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Posted: 5/25/2010 12:15:15 PM EDT
Has anyone here done the Appalachian Trail?  Been interested in doing it,  and I really don't know where to get started for a pack.  As of now I have a custom pack and a medium ALICE(with Molle2 straps,pad, and DownEast frame) that I use as a BoB....  


I'm curious if i could use the ALICE pack if I have someone shipping me my food every so often...  Or would I need to purchase a larger, different pack.  

I'd do the trail in 2 years whenever I get out of school, so i'll have some prep time.
Link Posted: 5/25/2010 12:30:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Has anyone here done the Appalachian Trail?  Been interested in doing it,  and I really don't know where to get started for a pack.  As of now I have a custom pack and a medium ALICE(with Molle2 straps,pad, and DownEast frame) that I use as a BoB....  


I'm curious if i could use the ALICE pack if I have someone shipping me my food every so often...  Or would I need to purchase a larger, different pack.  

I'd do the trail in 2 years whenever I get out of school, so i'll have some prep time.



I would say get a bigger pack and one that is geared towards backpacking not military packing, LOL I have a Gregory Palisades that I have used for several years of backpacking. Best bet it to go to REI or similar shop and try on a bunch of packs, load em up with some sand bags (they got em) and wear it around the store for a while. You will quickly see that a pack like that is much more comfortable. Regardless of the size of pack you get u will have to cache food along the way. best way is to mail it to the post offices along the way (they deal with this alot and dont care) as you will not beable to carry all your food (hell the 100mile wilderness you need 10 days of food with you just incase).

Thru hiking the AT is my retirement present to myself in about 5 years.

J-

Link Posted: 5/25/2010 12:39:36 PM EDT
Good to know, but we don't have an REI or any type of a 'good' outfitter store near me, unfortunately.


Is it recommended to use a hammock with an underquilt and such for the first part of the trail, then just use the hammock alone?  

Link Posted: 5/25/2010 1:13:37 PM EDT
Don't make the mistake of hitting the AT having hardly ever hiked before.

Do plenty of overnights, 2 nights, 3 nights where you try and cover 8-12 miles a day. Do this in all kinds of weather.

After you buy and sell all your gear a few times, and figure out that you really do enjoy hiking... THEN try and hike the AT.

To answer your question, you couldn't pay me enough to make me try and hike the AT with an Alice pack. Too heavy, too uncomfortable.

Check out whiteblaze.net for more BTDT advice.
Link Posted: 5/25/2010 1:26:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/25/2010 1:42:48 PM EDT by jjc155]
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Good to know, but we don't have an REI or any type of a 'good' outfitter store near me, unfortunately.


Is it recommended to use a hammock with an underquilt and such for the first part of the trail, then just use the hammock alone?  



use the AT shelters, may have to share with some people, but if you plan right you will sleep in a three sided wood leanto more then you will sleep in a tent/hammock.

I agree too with sabercat, the AT is not the play to start. 2100 plus miles is hard for experienced hikers let alone a newbie.

Also where in OH are you that you have no actual hiking/camping shops? (IM me where you are at and find one for you, LOL) If needed come up with an acceptable distance to drive to one and drive. You will thank me a mere ten miles into your hike. Also if you do not have a reputable shop in your area, where are you gonna get your boots at? They are as or more important than your pack, tent etc and really do need to be fitted by someone that has an idea of what they are doing? you need to try on several pair/brands. My last pair of boots I spent about 3 hours trying on different boot/sock/insole combo's on and in the end eneded up with perfect fitting boots that have given me many trouble free miles.

Your first stop should be barnes and noble and get a book on preparing for the AT or a book on hiking in general. I would suggest The Complete Walker by colin fletcher (should be in about the 5 or 6th version by now) for lots of good info. Also I did a quick search on Amazon.com and came up with countless books on hiking the AT and hiking/backpacking in general.

Just something to think about.

