Where am I going, & what am I taking?

In 10 days I will be heading out to complete another 67 miles of the Appalachian Trail! I will begin at 441/Newfound Gap, and will finish at Hot Springs a few days later. After completing this section, I will then have a total of 273.9 continuos miles along the AT completed. Of course though, there are a few sections within this section that I have hiked multiple times, as well as the section between Iron Mtn Gap & US19E that I hiked in 2012 too. Hopefully, I will be able to pick up this 88 mile section between Hot Springs and Iron Mtn Gap on my next hike….

For this hike, I have decided to actually go a little heavier than normal (due to the fact that I will be carrying a much heavier pack in December on my GORUCK challenge, so this can be a little practice for me). As a result, I have decided to add in a few luxury items, as well as using a bear canister that I recently picked up at a great price! Obviously, these items are not normally found in my pack, and still won’t be afterwards, but in this case, they will provide me with a few extra pounds, and provide some extra enjoyment while on the trail, but still not be “stupid-heavy.”

So, here are some numbers/weights (at the time of this writing… if anything is changed, numbers/weights will change on the actual spreadsheet, found HERE):

  • My BPW is 15.05 lbs.
  • My big 3 consumables weight is 8.57 lbs.
  • My TPW is 23.62 lbs.
  • My worn/carried items is 4.19 lbs.
  • Total skin out weight is 27.81 lbs.

So, yeah, that BPW is kinda up there, and the TPW is a little too, but that is fine with me for this trip. Besides, after packing everything up in my pack and wearing it around home for a while, I have got to say, the pack (ZPacks Arc Blast) feels really, really good. I am not sure if it has something to do with my recent weight loss, or if it just gets better with time, but it rides really great… of course though, the true test will come while on the trail for this hike. (Although, I have carried the Arc Blast on a few other hikes, and even with right at the same weight, and it has done extremely well for me then too… so I am not worried that it won’t be anything less than awesome!)

However, the neat thing about these weights is that this is the lightest I have ever gone on any other hike before, despite it being one of the heaviest BPW’s that I have carried in a long while. When I add the total skin out weight (27.81 lbs) with my current body weight (176.4 lbs), I get a total of 204.21 lbs. A mere 6 months ago, my body weight alone was just over 220 lbs…. this means, even with all of my gear, I am still 15+ lbs lighter than just me a few months ago! At my peak body weight, with this load, I would have been right at 250 lbs… So, I am not too worried about these numbers…

Anyway, as for weather conditions, I am expecting lows around low 40’s, but possibly around mid 30’s, although, this will likely only be up high. I am only staying above 5000 feet one night (at TriCorner Knob Shelter), while the rest of the nights I will be at quite a bit lower elevations. I am not sure what to expect for precipitation at this point, but I am packing for rain, and hoping it doesn’t… Of course though, I will keep my eye on the forecast as time draws nearer, and make any changes that may be required, although, with what I am already carrying, I don’t think I will need to add anything more, and I have no plans to take anything out…

UPDATE: Here is a video that shows the food that I will be carrying, as well as my attempt to shove it all inside the bear canister!

So, that’s pretty much it for now. After I get back, I will of course post a trip report (complete with pics & video) as soon as I get the chance. Until then though, 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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25 Responses to Where am I going, & what am I taking?

  1. Pingback: Food For A 4 Day Backpacking Trip | Outback Travel

  2. Pingback: Food For A 4 Day Backpacking Trip | Hiking For Fun

  3. Just curious – but what are the pros and cons of staying at the shelters? I noticed you saying you had booked a couple of shelters for this trip – but it seems like when I read in forums about the shelters people are always telling horror stories about the them. I’m wondering if it’s more of a social thing, or if some people just like not having to set up a tent for 1 night or something?

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    • Stick says:

      Wesley,

      When staying in the Smokies, you must stay at the shelters, or at the designated campsites (although, there is only one of those on the AT, near Fontana Dam, and it was once a shelter…) If you get caught stealth camping, you can be fined. So, it is a mandatory thing in the Smokies.

      I don’t mind setting up my tent, and would prefer to do so (after all, I did spend a lot of $$ on it!)… assuming that there is a good spot to do so. Also, if you have been on the AT, you know that it is littered with shelters… Also, for me, one nice thing about planning to stay near shelters when planning trips is that there is usually also a water source there.

      Hope this helps!

      ~Stick~

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    • Josh camp says:

      This late in the season, I’m sure there will be a fair amount of rodents in the shelters, too. Hope you get the top platform or are “forced” to use your tent.

      By the way, I don’t know your itenerary, but I would pass on staying at the pecks corner shelter if possible. It’s a good ways off the trail and the last time I was there it leaked most of the night.

      I hope you guys have fun, though. It’s beautiful country.

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    • Stick says:

      Josh,

      I will be at TriCorner the first night, and then Davenport the next. After that I will be out of the Smokies and not have to stay at certain places… our plan is to stay on top of Max Patch, and then near the shelter closest to Hot Springs.

      And yeah, I am quite familiar with the rodents in the Smokies shelters… they are for sure in abundance! Also, both shelters are full up… so it will depend on how fast I get there as to which spot I get… I figure I will get there kind of early the first night, but the second night maybe not… I want to attempt to find the summit of Mt Guyot, and then take the side trip to Mt Cammerer…

      I am hoping that the leaves have already started turning, at least a little… and hoping for cooler nights… 🙂

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

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  4. C_nugget says:

    Have a great hike & thanks for sharin. Wow mileage.. awesome. Maybe you already do this but what about a monologue or video log/collage to your family? Parts of the trip could be spent making tributes to them via voice recordings, camera, video… then splice it all together for a nice vid to share with them once your home? Sort of like walking in the eyes of your family members, a perspective view on what they might find interesting. Like taking them right along right with you. Of course having a phone/skype probably won’t hurt either. Safe & happy travels.

