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First time hiker going straight for an AT thru hike.
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Devin Harvey
(DevinHarvey) - M
James!! on 12/26/2013 20:34:10 MST Print View

James could you give me some more feedback on the ZPACK rain jacket and pants? If you were me would you drop the money on them or where they not that impresive? And could you tell me more about the Hexamid? How was the size? Like I've said I'd like something I can put all my gear in and a girlfriend on rare occasions. Thoughts on that? And on the boxers I'd have no problem swapping those out if that's a problem. I can't imagine anything worse than boxers riding up on a 2000 mile walk. Lol

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
RE: jacket, pants and hexamid on 12/26/2013 21:52:07 MST Print View

Devin,

For a little clarification. In March I used a nonbreathable cuben jacket that I made and it also served as a vapor barrier. This worked well but quickly became too hot and forced me to switch to the WPB ones that Zpacks sells. I would have made my own but I was already hiking. Another member offered me a great price on the pants and jacket and got them to me on the trail.

The Zpacks jacket breathed well enough for me. I really like the fit and hood. I had high hopes for the jacket but could never keep the water from running down my neck and soaking me out. In light rain this was not a problem but on the AT rain is often not light. I think when I have to replace the jacket I will make my own and attempt to make modifications to get a little better coverage. I do like the material a lot. I think that the pit zips would be a good addition but once added you are creeping up into the wright range of some other jackets that are much cheaper.

The pants are amazing. I am pretty sure I will be using WPB cuben rain pants until the invention of a better material. I liked having them to wear while doing laundry and used them for warmth once I traded my hiking pants for shorts. Here is a pair on gear swap.
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=85215

Another thing I used was WPB cuben rain mitts. I made these myself. You can see a pair hear which I had leftover and sold. They worked very well.
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=85621&skip_to_post=730037

The hexamid worked great. I hiked as part of a couple and we used the Hexamid Twin. With UL gear we had plenty of room for all of our gear and ourselves. We used Torso length pads and would put our packs under our feet. They were often wet so we would turn our pack liners inside out then put the pack in there to keep them from getting use wet. We tented 90% of the time and there is still a lot of life left in the tent.

I also think having the separate ground cloth is very nice. It allows you to have some protection for your pad when you are staying in the shelter. Also the shelters are very dirty and it will help keep your pad and bag clean.

We used MLD Prophets for our packs. We thought they were the perfect size and performed very nicely. I have picked up a Zpacks Arc blast for the pct though because I want to be able to carry more weight and more voulume (food). I dont't think I would take a pack this large on the AT though and often found the prophet too large. I would suggest buying your pack last in order to determine the size after you have the rest of your kit together.

With all that said. You could take the list you have and be very happy. It is a great list and Would probably leave you at about 9 lbs. Anything less than 10 lbs is great for the AT. Though you might not realize it from reading this site but you might only see a dozen or so other people with base-weights in this neighborhood during your trip.

It's such a great trip! You are going to love it.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Where to start! on 12/26/2013 21:54:16 MST Print View

Well you don't seem strapped for cash so USPS flat rate box can send any clothes you don't need home :)

t shirt baselayer isn't complicated.. just that it dries quickly and isn't cotton.

i figure if you are going to have 1.8 oz of knife and scissors you should make it a good 1oz knife and a good pair of <1oz scissors. Opinel 6 is a 3" blade folder that would be a lot more useful than the dinky thing that comes in the Micra. the scissors have large finger holes and Ti blades that are very sharp that will be easier to use than the Micra. There is nothing on the trail you need any of the other tools for.

the Osprey Exos 46 and 58 are very popular Thru hiker packs. not as light but have a great suspension system that supports 25-30lb very well. They also have a great company warranty. can try them on at REI and see what you think.

many here like alcohol, i'm not one of them. you figure that you have a 3-4oz? stove/screen combo plus 8oz of fuel gets you 8 boils. my 3oz Crux plus 8 oz canister gets me at least 20 boils.

i forgot to add that Dirty Girl gaiters are well worth keeping crap out of your shoes.
and that a clean pair of the lightest ankle socks just for sleeping in is really nice.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Rain Gear on 12/26/2013 22:55:54 MST Print View

I used a 7 oz Golite Virga on the first 409 miles of the CT. Lot of condensation and the less the ideal hood meant I got water in through my face.

When I went back to finish the last 76 miles I made two changes.

1. I switched my loose fitting wool shirt for a tight synthetic base layer.

2. I used a North Face raincoat with pit zips and Hydrovent fabric (sorry I don't remember the model).

When I hiked in prolonged rain with that setup I was much more comfortable. First the tighter and thinner base layer dried faster. Second the rain coat breathed better. I know no raincoat is perfect but I could tell a difference. The hood was much nicer as well so my face stayed dry. Another trick was sort of a "well duh." I quit using my trekking poles when it rain. So I didn't have water running down my wrists and soaking my arms.

BPL had an article arguing really expensive (i.e. event) raincoats are not worth it because after a while you get steamed up no matter what. I agree but I do think some raincoats are "unbreathable" enough that you will notice the difference. If I recall my Golite raincoat had roughly half the breathability of my North Face (in addition to pit zips). I'm just one guy but I definitely felt like it made a difference.
I thought my Golite raincoat was leaking at one point but now I'm inclined to think it was mostly condensation plus some water working in through the hood and arms. I found no obvious leaks and the jacket slip beads water.

Remington Roth
(remjroth) - F

Locale: Atlantic Coast
Save some money on 12/29/2013 18:00:12 MST Print View

I recommend that you buy most of your gear from gear swap if you can. You'll save quite a bit of money. Plus, if you don't like something, you can sell it on to someone else.