Gear

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Below you will find an excessively itemized and detailed description of my gear that will accompany me on my hike. During six years of living vicariously through the online journals of other thru-hikers, I endlessly enjoyed viewing the gear lists of others and this listing reflects that. I attempted to display nearly every item I will carry, along with a description and its weight. I even describe my initial food choices considering “what do you eat?” is a common question to thru-hiker as well as my lengthy meal preparation over the past few months. However, I hope that this list is informative and entertaining to many, especially because a lot of folks not immediately familiar with hiking have great curiosity of what I carry and how I will function in the forest for five months.

I’ve learned over the years that gear is not universally functional for everyone. It has taken a long period to put together the best options that work for my style of hiking and camping that suits my likes and dislikes – learned from successes and plenty of failures. Some gear items are so brillant on paper that they couldn’t possibly not meet expectations – yet more fail the test of time than those that succeed (the MSR Hyperflow comes to mind, among countless others). Too many people become egotistic about their gear choices and judge others on their choices. On my first backpacking trip, I hauled over 60 lbs. using an external frame pack, military surplus gear rented from a local college, and a camp stove I didn’t even know how to assemble. Yet that trip still remains my all-time favorite outdoor experience.

While I have made an attempt to acquire lightweight gear over the years, I am not a pure ultralight backpacker. My gear has evolved from ridicuously heavy to stingily ultralight to weight-conscious comfort. Many backpacking trips have taught me that I personally do not mind carrying luxury items that make me more comfortable even at the sacrifice of carrying more weight. Several items you will find below are are certainly luxuries and “extras” that will enhance my experience while increasing my total weight only mariginally. Some of these items include an extra foam pad for trail side naps & acting as a pack stand, maps because I am obssessed with them despite not needing them whatsoever for navigation, an umbrella to better cope with the rain, and extra clothes to avoid being cold and stuck with only wet attire.

This list of gear will surely evolve over the course of my hike – many items may be sent home or abandonded while I may acquire or switch to new items. Some gear below is denoted to indicate that I will be carrying it during only a portion of the hike (winter & summer items)

 

The Big Four

catalyst

ULA Catalyst 4,600 cu. in. Backpack

Weight: 3 lbs.

The Catalyst offers a light weight and simplicity despite large storage capacity. It has been heralded as the most comfortable pack for thru-hiking for several years among the hiking community. In addition to its weight and comfort, I was attracted to it by the dual hip belt pockets. While this may seem trivial, I routinely stuff my pants pockets with frequently used items such as maps, cell phone, GPS, snacks, and batteries – a habit that results in the unwelcome sagging thanks to the weight. Allison has raved about her REI backpack’s side pockets for years, and I’m now a believer. The Catalyst also has spacious side pockets (a welcome change from my previous pack) that will allow not only the storage of water bottles, but other items that I may prefer to keep on the outside of the pack (umbrella, sandals, snacks). It also has a large front pocket that will accomodate storage of my tent, pack cover, and rain coat – items that are much easier to have on the exterior for access during rain or reaching camp.

I used several packs over the past six years. The Gregory Z Pack and the Granite Gear Vapor Trail packs I found miserably uncomfortable. I have stuck with the Osprey Aether 60 for the past several years which I’ve found to be quite comfortable and possessing a design of which I’m quite fond. But its deficiencies that include an excessive weight and intolerablely useless water bottle side pockets had be thinking that these frustration may lead me to abandon the pack

moment

Tarptent Moment Ultralight Tent

1 lb. 12.5 oz.

Henry Shires has become a legendary lightweight tent-maker over the years. Thru-hikers swear by his tents, and many use his Tarptents not only during the entire course of their thru-hike, but for years afterward too. My friends Christine and George Wilson (Blue Light & Bootz – click here for their 2005 AT Journal let me borrow their Tarptent Contrail and convinced me to get a Tarptent. This tent is a new design by Henry Shires which evolves his traditional tarp tent style into a more classic tent setup. It is lightweight, spacious inside for myself and gear, and sets up very quickly (its defining feature, though I’m still trying to master an expedited pitch). It uses only a single sectional pole since two metal stays are already built into both of its ends. Additionally, it does not require the use of trekking poles to setup, a welcome feature since I will often pitch camp and store my gear in it while I take short side trips in which I’d prefer to utilize my poles. While I’ve often heavily preferred shelters because of their convenience and sound structure, I’ve been encouraged by past thru-hiker friends to tent more. Considering my delayed departure will immerse me into a much larger crowd of hikers that I initially was trying to avoid, this option may be appealling after all. I already plan to tent camp on several scenic mountain summits that I have in mind.

lithium

Marmot Lithium 0 degree Mummy Sleeping Bag

2 lbs. 13.25 oz.

I am a notoriously cold sleeper. I get cold even in the summer time. I’ve learned that my personal temperature rating is easily 15 degrees higher than what the bag indicates. With that in mind, this bag will likely keep me plenty warm at nights in the 15 to 20 degree range – conditions I’ll surely experience with frequency during the first month. Beyond that, I’m packing plenty of clothes including a down jacket, tights, primaloft coat, down socks, etc. to keep me warm inside the bag during lower temperatures. In the past, I’ve tried an inexpensive Big Agnes Moon Hill bag which failed miserably in living up to anywhere close to its temperature rating as well as the Big Agnes 20 degree Zirkel. The Big Agnes sleeping system (where you insert the air pad in a sleeve in the back of the sleeping bag) was so brilliant on paper that I was absolutely convinced it would work for me. While I love the BA airpaid, the “sleep system” was not for me. I’m a side sleeper, and it limited my flexibility and comfort in sleeping on my side. Additionally, it seemed to be quite colder as I’m not sure the pad insulates on the bottom as well as you would think. Above all, inserting the pad into the back sleeve of the sleeping bag was an endless pain in the ass. From these lessons, I’ve learned that 1) don’t skimp on quality of sleeping bags; if it claims to be warm, lightweight, and is inexpensive then its probably not full of feather but rather bullshit and 2) convenience is of utmost importance and supercedes numbers and logistics on paper. The Marmot bag is warm, has a high loft, and is one of the more reputable brands in the sleeping bag industry. For some reason, being orange makes it seem warmer too?

airpad

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Sleeping Pad

1 lbs. 5.75 oz.

