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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by lilitiger2 View Post
    My advice would be to a) go with someone who backpacks a lot or b) take a class or program (NOLS, SCA, outward bound, etc.) Its a TON of fun but lots of stuff its just good to have someone else to show you the ropes.

    As far as stuff:
    I have a both an external (Kelty, can get more stuff into it) and internal (Dana, much more comfortable, can adjust better) frame packs. I would recommend what ever internal frame pack fits you. And very true to adjust so the weight is on your hips not shoulders. Huge difference.

    I have an old MSR whisperlite and adore it! A good stove that you know how to fix is a must! also have an old PUR water filter but also use tabs a lot. I have had giardia twice, not so fun.

    Have a range of sleeping bags but love one my husband got me for hunting- good for -40 or something but not light!

    Thermarest-very important!!

    Boots-Asolos,both the best and worst I have ever owned, have Sportivas now that I really like, but might switch next time around. MUST.HAVE.HAPPY.FEET.
    Other stuff-good headlight with backup batteries
    good fitting fleece hat
    neck warmer
    polar fleece
    outerjacket (mine is old patagonia, bombproof), go for the pit zips!
    two long sleeve long under wear tops-NOT UnderArmor
    two mid weight longjohns
    one expedition weight long johns
    hiking sock-Im a smartwool fan
    Rain gear, top and bottom
    Wind jacket I love (got from NOLS)
    Windpants, can throwon over shorts
    two pair old patagonia running shorts
    sports bras that dry out quick

    Dishsoap and bleach for cleaning
    nylon pails for dish washing
    section of screen for screening out food trash for hanging
    nylon sports bag that hangs easily
    rope for hanging all food
    bear spray
    pistols and ammo
    Matches and lighters
    Water purification tabs
    Food-freeze dried is okay and light but at the end of the day...REAL food!
    must have-peanut butter, spaghetti, powdered cream soups and pasta, cheese, crackers, cashews, hot chocolate, tea, power bars (carry them under your breasts in your bra, they won't get hard that way!)

    Xtra hand warmers are nice but not essential. Wet wipes. TP but use very sparingly.

    Good first aid kit!

    But learning to hang food is a lot harder than it looks, depending on where you are and you do NOT want visitors! And learning leave no trace fire managment, how to dig cat holes so you really do leave no trace its just handy to have someone to help show you, Plus, its just more fun with people!

    Have a blast! the places youi can go! Dawn on the Masai Mara, sipping chai, watching the sun come up....would never ever get that if you didn't put on a pack and go! Alaska Basin (Tetons!), Belly River (Glacier), Chiricahuas...just so many great spots!!
    Aside from my sleeping bag and hiking poles, this is exactly the kit that I have and my Dad has. I have a North Face down mummy bag rated to 0 degrees, and a very lightweight fleece liner for later season trips. I cannot say enough good things about my sleeping bag, down is so much warmer and lighter!

    Find a pair of hiking poles that fit your hand. My Dad likes ones with a grip that is parallel to the ground, I prefer one that is perpendicular to the ground (like a traditional ski pole), but I use mine more to help on uphills, my dad needs them more for downhills. Good poles are lightweight and telescope so that you can adjust them for the terrain.

    My pack is an internal frame womans fit pack and I love it!!! I got it for backpacking, but it is so comfortable and convenient that I often pick it over a suitcase for traveling, although I do have to check it. Try on as many packs as you can, I went to three different stores before I found mine. A good pack will last you forever, but a bad pack will make you miserable.

    Welcome to backpacking, its where I've made some of my favorite memories.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Fort Worth, Texas


    if you want to hike (or bike) but not climb try the Natchez Trace Parkway

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2005
    Where the prairie ends and the mountains begin


    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    OMG...REI is one of my favorite places! What a fun job that must have been!
    Best job I ever had and a fabulous company to work for. However I just didn't make enough so I got a different job and kept the REI job on the side. Finally had to give it up and get my holidays and weekends back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    I do carry a small inflatable pillow...another little comfort I like.
    I have the cocoon inflatable pillow and I don't sleep on the ground without it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    Carry can save your life. Another lesson from that hike.
    No kidding... make it a staple in your first aid/toiletry kit)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    Trail magic...
    Coolest thing ever. We've received, given and left anonymous trail magic before.

    Funny story. While out mtn biking in the Arapahoe National Forest, DH and I meet two guys with a flat. Poor guy already had one flat tire that day and only had brought one spare. Luckily we had the same sized tire and was able to supply him. He pulled out his wallet and I said, don't worry about it. Trail Magic. Have a great day and DH and I peddled off...

    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    REI has an amazing return policy on boots...six months in any do your boot shopping there. You can really try them out to find out what works for you. Everyone will be different but don't be cheap on this.
    Do not cheap out on boots or your pack. Repeat, do NOT cheap out on boots. Or your pack.
    Dreaming in Color

    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Burbank, California


    All really good advice, and I would add that you should head over to Backpacker.Com and check out their forum. Tons of great gear advice, packing lists, and suggested trips and trip reports. I'm Yosemite Girl over there
    "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    between the barn and the pond


    If you haven't read AWOL on the AT, I recommend it. It's a first hand accounting of a Thru Hike and although I don't walk when I could ride I thoroughly enjoyed it and you may find it educational.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2002
    Suffolk, VA


    That is a very good book Katarine. Another one is called Walking in Beauty...or something like that about a 60 year old woman who solo hiked. Awol (still uses his trailname) has a very good AT guide out also and I recommend anyone serious about hiking the AT get a copy of it. It has all the landmarks, shelters, etc...on the way both north and southbound as well as information for each area such as shuttles, resupply points, etc... I've found it to be pretty accurate.

    There are a number of books on hiking the AT from all sorts of hikers from the barefoot sisters to families to solo hikers. I enjoyed most of them.

    Avoid the Bill Bryson book, "A Walk in the Woods" as anything other than comic relief. He only hiked a few parts of the AT and his partner was made up. Most serious backpackers don't take that book seriously but it is funny.

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