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alisa's list, part 1
Hello everyone. I ended up receiving almost 50 requests for this list and
the responses i received. You should see the mess of addresses and names i
managed to amass. Filled half a notebook. Therefore, i figured that
constituted a high enough percentage of the list to post it I think that
i’ll post this in sections. I am still dealing with serious modem/comp
problems here at work and have to drive downtown just to send/receive mail
and MY aol account isn’t active on a machine...this means i have to sign on
as a guest and cannot do a flash session which makes lengthy correspondence
$$$. Hopefully by next week i’ll be up and running again from the comfort of
my own NT. (in case anyone is wondering why my response time has skidded to
What follows is my original list as it was sent to seven reviewers. You’ll
find their responses thereafter exactly as they were sent to me...complete
with addresses in case you would like to correspond to them. You’ll find
that on some of the gear there is little agreement but when there is, it’s
probably a sign that we should pay attention. And i must warn those of you
who get squeamish about ‘woman matters’; they are discussed once or twice.
I was tempted to edit those sections out but for those women who are out
there, i think it will be helpful to see them discussed. I know that i
appreciated the candor greatly.
And so, here we go...this first posting will include the original list and
responses from jim owen.
One last note...my revised list has been composed for the most part and
although many of the items from this list appear on it, there are significant
additions and subtractions, all part of the learning process. Unfortunately
i lost my hiking partner this past weekend (as well as a good chunk of my
heart)...so i’m not sure how i would revise this for a solo hike. Enjoy.
tent - have a Eureka Alpinelite2, (6lbs).
??ground cloth (poly) for tent (12oz)
water filter - have a pur scout (12oz)
??replacement filter cartridge - worth carrying? (3oz)
1 mess kit (2 pots w/ covers) (1lb.)
stove - thinking about purchasing an Apex multi-fuel (1lb. 4oz)
1Lt. fuel bottle (4.7oz) - full (??oz)
??small sunshower (3.5 oz). - worth it?
sunshower soap (sm. bottle-highly concentrated, good on hair, dishes,
clothes, etc.) (4oz)
small scrubber brush (for pots/grimy body) (2oz)
sm bug repellent (2oz)
sm sunblock (2oz)
sm funnel for fuel (1oz)
tooth powder (1oz)
couple of airplane bottles (additional painkiller)
12-pack of beer (just kidding ;) )
seam sealer (2oz) --perhaps this could go in a send-ahead box
sm spool of thread, needle (1oz)
sm roll duct tape (2oz)
1 sm. first aid kit (14oz)
1 emergency blanket (2oz)
potable aqua w/ pa plus (1oz)
maps/guidebook (only those needed before next pick-up) (5oz)
extra ziplock baggies (2oz)
bear bag/rope (6oz)
**haven’t put nearly enough time or thought into this...planning on
dehydrating fancy little meals thanks to the recipes that have come through
the pipeline on this list.
pack (~6lbs 8oz. stil shopping)
2 water bottles (7oz or 3.5oz each)
thermarest (1lb 9oz)
??thermarest’r lite chair kit (10oz) (worth 10oz for a relaxing sit?)
40 degree bag (2lbs 6oz)
overbag (2lbs 8oz.) to be sent home for middle portion of the trail
pack towel (3oz)
1 light D biner (1.5oz)
TP in baggie (1.5oz)
fork/spoon (same utensil) (1oz)
2 extra batteries (2oz)
gore-tex rain hat(or sun if you’re an optimist) (4.5oz)
waterproof/breathable parka (2lbs 3oz)
??poncho for warm days?
waterproof/breathable shell pants (11 oz) or will nylon be ok?
3 pair liner socks (4.2oz or 1.4oz each)
3 pair heavy-duty socks (12oz or 4oz each)
??insteps --not sure if it gets icy down there in georgia...they are pretty
waterproof overmitts (4oz)
tutle fur hat/neck gaitor (2.5oz)
1 bandana (1oz)
clothes i’m pretty curious about...this most likely is not a complete list.