A candidate for one of my favorite pieces of gear – an item that hasn’t changed from my gear line-up for the entire duration that I have been backpacking. This thing is monumentally comfortable. It elevates you 2.5 inches off of the ground. And it’s light weight – lighter than any Thermarest that gets you off the ground that much. I started backpacking using centimeter thick foam pads. These were horrendously uncomfortable and I would awake after a restless night of sleep with pain in all the pressure points, especially my hips and back. While I was critical of Big Agnes in the previous gear review, their brilliance finally is visible with this item. I once argue this pad over a Thermarest inflating foam pad with an REI employee. He claimed that you’re screwed if it goes flat. In six years of heavy use, I’ve only sprung a leak once. And REI exchanges it for a new one. Both Allison and I use these pads, and since we have two, she’ll be able to send me our second one in the event I puncture it while awaiting the exchange of the first at REI. But the take home message is that a night’s sleep is overwhelmingly comfortable when using this pad. It’s only drawback is that it is sometimes a pain to inflate, which must be done manually. This can be tiring at the end of a long day’s hike. Big deal. However, I’ve heard that it also makes for a pretty good raft in the glacial lakes of Maine!

Cooking

stove

 

Snow Peak Litemax Cooking Stove

<2 oz.

I believe this is the lightest backpacking stove on the market, thought I prefer it equally as much for its fold-up packability. It fits neatly inside my small cooking mug along with a fuel canister and lighter.

jetpower

Jetboil Jet Power 100 gram Isobutane-Propane Fuel Canister (x2)

6.5 oz.

I’m a big fan of the ease of canister fuel stoves (not to mention propane and propane accessories…). Early in my backpacking career I built a soda can alcohol stove and enjoyed using something to cook my meals that I constructed myself, but soon discovered the hassle of the fragile stove breaking, the annoyance of priming while lighting it, and the wasting of fuel while pouring it. I’ve used a canister system for years now with the MSR Pocket Rocket or the Snow Peak LiteMax and love the simplicity. I got a great deal on about 20 of them at 60% off each, to boot. Allison can resupply these for me when I see her on the weekends for the first month. And despite new law preventing them from being sent in mail drops, these canisters are widely available for purchase along the trail. I’ll be using the JetPower brand for at least the first two months since they burn more efficiently in the cold. MSR and Snow Peak also make similar fuel canisters that I will likely use thereafter. I’ll carry two canisters at a time.

pot

 

Snow Peak Titanium Trek 700 Mug

4.5 oz.

Most of my primary cooking system fits inside this little pot including stove, fuel canister, and lighter. Since I cook my meals exclusively using a freezer bag system, I’ll never have to get this pot dirty because I only boil a small amount of water in it to my meals and drinks. It’s lightweight and durable, too.

windscreen

 

Trail Designs 8 in. Windscreen

2 oz.

While this windscreen is lightweight, its size is bulky which makes for awkard packing and mildly sharp edges causes concern for the safety of other gear items in my pack. But since it folds flat, it should fit nicely inside my buffered freezer bag cozy which should keeo this problem at bay. This item is nearly essential to block the wind; boiling times are nearly eternal without it and getting the stove lit without one is troublesome even in mild breezes.

bowl

 

Fozzils Bowl

1.25 oz.

This bowl is admittedly a bit flamboyant, but I have it because of its packability. It packs flat and easily in my pack, but turns into a bowl quickly with some folds and buttons when I need it during mealtime. I actually don’t put food in the bowl, rather I use it to securely hold my scalding hot freezer bag which otherwise would burn my hands or lap when I’m mixing up the meal. I guess it’s a luxury item.

spoon

Plastic Kitchen Baking Spoon

0.75 oz.

I purchased a lightweight titanium spoon, but this plastic kitchen stiring spoon is just as light yet has a really long handle to reach into my freezer bags. I’ve used it for months at home while testing out all of my meals-in-a-bag.

cozy

Antigravity Gear Frezzer Bag Cozy

1.75 oz.

This insulating cozy keeps my freezer bag meals warm for up to 30 minutes after adding boiling water while they are rehydrating. It will also house my windscreen, journal, and maps when its stored in my pack.

foodbag

Granite Gear Air Space Bag – Medium (900 cu. in.)

1.75 oz.

Thru-hiker recommended, this food bag is lightweight and opens with a cross-section waterproof zipper, allowing me to view and access all of my food at once rather than dumping everything out or digging blindly with my hand required with a top loading bag. I bought two of them with the anticipation that mice will eventually chew holes through them, regardless of the care I take to avoid this.

paracord

Equinox Nylon Paracord 50′

3.5 oz.

Though I find it heavily annoying and I am often irresponsible about it, hanging my food away from bears will often be necessary. I used to teach this skill when I was an outdoor expedition leader for college orientation backpacking trips, and 90% of the time bear bagging is executed improperly anyways – thanks to lack of good trees/limbs or lazy hanging. Several times we awoke to retrieve our hung bag to have discovered it was infiltrated by raccoons or mice. Since most trail shelters in south have cable systems for hanging food (thanks to the GATC, NHC, SMHC, & CMC), I may leave this at home for the first month.

grilliput

 

GrillPut Grill

1 lb. 3.75 oz.

An unexpected gift and pleasant surprise from my good hiking friend Brian Reed in Florida. This is a nifty gadget that fits an assemblable stove inside a single, narrow metal tube. Mount it over a small fire or coals to cook. A drawback is that its rather on the heavy side and I admit I won’t be carrying it the entire trip, but will have it when other folks come to hike with me and bring some good, grillable food.

Hydration

 

aquamira

Aqua Mire Water Treatment

3 oz.(Full)

Another thru-hiker proven item. I’ve used filters for years and find them heavy, slow, and problematic. Hiking legend Dave Wetmore once discussed with me water treatment and claimed to have never treated his water for 30 years. Being intelligent about choosing water sources is one way to avoid the necessity of treatment, and while water is plentiful in the south during late winter and early spring, I won’t be using treatment much of the time. I’ll use Aqua Mira for sources (like those near shelters) that require treatment.

contactcase

Contact Lens Case (x2)

0.25 oz.

Aqua Mira requires the mixing of two solutions to produce chlorine dioxide to sterlize drinking water. While its bottles come with a small mixing cap, mixing these solutions inside an enclosed container like this makes it less likely to spill and gives the opportunity to mix two servings to treat two liters of water at a time. I’ll also be carrying and 2nd one of these with saline solution for the cleansing of my actual contact lenses and a 3rd one for the butt paste. I’ll do my best to not mix them up….

camelbak

Camelbak Narrow Lexan Bottle

5.5 oz.

A thin Lexan bottle that I’ll use not only for storing water while hiking, but for preparing my meal replacements like Carnation Instant Breakfast and protein shakes, as well as drinks like coffee and cocoa.

gatorade

Gatorade Plastic Bottle

2 oz.

I will be carrying an addition two of these bottles. They allow me to leave towns with calorie dense Gatorade and some taste and then use them for storing water. When they become worn and dirty, they are easily replaceable in any store that I visit and in a variety of flavors.

waterbag

Antigravity Gear Water Bag

0.5 oz.