J-



Link Posted: 5/25/2010 1:41:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jjc155:
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Good to know, but we don't have an REI or any type of a 'good' outfitter store near me, unfortunately.


Is it recommended to use a hammock with an underquilt and such for the first part of the trail, then just use the hammock alone?  



use the AT shelters, may have to share with some people, but if you plan right you will sleep in a three sided wood leanto more then you will sleep in a tent/hammock.

J-


If you enjoy snoring, people getting up in the middle of the night to pee, 14 people crammed into a tiny shelter, and mice/rats/other stuff all up in your gear, then shelters are great. Not to mention the ever-present in season dopehead that thinks that getting stoned every night and loudly staying up until 2am is way cool.

Personally, I sleep much, MUCH better in my hammock... far, far from the noise, pests, and other annoyances that come along with a shelter.
Link Posted: 5/25/2010 1:43:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/25/2010 1:45:33 PM EDT by jjc155]
Originally Posted By SabreCat:
Originally Posted By jjc155:
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Good to know, but we don't have an REI or any type of a 'good' outfitter store near me, unfortunately.


Is it recommended to use a hammock with an underquilt and such for the first part of the trail, then just use the hammock alone?  



use the AT shelters, may have to share with some people, but if you plan right you will sleep in a three sided wood leanto more then you will sleep in a tent/hammock.

J-


If you enjoy snoring, people getting up in the middle of the night to pee, 14 people crammed into a tiny shelter, and mice/rats/other stuff all up in your gear, then shelters are great. Not to mention the ever-present in season dopehead that thinks that getting stoned every night and loudly staying up until 2am is way cool.

Personally, I sleep much, MUCH better in my hammock... far, far from the noise, pests, and other annoyances that come along with a shelter.


I didnt say there werent some disadvantages too, LOL. yeah there can be problems with the shelters too, just depends on what you want to carry. I am an ultra ligher for the most part so that helps with dropping 2-5 pounds off my pack.

J-

Link Posted: 5/25/2010 5:31:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/25/2010 6:14:37 PM EDT by Edvvard]
Yeah, I have done quite a few hikes before.  But they have been short(er)  8-20 ish miles.  And the odd overnighter, but mostly using a custom pack that I don't want to take on the AT...

I don't want to drink the Kifaru coolaid, but they seem to have decent packs from what I can tell.  

We DO have a Gander Mountain and quite a few Dicks sporting goods, but they are terrible for anything other than footwear/jackets.

SW Ohio, is where I'm at.  Near Dayton/Cincy.  So anything near that area would be decent enough.

http://www.kelty.com/p-41-trekker-3950.aspx Does Kelty make a good product?  
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 3:38:25 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Yeah, I have done quite a few hikes before.  But they have been short(er)  8-20 ish miles.  And the odd overnighter, but mostly using a custom pack that I don't want to take on the AT...

I don't want to drink the Kifaru coolaid, but they seem to have decent packs from what I can tell.  

We DO have a Gander Mountain and quite a few Dicks sporting goods, but they are terrible for anything other than footwear/jackets.

SW Ohio, is where I'm at.  Near Dayton/Cincy.  So anything near that area would be decent enough.

http://www.kelty.com/p-41-trekker-3950.aspx Does Kelty make a good product?  


Benchmark in Cinncy: http://www.benchmarkoutfitter.com/

here is a page with acouple of other cinncy area outfitters: http://www.superpages.com/yellowpages/C-Camping+&+Backpacking+Equipment+&+Supplies+Dealers/S-OH/T-Cincinnati/

here's another with a bunch of outfitters in all of OH: http://www.thebackpacker.com/gear/stores.php?s=oh

Also usig google I was able to find a bunch of hiking and backpacking groups in and around your area. May want to check them out and talk with some others about what you want to do.

Hope this helps

J-

Link Posted: 5/26/2010 4:38:06 AM EDT
Amazon should have lots of used books to look at about the appalachain trail and that whiteblaze site someone mentioned is where I go to read about how people are figuring out how to lose weight from their gear or make one item do 12 different jobs.



