Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's a Process

So where am I exactly in the planning stage? I've done a bunch of reading and I've started collecting gear. I have a very basic understanding of what this is going to take.

I have my copy of the Appalachian Train Conservancy's Thru-Hikers Companion, which lists mileages between landmarks, shelters, water sources etc.
I have just about all of the gear I plan on using:

  • Backpack - Ferrino Approach 50+10 L
  • Tent - Eureka Spitfire 1 
    •  I finally ordered this yesterday after finding a great deal on it online. Seeing as though I'll be spending a lot of time in there Ill be giving the tent its own review after it comes in and I have a chance to set it up.
  • Sleeping bag - Eureka Silver City
    •  This is a 30 degree bag so with a March 1 start date I'll be adding a liner to add some comfort. which I will probably use as my only sleeping bag once the warm weather comes in over the summer.
  • Sleeping Pad - Therm-A-Rest Prolite Plus
    • A really innovative self inflating open cell foam/air mattress.
  • Stove - MSR Whisperlite Internationale
    • Found this online for a steal right after thanksgiving and have used it a few times since. seems to do very well when it comes to low fuel consumption, and boils water very quickly. I really like how this can burn many different fuels, Including gasoline if I really need to.
  • Kitchen - GSI soloist
    • I got this the same time as the stove, too bad it doesn't fit inside, but its small anyway so I'm not too concerned.
These are just the big items that I've been most worried about. I remember reading somewhere that keeping your "Big 3" items (Backpack, Tent, and Sleeping bag) under 10 Lbs is a good benchmark to try and go lightweight, and if everything weighs as much as the boxes say, I'm just under that mark.

I've heard about what's called a "shakedown"; a dry run with all of the gear you plan on using in order to see if you like your choices and can deal with the weight and everything works as it should. So on march 3-12 ill be leaving for/from Springer Mountain and hope to make it to a place called Mountain Crossings at the Walasi-Yi Center where the staff will help you go through your gear in order to eliminate excess weight and offer suggestions of ways to streamline your pack.

This coming weekend my local outfitters, Bill Jackson's, is hosting a thru hiker clinic, run by a guy who has done the AT, PCT, and Continental Divide trails. Ill be going to this to see what he has to say. the flyer was very vague and just said that Friday was a slide presentation and saturday is a gear clinic. I'll post again after that and see what he has to say.

If anyone reading this with some experience on the AT has anything to say please leave a comment, I would love some feedback as to how I'm going about this.

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