When you get to a shelter after a long, difficult day of hiking, there exists no bigger pain in the ass than having to fetch water from a spring that turns out to be a quarter mile away or longer, especially if you need a lot of it. I remember my first experience with this scenario at Mt. Collins Shelter in the Smokies. My friend and I took two pots each several hundred yards downhill and filled them up and then walked like pengiuns back uphill trying to balance them and bear the akward weight. We arrived back at the shelter with only a quarter of the volume with which we began. I haven’t tested this item out very much, but it is very lightweight and worth a try.

bladder

Platypus 2 Liter (70 fl. oz.) Hydration Bladder

3 oz.

I will begin carrying this bladder in Virginia. I wish not to deal with the hassle of water constantly freezing in the straw tube or in the bladder overnight, so I will have this sent to me when the weather warms. Tube insulators are only mildly effective and not worth the bother. This item is exceptionally convenient when freezing isn’t a concern. I have, however, had some bad experiences with these leaking its gasket loosening while in my pack – which results in soaking gear and a wet ass. For this reason, I’ll be storing it on the outside of my pack in the front mesh pocket. This also allows for easy refilling and guaging my remaining water supply.

 

filter

Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter

15 oz.

I’m not a fan of filters, as stated above. As the season heats up, water availability can become scare. In Pennsylvania, the trail rarely diverges from ridgelines and springs are hard to come by. New York and New Jersey feature bogs where water is muddy. Often the only water must be obtained from small trickles or dirty puddles – and therefore a filter will become necessary if I want clear, clean drinking water. I’ll probably have this brought to me at the halfway point of the trail, or sent to me if water sources begin drying up. This filter is a thru-hiker proven workhorse that offers durability. In the past, I’ve used the MSR Miniworks (heavy) and the MSR Hyperflow (a piece of junk that clogs after only a single use).

Photography

Documenting my hike with photos and having these to remember my hike by for the rest of my life will be something that is very important to me. For this reason, I will be voluntarily carrying extra weight to accommodate photography. Even so, I won’t be carrying an SLR camera or heavy tripod.

camera

Nikon Coolpix P5100 12.0 Megapixel 4x Zoom Digital Camera

8.25 oz. /w battery & SD card

I love this camera. Its picture quality has always been superb and it has outperformed the other cameras I have owned. I’ve owned it for a year and a half and have nearly used it up already, so much so that some functions on it are beginning to fail. I purchased a three year all-inclusive warranty with it, and I sent it off for total refurbishing in time for my hike. Even so, it is probable that I may have to purchase another one since it will surely take a lot of abuse over 5 months of daily use in various conditions. I’m not thrilled with this prospect considering its high cost, but acquiring great photos from my journey is a priority during my hike. I confess that this camera would be much more convenient if it took AA batteries. But I really like its ability to add professional lenses even though it is a point and shoot.

cameracase

Lowepro Apex 20 All-Weather Camera Pouch (Old Edition)

4.25 oz.

I have used this camera case for over five years. I don’t even think they make it anymore, having updated to a new version which possesses an easily breaking strap, less padding, awkward camera access, and is too small. Lowe Pro clearly never understood the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. This case is durable, well padded, has a strap that isn’t too thick or too thin, and even has its own built in water resistant pack cover for rain.

monopod

Leki Sierra SAS Antishock Trekking Pole/Monopod

10.25 oz.

This will make up one of my two trekking poles. It has a foam knob at the top of its handle that unscrews to reveal a screw capable of attaching a small camera. By firmly sticking the pole in the ground, it will support the camera and give me the ability to take my own picture at scenic or significant locations with the use of the camera’s timer function. I’m not thrilled with its non-ergometric handle, unlike what my other trekking pole has, nor do I really like its coarse and too easily loosened wrist strap – but the camera-ready option is awesome. I have replaced its rubber bottom tip with a standard Leki carbide tip.

stickpic

The StickPic

0.25 oz.

Another photography aid. I’ll be trying out for the first time on this hike, but it is so small and light that it is worth a shot. This slips on the end of my trekking pole tip and supports my camera. This allows me to extend the pole out in front of me and take a self portrait or group shot.

sdcard

Verbatim 4 GB SDHC Memory Cards (x4)

0.25 oz. for three extras

As I intend to take a lot of photos, I will be carrying up to four of these at a time and sending them home and exchanging them through the mail frequently. With luck, a lot of photos can be added to my online journal using this method. An enormous thanks to my mother-in-law Laura Hildreth for these as a generous gift!

camerabattery

EN-EL5 Nikon P5100 Extra Camera Batteries (x2)

Weight: 1 oz. each, 2 oz. for two extras

I anticipate a battle to maintain battery power for my camera over the course of the hike, especially while the temperatures are still very cold. I will be carrying three of these – one in the camera and two fully charged as replacements in an attempt to make sure I won’t miss any photo opportunities. When charged, these batteries last a long time but do suffer in the cold. The only flaw of my camera is its inability to take long lasting, temperature immune AA lithium batteries.

cameracharger

EN-EL5 Nikon P5100 Camera Battery Travel Charger

Weight: 1.5 oz.

With three batteries that will likely get spent up over the course of a week, this lightweight charger will give me the ability to recharge all three about once a week when I reach towns and can locate an electrical outlet. It is surprisingly quick charging.

Navigation

Navigation on the AT is pretty simple; it’s heavily blazed and the footpath is almost always well defined. The only thing you really need to aid you in navigation is a data book that will tell you relative distances and locations of shelters.

atguide

The A.T. Guide by David “AWOL” Miller

8 oz.

Without question, the best AT data & guide book on the market is The A.T. Guide by David “AWOL” Miller. I own and have compared it to each of the AT Data Book, the Thru-Hikers Companion, and the Thru-Hikers Hanbook. It features inlaid elevation profiles, the most comprehensive mileage and landmark guide of the bunch, as well as by far the most superior and detailed town maps. David thru-hiked the AT in 2003 and wrote “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail“, what I consider to be one of the best and most entertaining narratives about the AT. He subsequently released his own AT data book and pioneered his own innovative design, making it more functional and informative than guides that have been on the market for years. His data book is indispensible for thru-hikers and section hikers. When I met David a few years ago at Trail Days in Damascus, I purchased both of his books and told him that I was skeptical of new books on an overwritten, flooded market. Later, I got the chance to tell him how surprised I was that his books turned out to be the best in their fields, in spite of my skepticism. Knowing what I do about the effort that goes into producing a book, it is strikingly obvious the high level of effort put into making his books top notch.

garmin

Garmin eTrex Vista HCx

5.25 oz. /w 2 AA Lithium Batteries & 1 GB microSD Card

The AT does not require a GPS by any means, but I will be carrying this because I’m fortunate enough to be helping David Miller obtain new mileage and landmark data for his 2011 edition of The A.T. Guide. I’ll be recording as much of the trail as possible and be marking landmarks and trail junctions. This item will also aid me on the handful of side trips that I intend to make to peaks, fire towers, waterfalls, etc.

map

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map

3.25 oz.