The east side of cincy has a bike trail that goes through loveland and milford and what not, and they had some outdoor shops because of the trail and also the canoeing and other outdoor stuff around there.  They might be a bit small but depending on where you travel and your exact location you might find something.  You can run a search on the bike trail, they paved a lot more of it than what was paved when I was young and played on it with my mountain bike.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 8:20:33 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Yeah, I have done quite a few hikes before.  But they have been short(er)  8-20 ish miles.  And the odd overnighter, but mostly using a custom pack that I don't want to take on the AT...

I don't want to drink the Kifaru coolaid, but they seem to have decent packs from what I can tell.  

We DO have a Gander Mountain and quite a few Dicks sporting goods, but they are terrible for anything other than footwear/jackets.

SW Ohio, is where I'm at.  Near Dayton/Cincy.  So anything near that area would be decent enough.

http://www.kelty.com/p-41-trekker-3950.aspx Does Kelty make a good product?  


You can get all the pack you need at any standard outfitter with brands like Kelty, LoweAlpine, Gregory, Osprey, Granite Gear, Arc'teryx. The biggest thing is to go and get fitted –– let them measure your torso, try out weighted packs, etc.

The pack is only the start of your expenses though if you're going for serious hiking and starting from scratch. You can easily drop $300 on a sleeping bag and pad, $350 on a tent, $120 on kitchen gear, another $300 on clothing, $150-200 on boots, another $200 or so on all the misc odds/ends like trek poles, water filter, first aid, and who knows how much $$ on food and postage/freight for pre-positioning your resupply shipments. You don't HAVE to spend that kind of money on everything but you can't risk gear failures of critical components (shelter, shoes, pack) on a solo thru-hike.

Do a LOT of research before attempting a thru-hike. Only 1 in 4 hikers finish. I recommend A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson plus TONS of info on the web.
AT Conservancy Thru-Hiking info page

On the upside, the only actual practical time in life to attempt this kind of thing is either in college or directly after, so you're hitting the timing about right. After this period (unless you're independently wealthy AND a loner), you'll have way too many obligations/responsibilities once you have a job/family.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 8:27:43 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Yeah, I have done quite a few hikes before.  But they have been short(er)  8-20 ish miles.  And the odd overnighter, but mostly using a custom pack that I don't want to take on the AT...

I don't want to drink the Kifaru coolaid, but they seem to have decent packs from what I can tell.  

We DO have a Gander Mountain and quite a few Dicks sporting goods, but they are terrible for anything other than footwear/jackets.

SW Ohio, is where I'm at.  Near Dayton/Cincy.  So anything near that area would be decent enough.

http://www.kelty.com/p-41-trekker-3950.aspx Does Kelty make a good product?  


I use one of the old-version Kifaru Siwash packs (One of their hunting packs)... I use it ONLY because it's a panel loader, it fits me, and it's large enough for my winter load (Which involves a lot of synthetic insulation. I'd rather be using down, but the synthetic is paid for). Other than that, I hate the damn thing. It's way too overbuilt for trail use, and weighs too much.

I would never buy one of the new-version Kifaru packs. They weigh way, WAY too much. Kifaru is also unrealistic about how much weight their packs can carry 'comfortably' and give zero guidance towards pack fitting.

I like some of the ULA offerings, but they tend to be on the small side in terms of CI unless you're using 100% down, whcih is very expensive.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 9:20:36 AM EDT
I hiked the AT in 2007 from GA-ME in 4 1/2 months.  I have plenty of gear does and do nots, more than I care to write about here.  Feel free to PM me for better contact information...

Here is the quick and easy:
Go light
Small pack
use poles
eat smart and plenty
carry little water when water is plentiful
do not carry water to a place you can refill
do not carry food to a place you can resupply

As for the "you gotta hike lots before this" crowd.  Only one thing can prepare you for an AT thru hike, and that is an AT thru-hike...

