Southbound and Down: AT Gear and Beginning Our Hike
Well, after three years of planning and several gear swaps later, I think I’ve got everything I’m going to need for this southbound hike. Of course, the big phrase to notice here is “I think.” I already know some changes will probably be made along the way, but after some trials and figuring out what I like, I’m feeling confident to start. I’ve whittled my base weight down to 11.5 pounds, which is quite a way from the 18 I had prior. While I’m happy with this change, mostly because my bones don’t like to carry stuff, I also believe in carrying what makes you happy. If you have something in or on your pack that will enrich your experience or make the tough days better, it may be to your benefit to have it with you. So, in that regard, base weights are personal and if it works for you, love it and keep it. I’ve tried to abide by that as much as possible, and I think it’s helped in my decision making. Alright, with that introduction out of the way, here is what this Georgia girl will be carrying with her back home toward Springer Mountain. I have provided a link below that will take you to GearGrams, a pretty awesome site that breaks down my gear into different sections. I will be accompanied on this adventure by my partner in crime and husband, Brian, so I’ve included his list of gear as well. If you’re interested in my first impressions or thoughts on some of the major gear I will be bringing, I have discussed a few of them below.
Lauren’s Gear: https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=54470
Brian’s Gear: https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=54471
My Big Three
My Pack: Superior Wilderness Designs Long Haul 50
So far, I love this pack. I was drawn to SWD when I found out you could custom make your pack. This customization was really important for me, especially in regard to fit. Also, have you seen those colors? Originally, I planned on using a 2017 Osprey Exos, but the medium size I ordered to fit my torso just didn’t fit my small hips. My new Long Haul is tailored for me, and I can’t tell you how exciting that is! This company is making some great gear. I’m looking forward to putting this pack through its trials, and I plan on doing a longer review when I get back from the trail.
A few years ago, I decided to upgrade my Marmot Nanowave 35 degree bag for something lighter and warmer. Through all my research, I of course found out about Enlightened Equipment quilts. I already have a few hundred miles on this quilt, so I have an idea of how it will work for me. I enjoy using a quilt because it allows my restless body to toss and turn at night with a little more ease. However, I also know it can be uncomfortable to get caught without pad straps on cold nights. Cold drafts are not fun unless you’re in a bar.
My Tent: Zpacks Triplex
When I’m solo venturing, which is most of the time, I use Gossamer Gear’s The One tent. I love this shelter, but for this trip I’m going to need a little more room since I am sharing space with Bri. We love the light weight and extra space of the Triplex, so it will be coming along on our journey. I found that the Triplex sets up much like The One since they are both single-walled tents similar in design. We’ve practiced setting this tent up in high winds with some success, but we will still have a little learning to do as we go along. Brian will be carrying the tent while I’ll be carrying the Tyvek footprint and Zpacks titanium stakes. This shelter is huge and will easily hold us with all of our gear. Yay for space!
That’s it for gear at the moment, and here’s to hoping most everything will work out. Right now, we are looking forward to some Fourth of July celebration and some family time. Our flight leaves on July 5 to Bangor, where we will then stay at the AT Lodge. After that, we are hitting the trail on July 6. We are incredibly excited and looking forward to the adventure. We hope you’ll follow along. Wish us luck and happy Independence Day!
Honestly, what could be more American than Jeeps and Teddy Roosevelt?! ; )
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