Friday Five: 5 Things to Do 3 Months Before Starting

Getting over my Planning Fatigue

I went into a bit of a slump over the holidays as far as planning and researching my hike goes. 

Call it Gear Overwhelm.  Planning Fatigue.  Deer in Headlights.

I’m three months out from an April launch and I got really stuck on the choice between a tent and a hammock.  I still haven’t made that final decision, but I’ve realized the planning must go on.

Of course, I never really stop thinking about what lies ahead.

Three months, y’all! 

It will be here in no time.

(And I’m a little envious of you trailblazers who only have a month to go!)

Time to spring back into action and to start checking some things off my list.

Three Months Out

So, here is my Three Month Checklist…the things to do now, three months before starting.

1.  Make reservations.

I’ve found an AirBnB where we’ll stay the night before I start.   But now’s the time to secure your spot in the hotel or lodge where you’ll stay for your last shower and warm bed for a while.  

Also, plane reservations.  I’m not flying in from anywhere, but if you haven’t made your plane reservation, now would be a good time to do that, too.

2.  Hit the gym! 

I’ve been taking walks, including extra long walks with my pack on the weekends.

This month I added weight lifting to the routine, with a special focus on working my legs in functionally specific ways.  

If you’re not sure what to do, here’s a post about my 4-part training regime that has worked for me in the past.

3.  Financial/legal/insurance issues. 

Get it together! 

Get insurance.  Get a plan in place for paying your bills.  Make arrangements to leave your home, your stuff, your pets.  Do these things before the last minute gets here.

4.  Gear finalization. 

This is the month I decide between hammock and tent, trail runners and Keens, Deuter and ULA. 

Because it’s getting time for some shakedown hikes and practice runs to test any new gear in my bag.

Pray for me hammock hangers!  (I really want to do this hammock thing, but…the knots!  I’m no good with the knots!)

5.  Food issues. 

I’m not dehydrating much of my own food, but if you are it’s def time to crank up the dehydrator now.

I’m more of a freezer bag meal food snob.

I’ll be ordering in some more supplies (from the doomsday prepper sites).

I’m starting to assemble some tasty meals, like Coconut Chicken Curry, and storing them in the freezer until they’re ready to ship in my resupply boxes.

Did I miss anything?  What’s on your to do list?  Leave a comment and let us know so we don’t get to the trail head with nothing but pop tarts and a three pound block of cheese.

Getting some freezer bag meals together from my prepper stash. And, yes…that’s wine in a jelly jar. Keeping it classy.

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Comments 11

  • Tortuga : Jan 20th

    Deane, check out for hardware that makes tying lines really easy….no knots.

    • Deane Giordano : Jan 20th

      I will! Thank you. I’m determined to make this hammock thing happen, knots or not!

      • Sandra : Jan 20th

        Deane: Proud of your organizational skills & your hike.
        I bought a hammock & love it. I am not good at knots but practiced at home hanging it & taking naps in it & the knots were my own & they held very well. No body aches. Wonderful & you can always find trees without rodents, etc. in your sleepin quarters when you hammock. Best of luck to you.

        • Deane Giordano : Jan 21st

          There is so much to love about hammock hanging, not the least of which is avoiding shelter rodents. And I love the idea of setting up a tarp during a rainstorm. So much easier than setting up a tent. Especially a non-freestanding tent on a platform in the Whites. (Ask me how I know this sucks!) I’ encouraged by your homemade knots. Thank you, Sandra!

  • Donald N. Windsor : Jan 20th

    Go to Shug Emory u tube site. Shows all ways of hammocks. I thru hiked 2015 used hammock every night but 5. Went ground in whites & some in Maine. Good Luck & have fun!!

    • Deane Giordano : Jan 20th

      I’ve binged on Shug. (Who hasn’t? Dude’s whack. But I did learn a lot.) I’m curious…what did you use for bottom insulation, Donald? Thanks for reading and for blazing the trail for the rest of us!

  • Kate G : Jan 20th

    The only knots in my hammock setup are for the tarp. I use a strap around the tree connected to a carabiner and my hammock has built-in whoopie slings to adjust. For the tarp, I have a DutchWare continuous ridge line with hardware already attached, so zero knots there. You could also get lightweight hardware for your tarp guylines, but that’s the one place I am using knots. Thinking of pre-tying adjustable knots, but worked fine with just square knots on my shakedowns.

    • Deane Giordano : Jan 20th

      Thanks, Kate. My eyes roll back in my head a little with all the new (to me) hammock concepts–whoopie slings, continuous ridge line, etc. I don’t remember feeling like that with tents. But I’m smart. I can do this! Right? I’m curious, what kind of tarp do you carry? That’s my next investment. Thanks for reading and for the no-knot-hammock vote of confidence!

  • Chris : Jan 20th

    I too started with every intention of tenting then spent one night in my hammock and decided the decision was over for me. Event though the hammock gear will weigh more than my tent im happy to be at least starting with it. May have to swap it up when i go through VA where my parents live but if theres a chance im gonna use it for the whole trail.

    • Deane Giordano : Jan 21st

      Thanks, Chris…that’s exactly where I’ve been confused about hammocking. The hammock hangers are freakishly in love with their hammocks. But no amount of “working the numbers” adds up to carrying less weight than just schlepping a tent. When all is said and done…it’s going to mean (most likely) carrying more weight. I’m so curious about that one night you spent in your hammock. What did it for you? Why was “the decision over for you?”

  • Hiking Hepburn : Jan 23rd

    I’ve sworn by Deuter for years and my winter day pack is still Deuter, but I just made the leap to ULA for my thru-hike. I got it last week and it took for a 20-mile spin this weekend. I couldn’t be happier. Debated for weeks between the Circuit and the Ohm; I opted for the Circuit because I preferred some of the features. I probably could have been happy with either but I am definitely loving the Circuit.


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