Link Posted: 5/26/2010 9:31:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By btfire:
I hiked the AT in 2007 from GA-ME in 4 1/2 months.  I have plenty of gear does and do nots, more than I care to write about here.  Feel free to PM me for better contact information...

Here is the quick and easy:
Go light
Small pack
use poles
eat smart and plenty
carry little water when water is plentiful
do not carry water to a place you can refill
do not carry food to a place you can resupply

As for the "you gotta hike lots before this" crowd.  Only one thing can prepare you for an AT thru hike, and that is an AT thru-hike...



I haven't through-hiked. I've been out on a number of extended trips though......

And that bit of 'wisdom' I completely disagree with. Com'n man, think about it... Who has a better chance of success on a thru... a guy who has hiked for years and spent dozens or more nights in the woods and traversed a few hundred miles already, or someone who has never tried to use their gear before?

Or to put it in another way - who doesn't go on even an overnighter and come home, look at their gear, and say 'this is all wrong' ... ? How could it possibly be better to have that realization at Neel's Gap, when you'll pay 2x markup on replacing your gear... or at home, when you can take your time and get exactly what you need for less money.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 10:56:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2010 10:57:34 AM EDT by btfire]
I hiked for years prior to doing a thru, and non of it prepared me for the AT.  Success rate is no higher with experienced hikers than with first timers.  I met a guy at the Hawk Mountain Shelter on day one that pulled out his stove and cookpot and asked for help because he had never used it.  Someone who had the same setup helped him, and someone else helped him with his tent.  I can attest to 10 (of about 20) people who were there and to their completion status.  Five dropped out at 33.6.  Two more dropped before the Smokies.  One dropped in Harper's Ferry.  That leaves two, one being the new guy and the other a woman who made it to Katahdin.  People say that you have 2169 miles to prepare you for the climb up Katahdin.  Nothing can prepare you for the climb up Katahdin other than climbing it.  Flame me all you want, man, but it is a hard-to-argue with opinion.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 1:40:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By btfire:
I hiked for years prior to doing a thru, and non of it prepared me for the AT.  Success rate is no higher with experienced hikers than with first timers.  I met a guy at the Hawk Mountain Shelter on day one that pulled out his stove and cookpot and asked for help because he had never used it.  Someone who had the same setup helped him, and someone else helped him with his tent.  I can attest to 10 (of about 20) people who were there and to their completion status.  Five dropped out at 33.6.  Two more dropped before the Smokies.  One dropped in Harper's Ferry.  That leaves two, one being the new guy and the other a woman who made it to Katahdin.  People say that you have 2169 miles to prepare you for the climb up Katahdin.  Nothing can prepare you for the climb up Katahdin other than climbing it.  Flame me all you want, man, but it is a hard-to-argue with opinion.


First off, I am in no way flaming you. This is a topic that, obviously, a lot of people have a lot of different opinions about. Heck, there's been huge threads on this very subject over at WB.net.

All I'm saying is that if you spend some time going out and saying, "I'm gonna go for 2-5 nights and hike 12 miles a day" a few times, in different climates, before you set out for a thru-hike you'll probably have an easier time of it than if you go to REI and say "Although I have never spent a night in the woods, I'm hiking the AT next week. Load me up!" ... then hit the trail before ever trying any of your gear.

Every year while hiking the first 90 miles of the trail I am stunned at the sheer quantity of gear left in the shelters. I've seen things that defy all reason and logic - from bags of MREs to what looks like the result of someone simply turning their pack upside down and emptying it entirely. I've talked to people who have dropped out at or before Walasi-Yi due to inexperience leading them to make stupid decisions on the trail that either set them back considerably or force them off entirely... issues that someone who had hiked before would not have had.

