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Smokies in the winter: any tips on our setup?
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Jared Hopkins
Smokies in the winter: any tips on our setup? on 11/16/2012 11:53:02 MST Print View

Hi everyone,

I am hiking the AT SOBO (presently), and got a late start. I am writing now from Harpers Ferry. I am looking for any advice on how I should be adjusting my gear for the mountains from here on south. For what it's worth, I am mildly warm at night now in the ~25-28 range, but occasionally chilly when I get drafts with my quilt. I am also mostly a shelter sleeper, but I carry a tarptent.

TT Stratospire 2 (shared with one other)

EnLIGHTened Eq. Rev. X down quilt, 20 degree with 30% over stuff

Light wool baselayer pants and top
Thin off brand fleece pull over
Patagonia Nanopuff
Dri-ducks UL2 rain suit
Stoic Wraith wind shirt
Some type of REI hiking pants and button shirt

I hike in trail runners (inov-8 Flyroc 310) with light wool socks.

I'm curious if I should be looking at bag liners, gaiters, neoprene socks, crampons/traction aid, or anything of the such.


Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
AT SOBO on 11/16/2012 12:44:23 MST Print View


My son Alex (Scarecrow) is about 2-3 days south of you SOBO. He got a late start too. I am meeting him at Front Royal tomorrow. I am hiking with him through to Thanksgiving. We might see you in Shenandoah. What's your trail name?
I just got him a 10 degree EE quilt that I think will be enough. I would want something a little warmer than the 20 degree quilt.
Other than the warmer quilt, he is carrying similar gear. We both carry tarps instead of a TT though.
I can't think of anywhere in the southern AT where you'll need crampons. Gaiters may be nice when the snow hits. I never wear neoprene socks, but if there's a lot of snow, could be helpful. Or you might see very little snow in southern Appalachia. Its different every year. I think a pair of light gaiters are probably a good precaution.

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: AT SOBO on 11/16/2012 18:45:28 MST Print View

Ben, that is cool that you get to share part of the adventure with your son. Enjoy.


I agree with Ben on the quilt and gaiters. I wouldn't use crampons, but some microspikes would be nice if you have ice. You have a couple good places to pick up gear on the south (Damascus, Hot Springs, Asheville(before smokies, but a longer drive), so monitor the weather before hitting the smokies, roan mtn, mt rogers, etc

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
AT SOBO on 11/16/2012 20:12:20 MST Print View

Brad, its pretty funny we have such different views on politics but so similar views on hiking the southern AT in December. Probably means we are better at backpacking thab politics. And it is pretty cool to get to hike some of the AT with him. He's just 19 but pretty independent. I got to do the northern Maine section with him too.

Jared, hope to see you on the trail. We'll be the tall thin father/son pair on the trail. Ill be there tomorrow thru Thanksgiving

Edited by alexdrewreed on 11/16/2012 20:13:46 MST.

Jared Hopkins
Re: winter on the AT on 11/17/2012 07:06:33 MST Print View


I have not met your son, but I have been following his posts in the register for weeks and weeks. I am (or was until yesterday) hiking with a kid, Waffles, who found and kept a green straw hat at a shelter months ago. We've always wondered if it was Scarecrows? It's too funny that you're the first to reply to my post. Oh, and I see your location is KY? My family lives in Danville.

If I can escape town, it'd be great to run into you guys on the trail! My trail name is Bubble Boy, but I most often just write in the logs under my first name.


Appreciate the advice on microspikes and places to pick up gear. Will write these down.

Edited by ic32987 on 11/17/2012 07:07:40 MST.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
AT SOBO on 11/17/2012 09:40:46 MST Print View

Jared, I will be in Front Royal Virginia tonight. Hopefully we will see you on the trail.
I have a lot of friends and family in Danville Kentucky. I'm sure we know some of the same people.
See you on the AT

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Cold weather option on 11/17/2012 11:36:37 MST Print View

You didn't say if you are primarily staying in shelters but if you are then you may want to consider a warmer pad. Because of the cool air below the floor you may want a warmer pad. As far as wind protection, you could a bivy. It will also add a few degrees to your sleep system. Hope you have a great finish.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
AT SOBO on 11/23/2012 16:25:03 MST Print View

Jared, the hat is Scarecrow 's. Spent a beautiful few days in Shenandoah with him and doing a zero with him for Thanksgiving. Have fun.