1 pair med. weight tights (8oz)
??1 pair exp. weight tights (10oz)
1 med weight crewneck (8oz)
1 polartec fleece shirt (12oz)
3 pairs underwear (4oz)
2 cotton t-shirts (10oz)
??ltwt. flip flops (are camp shoes typically carried?) (6oz)
2 pairs shorts (12oz)
journal/ball point pen (6oz)
reading material (6oz)
Subj: Re: alisa's list, Part 1
Date: 96-03-12 12:56:52 EST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Owen)
>ok. here it is. like I said, this is a little daunting...i hope thereís
>too much to laugh at. with the help of a campmor catalog, I was able to
>obtain the weights of just about everything and guesstimated the rest. the
>grand total came to 22.35lbs for each of us. that was without food and
>water. it is those items with ?? that i am especially curious about.
I promise - no laughter. At first glance, you'v got a pretty good start.
Remember - what follows was MY hike. You're obviously welcome to use
anything that would fit YOUR hike, but you're the one who has to make the
decisions about that. So, keeping in mind that the standard caveats apply -
>shared gear-i have a partner
>tent - have a Eureka Alpinelite2, (6lbs).
This isn't a "bad" weight for 2 people, but what happens if your partner
breaks a leg or gets sick (it does happen) - then you have to carry it. I
know 6# fits with what the "books" say for 2 people - but we carry a 3#
14oz Eureka Cirrus II. I won't carry more than 4# of tent for 2 of us.
>??ground cloth (poly) for tent (12oz)
I cut my groundcloth to fit my tent from a roll of construction plastic.
A 10'x25' roll costs about $6 at a hardware store and provides a "lifetime"
supply of groundcloths. And the groundcloth is less than 12 oz.
>water filter - have a pur scout (12oz)
Ginny used a First Need and I used a MSR Waterworks. The MSR has been
retired, we're still using the First Need. But for the next long trail we'll
probably use a PUR Hiker - there was an article in the PCT Communicator
(the PCT newsletter) on water filters and the Hiker was the filter of choice.
We're really hoping something better will come along in the next 2 years.
>??replacement filter cartridge - worth carrying? (3oz)
I don't know enough about the Scout to tell you this. But if I find any
more information, I'll let you know.
>1 mess kit (2 pots w/ covers) (1lb.)
I used a 1.5 qt pot. I started with a lid , but sent it home at Hot Springs.
We (2 of us) still use the same pot. When we feel the need for a lid (in
cold weather or at high altitude), a piece of aluminum foil is a lot lighter
than a lid (8 oz). I also sent the pot holder home and used my bandanna.
>stove - thinking about purchasing an Apex multi-fuel (1lb. 4oz)
I don't know anything about this one. We carry an MSR Whisperlite (14 oz)
with a single 22 oz fuel bottle. The only time I ran short of fuel was in the
Smokies (there were 2 of us - I had a partner, too), so I filled up with
gasoline of unknown parentage at Mountain Mama's store. It worked fine.
Suggestion - send an empty 10 oz fuel bottle to Fontana, then send it home
at Hot Springs. For two of you, you might need it again in the Wilderness
so you could send it to Monson.
>1Lt. fuel bottle (4.7oz) - full (??oz)
>??small sunshower (3.5 oz). - worth it?
We use a 3 gal water bag (4 oz) - page 152 in the latest Campmor catalog.
It gives us a lot of flexibility. Just don't leave water in it overnite
cold. It's no fun carrying a gallon of ice the next day.
>sunshower soap (sm. bottle-highly concentrated, good on hair, dishes,
>clothes, etc.) (4oz)
Ginny didn't carry soap, I carried a 2 oz Nalgene bottle of Amway's LOC.
It's concentrated, will clean anything you'll need cleaned, it won't damage
your hair and it's biodegradable. And a quart costs about $10. I carried
the 2 oz container and had another 8 oz container in my send ahead box so
I could refill. I never used all of the 8 oz bottle Watch out for washing
dishes - I ended up with some stomach problems cause it was almost
impossible to get all the soap off the dishes after I washed them. The
solution was obvious - I stopped washing them with soap. I scrubbed
them then they were sterilized the next time I boiled water.
The soap (for showers) went in the send-ahead box inside a ziploc bag. It
was too much weight to carry on the Trail. Don't get the idea that I didn't
wash every day, though. Just didn't use soap. One of the guys we hiked
with used a Loofa. He loved it. I used a Handiwipe (you can get them in
grocery stores) for a washcloth and my bandanna for a towel. That
way I didn't need to carry a towel either.
