Gear List for the AT
WTF do I need?
All the gear, no idea. It turns out that planning a major expedition is not as easy as it seems when you can’t physically touch or see any of your equipment. I have an abundance of walking, camping, trail running and climbing gear at home. The problem being, I am currently sat like buddha in a 10′ cell (or the Chief Engineers cabin as it’s called on the ship), not knowing when I will next get back to the UK to organise my kit. What do I have and what do I need to buy? It’s not easy packing an imaginary bag with imaginary items and then questioning do I have everything and what is the weight like. I have very limited time at home so this is what I am going to have to do so I can be as prepared as possible.
What Gear I Think I Need
Below is a picture of the gear I think I am going to need. I have no idea on the weight yet but i’m hazarding a guess at around 15Kg (33lb) with 3L water. I will make that my target before food and aim to juggle kit around to achieve it. It’s time to google the weight of all of my equipment and add it up.
The kit I own is highlighted in orange. I have purchased a few new items as some of my equipment is dated now. It would be fine for a few days – a week in the UK but I wouldn’t want to be spending 4 months in it. I bought a new sleeping bag. Rab Summit 400 series down bag. This will hopefully be sufficient. New walking trousers and shorts just for comfort. Hopefully they’ll fit!! I’ll get some new Salomon X-Ultra 3 GTX approach shoes. I’ve had these before and know they are great shoes. I also need to buy a new backpack and I am straying towards the Osprey Kestrel 58. This bag gets good reviews however I will wait until I am home so I can try it on and check out the competition.
Everything I have bought specifically for the AT, I managed to get in the sale or using discount codes to keep the cost down. I have an old British Army surplus Goretex Bivi in the attic that I hope to salvage and use. This will save me 1Kg (2.2lbs) compared to my tent.
Is this really all I am going to need for my estimated four months? Surely I’ve missed something. This isn’t much more than hand luggage. I’m used to traveling light but even this has shocked me. Somebody tell me what I’ve forgot. Kitchen sink, Snap-On tool kit, french polish manicure set. there must be more.
So as you can see from my calculations my gear weight total is 14.5Kg(32lbs) before food. Bearing in mind, I had to estimate some of the data. I normally walk with more than this but not for this distance or time. Its scary how quick it all adds up. I could go lighter by removing some comforts but I will have to see how it is when I get home. I don’t plan on any hotels/hostels or zero days at the minute as want to maximise my time in Maine catching up with friends. Only time will tell.
Reading other blogs I have noticed a lot of people choosing hammocks. I have an old parachute at home that I am going to try and make a tarp/hammock combination. This will give me a number of sleeping options when reaching camps. I can use my walking poles as tent poles to achieve a ground camp and use parachord/dynema slings to create a hammock. If this works well and it is sufficiently waterproof I may even substitute the Bivi for this alone rather than taking both. This will save me another 1Kg(2.2lbs). If anyone has any experience/patterns for making such an item please let me know how you got on.
Logistics and Oversights
So on top of the gear I need, there are also flights, insurance and visas to organise. Luckily I have a valid B1B2 visa which will give me ample time in the USA. Flights from the UK to Atlanta and then Bangor/Boston back to the UK on completion. I need to organise travel insurance that covers me for such an expedition and figure out how to get to the trail start once I arrive. I need to buy food and fuel as a priority on arrival. Where do I get these???
The Waiting Game
Now it is just a case of waiting until I can put this big jigsaw together. I will hopefully be getting a week off work in October so I can go home, buy what I need and get out and try everything out in the Lake District National Park. This is an area of outstanding beauty not for the faint hearted, especially in October. I remember 1 year it rained for 40 days and 40 nights there….It was the best summer the Lakes had ever had. I will hopefully do a 4-5 day through hike and that will put my gear (and me) through its paces. After that it will be sit tight and wait.
I am already excited and losing sleep. Constantly going over my gear in my head, trying to work out my daily routines so everything becomes second nature. Setting up camp, striking camp, meal times. once I get my week away in the Lake District, I’m sure all of this will stop and I will be able to focus on the end game. Until then, I will savour those feelings you had as a child on Christmas eve.
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I recommend you visit the White Blaze website, where you can get all kinds of suggestions and answers. It’s at https://whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php.
I’ll be blogging about my gear issues soon.
The solar panel may be a waste since you will be in the “Green Tunnel” most of the time, besides, there will be opportunities to recharge your electronics and battery bank in towns every 3 days or so, also, most carry 1 set of base layers and 1 pair of underwear, shorts etc… since you can do laundry when in town.
Definitely check out Whiteblaze.net as mentioned above.
Osprey is a good choice but if you haven’t purchased it yet the Exos is at least a pound lighter.
An Enlightened Equipment 10 or 20 degree quilt will be 27 ounces or less, lighter than most sleeping bags.
Thermarest NeoAir Xlite air mattress is 16 ounces or less depending on size.
Stove-MSR Pocket Rocket is popular at around 2 1/2 ounces.
1 pair of shorts
1 set of baselayers
1 extra underwear plus the ones you’re wearing
The A.T. is very well marked so the map is extra weight, a good alternative is the Guthooks smartphone app.
skip the solar panel
Water filter=Sawyer Squeeze and a couple smart water bottles
Just these changes will knock your base weight down by several pounds but just suggestions.
After all, you will be the one carrying everything.
I have my base weight at around 16 pounds without food and water so my total pack weight will be around 28 pounds with 2 liters and 3 to 4 days of food.
Don’t bother with the gaiters. You’ll soon discover that they’re more trouble than they’re worth.