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[at-l] Gear List - Southbound



Just a couple of thoughts about different responses you have had to your
gear list.

I am one of those who has spent about 1200 miles on the AT (over the last 4
years) with an obsession about knives and lights.  IMHO the amount of
thought given to the two items has hardly been worth it, but I'll share my
"conclusions", such as they are, anyway.

Lights - The big fad this year was the new Petzl Tika headlamps.  They are
relatively light and provide good light.  However, I have been making due
with just a Mini Maglite (the one with only 1 AAA battery) and a red or
yellow photon light for the last two years.  The big question is, What do
you need a light for, anyway?  I don't hike at night, and don't need much
light for writing in my journal, finding an Ibuprofen in the middle of the
night,  etc.  Several people this year were annoyed with the Tikas because
they had a flickering problem with them.  I've decided they aren't worth the
expense or small extra benefit. Don't leave the photon light(s) at home.
They weight less than a quarter and are good back ups.  You really don't
need the extra batteries for them, though.

Knives - I have a Swiss Army knife (Victorinox) with small and large blades,
and a can opener and bottle opener (useless).  However, I tend to carry only
a single blade Schrade lock open knife, and a P-38 can opener separately.
Like I said, though, the time spent on considering the subject is probably
not worth it unless you are carrying some honking big batch of gizmos that
you will never use.

I put the knife and photon light together on a small lanyard and keep them
attached with a small caribiner as zipper pulls to my LeSports Sacks (picked
up at Hot Springs at their plant for 25 cents each as "seconds").  I have
become a fan of the utility of those small caribiners this year.  At night I
put them on my Nalgene bottle loops and thus know exactly where to find my
light in case of needing to see where to pee in the dark, or for undoing my
jammed sleeping bag zipper pull.

I do like the idea of carrying a small tube of super glue.  Think I'll add
that to my repair/medical kit next year.

The other new fad this year was the pop can alcohol stoves.  People loved
them, but I've decided I like my Whisperlite International because it heats
hot and fast, and Coleman fuel is still more easily available on the trail,
and is much more fuel efficient, no matter what others tell you.  I still
carry a 22 oz. bottle, but one is overkill.  A single 11 oz. bottle would do
fine unless you cook 3 meals a day, etc.

CAVEAT - I'm not an "ultralighter".  You don't have to be to enjoy a good
thru-hike, or long distance hiking experience.  HYOH and have a good time.
The advice you get from others is worth about what you pay for it, and most
of it is free.