>small scrubber brush (for pots/grimy body) (2oz)
We use a Scrubbee - it's a small lightweight plastic scrubber that you
can get at any good grocery store. It's flat, green, 4"x 6" and comes
in packs of 2. We cut them up and carry 1/3 in a ziploc inside the
cook kit - total weight about 1 oz. I put one in each of my mail drops.
>sm bug repellent (2oz)
I carried that stuff all the way - should have sent it to Delaware Water Gap.
But that's a judgement call - we didn't need it until NJ - and I didn't use
again after that. But that's only my personal experience and other people
have their own horror stories about the mosquitos and black flies. Send
it home when it gets cold.
>sm sunblock (2oz)
Good idea. Watch out for sunburned ears in GA and TN.
>sm funnel for fuel (1oz)
Never used one, but it might be necessary for your stove.
>tooth powder (1oz)
Remember the tooth brush, too. I kept these in a ziploc bg.
YES - I should have taken vitamins, but didn't.
>couple of airplane bottles (additional painkiller)
I used a 2"x3" HD ziploc bag to hold my Tylenol (I'm allergic to aspirin).
It was lighter than a bottle. A word about painkillers here - you'll need
them - more of them than you can imagine. But don't over use them.
Don't take more than the recommended dosage cause that can cause other
problems like kidney failure, perforated stomach, etc, etc. And DON'T use
them for hiking - use them only after you stop hiking. If you need them in
order to hike - then you need a day off, maybe in town. Using them for
hiking will relieve the pain, but it'll mask what your body is trying to
tell you - and you can do some real hardcore damage that way. It can
cost you your hike if your body crashes cause you ignored it.
>12-pack of beer (just kidding ;) )
I like this one - especially if you're carrying it. Notice that I carried
soda, champagne and pie into Katahdin Stream Campground. There are
times when the weight is worth it.
>seam sealer (2oz) --perhaps this could go in a send-ahead box
YES - in the send ahead box. You might also want to add waterproofing
for your boots to the send ahead box. It doesn't help much, but it makes
you feel better.
>sm spool of thread, needle (1oz)
I wrapped about 12' of dental floss around a safety pin. The dental
floss doubles as thread when necessary. My needle was stuck inside
a small roll of repair tape - it's still there.
>sm roll duct tape (2oz)
I carried a small roll of repair tape (about 6'). Never used it.
>1 sm. first aid kit (14oz)
Too heavy - take another look at what's in it. And use a heavy duty
ziploc to hold it.
>1 emergency blanket (2oz)
I carried one of these in the south - never used it. But you certainly
won't need it after Pearisburg.
>potable aqua w/ pa plus (1oz)
The pa plus part wasn't available in 92, so we used Koolaid. It does the
same job and tastes better. (We still use Koolaid. )
>maps/guidebook (only those needed before next pick-up) (5oz)
I cut up the books and only carried the pages for the section I was hiking.
The rest went in my mail drops. The only problem I had was when one
of my mail drops didn't show up. But on the AT that's not a disaster - you
just follow the white blazes.
>extra ziplock baggies (2oz)
I carried some of these, Ginny didn't. But not many - 1 qt, 1 gal and
1 sandwich bag - 1 oz total.
As a general comment, I used ziploc bags rather than stuff sacks wherever
possible. They're lighter, cheaper, and more versatile. I needed stuff sacks
for the sleeping bag, the tent and food - and for the Thermarest when I
picked that up. I also used garbage bags - a small one to keep my spare
clothes dry and a large one to line the inside of my pack. For our next long
distance hike, I'll ditch the large garbage bag. Also used a small garbage
bag inside my sleeping bag stuff sack. Stuff sacks don't stay waterproof.
>bear bag/rope (6oz)
For rope I used 40' of parachute cord. Have no idea how much it weighed,
but it's lighter than anything else I've found and it does the job. I assume
you mean a stuff sack/food bag. As for the bear, if you're lucky you'll
see one. If you're not lucky he'll be eating your food. Watch the shelter
registers - they'll tell you if there are problem bears in the area. We
didn't have a problem until NH.
