08 MST.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
great plans on 01/24/2007 08:13:39 MST Print View

Great plans, Bill. I'll look forward to reading your book about your hike!
Random thoughts as I scan your list:
Hooded vest !! Great to sleep in.
Thin cap. long underwear to hike in, expedition weight for camp and pajama bottoms. Why the "tights"?
Insulated cahps and bottoms? Rainpants over expedition underwear should be warm enough.
Instead of a poncho with no sleeves, check out the packa. It is vented with underarm zippers, yet long enough to provide gread wind protection for warmth.
Hat: consider felt peruvian style with the ear flaps, even with the ties under the chin to keep the hat on while you sleep. Hats always slip off my head in the night and balacavas bug me!
Yes, sun glasses for snow glare!!
wear liner gloves all the time, day and night.
You do need water treatment. Filters are unreliable in freezing temps.
Use lithium batteries. Better in the cold.
Go with aluminum Kathoolas. You will be carrying them a lot, so keep it light!
Warmlite no-sweat sweatshirt is a great piece of gear. Wear it over a t-shirt, hike in 0 degree weather, no sweat!
Northern Lites are great, but the rubber strap kept slipping off the toe of the boot. Easy to replace with webbing. Check out some photos here: (Copy into your address bar)

Edited by rambler on 01/24/2007 08:20:26 MST.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Warmlite Vapor Barrier Clothing on 01/24/2007 11:41:49 MST Print View

Oops. Poor memory on my part.

Dahlonega is a great place. I'm just over the mountain off HWY 60. It's great being so close to woody gap, springer mt, brasstown bald, and unicoi gap. If you don't mind, what took you away from there out to texas?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
RBH VaprThrm NTS-Shirt&Pants on 01/24/2007 13:15:30 MST Print View


I ordered some "fuzzy stuff" this morning. If I have time I will make a VB shirt, pair of pants, socks and maybe a pair of mitt shells out of it and see how it works.


Thanks for the suggestions. If you notice on my gear list I use the (?) mark. That means I have not decided what or which item I will use.

I like what you did with your snow shoes. If I have time I am going to modify mine like you did. I also have another set of snow shoe crampons which I may swap with the ones that come with the Northern Lites.

The steel Kathoola crampons should hold their edge on the type of terrain I expect to be on better than the aluminum ones.

I am using MP1 tablets for my water treatment. I have had water filters freeze on me, but I am a fast learner on most things.

I have Lithium batteries for the lights that use them. I have just gotten an ARC (1) AAA battery light that I will add to my gear list. It is a great light at 0.9 ounces. It can use a Lithium battery.


I really liked the North Georgia area but after I retired from the Army in 93 I lost my Texas residency. I owned a home in San Antonio and had expected to move back when I retired. I liked the N GA Area and thought about staying but when I retired I was then subject to the Georgia tax structure and their State Personal Income Tax. I just put up with it for a few years then decide to move back to my home in SA. My plan was to stay about 5 years and then sell my house and move North. I would move up to TN, VA or NH which do not have a Personal State Income Tax. Number one state on my list was northern NH. I have been up there hiking in both summer and winter. I like a four-season area and its snow.

Cancer in 2004 changed my plans. I am so tuned into my medical support here that I do not think I will now move. I still have a number of medical follow-up exams and one of them is every three months forever, I should say till I die.

Any hiking I want to do now has to be planned around my follow-up exams. A straight thru AT Hike is not possible so I have to do it in segments with exams stops planned as necessary.

Gene .

Locale: New England
Re: RBH VaprThrm NTS-Shirt&Pants on 01/25/2007 14:44:07 MST Print View

Bill, That still beats doing no hike *GRIN*

By the time you get up here to New England you'll be fit enough to go off trail and look for a local treatment program! Bill, the State of New Hampshire REALLY needs YOU in residency! All of us up here in the New England states are hoping you become a 'free agent' during your AT hike Bill so you can move up here!

If not maybe I can get another good truck deal over at Grande Ford *Grin*. It's actually colder in Texas than in NJ Bill! They gotta' have a state of the art doohickey up here somewhere for you....

Besides, I'd rather drive the boxes over to visit with you , than FedEx 'em!