A lot of debate exists as to whether maps are necessary on the AT. They’re not. But anyone who knows me knows that maps are one of my passions. I’m a map junkie. When I’m camping, I don’t read books at night; I pour over maps. I love them. And while the AT doesn’t require maps, the countless side trips on my itinerary will need them. For these reasons, I’ll be taking a lot of maps. I’ll have National Geographic Trails Illustrated maps that will cover at least half of the length of the trail, essentially from Georgia to northern Virginia. Though frequently erroneous, these maps are durable and waterproof as well as colorful and attractive. I’ll have AMC maps for much of New Hampshire and Maine, as well as some AT trail club produced maps for Virginia and New Jersey. I will also be carrying paper printout 1:24,000 scale topographic maps of every inch of the trail. These scale topo maps are my favorites and will be exported and printed from my National Geographic TOPO! mapping software. I will carry about 10 pages at a time and burn them one by one after covering the trail they represent. These will be especially helpful for my peakbagging side trips. I will receive new maps with each mail drop.

Hiking North Carolina’s Lookout Towers by Peter J. Barr

3.5 oz.

I will be carrying a copy of my own book from Hiawassee, GA to Erwin, TN – with the majority of the pages ripped out. I’ll leave only the narratives about the lookout towers on the Appalachian Trail. However, the book is more more photo opportunities than reading. I collect photos of hikers (including myself) in front of lookout towers contained in my book, holding my book. I’ll put these up on my NC Lookouts blog during my hike, a site that I maintain for posting NC lookout tower news & updates.

Hygiene

toiletpaper

Toilet Paper

3.5 oz.

I think this is self explanatory.

scoop

MontBell Handy Scoop

1.25 oz.

For years I used the classic orange plastic trowel. I finally shattered it on a hike in the Smokies last spring. It was a pain in the ass anyway. Perhaps a poor choice of words. This trowel is super strong, made of 1mm stainless steel, yet amazingly lightweight and easily packable. It is fantastic. Its inaugural dig was to unearth the Celo Knob benchmark on a peakbagging trip last fall.

buttpaste

Bordreaux’s Butt Paste

0.5 oz.

Don’t laugh. This is another thru-hiker proven item. Walk for long enough in the heat and you’ll end up with some uncomfortable problems. This comes highly recommended. I’ll be carrying a small amount in a contacts case

sunscreen

Coppertone Sport 30spf Sunscreen (Half Tube)

1 oz.

I’m pretty irresponsible when it comes to applying sunscreen. Not only is sunburn uncomfortable, but five months in direct sunlight all day long can have a rapid aging effect. In recent years I’ve began to notice my age starting to show in a variety of ways, so I’ll do my best to keep my skin protected.

deodorant

Axe Dry Action Travel Size Deodorant

0.5 oz.

It’s really about that size, too. While I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this, I admit I won’t be using this item all that frequently. There is no need to impress while in the woods (unless I wish to attract bugs and mosquitos). However, this item’s small size and extremely light weight make it worth carrying when closer to civilization. The least I can do to thank someone who gives me a ride to town would be to make an attempt to mask my horrendous smell. This technique may prove useful in finding restaurants and stores more receptive to my business. Sometimes when you get to town, you need to run errands in advance of a shower – en route to a hostel or hotel while avoiding backtracking with already tired legs. This little item will help others more than it helps me…

floss

Floss

0.5 oz.

Oral hygiene has a tendenacy to suffer on backpacking trips. The lack of running water is often a buzzkill and your teeth inadvertently drop in priority when you’re out in the woods, tired at days end or cold in the morning. From my recent trip to the dentist, I’ve discovered that flossing is actually more effective than brushing in terms of preventing my tooth decay. Every single one of my cavities were deep in the spaces of my teeth and without question a result of my lack of flossing. Now I do it religiously. I can do it more frequently and with more ease on the trail than brushing.

toothbrush

Aurelle TOOB Toothbrush & Toothpaste

2 oz.

The worst thing about backpacking and travel toothbrushes is their awkward storage and ease of getting them dirty. The common sawing off of a normal toothbrush handle to save the 4.3 nanograms is not only overkill, but makes brushing tedious and less likely to occur in general. This is a nifty little, self-contained, travel toothbrush and toothpaste combo. This allows me to fill it with some 5x strength fluoride toothpaste, something I thought would be more beneficial when out in the woods and not exposed constantly to the fluorided municipal drinking water. We’ll see how this works out, but it looks like a good alternative to normal travel tooth items. The bristles are hard, so I’m going to see if I can work to soften them up before the trip. You can purchase replacement heads easily and cheap, too.

Storage

 

pillow

Therm-A-Rest Stuff Sack Pillow

2.5 oz.

This stuff sack will hold my extra clothes and also serve as my pillow.

compsack

Granite Gear BlocSolid Compression Sack 31L

5.5 oz.

This compression sack is kinda heavy but I got a great deal on it. It is also big enough to easily fit my 0 degree sleeping bag. I absolutely despise the wrestling match of craming things into a stuff sack that can barely fit them, so this spacious bag easily fits my bulky sleeping bag with little struggle.

tufflite

cube

Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube

3 oz.

This little bag will hold my emergency items as well as my electronics like battery chargers, extra batteries, and other small items.

Communication

 

env3

LG enV3 Cell Phone

4.75 oz.

I love this cell phone. Its full keypad will allow for easy texting to send friends and family quick updates as to my whereabouts. I’m not a Smartphone person, at least yet and I like that this one still has real buttons inside and outside.

phonebatteries

LG enV3 Batteries (x2)

0.75 oz. each, 3 oz. for four extras

I’ll be carrying four extra batteries for my cell phone, in addition to the one in the phone. I’ve found so far on the trail that these batteries go dead quickly with all the searching for cell signals, or the frequent turning them on and off even in an effort to conserve battery power.

phonecharger

Cell Phone Travel Charger

2 oz.