>**havenít put nearly enough time or thought into this...planning on
>dehydrating fancy little meals thanks to the recipes that have come through
>the pipeline on this list.
We used a lot of Mac& cheese and Liptons prepackaged noodle/rice dinners.
You might want to take a look at the Uncle Wolf tips page. Steve wrote a
section on food. As I recall it was pretty good - and I think he did some
>pack (~6lbs 8oz. stil shopping)
Personal opinion - it's too heavy unless you're a 6', 200# weight lifter.
>2 water bottles (7oz or 3.5oz each)
I started carrying 2 water bottles. Changed at Erwin, TN to a 1 qt bottle
and a 1 pint bottle hooked onto a small D biner fastened to my pack strap.
Still use the same system. It works for me.
>thermarest (1lb 9oz)
In the south I used a full length Ridgerest (9 oz). A full length pad is
for cold weather, but I wasn't willing to carry a full length Thermarest.
I changed to a 3/4 length Thermarest at Damascus. My pack was lighter
by then. Ginny carried a Ridgerest all the way.
>??thermarestír lite chair kit (10oz) (worth 10oz for a relaxing sit?)
Not for me. I use the sleeping pad to sit on. For a backrest, trees,
rocks, shelter walls, etc are good - you don't have to carry them.
>40 degree bag (2lbs 6oz)
>overbag (2lbs 8oz.) to be sent home for middle portion of the trail
Suggestion - use a single zero or 20 degree bag in the south - you're
total sleeping bag weight right now is 4# 14 oz. You can get a zero
degree bag that weighs less than 4#. That saves you about 1# right
there. Then pick up your 40 degree bag and send home the heavy bag
at Pearisburg (DON"T send it home before Mt Rogers). Then pick up
the heavy bag again at Glencliff, NH. You'll probably need it in the
>pack towel (3oz)
I used a large bandanna (1.5 oz).
>1 light D biner (1.5oz)
see above - used this for my small water bottle
>TP in baggie (1.5oz)
Don't forget a trowel.
As a friend told me - it's a fly swatter against a grizzly. You might
want to put it in the send ahead box. That way you'd have it in town, but
wouldn't have to carry it.
OK - this is getting pretty long so I'm gonna cut it here and put the
rest in a part 2 to this post.
Subj: Re: alisa's list, Part 2
Date: 96-03-13 08:50:10 EST
From: email@example.com (Jim Owen)
Something I need to say here - Ginny and I have hiked over 3000 miles
and we still do things differently. No two people do things exactly the
All my comments here are not things you "should" be doing - this is what I
supermarket approach. If you see something that makes sense to you or fits
life or style, then you're welcome to it. What you don't like you don't
have to -
and in fact, shouldn't - use. The Trail is hard enough without trying to
someone else's way of doing things.
So - that being said - let's try the rest of this:
Why? On the AT you just follow the white blazes. A compass is just
extra weight and it can be frustrating if you take it too seriously.
Some do, I don't - but we will on the CDT.
Take two - they're small - and it's good to have a spare.
I carry a 2.2 oz, 2.5" SOG Airlite. Ginny carries a small Swiss Army
knife with a corkscrew, can opener, bottle opener and 2 blades. The
Swiss Army knife is a good choice - we did use the bottle opener, the
can opener and the corkscrew at various times.
>fork/spoon (same utensil) (1oz)
>2 extra batteries (2oz)
I started with extra batteries, but ditched them when I figured out how
seldom I was using the headlamp. When I got home I had a big bag of extra
batteries that were in my mail drops but never got used. If you do any
night hiking, though (and some people do), the extra batteries are a good
>gore-tex rain hat(or sun if youíre an optimist) (4.5oz)
Not to worry - you WILL get sun. Some people carried these on the Trail.
I think they're overkill but that's personal opinion. I used a lighter hat.
>waterproof/breathable parka (2lbs 3oz)
Heavy !! I used a set of wind pants and a lighter Goretex parka in the
My Goretex stopped working in Virginia so I traded it for a coated nylon
jacket - about one third the weight. The jacket worked fine all the way
to Katahdin. Then the coating separated from the nylon as I was climbing
Katahdin. But that was all I needed it for anyway.