I've heard the argument that the only way to prepare for the trail is to hike the trail. Honestly, I think that's as reasonable as telling someone about to ship to A-stan that the only way to get ready for combat is to go get into combat, or telling a person who wants to be a cage fighter that preparation and training is pointless because the only way to become a cage fighter is to go jump into the cage.

I certainly know that I've had plenty of, ahem, 'learning experiences' on the trail which left me extremely grateful for the fact that my truck was 7-10 miles away, rather than having no easy way to extract myself without begging a ride or relying on someone else to save my sorry ass.

Now listen, I'm in no way saying that someone who is an experienced hiker is automatically going to be able to succeed at a thru. Heck, look at Sgt. Rock... Very experienced and still didn't make it. I absolutely would agree that ultimately it's more about attitude than anything else, but there is absolutely NO HARM and NO WASTE in tipping the scales in your favor by doing shakedown hikes. Experience may even save your life, or your hike.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 2:06:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SabreCat:

First off, I am in no way flaming you. This is a topic that, obviously, a lot of people have a lot of different opinions about. Heck, there's been huge threads on this very subject over at WB.net.

All I'm saying is that if you spend some time going out and saying, "I'm gonna go for 2-5 nights and hike 12 miles a day" a few times, in different climates, before you set out for a thru-hike you'll probably have an easier time of it than if you go to REI and say "Although I have never spent a night in the woods, I'm hiking the AT next week. Load me up!" ... then hit the trail before ever trying any of your gear.

Every year while hiking the first 90 miles of the trail I am stunned at the sheer quantity of gear left in the shelters. I've seen things that defy all reason and logic - from bags of MREs to what looks like the result of someone simply turning their pack upside down and emptying it entirely. I've talked to people who have dropped out at or before Walasi-Yi due to inexperience leading them to make stupid decisions on the trail that either set them back considerably or force them off entirely... issues that someone who had hiked before would not have had.

I've heard the argument that the only way to prepare for the trail is to hike the trail. Honestly, I think that's as reasonable as telling someone about to ship to A-stan that the only way to get ready for combat is to go get into combat, or telling a person who wants to be a cage fighter that preparation and training is pointless because the only way to become a cage fighter is to go jump into the cage.

I certainly know that I've had plenty of, ahem, 'learning experiences' on the trail which left me extremely grateful for the fact that my truck was 7-10 miles away, rather than having no easy way to extract myself without begging a ride or relying on someone else to save my sorry ass.

Now listen, I'm in no way saying that someone who is an experienced hiker is automatically going to be able to succeed at a thru. Heck, look at Sgt. Rock... Very experienced and still didn't make it. I absolutely would agree that ultimately it's more about attitude than anything else, but there is absolutely NO HARM and NO WASTE in tipping the scales in your favor by doing shakedown hikes. Experience may even save your life, or your hike.


This is 100% right on.  I have hiked the AT all over GA and NC, and I can't tell you how much gear gets dumped and replaced at or before the Mountain Crossings store at Neels Gaps.  I have been out to Amicalola in spring and watched guys dump heavy equipment going up the first climb to the falls of Amicalola.  If you want to thru-hike the AT then read forums like whiteblaze.net and backpacking.net, and get out and practice on 2 - 7 nighters.  

As for the pack, if you want the best, then get a McHale pack.  I have two, and I have tried quite a few manufacturers.  Nothing comes close to a McHale.  He's a bit eccentric, but he builds a helluva pack.  As for the hammock, if you have an underquilt, then you should be good in temps above 20.  I would get a large silnylon tarp (larger than one that comes with most hammocks like the Hennessy Hammock) to give you good coverage as well as use on the ground in case it was too cold.  And yeah the shelters are good for socializing, but I wouldn't want to sleep in them.  

Link Posted: 5/26/2010 4:48:04 PM EDT
Well.  I have some things...  

I have a hammock/quilt/tarp rig that I use for sleeping... it suits me well into January even,  so i'm set up there just fine...  At least as far as backyard tests can tell...  

