Sitka Gear
Appalachian Trail
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
BC 27-Mar-21
Tonybear61 27-Mar-21
Supernaut 27-Mar-21
GF 27-Mar-21
ben h 27-Mar-21
N8tureBoy 27-Mar-21
Fuzzy 27-Mar-21
thedude 27-Mar-21
spike buck 27-Mar-21
kota-man 27-Mar-21
bowhunt 27-Mar-21
FORESTBOWS 28-Mar-21
altitude sick 28-Mar-21
JohnMC 28-Mar-21
JohnMC 28-Mar-21
KSflatlander 28-Mar-21
Overland 28-Mar-21
jstephens61 28-Mar-21
bb 28-Mar-21
lv2bohunt 28-Mar-21
Rob in VT 28-Mar-21
Fuzzy 28-Mar-21
GF 28-Mar-21
RMhunter 28-Mar-21
RMhunter 28-Mar-21
RMhunter 28-Mar-21
huntabsarokee 29-Mar-21
WV Mountaineer 29-Mar-21
spike buck 29-Mar-21
RMhunter 29-Mar-21
Kannuck 29-Mar-21
lewis 29-Mar-21
spike buck 29-Mar-21
RMhunter 29-Mar-21
BC 31-Mar-21
Fuzzy 01-Apr-21
From: BC
27-Mar-21
I know some of you guys do wilderness hunts and hoping I can get some advice/suggestions on gear. My youngest son is planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail next year, Georgia to Maine. I want to get him an ultralight, easy to pack, tent. I’m doing a lot of research but some real world experience would be great. Thanks.

From: Tonybear61
27-Mar-21
We had someone give a presentation to our hiking group way back in college days. Need to contact a nutritionist to be sure you have enough calories and the right type of food, plenty of water at your drop sites.

From: Supernaut
27-Mar-21
Check out Eureka tents. Great tents, light weight and easy to put up. Also, Mountain Hardwear, a little pricey but high quality.

Best of luck to your son and I hope he as an amazing adventure! I had a friend that did the whole thing, Georgia to Maine, around 1990. He had his family mail provisions to post offices along the way. He averaged 17 miles a day to complete it in his time frame.

From: GF
27-Mar-21
I’ve been doing short hops with my son, three of his buddies, and couple of other dads for three or four years now, and we see an awful lot of people going with hammocks, rather than a tent. With the lean-tos along the way, I guess it’s not very common to really need a fly for cooking, etc.

I know it seems kind of like one of those Ultimate Hard Core wilderness experiences, but honestly? There are a lot of ladies in their 60s doing it, and there was this one guy whose handle along the trail was Walmart; every bit of equipment in his kit he had bought at a Walmart, and that was where he was getting most of his provisions along the way. I think he said he was on his fifth pair of shoes.

I’ve started to get the sense that for a number of the Through-hikers, it was really just sort of a more socially acceptable way of being homeless for a year.

So kind of like hunting… There are a whole lot of ways to go about it and a whole lotta reasons to do it. And there are probably very few (if any) spots along the entire length of that trail where if you were to break, lose, or wear out a piece of equipment, you couldn’t get on your cell phone and order a replacement for overnight shipping to the next post office along the way.

One thing I can tell you for absolute certain, though… Good boots are important, and you don’t want to buy some thing that’s “new, old stock“ unless you know exactly how old it is. The foam between the midsole and outsole will break down over time, and one year I wore a pair of boots that started to fall apart on me about a quarter mile in on a 6 mile in/ 6 mile out overnight, and I ended up having to tie the outsoles back on with some climbing accessory cord. It was like having huarache hiking boots....

Anyway… I guess I would say when it comes to gear, there is light, extra light, ultra light, and Stupid Light.

Especially for a young guy, the body will adjust to a few or 5 or 10 extra pounds in the pack over the first few days or weeks, so you just have to ask yourself exactly how uncomfortable you’re willing to be all day long every day and all night long every night for months and months just to save a few pounds. And you can rest assured that the people who were making this trek 50 years ago would laugh their asses off listening to us dither over a few ounces here or there on a piece of equipment that weighs a third of what theirs did.

