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Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start
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Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
gear on 11/16/2006 09:17:50 MST Print View

Wow a lot of good planning discussed here. One note: If you are using a floorless tarp, I think your ground cover is important when sleeping on snow. Heat from your body will go down into the snow causing it to melt. Whatever the bottom layer is it often gets wet. It won't matter much if it is your ground cover. Even with a pad the snow tends to conform to the shape of your body. Then it will freeze up, so that when you change positions, you will be sleeping on lumps previously formed by your body. That is why it is a good idea to stomp the snow down making it as level as possible before you lie down. The bivy should add some warmth even if your inside a shelter, but I think it would be an important safety back-up in case you could not get to a shelter.
Maybe this is what Robert had in mind:
Jacks R Better "Snivieller"

Edited by rambler on 11/16/2006 09:22:46 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: gear on 11/16/2006 11:13:59 MST Print View

Sometimes on the primarily leeward side of some conifers, close to them, the ground will not be snow covered. Under them can be problematic though, particularly white pine when laden with heavy wet snow which we often get in the northeast (don't know about snow out west) and the wind kicks up during the night; result = a "widow-maker" (i.e., a branch) lands right on top of you. I see them fallen 'bout every two or three years off the white pines around my property when i look out the morning after a windy wet snowfall.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Food and Related Items for the Hike: on 11/18/2006 18:53:08 MST Print View

Food and Related Items for the Hike:

This post is related to the thread

Since all my food has to be liquid, well I can eat a few soft things if I am careful, I have an interest in higher mileage between resupply stops. I can't just walk into many stores and buy Dry Ensure. To do an AT Thru-Hike or a very long hike of any kind I had planned to do a lot of mail drops. In the early planning I thought about just doing my resupply when I walked through a place with a Post Office or a store that would hold a food drop for hikers. The idea of going into town after town has very little interest to me as I can't eat the kind of food I would find there.

This idea of only a few resupply stops wither it is 3 or 5 or 10 plays into my food needs. I am sure I can not nor would not try a 3 resupply AT Thru-Hike this time. I might think about 5 resupply stops. That would give me a average food weight at the start of each of the sections of about 33 pounds. I was surprised at the large volume the food was going to take up in my pack. My Dry Ensure packs a lot of calories in a small package. A one serving amount of 282.5 calories (2.29 ounces) will pack into a coffee filter and be about 2" square for planning. The zip lock bag in the picture is 10 servings or food for one day (2825 calories). I am using Hammer Perpetuem in all my water and that will add about 520 more calories a day for a total of about 3345 calories a day.

Nutritional information for Dry Ensure:

Nutritional information for Hammer Perpetuem:

Multi-Use in action:

On the second half of my hike in Georgia last month I started packing my Dry Ensure in a large paper coffee filter. It made my every 90 minute food stops go much faster. The paper coffee filters also turned out to make great TP. That saved a little weight and gave me a way to recycle the empty paper filters. The paper burns nice if I need something to start a fire with.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Gear on 11/19/2006 22:44:19 MST Print View

Hey Bill,
The coffee filters are a great idea.

As far as the bag for the Perpetuem goes, I find it easier to put it in the smaller zipp lock bags so I can just grab a new one and put it in my outside pack pocket.
I also made a scoop that is longer and narrower to fit inside the top of a water bottle. The scoop is made so 1 scoop equals the amount you will need for the size water bottle you are carrying.

I also designed my pack to fit perfectly in the small of my back. I put all of my food in a large (12.5 X 20) OP Sac and wrap it with my thinlite pad to keep it in place.
This way I can put 3/4 of my pack weight right next to my body in the small of my back where it is the most comfortable to carry.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 11/19/2006 23:39:19 MST Print View

Thanks Aaron,

I also use a zip lock for my Hammer Perpetuem. I have a small scoop that came with an instant coffee mix. Hammer Perpetuem is some good stuff. Even my Doctor thought it was a good idea to use it along with my Dry Ensure when hiking.

On anything but a short hike I use a home made external frame pack. I like a little air between me and my pack bag.

Isn't great that when we can make some or most of our own gear. We can have it just like we want it.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 11/21/2006 23:46:46 MST Print View

Ah yes, making your own gear does have its advantages.
The problem with most of the stuff I make is the (when you get it right).
Sometimes, even the 3rd time isn't a charm.
I am going to start digging in to making some cuben stuff soon. I just don't know what to make. I am just not all that happy with my fully enclosed tarp designs, (finicky).

I am glad you like the Perpetium.
There is one thing you need to know about it. It ages fast.
Once mixed, you need to drink it in about 4-8 hours. The hotter the faster.
Very bad if you wake up with leftovers. Smells to high hell.

