Getting ready for a 3 Day AT Section Hike!

P1000263-001My pack is all packed up and ready to go… now I just gotta wait on the time to actually go…

Later this week I will be heading out to complete another section of the Appalachian Trail that I don’t quite have yet. I will be doing the 30 mile section between Deep Gap and Wayah Gap in North Carolina. Once I finish this section though, I will have completed the (approximately) 215 miles of Appalachian Trail between Amicalola Falls State Park Visitor Center (yes, I did the approach trail too) up to just past Icewater Springs Shelter in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (save for about a 2 mile stretch between Sassafras Gap Shelter (above the NOC) and Cheoah Bald).

Besides having completed this section of the trail, there are also another scattered 40 miles of AT that I have already hiked between Icewater Springs Shelter and US19 (just past Roan Mountain). Filling in these areas, along with the 2 mile stretch near the NOC, will be my next project…

This trip will see me hiking solo for the first 2 days, and then meeting up with a buddy towards the end of the second day. Then, on the third night another friend of mine will meet us and we plan to have a good old camp out on the last night. It is still a bit too far out to really know what kind of weather conditions I can expect, but at the moment, I am planning for temps to be as low as the mid 20’s during the first night, and then slightly warmer each consecutive night. As well, I am also planning on rain the first day and night I am out…

For this trip, I will be be carrying a few new items, as well as some old items that I have not used in quite a while. Of course I strive to have a lightweight pack, however, on this trip, there are some heavier than normal items that I will be carrying. But, despite these items, at the moment, my base pack weight is still only 10.02 lbs and my total pack weight is 17.57 lbs. As well, I have converted my ZPacks Multipack into my camera bag, and including all contents, comes to a total of 1.49 lbs. However, I do not consider this as “pack” weight since it will be worn as a fanny pack around my waist. (Although, feel free to count it as you may.)

Some items worth noting that I will be using on this trip are:

One other item that I am contemplating carrying is my new GoLite Chrome Dome Umbrella, however, I am waiting till closer to the time to leave to see if rain is still in the forecast. If I add this in, then my pack weight will increase by another 8 oz, or 1/2 lb.

This trip will be relatively short miles each day, and the days have gotten to be a little bit longer, so I consider this an easy hike, which is why I am bringing lots of new gear, as well as did not strive to go as light as I possibly can. This trip is a perfect opportunity for me to try out some new gear, all while getting out and living on the trail, if even for only a weekend… and maybe even with an upper limit “UL” pack weight…

Anyway, for those of you that enjoy spreadsheets, feel free to take a gander at my highly detailed, entire gear list HERE.

And for those of you that are more visually inclined, feel free to take a look at both of my, somewhat long, yet detailed, videos… I have made one video that goes over the gear I will be carrying arranged by categories, as well as a video in which I go over my food that I will be carrying…

Thanks for stopping by…

~Stick~

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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23 Responses to Getting ready for a 3 Day AT Section Hike!

  1. Tulley says:

    Hey Sticks,

    I started reading your blog about a week ago and figured I would stop by as I have really enjoyed all the info you have posted and even find myself checking quite often to see if you posted. In other words great job!
    I recently created a pretty interesting spreadsheet for tracking my gear that includes easy ways to create a large scale gear list including your “gear closet” and then check out a base weight of different combinations by simply checking and un-checking boxes. Since I copied how you did your categories and have been using your gear lists in comparison to my own I figured I should give you the chance to check it out if you wanted. If you like I would be happy to share it with you and your readers.

    Tulley

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Tulley,

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the support and glad to hear you have enjoyed my blog.

      As far as the spreadsheet, feel free to post it if you would like. I could give it a look, however, I will admit, I am partial to my own spreadsheets that I am using. I have spent a lot of time on them and they just work for me.

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. Ryan Irvine says:

    Hey Stick
    Where did you get your Fizan Poles at?
    Have a great hike.
    Ryan

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Ryan,

      I actually picked them up from someone over on BPL. They were brand new, and only $65, so I said ok!

      I have also read on BPL that others have picked them up from Ultralight Outdoor Gear and had good expeeriences considering it is out of the US…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. GoHikeGo says:

    This weekend I am headed out for the section between Duncannon and PA443. It is the first trip of the year and I am excited to finally get outside.