I have a decent waterfilter...  Katadyn pocket..  Heavy, but with certain things spread between my gf and I on the hike.  We can deal with the weight.  

Another question...  could I use my Stratus Trailstove on the AT?  Or is that asking for trouble.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 5:28:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Well.  I have some things...  

I have a hammock/quilt/tarp rig that I use for sleeping... it suits me well into January even,  so i'm set up there just fine...  At least as far as backyard tests can tell...  

I have a decent waterfilter...  Katadyn pocket..  Heavy, but with certain things spread between my gf and I on the hike.  We can deal with the weight.  

Another question...  could I use my Stratus Trailstove on the AT?  Or is that asking for trouble.


sure you could use it but if it is the same one I just googled (looks like a metal chimney that you would used to start a charcol grill with kinda?) that would be pretty bulky (although light weight) to pack. Also you may run into a problem if there are fire restrictions, not sure if a ranger would view that as an "open fire."

I have a MSR Whisperlight International that has gone through hell for 10 years and still runs perfect and has never let me down. Stove packs down to the size of my palm more or less and the fuel bottle rides on the out side of my pack in a water bottle "holster" that I found that fits it perfect. No worry about spilled fuel in my pack that way.

Did you check out the links I posted above? Are any of those places close to you?

Hope this helps

J-
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 5:41:01 PM EDT
Use whatever bag you would carry PSHTF and call it training. Or go out and buy some ultralight pack for a couple hundred dollars that could be spent on beans and bullets.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 6:08:33 PM EDT
Whatever you do do NOT BUY YOUR PACK AT DICK'S/GANDER MTN etc..  If you really plan a trip like this you need to bu your pack from a place that can fit you with a pack with weights and let you try it out.  You also should definately do a ton of reading and studying to know what to expect and how to prepare.  And as far as an ALICE pack FORGET IT you will not make it far at all with one of those.  When you finally decide on a pack you need to put some miles on it before you decide to hit the AT for months.  
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 6:34:19 PM EDT
Originally Posted By wsix:
Use whatever bag you would carry PSHTF and call it training. Or go out and buy some ultralight pack for a couple hundred dollars that could be spent on beans and bullets.


Funny, that's exactly what I do.

Only my PSHTF bag is my hiking bag... And I know for a damn fact that I can live out of it pretty well indefinitely so long as I have some way to get food and something burnable.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 6:52:32 PM EDT
This is from the AT conservancy....



http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site/c.mqLTIYOwGlF/b.4805477/k.772A/Preparing_for_a_ThruHike.htm



 

What kind of equipment will I need?



The most predictable mistake thru-hikers make is carrying too much
stuff. Almost all hikers learn to trim their pack weight to 25-40 lbs.;
those who don't end up going home. Put as much effort into determining
what you don't need as what you do.



Because of the very subjective nature of equipment decisions, ATC
does not endorse any specific brands or types of equipment, but there is
a wealth of information already available to hikers looking for more
information. Talk to other
hikers
, both those who have completed the Trail in the past and can
offer a wealth of “lessons learned,” or those who are planning a future
trip. Look for an outdoor store with a recent thru-hiker on staff. There
are also many books and videos to help you sort through the many
choices and decide what kind of equipment is best for you.


In selecting your gear, keep in mind that your A.T. hike of more than
2,000 miles will consist of a long series of shorter hikes. Resupply is
frequently available; most hikers will carry only three to six days of
food at a time. Except for those hiking in winter, “expedition” size
packs are overkill and will tempt you to carry more than you need. When
you pack for your thru-hike and head off to
<st1:country-region w:st="on">
<st1:place w:st="on">Georgia</st1:place></st1:country-region>,
it’s helpful to focus on what you need for the first 30 miles, not the
entire six months. If there is any item you forgot or need to change, in
most areas (especially along the southern half of the A.T.) you’ll
reach an outfitter along the Trail every week or two. In fact, there’s
one just 30 miles north of Springer, which gives you the opportunity to
correct any gear mistakes you’ve made. Depending on when and where you
start your hike, you may need winter and summer gear at different times.  