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    • Stick says:

      We have FaceTime on our phones since we went with iPhones… on our Androids we had either Skype, or G+ video hangouts, but they were both pretty glitchy and we never even tried it when on LTE… even on home wifi it wasn’t the best. Maybe FaceTime will be better, I dunno though… when I was FaceTiming my son and daughter recently, they were on their cellular network and we were on our home wifi and it was still glitchy… but getting it going was much easier than Skype of G+…

      Anyway, I am looking forward to the hike for sure. I am debating if I should go ahead and pack it all up… I don’t leave til Tuesday afternoon, but we will be busy tonight, and all day tomorrow… and I need to be able to hit the road asap once I get off of work Tuesday…

      ~Stick~

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  5. Owen H says:

    Mt. Cammerer is a great side trip on this section of the AT, you’ll really enjoy it! One of the top five best views in the Smokies. It’s pretty cool to look North at Max Patch from the tower and know you’ll walk there in a few days. Great idea to share your gear list through Google too. I’ve never seen anyone do that for a gear list but it’s a great idea. You probably already do this, but I’ve found listening to an audio book or a podcast is really good to calm me down when the mind starts running when you’re alone after dark. I also avoid Bigfoot documentaries the night before a trip:)

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    • Stick says:

      Owen,

      Yeah, I am looking forward to the side trip. I have heard from lots of folks that it is more than worth the side trip… so, at this point, I have all intentions of hitting it up!

      As for my gear list, yeah, I have been using Google Docs for the last few years. I love that I can access the list from anywhere I have internet access, and even be able to make changes to it. Of course, it is nice to be able to share it with others this way too… I even did a video once and showed others how to make their own gear list by simply making a copy of one of mine.

      And yeah, it will be weird having my phone with me on this trip to watch movies on… I have listened to music on rare occasions too… I am excited to see how it goes though… my big thing is getting home sick and missing the wife and kids.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

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  6. Joslyn says:

    I have to say, I agree about how the Arc Blast rides. We have two very different sizes, but I carried about 23-24 lbs in Yosemite and it felt like a lot less than that. It actually felt more like 10-12 lbs did in my SMD Swift. I have never in my life had a more comfortable pack. Have fun!

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  7. Randy says:

    I took a dayhike to Mt Cammerer with my son this past spring break. I hope it is a clear day fantastic views of GSMNP! Very cool stone fire tower, worth the side trip from the AT.

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    • Stick says:

      Randy,

      Yeah, I have heard that it is definitely worth the side trip, so I have all intentions of heading over… I just hope the weather cooperates! 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  8. Bears12th says:

    Thanks for all you do on this blog man. Been following for a while and love what you do. Just a quick question. I was at the 220 lb spot and am now in the 190 area and am wondering if you have noticed a difference in how you maintain your own body temps. I know for me, I get much cooler quicker, extremities especially. Have a great trip, can’t wait to read about it, and stay safe out there.

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    • Stick says:

      So far I have not noticed that I get cooler, being skinnier, however, it is still a bit warm here… Hopefully though, this trip will be a bit cooler… so maybe I will see…

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. milligan308 says:

    Thanks for sharing you packing list spreadsheet, it’s always good to learn from what others are doing. have a great hike.

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  10. Josh camp says:

    Love your blog. I’ve recently started adding weight back to my pack also and I really enjoyed seeing what things you chose as your “heavy luxury items”. I decided that carrying a little over 20lbs TPW is my sweet spot. It lets me enjoy my experience so much more and depending on the trip, I can bring something as simple as a camp chair or a foldable grill for more elaborate meals or electronics for extra entertainment. I did have one question regarding your new battery pack. You seem like a guy that does his research before he buys a product and like you mentioned in the video being able to charge your phone 5 times is pretty awesome but it does look way overbuilt. I was wondering if you might know of any lighter battery pack options out there. I think I could get away with a pack that charged my phone just 3 times if it meant I could still bring my grill, a steak and some bourbon. Thanks for all your posts and have fun on your trip.

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    • Stick says:

      Josh,

      Yeah, I won’t be adding in these extra’s often… Honestly, I would prefer to leave the extra’s behind,carry a light pack, and hike all day long! 🙂 However, I have come to find that I really enjoy a pack weight around 18 lbs or so, but, wow, this pack really handles these mid 20 lb loads really well. Anyway, for shorter trips like this one though, the extra luxuries should help me with the sitting around at camp time. Heck, on a previous trip, I hauled in a few bottled beers in a reflectix cozy!

      As for the charger, New Trent actually sent me this charger about a year and a half or so ago for a review. (I have a video of it on my YT channel.) I have used it during flights, and other times when away from power for my phone, but never for a real hike. This seems like a good time though. And yeah, it is overbuilt, and for someone like me that takes care of my gear and is not really hard on it, it is a bit overbuilt for me. They do make regular ones with the same capacity, as well as some with less capacity too. Unfortunately though, I have no experience with any of them. I would buy from New Trent if I needed another one though.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

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  11. Doug Beagrie says:

    Good on you. Have a great hike.

    “The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked,” Dr. Stephen Messier

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks Doug!I haven’t seen it put that way, but IIRC, I have heard that it is something like 1 lb of weight is 4 lbs of weight on each knee.

      ~Stick~

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  12. Allen Bishop says:

    Nice report, good detail. Sounds like a nice weekend hike, hope the weather is good, have some fun!!

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    • Stick says:

      Allen,

      Thanks for stopping by, and yeah, this should be a fun hike. And thankfully, it is a bit more than a weekend… I will have 4.5 days of freedom! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

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