Edited by awsorensen on 11/21/2006 23:51:14 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 11/22/2006 00:07:26 MST Print View


When making anything for the first time I always make a couple of the "what ever" out of Wal Mart $1 a yard stuff. Then when it is like I want it I use my good stuff.

I am making a new Cuben Tarp for my hike in January. It will be something like 9 or 10 feet long and about 7 to 8 feet wide. Simple design and large enough to cover me and my stuff in rain/snow or what ever I have to deal with. If the weather is really bad I can sleep in a shelter.

The guy at the store where I first bought my Hammer Perpetium told me not to mix to much at one time. I use a 20 ounce Gatorade bottle to drink from while hiking so it doesn't last more than a few hours.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 11/22/2006 05:48:12 MST Print View

Aaron, a suggestion (and this coming from someone who can't sew - so please take it with a grain of salt), if i were to attempt a DIY sewing project, any project, i would probably find a great product already out there (GG or BMW tarp, HS tarptent, etc), and copy it - and then, add any "tweaks" i think that i would need (e.g., attached bug netting to a GG SpinnShelter, etc.).

It would be nice if you could find an actual product and measure the dimensions to get it right. Lacking the ability to do that, it's amazing, i've read Posts where a person has actually contacted the owner of some of these fine Cottage Industries and the owners actually "gave away the store", so to speak, and told the person the acutal dimensions of each panel and how to sew it. Go figure?!!! These exemplary human beings are NOT in it solely for personal profit. Their love of all things outdoors and willingness to help another succeed, at their own expense, so to speak, still takes precedence over accumulating personal wealth - a fine example to us all.

Just a thought.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Morality on 11/22/2006 13:10:43 MST Print View

PJ, there you go again. First you offer to help out a young man with a BPL membership, then you have the audacity to actually praise cottage industries that provide generous help to their customers. You are making me look bad in front of my children, and, oh yeah, the wifie, too. I teach my little ankle nippers to look out for the greatest number, which is Number One. Both your actions and your pronouncements are UNDERMINING THE EDUCATION OF MY CHILDREN!

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Morality on 11/23/2006 00:04:21 MST Print View

Thanks for the knowledge.
I'll stop being a Troll on Bills gear list after this post, (unless it's about his gear list).

The problem with copying or changing a manufactured design is I haven't found a 10 ounce fully enclosed tarptent out there using 1.3 ounce silnylon, The pack; would be nice to copy a
1400-1600ci pack strong enough for heavy abuse and hard running with very good padding at a 6.5 ounce weight.
I would rather make a product I can use the first time. after spending all the time designing it, I wouldn't know what changes to make in order to make it work correctly any way. If I did, I would have made it that way in the 1st place. Besides $5 a yard for fabric isn't that much at all considering the time you put into it. Might as well use it.
If I really don't like it, it get sabotaged for something else, which is even a better reason to use the good fabric.

Being innovative is half the fun for me. I always wanted to be an inventor.

Any way, I'm sure this is half the reason Bill makes his own gear as well.

My logic behind going UL is to go as lite as possible while still being satisfied with your gear. I realy don't want to spend $15 a yard on Cuben until I know that piece of gear is exactly what I want.
Being cold or uncomfortable is definitely not satisfying.

Edited by awsorensen on 11/23/2006 09:53:32 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Morality on 11/23/2006 06:01:21 MST Print View

Good plan Aaron. I now understand your motivations which are very commendable ones. I'm sure you will come up with workable designs that meet your needs and expectations. Sorry that i projected my fabrication inadequacies and lack of personal cleverness on you. I believe that you are well ahead of me in both categories. take care, pj

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Food for Half the Hike on 12/14/2006 14:05:22 MST Print View

This stack of Dry Ensure should be about half of the necessary Dry Ensure I will need for my hike.

This stack is 150 cans at 1750 calories each can and when repacked into zip locks will weigh 14 ounces per can.

262,500 calories - 2100 ounces - 131 pounds 3 ounces - 125 calories per ounce.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Food for Half the Hike on 12/14/2006 14:51:13 MST Print View


That is one great big stack of BOREDOM right there. How ever do you cope?

- Sam

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Food for Half the Hike on 12/14/2006 15:56:16 MST Print View

You have to realize that the liquid version of this and a couple other brands of liquid is what I have had to eat 99.99% since 7 Jun 2005. At least I can now drink it. At first I was on a feeding tube.

When I add a little Chocolate flavored Carnation Breakfast Drink the stuff tastes a lot like a chocolate milk shake. Really not to bad, right.

