Hello, My Name is Miss Indecisive
When planning a thru-hike, probably the most important thing is your mind set. You need that can-do attitude. You need that “I can freaking do this” attitude even when you feel like dropping out right then and there. You need to have complete confidence in your ability to get it done. Despite being out of shape and inexperienced, I think I pretty much have that mindset down. I’m very optimistic. I’m the type of person that tells myself to just get through this, then we can see how we feel tomorrow. I am stubborn. I have a little bit of pride (mostly due to not wanting anyone to be able to rub my failure in my face). I am confident in my abilities.
I am seriously stumped on this gear stuff.
I have never backpacked in my life. I’ve car camped more times than I can count.
I go on day hikes anytime I get a chance.
But, I have never lived out of a backpack. I wear crappy tennis shoes or my converse when hiking. The backpack I use for day hikes is this awesome vintage canvas and leather thing. I don’t have any special equipment, minus some neat and ligthweight cookware I recently got, and a camel back from my sister. Other than that, I have no clue what I am doing. Sure, I want to keep my trip as cost efficient as possible, but can a $30 Walmart backpack really stand up to 2,200 miles? Should I go with trail runners, or get something more substantial for my weak ankles? Do I want to try this hammock camping stuff that seems to be all the rage, or should I stick with a tent? Lets not even get started on tents. There. Are. So. Many. Choices.
One thing I know for a fact I want is a self-inflating air mattress. I want to go as lightweight as possible, but I like my comforts when sleeping. No one wants to wake up after a crappy night of sleep then go hike up and down mountains for the entire day. I also am not worried about trail food. I fancy myself a pretty awesome cook. Some packaged meals, and a lot of homemade dehydrated stuff will keep me well nourished and happy (I found dehydrated cake… I CAN HAVE DESSERT ON THE TRAIL!).
I’m just having trouble with the three main gear items: shoes, pack, and tent/hammock. Tips and advice are welcome. Please tell me some stuff that has worked really well for you. I would love to hear it! The good thing about this situation is, I have 8 months to figure it out! Perhaps if it would start cooling down here in Texas (HA HA HA HA HA HA) I can go test out some gear.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
― Sylvia Plath,
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First of all, may the odds be always in your favor on your hike. It just takes determination!
On the sleeping pad issue, check out Campmor.com and look at the women’s Thermarest 40th Anniversary Edition pad. It is 2″ thick!, has a R4.7 thermal rating (very high), and while discontinued, Campmor still has a couple.
On the pack issue, check out the Granite Gear Blaze A.C.60 in short (not the women’s Ki model). In the short, it is 55 liters, weighs 2 pounds 11 ounces, is rated up to 35 pounds (but I have had 40 in mine and it carried very well), and Granite Gear offers an excellent warranty. Read reviews of the pack and I know you will see that NO ONE is unhappy with their Blaze A.C.60. It offers much greater comfort and versatility than any of the UL packs from ULA, Hyperlite or GoLite
And concerning the tent/hammock debate, only YOU can decide what works best for you. Find people in the Houston area who are hammock hangers and borrow a couple. It is an acquired taste, but some absolutely love them. And if you decide that a tent is best for you, I would recommend you go with a 1.5-2 person tent, not a solo
I would like to hear more about this dehydrated cake.