Things I’ve learned from the first 5 days on the AT
A short, sweet post after a short, sweet day.
· If you’re new to this, estimating your food is harder than you think. I set out to pack 5 days of food, anticipated “hiker hungries” I don’t have yet, and ended up lugging around (what I now estimate to be closer to) ten days of food. So heavy! Don’t do it.
· There’s lots of water on the AT. Having said that, don’t forget to check where your next water source is. Running low is bad and a little scary.
· Don’t pack your gear according to “category” (e.g., toiletries, electronics, etc.). Instead, pack it according to “I use this every night,” “I use this sometimes,” and “I use this hardly ever, but when I need it, I need it.” This will save you from a lot of needless unpacking and repacking of the pack. After packing and unpacking your pack a dozen times in a day to look for things, you will thank me for this tip.
· Three quarter length sleeping pads – NO. Not if you’re leaving in early March. My feet have been numb at night for days. Thankfully, I’ve been able to switch to a full length pad and am now looking forward to a full night’s sleep.
· Taking care of your feet is no joke. My L.L. Bean sock liners and hiking socks have saved me from blisters that my hiking companion has suffered from hugely. Blisters reduced his pace and enjoyment of the trail substantially. Also, make sure your boots are broken in for hiking, not just “broken in.” There’s a difference, people!
· Wet gloves take forever to dry. If the temperature allows, consider keeping gloves dry whenever possible. My gloves are water resistant, not waterproof. Perhaps I need to upgrade?
· Trekking poles are a must! Unless you have a condition which is aggravated by them, I highly recommend a wonderful pair of trekking poles.
· Also on the “must” list, some rubber or nylon ties to attach gear to the outside of your pack (Thanks Mike and Brad – @LLBeanEaston). Not only can you attach things to the outside of your bag to dry (like the aforementioned gloves), you can also secure extra gear. Love mine. Won’t give them up during any gear shakedown.
More to follow, but now a real bed is calling my name – courtesy of Blood Mountain Cabins. Sweet AT dreams!
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