This is a neat travel charger with a retractable cord and a fold-down electrical prong. As an unnecessary novelty, it lights up neon Carolina blue when charging (I’m not complaining…). I’ll use this to recharge my three cell phone batteries when I am in towns.

notebook

Paper Notebook & Ballpoint Pen

7.5 oz

In addition to the camera, this is perhaps one of the most important items I will carry. I will be recording my daily experiences and thoughts in a paper journal. This is fairly unorthodox nowadays, where modern hikers now use their iPhone or use some electronic device like PocketMail. I’ll be going old school style. The hard copy of my journal will be something I cherish for the rest of my life, and hope to share with my children in the future. Additionally, I will be mailing Allison my written journal entries about a week’s worth at a time when I reach towns. She will transribe them at a rate of one per day to post them on this blog.

Emergency Kit

emergencyblanket

Emergency Blanket

1.75 oz.

I’ve carried one of these for six years and never used it. It finally disintegrated and my good friend Gretchen Kirkland included a new one in a thoughtful gift to me (I think she’s worried I’m going to be cold. Don’t tell her, but so am I!). I’m actually going to use this on my trip, even in non-emergencies. Why not take advantage of some extra warmth, and it weighs practically nothing.

ducttape

Duct Tape Flat Pack

0.25 oz.

This would make my good friend, Brad Davis, proud. He’s a duct tape afficionado, once crafting items like a wallet, sandals, a remote control holder, a bookbag, and even a boat – all out of duct tape. I’m taking this small amount of duct tape in case of the need for repairs to certain items of gear, or as a means of first aid.

towel2

Lightload Towel

0.5 oz.

The world’s most annoying guy forced this upon me at Trail Days a few years ago. He talked my head off about the miracles and endless uses of this towel. He was nice enough and meant well. I took his sample product, and ironically I’ve managed to carry it as an emergency item ever since. Why not? – it weighs next to nothing. I’ve always envisioned its miraculous absorbant qualities being effective in the event of somewhat serious bleeding situation…. or maybe I’ll use it to dry off in no-towel-providing hostels.

Accessories

leki

LEKI Super Makalu COR-TEC Antishock Trekking Pole

9.25 oz. for one pole

I will only be using one of these poles to pair with my Leki monpod treking pole. Being this far down on the list, you may think that trekking poles are that not significant. They are another indispensible piece of gear for me. I have always hiked with poles. They allow me to go uphill and downhill faster. They catch my falls and have prevented my ankle from breaking probably a hundred times. I love them. It will be an adjustment using one typical trekking pole and with the monopod. The poles are very similar but have difference in their grip and straps. Leki is a terrific company – having sent me afree replacement middle and bottom shaft following the breakage of one of my poles on its inaugural hike in January.

headlamp

Energizer 3 LED Headlamp

2.25 oz. /w 3 Lithium AAA Batteries

I’ve used the more expensive brand name headlamps. They are love to list their weight, even though they’re all within mere grams of each other. They’re all expensive as hell, too. This is a $12 headlamp from Walmart. I’ve found it brighter than the expensive lamps and I’m not as worried about losing it. Petzl and Black Diamond are ripping everyone off…This headlamp take three AA batteries which I’ll stock with lithiums.

packcover

Sea-To-Summit Ultralight Siliconized Pack Cover

4 oz.

I was so proud of this matching orange pack cover to match my original Osprey Aether 60 prnage pack. I swithced packs and it no longer matches. Oh well. It is still lightweight and will shield my pack from the rain.

umbrella

GoLite Dome Umbrella

7.25 oz.

A luxury item for sure, but one handfuls of thru-hikers have told me they wish they would have taken. Not having to take the driving rain directly in the face will keep spirits from sinking to dangerously low levels. This umbrella probably won’t prevent me from getting wet, but may prevent a total soaking that will allow for quicker drying later. It is also useful for shielding sun too, even if that makes me look like an old maid. Sunburn hurts.

mp3player

Sandisk Sansa m240 1 GB Mp3 Player

1.75 oz.

Another luxury item of neglibile weight. On my longest backpacking trip in the past, the thing I missed most was music. While many use mp3 players on the trail while hiking, I’ll attempt to only use it in-hike on the most mentally challenging days. I otherwise enjoy listening to it while falling asleep, especailly to drown out the noise of snoring shelter inhabitants. It will frequently dispense bluegrass, punk rock, and maybe an audiobook from time to time.

spiderco

Spyderco H1 Knife /w 3-13/16 in. Blade

<2 oz.

An awesome lightweight knife that was a generous gift from my best friend, John Baucom. John is an expert in weapons, to say the least – specializing in firearms and knives. I told him my requirements for a knife to take with me hiking, and he hunted down and gifted me this badass blade. It is extremely lightweight, opens and closely easily (not to be taken for granted with most knives), even while wearing gloves. Truth be told, I’m so excited about this knife and how sweet it is that I’m afraid I’ll lose it. Luckily he selected the color yellow to help prevent this very thing (good idea). It is one of the best knives on the market. Thanks, John!

batteries

Energizer AA & AAA Lithium Ultimate Batteries

AA: 0.35 oz. each, AAA: 0.25 oz. each, 2.5 oz. total of extra batteries

Thanks to my friend Shannon Dillmore for helping me discover the amazing ability of lithium batteries. Not only are they a fraction of the weight of normal alkalines, they literally last eight times as long and most importantly, they are completely resistant to battery draining cold temperatures. I’ll use them for my GPS – an item that will be turned on and recording data almost every minute I’ll be hiking. I sure wish my camera could take these.

thermometer

REI Thermometer Keychain

0.25 oz.

Neat little item to make my complaints more detailed and specific.

hothands

Hothands Handwarmers

1.75 oz./pair, 8.75 oz. for five pairs

Shannon Dillmore also made me realize the value of these babies, not just to warm hands (I had an unfortunate encounter with frostbite years ago) but to keep your sleeping bag warm throughout the night. Thanks to Gretchen Kirkland for including a few of these in her thoughtful gift (another keep me warm item!). These are pretty cheap and I should be able to resupply them easily throughout the cold months. I’ll carry a pair for each day on the trail for the first few weeks, then likely only a few pair in my emergency kit thereafter.

cutco

CUTCO Mini Pocket Knife

0.5 oz.

I used to sell CUTCO knives during college. While the sales techniques are a little deceptive and gimicky, the fact remains that their knives are top notch. This is a small little keychain sized tool that I will primarily use for its small scissors to cut open the ends of my ziplock bags containing dried sauces for meals or coffee and milk for drinks.

towel

MSR Ultralight Pack Towel – Small

0.75 oz.

A super absorable and reusable pack towel. I will use this to combat condensation on the walls of my tent or small scale baths along the trail.

stone

Springer Mountain & Mt. Guyot Pebble

1 oz. total

As a thru-hiker tradition, I will be picking up a small stone at the summit of Springer Mountain in Georgia and carrying it all the way to Katahdin in Maine. Because I’m a history and geography nerd, I’ll also be picking up a small stone from the summit of Mt. Guyot (side trip) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and carrying it to deposit on Mt. Guyot in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. This is my small tribute to one of my historical hiking heros, Arnold Guyot – one of the southeast’s original peakbaggers.

