Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Andrew's Obligatory Gear List

A picture of my pack. The actual pack I'll be hiking with is a bit different from this, as it's a M/L pack (18-21 inches).
I suppose it's a tradition for a through-hiker to share what's going into their pack. Erin has already done it over at Appalachian Trials, and so now it's my turn.

The Pack: 

Kelty Coyote 80 M/L

At 80 Liters of capacity, this is one of the larger packs out there, at least for what is used by Appalachian Trail hikers. This makes sense, because I'm also bigger than the vast majority of the AT hikers. Everything, from my sleeping bag and pad, to my clothes and camp shoes, to the amount of food I need to carry, is bigger. Of course, that also means the weight of what I'll be packing is larger.

As mentioned in the caption of the photo, my actual pack I'll be hiking with is not the one I started with. I moved up to a M/L (18-21 inches) torso length pack from the S/M (15-18 inches). Judging from how the first one fit, I'm probably somewhere on the low end of that 18-21 inches, but this will make sure. I had to transfer the hip belt strap from the original pack to the new one, as the whole reason I bought the original pack was because it had a strap that fit my waist, something that is a rare find for a person of my size.


Six Moons Designs Solo Tent
Six Moons Designs Footprint

I've never actually used this tent yet. However, it has been used four different nights by my brother Travis. While lighter than I am, he is a couple inches taller, and he was able to use the tent. This is good, because I need any weight savings I can get. There's no doubt my REI Half-Dome 2+ tent would be more comfortable, and by being a self standing tent more flexible in where I can set it up. However, it's also a lot of weight, whereas this tent doesn't require a rain fly and uses a trekking pole as it's primary support. It's one of my few concessions to "Ultralight Madness".

Sleeping System: 

Montbell 37 degree down sleeping bag
Sleeping Bag Liner
Thermarest Inflatable Sleeping Pad

Look, I'm aware the half-assed descriptions of these items. The simple fact is I'm not the kind of person who gets caught up in worrying about equipment and gear. I don't have strong opinions on who makes the best sleeping bag, what the best material is, or reviewing benchmarks of which species of bird the down came from. Unless we see a repeat of February weather in April, I'm confident this combination will get me through both the coldest and warmest nights on the trail, even if I have to put on some of my outwear to make it through.


Marmot Polartec Vest
Columbia Klamath Range II Half-Zip Long Sleeve Shirt
Long-Sleeve Thermal T-Shirt
Thermal Pants
Big & Tall Khaki Pants
Smartwool Socks (3 pair)
REI Performance Tech Tee
Town T-Shirt
Town Underwear

Clothing is an area that I was worried about finding items that would fit. Fortunately there was enough that I could make do, with only pants being the one elusive thing I've yet to find. It won't take much to get into a range where I'll have better options than my cotton khakis, but they'll have to do for now. Beyond that I think I have a nice range of clothing options depending upon the weather. Of course I don't have shorts, which I may look into some town shorts for sleeping. However, I don't hike in shorts. It's partly because of an experience involving some shin level sharp plants that I had to walk through on one trail a while back, and partly because of how often I've fallen down. I was able to compress all of these clothes save for the Marmot vest, the pants, and a pair of socks into a 10L Sea to Summit Stuff Sack.

Rain/Snow Gear:

Frogg Toggs Rain Poncho
The North Face Venture Rain Jacket
Katoolah Microspikes

My rain and snow gear is pretty basic, with an option for colder rain, an option for warmer rain, and some protection for my head and hands in case of cold weather (especially when in camp). I'm hoping I won't have much need for the microspikes, but those high ridges in North Carolina and Tennessee might prove to be stubborn in giving up the snow and ice during the first month or so.

Walking System:

Merrell Moab Midtop Hiking Shoes
Leki Trekking Poles

I'll be starting with a fresh pair of these shoes, as I've had a lot of use out of the previous pair. The Leki Poles were some of the first hiking equipment I purchased, and they've done me good so far. One of them will be doubly important because it's the main support for my tent. The Crocs are a lightweight shoe that will be good for wearing in camp, and perhaps to use as well when I am fording a creek or river.

Cooking System:

JetBoil Sumo Stove
Propane/Butane Fuel Canister

I've used this stove several times, including a couple times while hiking, and I have to say that it works pretty well. The cooking pot/cup is quite large, but my meals are quite large.

Hydration System
Two 25oz Nalgene Bottles
Sawyer Gravity Filter clean water bladder.

For daily hiking purposes I'll be using the nalgene bottles. The bladder will be more useful for camp and its various needs.

Water Purification:
Sawyer Gravity Filter

Logistics and Navigation:
AWOL's AT Guide
Suunto Core Watch

Moto X Phone
Radio/Charger/Flashlight Combo device
Portable Charger Stick
Charger Cord

My phone will double at times as a book, as I can use my Kindle app.

Hygiene/First Aid
Biodegradable Soap
First Aid Kit (with the usual stuff)
Generic Tylenol PM
Camp Towel
Insect Repellent

Nothing too exceptional here. The hiker's "Vitamin I" is off the table because of some kidney issues I had back when I got pneumonia. Instead my liver will be taking one for the team with Vitamin "T".

Not included are a razor and shaving cream, which will not be traveling with me, although they will have their own trip in our bounce box, going from post office to post office.

Luxury Items
Trail Journal
GoPro Hero 4 (with protective case)
Plastic Protective Wallet

I won the GoPro at a Christmas Party raffle at work, and you better believe it's getting used. Although I'll be updating this blog frequently (as well as Facebook and Twitter), my Trail Journal will still be kept the old fashioned way by pen and paper. Not sure how often I'll need the ear buds on the trail, but they'll come in handy in town and in the tent/shelter.


Of course, the one thing I haven't discussed is my food. It's the heaviest category in this list. My main food is going to be oatmeal, quinoa, and macaroni, with tuna, peanut butter, nuts, and various sundry snacks filling out the roster.We'll also have jerky and dried fruits courtesy of my evaporator to enjoy at various times during our hike.

The last weigh-in I did with my pack came in at about ~47 pounds. With some omissions of a couple unnecessary items that were taking up some weight, and a trimming of a few things from my food bag, it's probably closer to between 40 and 45 pounds now. Truth is there isn't much I can do about it. My clothing, even though a lot of it is fairly light, is still heavier than most. I have to take more food to keep a minimal effective calorie intake, and the extra material for the larger pack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad do add some weight. I think the weight is pretty manageable, but as I make my way north, I anticipate figuring out ways to cut down on some of that.

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