All I can say is it gives me the right mix of all the vitamins and other nutritional stuff I need each day. On the hike I will add some Hammer Perpetuem to all the water I drink.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Food for Half the Hike on 12/14/2006 16:29:34 MST Print View

> ...what I have had to eat 99.99% since 7 Jun 2005.

That's what I was talking about, Bill. Day in and day out. You must be a machine. It seems like its going to pay off in your ability to hike with this food though. Most people except for the most dedicated individuals (read: Flyin' Brian, Squeaky, Skurka, Dial, et al) would not be able to subsit on such a boring diet.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/14/2006 20:54:02 MST Print View

The operative words here are "I HAVE HAD TO EAT". Apparently, Bill doesn't have a choice, unless of course he wants to starve to death.

Catch a clue, folks. This isn't being put forward as the latest and greatest innovation in UL hiking.

A purely liquid diet is not what our digestive tract was designed to utilize. If I tried that, I'd need to calculate my ADMPTPR (Average Daily Miles Per Toilet Paper Roll or per square foot of shop towels).

I'd be willing to bet that Bill would just about kill for the ability to chew into that thick juicy steak most of us jump on when we reach a trail town.

You have my respect, Bill, for even trying to go trekking, let alone accomplishing it.

Edited by wandering_bob on 12/14/2006 20:55:13 MST.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/14/2006 22:39:09 MST Print View


Thanks for the comments.

My current condition and I use that term because it will get a little better.

Because of where my throat cancer was located, it was necessary to pull all my lower teeth. That was a sad day and they pulled 11 teeth in 30 minutes. That was 28 Oct 2004. My last real meal was 27 Oct 2004. It was necessary to pull the teeth because the radiation treatments would have killed the teeth and then I would have had two big problems. My lower teeth will be replaced and at first my dentist thought I might be able to have implants. As it turned out the radiation killed the cancer but it also caused some problems with my jaw bone and gums. I can not have implants. In the beginning I was told I would have to wait at least two years after the last radiation treatment for teeth of some type. It will become a denture and then I should not use it except to eat. Also hard to chew foods are out since I can still damage my gums and jaw bone. I saw my Dental Surgeon yesterday. He took a new x-ray and said everything is looking so good that he thought that by April I could see the dentist that will make my denture.

During this 2 year time I have not been allowed to try and gum my food as that might cause more damage. I can't chew anything as I have no teeth. My saliva glands also were fried and they are gone. It is hard to eat real food without saliva. I can drink a lot of water and I will see how that works out.

In the beginning of my treatment I lost a lot of weight and after some surgery I could not swallow anything. I ended up using my feeding tube to and did gain a little weight. I asked for something with more calories since what I was using was not working very fast. I have a great dietitian and she got me a liquid with more calories per 8 fl ounces. I tried to drink this and discovered that Carnation Breakfast drink mix turned the liquid into something I could drink. My weight shot up. I went from 137 to 161 and asked for the feeding tube to be removed. It is gone. I can maintain my weight where I want it and I was able to go on my first hike this past Oct.

I can't say I was happy drinking this stuff but I had to do something to get my weight back up or I would never get back in the woods.

For anyone that may need to go to a liquid diet at some point in their life let me answer the question this comment implies:

"Bob said: - A purely liquid diet is not what our digestive tract was designed to utilize. If I tried that, I'd need to calculate my ADMPTPR (Average Daily Miles Per Toilet Paper Roll or per square foot of shop towels)."

"Bob" I have no digestive tract problems, zero. To be as clear as possible that means NO diarrhea. My BM's are normal just not as much as if I was eating real food. Friends always get around to asking this same question. I also would not kill for the ability to "chew into that thick juicy steak in a trail town" or even a hamburger, but it will be nice.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/14/2006 22:50:10 MST Print View

Bill, you are an inspiring man.

The magnitude of your hike didn't hit me in spite of the cuben fiber gear photos, until I saw the stack of powder...

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/14/2006 23:46:00 MST Print View

Thanks Ryan, You have inspired me over the years.

I still have the "Premium Member News" email dated 8/9/03 [Pertex Quantum is coming! And More...] This was when you first announced the Cocoon line and lots of other things.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Gear List for a Mid-January AT Start on 12/15/2006 07:11:19 MST Print View


I know others have said it but you're an inspiration to me too. I drink Ensure on many endurance rides and races because it's compact and easy to get down with some extra liquid already included (vs a gel). But for every meal! Thank you also for posting the story above. I was always curious but did not wish to pry.

Edited by Pivvay on 12/15/2006 07:12:09 MST.