Clothing

 

pants

Old Navy Lined Nylon Track Pants

15.25 oz. (On Body, Does Not Contribute to Pack Weight)

Those who know me, know these pants. I was once recognized while hiking by a stranger specifically by these pants. I’m not sure when I even acquired these pants – it was long before I ever began hiking. I wore them on my first hiking trip and practically every hiking trip since then. This has included over 1,300 miles of trails in the Smokies and countless peakbagging hikes to over 200 mountain summits. They’ve proved durable through blackberry thickets, briar patches, and impenetrable spruce forests. They have a few holes but otherwise do not show their age and experience. I’ve even jumped out of an airplane in these pants. My hiking friends call them ‘superman’ pants because of their seemingly indestructability. In fear for their longevity, I recently took them to a tailor for mild fixes (the snazzy racing stripe tore off of one leg, ironically not while hiking). They may not be the best choice for weight or warmth, but these pants are coming with me the whole way. They’ve been through everything else with me until now, so no reason to break tradition.

hat2

UNC Tar Heel Baseball Cap

3 oz. (On Body, Does Not Contribute to Pack Weight)

The hat has changed several times over the years, but the logo has remained the same. I’ll be supporting my UNC Tar Heels everywhere I go. As far as my hobbies, following UNC basketball and athletics stand second only to hiking.

boots

Vasque Wasatch Gore-Tex Waterproof Hiking Boots – Size 11

3 lbs. 15 oz. (On Body, Does Not Contribute to Pack Weight)

Prior to my hiking days, I suffered several broken ankles of each leg. During my hiking career, I’ve always been overwhelmingly afraid of the likelihood of an impending fracture. While I have fallen too many times to count and had countless moments where I was convinced I had broken a bone, I have luckily walked away (mostly pain free) every time. Perhaps wishful thinking, but I hope that more hiking strengthens my ankles more and more with each step. My friend David “AWOL” Miller suffered a severe ankle sprain on the trail in Virginia during his thru-hike; my past ankle history and stories like his make an ankle injury my most feared potential obstacle while on the trail. Nevertheless, I’ll be wearing relatively high-cut boots to protect my frequent ankle rolls. These pups are also pretty durable and impact resistant – something my infamously blue colored Nike Air Zoom Tallac boots lacked in the years I repeatedly purchased and returned them.

powerstretchtop

REI Powerstrecth Half-Zip Pullover

11.5 oz. (On Body, Does Not Contribute to Pack Weight)

A comfortable and stretchy outer layer top. I’ve used an older version of this shirt for many years in cold weather and still love it. A new version gets the nod for my AT hike. I’ll send this home after winter.

socks

Smartwool Expedition Wool Socks

4 oz./pair – (One Pair On Body, Does Not Contribute to Pack Weight)

8 oz. for two extra pairs

These socks are thick, warm, and comfortable. I’ve never struggled with blisters and these thick wool socks will go a long way to ensuring that I never do. On the other hand, I have struggled mightily with cold feet – both while hiking and sleeping – and these will surely help keep me warm. An endless thank you to Gretchen Kirkland who sent me five brand new pairs of these in a gift for my hike.

columbiashirt

Columbia Sportswear Omni-Dry Mountain Tech T-Shirt

6.25 oz.

A lightweight, quick drying tshirt. A base layer in the winter and my primary hiking shirt in the summer. I’ll have two shirts total, the second one similar to this one.

precip

Marmot Precip Raincoat

13.5 oz.

After years of hiking, I’ve found that rain gear mostly fails at keeping you dry because of the sweat it creates inside. But I have found it purposeful to keep me warm in both cold rain and wind. This is a popular lighweight option that I got at half price.

underwear

Ex-Officio Boxer Briefs

3.75 oz.

Lightweight and quick drying underwear. Infamous for their ability to be washed in a sink and dried quickly, not to mention resist odors. That last quality sounds good to me.

woolbuff

100% Merino Wool BUFF

2 oz.

Wool is a great fabric for hiking. And I’ve fallen in love with Buffs over the years, especially for neck gaiters. This one is is all wool and will be extra warm, even if wet, for use during the winter. Wool also resists odors, too.

bufflogo

BUFF Original Headwear

1.25 oz.

For the multifunction abilities of a Buff, check out this short video demonstration. They’re not kidding either. These things are great. I mainly use them as neck gaiters, but I also have used them to keep my ears warm in the cold, as a sweat band, and bandanna. You could even filter water with it.

tights

REI Powerstretch Tights

7.75 oz.

I’ll wear these in camp at night and keep them dry. I sleep very cold so these will help me stay warm in the evenings. I will send them home after winter.

mittens

REI Thermo Convertible Mittens

3 oz.

Thanks to Andy & Carla Hildreth for these as a Christmas present. I was enamored with Andy’s mittens that had convertible tops when I saw them during the holidays. I’ve always resisted wearing gloves because they take away the functionality of my hands and fingers. I suffered second degree frostbite on one ocassion as a result. I still don’t like gloves, until I discovered gloves that gave me on-demand access to my fingers. I’ll send these home after winter – they’ll get non-hiking cold weather use next year, too. Thanks Andy & Carla!

gaitors

REI Trail Gaitors

6 oz.

The southeast has been blanketed the more snow than seen in decades, and trail conditions are shaping up to be challenging with high accumulations of snow. A few prep hikes in the never-melting snow finding its way into my boots made me realize that these will be worth their weight to help keep my feet dry and warm. I later returned shorter gaitors for this taller pair. If I’m going to combat the snow, I need full armor. They’ll prove useful too on many off-trail bushwhacking trips to peaks and high points, or muddy sections of trail.

shorts

Columbia Sportswear Cascade Creek Water Shorts

8.75 oz. (Will not carry until warm weather)

My primary warm weather shorts. Their interior is lined and they can double as swimming trunks. They have an adjustable built-in nylon belt and cargo pockets. These will be sent to me at some point in Virginia.

rainpants

Stearns Rain Pants

11.5 oz.

These pants are cheapies from Walmart, and they’ve proven effective and durable over several years. I’ll use them as another layer of pants when hiking in deep snow, but also as slippery briar and spruce resistant armor during nasty bushwhacking side trips. They dry quickly and can even be used alone as a second pair of pants.

gossamer

REI Gossamer Primaloft Jacket

15.25 oz.

