Night, Night, Sleep Tight
Hi, Y’all! In all our research on hiking the Appalachian Trail, we found a common recurring theme: ensure your sleep system is first-rate. A bad night’s sleep equals a cranky Paula which will yield a bad day’s hike for Pat. Without any more ado, with the caveat of as time moves forward this also may change, below is our system:
Tent and Footprint
We both will be using the Big Agnes 2-Person 3-Season Tiger Wall Tent and footprint. We made a decision early on that if for whatever reason one person has to bow out, then the other should continue. Each of us having our own tent meant that if in the unlikely event this does happen; the other wouldn’t have to lug a three-man tent for the duration of the hike.
Pat’s sleeping bag is the NEMO Disco 15 Sleeping Bag, and mine is the Big Agnes Torchlight 20 Women’s DownTek. Our sleeping bags were our first purchases, so we now realize that we maybe could have done a better job by going lighter in weight. We decided to start our hike with these bags and see how we do.
Under our sleeping bags are our air mattresses. We each are using Nemo Quasar 3D Insulated Air Pads. Initially, we chose a different brand, but that air mattress was incredibly noisy, and Pat is a light sleeper.
Under the air mattress, we each have the NEMO Switchback. The switchback provides a bit more cushion, insulation, and protection for the air mattress and it can also double as a sit pad.
Finally, our pillow of choice is the Nemo Fillo Backpacking PillowKoi. We chose this brand because it felt yummy and packed up nicely.
Pat’s total sleep system and tent weigh in at 8.97 pounds, Paula’s is 10.09 pounds.
We appreciate all comments and feedback. Stay tuned for a complete gear list, and weight in our next blog. It seems like the list grows daily!
Thank you for reading.
Love and Happy Hiking,
Pat and Paula
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First you guys are awesome. I think I may be the first to post to your blog. I am a bit interested in what other items you may have considered but did not go with and why. You mention one of the things that did not work for you was the sound of one of the air pads. Were there any other considerations? Did you look past certain items because of price, weight or reviews etc…
Thanks for reading!
Going in to this adventure, we seem to have adopted a ‘the only thing constant about this adventure is change’ philosophy. In that philosophy, we realize that what works for one, or most, may not work for us. If there was a one size fits all for Appalachian thru hikers then all the fun of sitting up watching YouTube videos and hearing Mischief say ‘Good Morning Everybody’ or Mushrooms contagious laughter would have been missed. Also, sadly, Paula would have never experienced the best ever thru-hike training film ever, A Walk in the Woods.
In that vein, change abounds in gear and will continue to morph as we learn more and ask the invariable question, ‘What were we thinking?” Paula’s first choice of sleeping bag does not compress well, is too heavy, and is being reevaluated as I type this. Next on the list is the Nemo air pad. Paula has decided to return hers, again weight to worth considerations. I am on the fence with mine. My thought is that if it doesn’t work as desired, there are numerous post offices that we can stop at to send stuff home, from there our trail buddy will return it to REI. Early on Paula and I decided to make all, if not most of our purchases from REI. So far, REI’s customer service and no questions asked return policy has been well worth any additional weight gain or cost brought about by living in the REI walled garden. Other than the possibility of returning the air mattresses above I, Pat, returned my Kuhl pants. The ‘rivet’ type pants closer kept popping off, returned those and went with the REI Sahara Pants with button. We both will be returning our gloves, again for weight to worth considerations.
One of the frequently read adages is ‘You pack your fears’. Without doubt, that is true. Paula and I have expanded on that to not only do you pack your fears, you change the way you pack them. We live in South Florida where a typical winter’s day might find the temperatures dropping way down into the sixties. Neither of us is bothered by the cold, or the rain. However the combination of both is a big consideration, fear, of ours. To combat this we have tried virtually every combination of pack liner, ziplock bag (who knew they had a ten gallon bag??) we could think of. We finally settled on a dry-compression sack for our sleeping bag with pillow. A compression sack for tent, rain-fly and ground cover, and an additional dry compression sack for clothes. This will be supported by a rain cover over the packs. Note: The term Water-Proof is a lie.
Right gear/Wrong gear; the only way we are going to know for sure is by using it day-in/day-out for six months. Keeping what works and changing what doesn’t.
Good Luck, looking forward to hearing all of your experiences. Be careful and be safe.
I’m looking forward to following your adventures!
This adventure is going to end up in one of three ways.
1. A hearse.
2. An ambulance.
3. Us touching the sign at Katahdin.
Ha, ha….that is awesome.