    Like

  4. dcbortz says:

    Great videos! Looks like a very comfy setup for the weight. I ended up carrying a lot more last weekend, and I don’t think I was nearly as comfortable as you’ll be. That’s what I get for bugging out when I saw the weather forecast. Next time I’ll just stick to my plan!

    Like

  5. Nathan says:

    Stick,

    I see you are carrying an XLite pad. I just picked one up over the weekend with my REI dividend. I haven’t inflated it yet because I found a couple articles that suggested that mouth inflating could cause the metallic liner to delaminate. Do you inflate the pad by mouth, or do you use one of the inflator type bags to inflate the pad? Have you had any issues with the pad so far?

    Nathan

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Nathan,

      There is some speculation that moisture from peoples breath can cause delamination, however, as far as I know, there has not been anything definite about this. On the opposite side, I have heard others rave that they can get away with blowing up the NeoAirs by mouth without worries because there is not insulation inside to get damaged from the moisture…

      The way I see it, both REI and TAR have very good return policies, and I have not had any issues with my NeoAirs that I would blame moisture from my breath as being the culprit. I am perfectly fine with blowing up my NeoAir by mouth. However, I do wonder about blowing them up by mouth when it is below freezing. I wonder if the moisture inside freezes, and then if that will affect the overall warmth…at least until the moisture is let out.

      Also, I do store my NeoAir flat and with the valve open. I actually do not roll the air out before storing it and just pop the top and let the air move out on it’s own. TAR actually suggest to store the pads rolled up, but I just choose to do it this way.

      Anyway, I hope you enjoy your new pad!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. David Sullivan says:

    Stick – Have you ever thought of putting the mile marker in your trail descriptions? For instance, you’re going to travel “from Deep Gap (85.4) to Wayah Gap (115.7).” It makes those of us who follow your trips to more easily find them on the trail descriptions. Also, did you know that you can scan pages from guides like AWOL Miller’s AT GUIDE and send them to your Kindle with the Send to Kindle app. I have that lightest Kindle, too, and scan my maps and trail descriptions to my Kindle. At night, it’s very handy to study the next day’s route to see where I need to get water before a dry stretch of trail. Just a thought …

    -David

    Like

    • Stick says:

      David,

      That is a good point about adding in the mileage markers. I may do that in the future, but I cannot promise it…

      As far as the Kindle, yes I am aware that I can send PDF’s to my Kindle. I actually have the 2013 Companion Guide, along with a full set of elevation profiles scanned into my Kindle. I would like to get AWOL’s guide, and have asked him about either a Kindle or a PDF version of his book. If I understood it correctly, it was in the works to some degree, but not sure when one would be sold as such. I don’t have a scanner either so that is not an option. I don’t think I would be real crazy about scanning in an entire book either though… For now though, if I need to, I can just look at the 2013 Companion Guide that I have on my Kindle once I am at camp each night.

      As far as maps though, I just use the little MapDana Elevation Profile maps like I show in the video. For me, it is all I need on the AT. I do have the larger maps at home that I can look at and get a better idea of anything around me, but I don’t carry those.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  7. David Sullivan says:

    Chad – What will you be eating on the morning after your third night? You didn’t have anything laid out for that.

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    • Stick says:

      David,

      I will just pick up a biscuit on the road on the next morning. Once we wake up I will still have a long drive ahead of me, so I will just break camp, get my car and head on…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. Linda says:

    Nice post with lots of details. I really like your DIY camera bag. I’m going to see if the ZPack pocket will be large enough for my camera. I have always had difficulty deciding whether or not to use a ground cover/footprint with my shelter (Gatewood Cape) and have hiked with and without one. On my last few trips I have not used one and made sure to groom the ground well before setting up but I still have a nagging worry that I might damage the bivy, especially when camping in rocky terrain (My Thermarest pad fits inside the bivy). I think I will try using a Thinlight pad under the bivy for added protection….thank you for the idea!
    Have a great trip.
    LV

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Linda,

      What sort of camera do you have? Also, if your camera does not fit, you can send an email to Joe at ZPacks and ask him to make the pouch a little different size and he will very likely do so.

      As far as the ground sheet, as of lately, if I am carrying a tent, I don’t worry with one. If I am using a bivy, I don’t worry with one. If I am using a tarp only, I will carry one. In this case, my Thinlight pad only weighs 1.7 oz and will pack down small enough outside my pack so that it is not really protruding so much. So, I can use it as a huge sit pad during the day while hiking, then at night I can throw it under my air pad inside my tent, just in case.