This is a lightweight insulating jacket stuffed with synthetic fill. Thanks to its quick drying Primaloft insulation, this jacket can get wet and retain its insulating capacity well while suffering no performance loss following a ride in the washing machine.

vest

North Face Redpoint Primaloft Vest

14 oz.

A synthetically insulated Primaloft vest. I will not be carrying this at the start of my hike, rather it may be sent to me mid-hike as a warm item option to use during chilly weather. I’m not sure if I will ever need/use this item and even have it sent to me. It would have to be an exchange with my Primaloft jacket. I got this 50% off. While the frat bastards hand over full price using daddy’s money, I will never pay The North Face beyond half price.

toboggan

UNC Tar Heels Fleece Toboggan

2 oz.

Yes, I have a Tar Heel version of my ballcap even for the winter. This UNC beanie is big enough to pull down over my ears.

downsocks

Sierra Designs Down Socks

2 oz.

I sleep cold, and my feet especially get cold. These down socks go great lengths to keeping my toes nice and warm at night.

Food

hamburgerhelper

Hamburger Helper

The staple of my backpacking meals and the subject of the majority of my culinary experimentations over the several months prior to my hike. The idea of this first originated on my first ever backpacking trip. The first thru-hiker I met, Rowboat, let me finish the remainder of his pot of Cheesy Enchilada HH at Tricorner Knob Shelter for lunch. Having been devoid of anything resembling an appetizing home-cooked meal after my first five days on the trail, it was heavenly. Since then, I’ve taken Hamburger Helper as a backpacking meal, made easy for several years by precooked and prepackaged ground beef available in foil pouches sold in stores. Unfortunately for me, this item was discontinued quickly. Apparently, I was the only person who ever bought it. It did kind of look like dog food, but when you mixed it in with HH, it was great. HH as a backpacking meal died for several years until I began dehydrating my own meat with my food dehydrator wedding present. Not only does it taste better, but it is lighter than the aforementioned beef pouches. HH in the outdoors has been reborn!

Because HH is such a staple of my trail diet, I’ve made an effort to increase variety to avoid (or delay) burnout. Luckily, HH comes in a glorious lineup of appetizing flavors. Here’s a list of the ones that I’ll be taking with me on my hike: Cheeseburger Macaroni, Beef Stroganoff, Bacon Cheeseburger (my favorite), Cheesy Enchilada, Double Cheese Quesadilla, Cheesy Ranch, Patty Melt, Cheddar Cheese Melt, Philly Cheesesteak (another favorite), Asian Lo-Mein, Four Cheese Lasagna, Asian Mongolian Beef, Cheesy Pasta, Peanut Asian Noodles (my own concoction), and Alfredo. Oh my! Any of these flavors can be mixed and matched with any meats including ground turkey, shredded chicken, or SPAM and consist of either pasta noodles or rice.

This meal cooks easily and has no clean-up. I simply add boiling water to a bag of dehydrated pasta noodles and ground meat and place inside my cozy for 20 minutes. I then dump in a small bag of dried sauce mix which includes the flavoring and dried milk powder. Laslty, I insert two packets of mayonnaise (to supply creamy fat to thicken the sauce) and mix. Voila!

pasta

Angel Hair Pasta

I cooked and dehydrated enough of this stuff, I’m listing it separately. Most pasta that comes with Hamburger Helper fails to rehydrate quickly or thoroughly enough for me. Thin pasta, like angel hair or thin spaghetti both dehydrates and rehydrates quickly and efficiently. These noodles will make up the pasta component of my HH meals.

mayonnaise

MAYONNAISE

I’ve taken a lot of crap over the years for my affection for mayonnaise. Thanks to a brilliant suggestion from my lovely wife Allison, it turns out that mayo is actually the secret, critical ingredient to making my meals of Hamburger Helper not only edible, but delicious. With all of the fat removed from the meat and pasta, HH lacks the creaminess when prepared from dehydrated components. Adding two fast food style packets of mayonnaise and mixing it with the pasta and burger turns the final product into one that is nearly indistinguishable from a meal cooked at home. Mayonnaise will also be used as the primary ingredient in one of my lunch choices – chicken salad inside a tortilla. Mayo adds a creamy fat to meals but little flavor – the perfect matrix to prepare some of my favorite backpacking foods. I’ll be carrying at least 20 packets per week, if not more. To head all of you off, my trailname will not be Mayonnaise, so don’t bother.

turkey

Dehydrated Ground Turkey

I spent countless hours cooking and dehydrating ground turkey for the main component in my Hamburger Helper meals and my primary source of protein. Ground turkey is lower in fat and is therefore easier to dehydrate. Don’t worry, I’ll get plenty of fat from the mayonnaise… Adding ground meat to meals improves their taste exponentially.

chicken

Sweet Sue Precooked Premium Chicken Breast Foil Pouches

These foil chicken packets can be used as a meat substitute in my Hamburger Helpers, but will primarily be used for lunches and snacks in my mayonnaise chicken salad in tortillas. I’ll have these individual serving pouches, as well as two-serving pouches as well.

spam

SPAM Singles

SPAM gets a bad rap, just like mayonnaise. I used to eat these single serving packets by themselves, but now I use them as another meat option in my Hamburger Helper meals. I don’t like fish, so tuna pouches aren’t an option.

tortillas

Tortillas

Insert mayonnaise based chicken salad and wrap it = great lunch or snack. Other components can be added or substituted in these as well, like peanut butter, Chick-fil-a sauce, or salad dressings.

bacon

Bacon, Precooked

Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Bacon. Oh how I love it. And my good friend Oscar Mayer has pre-cooked it for me. Thanks buddy. Now it’s ready to eat, strip by strip on the trail. On a side note, I recently discovered that a product known as “baconnaise” exists. The perfect marriage? I think so. Coming soon to my backpacking kitchen….

chickfilasauce

Chick-fil-a Sauce

Yes, I’m actually in a Facebook fan club for this stuff. Don’t doubt me, it’s incredible. This is my favorite addition to my mayo-chicken salad in tortillas to jazz up the taste. These are difficult to stockpile, seeing how Chick-fil-a keeps them behind the counter and you have to request them, obtaining only one or two at a time. I could certainly use help getting more of these little packets, and to find out how you can help me do this, check out the How To Help page.

maunaloa

Mauna Loa Dry Roasted Sea Salted Macadamia Nuts

I literally fell in love with these on our trip to Hawaii in the fall. Or maybe I fell in love with Hawaii? I confess, it was both. I love the taste, and it brings me back to paradise (I’ll be back, Haiku Stairs…). They’re conveniently high in needed fat – and the healthy monounsaturated version, too. I ordered a boatload of these prior to my hike, but unfortunately they’re not cheap.