Link Posted: 5/27/2010 9:04:33 PM EDT
http://www.mchalepacks.com/ultralight/detail/CM%20Top%20Load%20Panel%20Load%20Bayonet.htm


http://www.ula-equipment.com/catalyst.asp


Well.  I found 2 packs that interest me.  I know the prices are steep, but apparently the packs are great from what I have read...  Anyone here used any of these before?
Link Posted: 5/27/2010 10:04:57 PM EDT
You read my post about the cost of all that other (expensive) gear you're going to need, right? For the price of one of those boutique packs you could buy a good Kelty or Lowe plus the best/lightest sleeping bag on the market.

My advice as far as packs –– skip the interwebz window shopping and get inside an outfitter with packs hanging on the wall. Get 'em to measure your torso (they have nifty tools for that), find a few packs that fit your torso, throw some of their demo sandbags in there and start strapping them on. Many outfitters will do rent-to-own on their gear. So a "test" weekend could be really beneficial and if it works out, your rental fee could be applied to purchase. My friend rented a brand new Gregory Baltoro 70 (sweet pack) that way.
Link Posted: 5/28/2010 5:48:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/28/2010 5:53:05 AM EDT by batoncolle]
Originally Posted By Edvvard:
http://www.mchalepacks.com/ultralight/detail/CM%20Top%20Load%20Panel%20Load%20Bayonet.htm


http://www.ula-equipment.com/catalyst.asp


Well.  I found 2 packs that interest me.  I know the prices are steep, but apparently the packs are great from what I have read...  Anyone here used any of these before?


Both of those manufacturers are great, but as you can see from my previous post, I highly recommend McHale.  He does a complete custom pack specified to your exact measurements, and let me tell you there is no off the shelf pack that will come anywhere close to the same comfort level.  And if you're talking about doing a 2000+ mile hike, then you want comfort.  Just call McHale, and he'll let you demo one of his packs.  But that being said, I would only go the custom route if you are serious about hiking because it is a lot of money to spend.  Of course I can't tell you how much money I spent trying out off the shelf packs before I finally went with a McHale, but it did enable me to know exactly what I wanted in a pack so I do recommend testing packs as much as possible.  You can always resell on eBay.  

In regards to the specific packs you mentioned, I really don't think you need anything over 4000 cubic inches for an AT hike b/c you never have to go more than a week without a resupply, and the water is plentiful.  That is of course as long as your other gear is compact, like a down bag, alcohol stove, etc.  I can go a week easily with a 3000 cu in pack and under 30lbs in weight, but my base weight (pack, tent, sleeping bag) is b/t 4 - 6lbs depending on the season.  I would give serious consideration to McHales UL line of packs.

Also if you look around on many of the for sale forums of the hiking sites, you can get some great equipment like hiking poles, sleeping bags, etc for very good prices so the money you save there could be applied to more expensive items elsewhere.



Link Posted: 5/28/2010 5:58:12 AM EDT
Don't take anything, just get your supplies on what people have left along the trail.  
Link Posted: 5/29/2010 5:23:29 PM EDT
Now what is a good pack size?
Link Posted: 5/30/2010 3:09:16 AM EDT



Originally Posted By Edvvard:


Now what is a good pack size?


It has been said a million times but it bears repeating after this question, GET A BOOK.  There are millions of books and websites out there with very specific info on hiking the AT.  I posted a link earlier in this thread with some very specific information but you need to read and study some info from people that have done it to try and minimize the expensive gear you buy and end up dropping along the way.



 
Link Posted: 5/30/2010 8:03:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By JIP:

Originally Posted By Edvvard:
Now what is a good pack size?

