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[at-l] gear list in order of priority



   Imagine...
          ... you are a novice hiker.
          ... you have no gear.
          ... you have an unlimited cash flow.
          ... you want to thru-hike the AT.
          ... you have all the time in the world to prepare.

 #1 - Cell phone -- KIDDING.

First, BOOTS or HIKING SHOES (low tops) and a pair of light gaiters to keep the scree out of the shoes.
Second, Socks and liners (if you need liners).
Third, Lynne Whelden's video _Lightweight_Backpacking_Secrets_Revealed_  WATCH THIS THREE TIMES BEFORE BUYING ANYTHING ELSE.
Fourth, Hiking poles -- bamboo?  Leki?  Komperdel?  REI brand?  Life-link?  ONE?  TWO?
Fifth, Water Treatment and containers  -- Study up and make your own decision.
Sixth, RAIN GEAR.  Which will serve you best?  Home-made?  RainShield? FroggTogg? Precip?  Full GoreTex? 
Seventh, Sleeping System -- bag AND pad -- lots of questions to answer here -- when you'll hike, what weather conditions, etc, that will determine which you choose.  Do a LOT of research here.  Borrow or Rent if you can before you decide.
Eighth, Tent/Tarp/Hammock.  Do even MORE RESEARCH here.  Borrow, Rent, try out.  You may want six-heavy-sides of a Tent because you're allergic to bug-bites.  You may prefer the ease of a tarp.  Hammock Hiking maybe best for your back.  Try them all out before you decide.
Ninth, Cook System.  Will you want Canister?  WhisperLoud/light?  Esbit?  Alcohol?  Will an AntiGravityGear pot and cozy work or will you want more pots and pans to cook in (and have to clean up)?  Will you have to use a BEAR CANNISTER because of where you'll hike?
Tenth, FIRST AID kit.  This is VERY personal.  Some carry a couple bandaids, some carry 8 to 10 ounces of medical preparations.  YOU have to know what YOU will need.   
Eleventh, Clothing.  You probably have what you need in your closet, other than hiking shoes and socks.  You don't HAVE to have the latest style, color or material.  If you don't own what you need, of course, buy.  All you really need is a pair of thermal underwear (mid-weight for AT Three Season hiking), along with your rain gear and a fleece or down or synthetic jacket, plus shorts and zip-tee (you wear the shorts, zip-tee).  All the rest is just 'fluff' really.  You don't need to carry 'town clothes' but some do.  Just make it VERY lightweight.  Gloves?  You can use socks.  ALWAYS have a pair of socks that you sleep in and keep clean until the day you hike into a town to do laundry.  Wool or Fleece Cap for sleeping in if you get cold.  You can use your bandana during the day.  Your bandana is probably the ONLY cotton item you'll have in your pack.
Twelfth, Miscellaneous: Stuff-sacks for packing above.  Don't neglect the food sack strong enough for bear bagging.  Light source:  LED headlamp?  Regular light headlamp?  Pinch-Lights?  Double A or Triple A batteries?  Spoon and Chopsticks?  Just spoon?  Spork?  Knife -- the lightest you can find that does the job.  LOTS of people use the little "Classic" (Victorianox type) with the scissors and blade and a toothpick.  How will you journal your trip?  Paper and pen?  Pocketmail?  Maps and guides:  which will you use?  Will you make copies of what you need and leave the big map at home?  Will you tear your guide apart and just take the sections you're hiking?  CAMERA?  Yes or no?  Digital or Film?  MONEY:  BankCard, ChargeCard, Cash, PhoneCard?
Thirteenth, BACKPACK into which you'll place your stuff sacks.

You take all your stuff sacks with you in a box, go to the store you want to try out packs in, get a salesperson to watch you and see which backpack can carry the stuff sacks you have.   Then walk around the store for at least 30 to 45 minutes with the packed backpack on your back.  If it doesn't "feel" right, find another pack.

Everyone's body is different so no one can say "this pack" will be best for you.  YOU have to try them on with all your gear inside to determine the best pack for you.  YOUR personal gear, not some sack of sand the store has.

But that's just 'me' -- 
Coosa 
Carol Donaldson
carol1944@brmemc.net
http://auntiecoosa.blogspot.com