pb2

PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

Thanks to my aunt, Vicky Doksa in Pennsylvania, for sending a jar of this to me to try. I didn’t have high expectations for it, but I sure was wowed when I tried it. Having recently become experienced in the art of food dehydration, I know you can’t really dry oily foods. I would have considered peanut butter an impossibility. But this company did it and perfected it into a fine powder. Now you just add water (and as you might guess, mayonnaise (!) if you want to make it creamy). I’ll use this in tortillas, as well as a few scoops to make my Peanut Noodles version of Asian Hamburger Helper.

cashews

Planters Cashews

My hiking buddy Dave Landreth introduced me to cashews on a cold, snow covered hike one time at McGee Springs in the Smokies. I hadn’t thought much of the nuts before, considering their initially bland taste. Perhaps I was just really hungry that day, but my affection for them was born then and has never died. A good source of monounsaturated fats and protein and easy to vary portions.

cib

Carnation Instant Breakfast

I’m much too lazy, not to mention irritated by the cold, in the mornings to prepare a hot breakfast. Rather I’ll save the stove usage for a few miles down the trail once I am warmed up, or for a hot evening meal. To get going before beginning the day’s hike, I’ll add some “CIB” to water along with powdered milk and optional instant coffee or protein powder. It’s a meal replacement shake with lots of vitamins. Above all, it’s easy. I think Rowboat first gave me this idea, as I’m pretty sure his journal indicates that he drank at least one CIB every day of his thru-hike.

clifbar

Clif Bars

Clif Bars are healthy and tasty. They’re expensive as hell, too – unless you get them in bulk at a warehouse club. Allison will be sending me a lot of these in mail drops since we can purchase them at nearly a third of their cost in outfitter shops. While they have a lot of great flavors, these basics are the only ones available in bulk. Good thing they are my favorites now, though I’m sure I will tire of them eventually.

jimmydean

Jimmy Dean Sausage Biscuits

My other good buddy, Jimmy Dean, precooked me miniature sausage biscuts. Thanks pal! They come wrapped two per pack. Add a packet of fruit jelly (or mayonnaise?!?) and they’re fantastic, quick snacks.

parmesan

Parmesan Cheese Wedges

I love parmesan cheese. Since it is a harder, low moisture cheese, it keeps well for long periods as well. I’ll frequently have a wedge with me to nibble on over the course of a few days.

protein

Whey & Casein Protein Powder

I have pre-prepared ziplock bags with drink mixes – most consisting of Carnation Instant Breakfasts and instant milk. Some of these include a scoop of whey protein powder, too.

milk

Powdered Milk

I’ve added instant milk powder to a lot of my prepared meals including the sauce mixes for my hamburger helper as well as the CIB drink mixes.

glutamine

Glutamine Powder

In addition to protein, a small teaspoon scoop of this is sometimes added to my drink mixes. My nutritional education background led me to become fascinated by this amino acid. It makes up about 60% of the total amino acid content in muscle tissue, and it is effective at improving muscle recovery, combating muscle catabolism, reducing inflammation, aiding cellular replication, and boosting immunity. It is inexpensive and tasteless.

coffee

Folgers Instant Coffee

I add this to some of my morning CIB drink mixes for a pick me up in taste or energy – or both.

vitamins

Vitamins & Drugs

Note my previously mentioned nutritional education background. I’ll be carrying a small case of vitamin supplements, including a multivitamin and multimineral, vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid, zinc and magnesium, and selenium. My two drugs of choice will be ibprofen for pain and inflammation and benadryl for sleeping and bee stings.

muffin

Instant Muffin Mix

Just add water inside a freezer bag and you get a delicious, highly viscous and calorie-dense meal. Great for breakfasts or desert. Can be a bit messy.

cheesypotatoes

Dehydrated Cheesy Potatoes

My mom makes this truly incredible dish that we’ve referred to as “Cheesy Potatoes” ever since I was a kid. It’s my favorite food at Christmas dinner, about the only time that it comes around each year. Much to my surprise, it dehydrated extremely well. It is quite laborious to make, and I endlessly thank my generous and selfless mother for preparing several batches for me prior to my departure and probably several more to send me while I am gone. It will definitely be a welcome taste of home cooking that will keep fond memories of time with my family close to me even though I am far away.

There are a lot more food items that won’t be listed here, and I know that my menu will change and evolve over the course of the hike based on what is available in stores along the trail, combined with my changing tastes based on repetition of certain meals/food.

Responses

  1. Very interesting,was expecting a full blown winter pack weight,along with a pared down weight for warm weather. Estimates?

    • Hey Kenny – I will weigh my pack minus food and water (and then again with them) right before I leave the trail. I’ll post the results here prior to departing. I’m hoping for a winter weight around 25 pounds before food and water, maybe up to 35 pounds with them. While I make an effort to get lightweight gear, I’d rather have extra clothes to stay warm and some extra thins for my camera to take good pictures in spite of extra weight. However, in the summer I hope my pack weight with food and water will not exceed 30 pounds after I remove winter clothing. Also – thanks for your donation to Shuckstack, Kenny!

  2. Peter – if you take a small amount of syrup or honey you won’t have to worry about bites, stings or burns. As soon as you have either of these happen apply the syrup, honey or even plain old sugar – put a bandage on forget about it for a day and apply more if needed, but you usually won’t need but maybe two applications! It will heal it immediately – pulls the poison out and kills the bacteria almost immediately. Know this for a fact – saw my dad’s spider bite that was turning gangrenous healed within two weeks – he was going to lose his arm!! I’ve also used it all my life on me, my husband and son! Just remember it:)

  3. Whippersnap,
    I see by your Tar heel hat that you would be interested in knowing that Carolina made it to the finals of the NIT in Madison Sq. Garden against Dayton Univ.
    Only problem is that they lost. They said it was the last NIT. The NCAA is planning to increase the number of teams to 96. That would end the interest of the NIT.
    Too bad UNC couldn’t claim a back to back championship NCAA and NIT in consecutive years.
    Take care, God bless… and keep on trucking…

  4. Hey there…

    Thanks for posting your gear. Spam, mmmm! I think I would loose the umbrella. Will you post how the trekking pole tripod works for you. Looks really cool. Hope your enjoying the journey!

  5. I work with your father and he came by and showed us your page. In my youth we used to hike Rainier in Washington. Your website and book are very thorough and informative.

  6. Awesome list, Peter.
    Thanks for posting.
    Any chance you’ll consider a post-trip update to let us know how everything worked out.
    The before comments are useful, but I’m more interested in hearing how it all played out on the trail.
    Jeff

  7. Clarification on my last post… I’m specifically asking about the gear. A summary of “here’s what I thought when I started, and here’s what I think now, after the trip” would be incredibly useful.


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