I can just imagine their ghosts around the campfire at night… Watching high-tech types mess with a jet boil and pour that boiling water into a package of mountain house… And the ghosts are just cracking open another can of beans, pouring a few fingers of bourbon and trying not to laugh too impolitely....

From: ben h
27-Mar-21
Haven't been on a through hike like that, but have been on a couple 100 mile trips and the Black Diamond Highlight is the lightest, easiest to setup virtually anywhere tent I've ever had. I'm sure there are plenty of other good choices though. That does sound like a fun trip and a great adventure. Good luck.

ben

From: N8tureBoy
27-Mar-21

N8tureBoy's Link
My son and a friend did some winter hiking this season and did several sections. Unfortunately, due to covid restrictions, many of the lean-tos have been closed. Same with portions of the trail in various states. See link for updates regarding closures. My son and his friend use hammocks. They like the mobility, and with the lean-tos officially closed, it gave them some other sleeping options. With a rain fly, thermal pad and a good sleeping bag they were comfortable sleeping in single digit temps. Of course, I tease him about appearing like a piñata to the bears...

From: Fuzzy
27-Mar-21
I live literally beside the Trail near Bland VA. If convenient have him stop off for a shower, wash clothes and a home cooked meal.

From: thedude
27-Mar-21
I have a big Agnes copper spur UL1. I would give it a 5 star if it didnt have a POS zipper. Other than my hatred for the zipper its awesome

From: spike buck
27-Mar-21

spike buck's embedded Photo
Bald Mountain NC...Appalachian Trail. Took this pic Oct 2019.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Bald Mountain NC...Appalachian Trail. Took this pic Oct 2019.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Appalachian Trail. Left side is TN, Right side NC.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Appalachian Trail. Left side is TN, Right side NC.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Me and my Hillbilly Buddies!!
spike buck's embedded Photo
Me and my Hillbilly Buddies!!
We did the trail in 2019. Was an awesome experience.

From: kota-man
27-Mar-21
For the lower 48, I love the BA Copper Spur.

From: bowhunt
27-Mar-21

bowhunt's Link
I have the previous model to this. Used it for many years. Held up to any weather. Light weight. No frills, basically the size of your sleeping pad as far as length and width.

I always wait for there 25-30 percent off coupons to buy stuff there.

28-Mar-21
I have heard that trail is just a nonstop party.

28-Mar-21
We hiked a portion in the late 70s and thought we had lightweight gear. We carried a weeks supply per leg. My girlfriend gave up quickly and I had to carry mine and her gear. It didn’t feel like lightweight gear.

It seemed too crowded for my Liking then. I can’t imagine now.

From: JohnMC
28-Mar-21
One thing to consider we as hunters don’t need to consideration much (at least have not had to worry about) that could be a issue for your son’s trip. He could meet a member of the opposite sex that would like to visit him in his tent for a romantic rendezvous. Don’t buy him a tent that’s so small that could interfere with that.

From: JohnMC
28-Mar-21
Sounds like forest and I were thinking alike at the same time!

From: KSflatlander
28-Mar-21

KSflatlander's Link
Leukotape is a must have for long distance hikers. I always have a role in my backpack. Tarptent makes some good ultralight tents. I also suggest you don’t skimp on trekking poles.

Kudos to your son to accept the challenge.

From: Overland
28-Mar-21
I've thru-hiked the AT. Most of the recommendations so far on this thread may work for hunting but are far off the mark for the AT. Keep in mind that hunting season is usually in the colder months and one is generally not hiking very far. The AT is hiked in the warmer months for the most part and weight (specifically lack thereof) is king. Tarp tents are good. Many like hammocks.

whiteblaze.net is the go-to source for all things Appalachian Trail. Look at their gear section there. Every reasonable option has been debated to death.

From: jstephens61
28-Mar-21
Seek Outside LBO. Tent and vestibule, 27oz.

From: bb
28-Mar-21
Tarp tent, any of the Li models. or Z paks. About as light as you can get.

From: lv2bohunt
28-Mar-21
Check out cleverhiker website. They have gear reviews and recommend gear for thru hikes. The difference there is they have hiked it and they keep up with the latest AT happenings.