It has been said a million times but it bears repeating after this question, GET A BOOK.  There are millions of books and websites out there with very specific info on hiking the AT.  I posted a link earlier in this thread with some very specific information but you need to read and study some info from people that have done it to try and minimize the expensive gear you buy and end up dropping along the way.
 


that and try to get to an actual gear shop ( I posted some in your area where you said there are none, LOL). The people that work at these for the most part are not like people at bass pro etc. They usually work at the shops BECAUSE they actually hike and camp and enjoy it, some it is an actual lifestyle. A Great many are very very very knowledgeable and likely you could find a worker in one of these stores that has actually hiked the AT. Pick their brain, they have good knowledge.

Hope this helps,
J-
Link Posted: 5/30/2010 11:19:25 AM EDT
I just got off of the AT about a week ago after going for almost 2 months...had another 2 weeks worth of time, but came down with bronchitis really bad.

Anyways, I saw a medium alice, a half dozen large alice, and one of the MOLLE packs out there - most were ex-military, 2 wanted super cheap.  All of them were doing ok.  One of them had just become jobless and homeless and was living out of his pack, hiking from town to town working for food....his large alice was like over 70 pounds?  Skinny kid too.  But he was doing ok, doing 18-25 miles a day.  I was amazed.  He even had a lawn chair strapped to his pack.

Seriously though, get a nice pack.  There are some things not to go cheap on - packs, shoes, socks being the most important.  And plan to replace your boots at least once the whole trail, socks even more.  I personally have a Mystery Ranch pack I used this trip.  They are badass.  Like Kifaru stuff.  US made.  If you can't afford that, get a Kelty.  You can buy packs online and adjust them yourself - but not boots.  Go get boots somewhere you can try them on.

As for hammock vs. tent vs. tarp vs. shelters:  I didn't see anyone USE a hammock out there.  I past someone who HAD one with them though.  I hear they rock out there - but remember there isn't always a place to hang them - and plan to sleep on the ground then.  I up a bad-ass tarp setup, and try to sleep in the shelters if possible.  

For packs, look at this one:

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___90284

Also, look into making an alcohol stove.  I love them.

And most of the advice given above is good advice too.  And please practice with your gear / go hiking to help get into shape.  Though nothing will get you into shape for the trip.  Period.  And anyone can do the trip.  Even really fat guys who never been hiking have hiked the whole thing - it's all in the head.  (well, alot of it anyways)

And have fun - that's the most important thing!
Link Posted: 6/2/2010 4:46:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/2/2010 4:49:49 AM EDT by Mannlicher]
Nothing wrong with your ALICE pack.  It is a  misconception that you have to have 'just the right brands' to hike the AT.  

I never had a desire to thru hike the trail, but I have managed to do most of the stages over the past 25 years.  I will be doing a two night section hike in Virginia in July.  My pack will be a CamelBak HAWG.

check over at Whiteblaze.net  for complete AT info.
Link Posted: 6/2/2010 2:45:39 PM EDT
Only thing I notice is it sits too high.  It seems that if my pack were to sit maybe 2 inches lower it would be great.
Link Posted: 6/4/2010 6:43:27 AM EDT
I'm also doing the trail (part-time). Camelbak BFM 500. Trek poles, MREs, hammock. With addtional water bladder in the pack and HAM radio handheld.

All of the posts are good and bad. All of the internet discussions are good and bad. Take what you want to take. My only recommendation is stay under 40 - 45 lbs. Anything more than that will work, but you WILL be miserable and SLOW.

TREK POLES ARE KING! I did my first leg with just a stick on the trail, second leg with poles and I was much faster. I carry water as I would rather have it than not. If you go very light weight, are in average shape, you can do the water hole to water hole routine. Again, I prefer to have it as I have been without it.

+1 for the trail will prepare you for the trail. +1 for shipping supllies to post offices and hold for you as nearly all thru hikers I have met did this. Plus you can hit town, get a shower and a good hot meal.
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