      I will admit though, a ground sheet does make packing up a bit nicer if it has been raining since the ground sheet will be the dirty part, and the tent or bivy will be much cleaner. Also, for my ground sheets, I have been using plycro which works well and is light.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Linda says:

      Thanks Stick. I’m pretty sure I will need to ask Joe for a custom pocket for my camera. I finally bit the bullet and went for a larger camera and bought a Nikon 5200. It’s much heavier than my old camera but I have wanted a larger sensor camera for some time. My smaller cameras never captured the subjects well in low-light or in windy conditions (flowers). The new camera has solved these issues for me.

      I’ll be looking at options for material I can trim for a custom footprint under my cape but still not sure if I will use one. I used to use Tyvek, did not like it, gave it up and now just throw everything on the ground. The bivy is waterproof but I sometimes want something under my pack and vestibule when the ground is muddy. I had 8 days in a row of rain on the JMT and did want one then. But, then again, it’s just one more thing to carry and fiddle with….thus the dilemma (laughing).
      LV

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Linda,

      That camera is a bit bigger… I believe that Stephen Burgess from Willis Wall Media (I could be wrong though) has converted a multipack into a large camera bag. With that one you may have to store it with the lens pointing down… I don’t know. I would just suggest contacting Joe and describing it to him and provide him with some measurements… I am sure he will help you out.

      And nice camera by the way. I just went with a micro 4/3 which is definitely a step up from the P&S that I have been using, however, it is not quite as much camera as you have… but that is ok. I am still learning all the basic camera functions, and still prefer the smaller body/lens package… However, if I get too involved, I could see myself going with more camera… I will see. It is fun though!

      On ground sheets again, what didn’t you like about the Tyvek? I really liked it when I used it, well, all but the weight. But I agree with you, it is one of those things that is nice to have in some situations, but not all… and there can be a bit of a fiddle factor with them. For me, at this point though, I am fine with going without one unless I am straight up tarping it!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Linda says:

      When I used the Tyvek it never seemed to stay in place within the boundaries of my shelter. It was even anchored (sort of) by my trekking pole but that did not help much. I don’t move when I sleep so was confounded at to why I could not keep it in place. If I remember it was also noisy and stiff, even after washing several times. The other thing I did not care for was it was a dirt magnet. My bivy stays a lot cleaner….

      I almost bought a smaller camera with the 4/3 sensor. And the new mirror-less cameras are so attractive. I have seen photos taken with them and they are very nice. It was a tough choice to make.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Linda,

      That is crazy about the tyvek. Once I got it in place it always seemed to stay in place until the next morning. There are also different grades of Tyvek, and some is softer than others. The Tyvek that came with my Lunar Duo from SMD was actually pretty soft after I threw it in the wash for one round. But yes, it definitely is a dirt magnet too! Oh well…

      Anyway, good luck getting your camera pouch all set up, and enjoy your new camera!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. Steve says:

    Stick…I hope you have a great safe hike. Can’t wait to see some video and pictures when you return…Steve…

    Like

  10. nekpir says:

    If you were going for a more UL setup. Would You consider using a Styrofoam cup or bowl instead of your cup+coozie+lip guard. I feel like it would be less durable sure, and maybe not as environmentally conscious, but i just feel it would work as well and be considerably lighter. Awesome gear though, Im a little jealous haha:)

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I have carried one of the fuzzy coffee cups that you get from a Starbucks or such on one hike, and it worked out fine for the 2 days I was out, and it would have lasted a few more days, but they are definitely not long term. Instead, if I want to cut weight on my cup, I have some small 8 oz Ziploc bowls that I carry and only weigh 0.5 oz (IIRC). These are much more durable, and the lip actually provides a bit of strength. They are ok for drinking out of, but they last a lot longer. In fact, it would take a bit of effort to break one…

      Also, this hike is not about going as light as I can… If I wanted to do that, I could have easily cut out at least half of the weight. For me though, at a max of only 12 miles on one day, and then 8 – 9 miles the other days, this is more of a camping trip than a hike… so I don’t mind bringing lots of cool toys to play with while in camp… including my new tent! 🙂

      Hope this helps some, and thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

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