From: Rob in VT
28-Mar-21
Check out Homemade Wanderlust on YouTube. She has done all the through hikes and is quite knowledgeable. I think Z Pack is a favorite but expensive.

https://youtu.be/Rtuiz4vtNwQ

From: Fuzzy
28-Mar-21
Forestbows it's what you make it. The AT is a "linear small town". The partiers party together the recluses recluse alone and the rest just hike and enjoy the woods

From: GF
28-Mar-21
I had a girl about half my age offer me some weed one night, and I told her I didn’t think that was a very good idea considering I was there with my 16-year-old son and his buddies. Sort of put an end to THAT conversation! LOL

From: RMhunter
28-Mar-21
Spike buck you was walking thru my backyard in those pics. I live in Roan Mountain TN and can walk out my back door straight to Bald Mountain without seeing another house

From: RMhunter
28-Mar-21

RMhunter's embedded Photo
RMhunter's embedded Photo
My favorite hunting spot is Bradley gap, I usually see 20-30 hikers a day even in November and December. Here's a few pics this past deer season

From: RMhunter
28-Mar-21

RMhunter's embedded Photo
RMhunter's embedded Photo

29-Mar-21
Another idea is to go to backpackinglight.com and check over their gear swap classifieds. You may have to join for $5 a year to have access not sure. Anyway could find some lightly used items such as tents and may be more affordable. This way you may buy 1 model and try it and decide before the trip if he likes it or not. I would think something like a tarptent would be a good choice for light weight. Certainly would want a floor in mine.

29-Mar-21
If weight is the biggest variable, you are going to have a hard time beating a tarp tent. Flourless. If he wants a floor as I think I would, lots of options exist.

For weight, a hammock setup isn’t the lightest most times of the weather is cooler. And, if he’s going all the way through, he’s going to have some cold nights into late May and June. So, he’s going to need a warm top and under quilt if he goes with a hammock.

Personally, he needs to drop point some where to trade his winter stuff out for his summer stuff. Whether he goes tent or hammock. And, he’s better be ready to move along. That’s a long trip. Through some rough terrain.

From: spike buck
29-Mar-21

spike buck's embedded Photo
Hound hunt... Roan Mountain.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Hound hunt... Roan Mountain.
spike buck's embedded Photo
Pic taken on Roan Mountain, NC. Appalachians
spike buck's embedded Photo
Pic taken on Roan Mountain, NC. Appalachians
RMhunter, we bear hunted Roan Mountain on NC side in Oct 2019.... awesome experience

From: RMhunter
29-Mar-21
Heck yeah. You ever get down this way again let me know. We got plenty of bear and some good dogs

From: Kannuck
29-Mar-21
You can also try a search for "Appalachian Trail Packing List" for some good ideas.

From: lewis
29-Mar-21
Looks familiar I grew up in Mountain City,Tennessee and the trail runs very close.One cool thing is it goes right over the dam on Watauga Lake. I hunted those mountains pretty hard many moons ago.Good luck in your son’s endeavors sounds like a blast.Lewis

From: spike buck
29-Mar-21

spike buck's embedded Photo
Appalachian Trail at top of Mountain
spike buck's embedded Photo
Appalachian Trail at top of Mountain
RM Hunter, you most likely know all my Bear hunting buddies from the area, Erwin TN, Belog NC etc. I Bear hunted the Beauty Spot!! When I was 16 I tagged along with some hunters from the Appalachians and stayed with them for a winter. Appalachian Trail was only a mountain climb away from the house. I tied tobacco.

From: RMhunter
29-Mar-21
It's a small world for sure! BC when your son gets in my area if he needs a drop or anything I'd be happy to help out. Like I said the trail comes very close to my place with several lean-to shelters within a mile or two of me

From: BC
31-Mar-21
Thanks to all you guys for the info and offers to help. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again.

From: Fuzzy
01-Apr-21
As WV says he's gonna want to drop the winter gear and ship it home somewhere between the Virginia line and Pearisburg most likely depending on when he starts and how fast he moves. I can help with that too. Tell him to FOR SURE not drop the winter gear until after Mount Rogers, I've rescued hikers stuck up there in a late April blizzard with summer gear

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