One thing here - I was very glad to have the parka in the south. The lighter
jacket wouldn't have done the job there. Part of that is conditioning/
acclimatization. After I was on the Trail for a while, my metabolism
kicked in and I was comfortable with less clothing. Now I sometimes
wish I could slow it down.
>??poncho for warm days?
>waterproof/breathable shell pants (11 oz) or will nylon be ok?
My wind pants were nylon LL Bean unlined - they worked very well.
>3 pair liner socks (4.2oz or 1.4oz each)
>3 pair heavy-duty socks (12oz or 4oz each)
I carried 3 pair of Thorlo Trekkers. I didn't use liners. Ginny used
and a second pair of lighter socks. It's whatever you're comfortable with.
Ginny didn't carry gaiters, I did. I used them (maybe) 4 times. I'll carry
them on the CDT - but I wouldn't carry them on the AT again.
>??insteps --not sure if it gets icy down there in georgia...they are pretty
Don't see why you'd need them.
>waterproof overmitts (4oz)
Ginny carried a pair of wool gloves in the south, then
sent the mittens home when it got warm and got them back at Glencliff, NH.
I just carried a pair of liners. My hands rarely get cold.
>tutle fur hat/neck gaitor (2.5oz)
I carried a wool hat and a lightweight balaclava (polypro). Ginny carried
just the wool hat. Neither of us used a neck gaiter.
>1 bandana (1oz)
I used a larger bandanna that doubled as a towel, a dish rag, a pot
holder - and anything else it needed to be.
>clothes iím pretty curious about...this most likely is not a complete list.
>1 pair med. weight tights (8oz)
>??1 pair exp. weight tights (10oz)
>1 med weight crewneck (8oz)
>1 polartec fleece shirt (12oz)
>3 pairs underwear (4oz)
>2 cotton t-shirts (10oz)
In the south I carried one pair of nylon shorts, one cotton T-shirt, a wool
a Polartec pullover, a set of midweight polypro thermal underwear, a
polypro thermal top and a pair of cotton canvas pants. I hiked in the
thermal top, the cotton pants and wool shirt. The pants went in the send
box at Fontana and became my town pants for a while. After that I hiked in
shorts, thermal bottoms, lightweight top and wool shirt and used the wind
and parka for cold/wet days. The other clothes were my "camp" clothes.
You'll be a lot happier if you ALWAYS keep a set of dry clothes for camp.
a lot safer - hypothermia is not a desireable addition to your life. Don't
carry enough clothes to stay "warm" in camp - just dry. If you get cold,
what the sleeping bag is for. Just for information - a tent is at least
warmer than a shelter.
Later I picked up a second pair of shorts and another T-shirt and sent home
the wool shirt and some of the thermals (but not all of them - it gets cool
mountains at night even in summer) .
>??ltwt. flip flops (are camp shoes typically carried?) (6oz)
I didn't carry extra shoes, Ginny did. I will for the next long trail. I've
heard that some of the running shoes are really light but I haven't tried
them yet. One of my friends had Tevas on the AT and tried to hike in them
when her boots gave out - she swears they ruined her feet. On the other
hand, another friend hiked the PCT in Tevas. His trailname out there is
Tevaman. Individual choice again.
>2 pairs shorts (12oz)
>journal/ball point pen (6oz)
I used ordinary typing paper folded in half and cut to fit a 1 qt ziploc.
about 10 sheets in each maildrop and it was more than I needed. When I
up a maildrop I sent my journal from the previous section home.
>reading material (6oz)
Ginny carried a book, so did my first partner. I didn't start carrying books
until somewhere around Harpers Ferry. The days were longer by that time
and I had more time to read. In the south it got dark early and I was too
tired to care about reading.
>there it is. this was put together without any lengthy thought. when work
>gets too monotonous I just jot stuff down. iíll enjoy your comments.
I don't know if any of this will help you. You have to decide how you're
to hike, what your comfort level is, how much you're willing to pay (in terms
of sweat) for that comfort level. One thing I did was to use mail drops and
send ahead box to lighten my load as much as possible. Some people don't like
that way of operating, but it works for me.
Last point - another thruhiker sent me his pack list - it's a whole lot
from mine. The punch line is that it's not the equipment that gets you to
Katahdin - its what's in your head and your heart.
Have fun with your planning