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Discussion Starter #1
Doing some hiking this year on the AT and will be hiking on one or two PA trails this year during two long weekends with friends. One of my friends is doing the AT thru hike next year and I will hike PA section with him. Planning on doing the thru hike in 5 years after retirement (God willing). I was wondering if anyone on here has completed the thru hike or section hike and what type of gear you used.
 

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If time were not a factor I would love to hike the entire trail . Many have attempted after retiring . I think the mental fatigue is as much to blame ending treks as the grueling physical part . In this day and age of e-mails and computers, high tech phones etc. it is much easier to stay in weekly if not daily contact with family . When you begin your hike it would be great to have us all along with you noting your progress . I hope you are able to tackle the AT .Hiking with your friend through Pennsylvania will be a great warm-up. Best of luck....Finn
 

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MH,
Stop at the general store porch at PGF. Most of the thru hikers have passed through for this year but you can still catch some. No better to ask then the people themselves.

On thing I have noticed is they are wearing lighter weight hikers/trail sneakers. Would have thought that would not be good for the feet. Younger people though too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yea I've talked to a couple and hiked from Toms Run to the store over the past couple weekends. They are wearing trail sneakers and some even started with them on in the cold in March.
 

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My son and a friend did the entire AT in 2006. Started north and went south. It's been a while, but I recall the following:

After a week their feet killed them from being constantly wet. The kid went with Teva Sandals and his buddy wore Crocs. Said it was the ticket and they are more popular than you think.

Regarding gear -

Shared a light weight shelter/tarp type tent with insect screening and supported by hiking poles.

Both carried a couple homemade pop can alcohol stoves (still use them today) and a single two quart aluminum pot each with cup and spoon.

Rain Gear.

Merino wool long johns and wool stocking cap.

Heavy Wool Sweater.

Single change of shirt and pants.

Couple dry pairs of socks, boxer shorts, ball cap.

Swim trunks.

Synthetic Mummy Bag and foam pad.

Both raved about hiking sticks.

Balance was food, one quart Nalgene bottle (maybe two, can't remember), phone card since the cell phone was left at home, a notebook, some cord, camera, bug dope and sun screen, alcohol bottle (for stove - usually an empty pint plastic Jim Beam bottle), a couple first aid items including talcum powder, small headlamp, compass (his buddy also carried a gps), trail guide, small Leatherman Juice tool (broke a couple times, he said he would go with a more durable one next time) and a single Bic lighter each.

Always forwarded a "jump box" to the next destination. Recall them "trying" to keep pack weight to 35 pounds maximum.

Might get some ideas here: http://www.trailjournals.com/

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks bowbenderpa01. I've been reading some journals and other web sites, plus a couple books. There are a lot of web sites on trips and buying equipment. I have a while to get ready. Will probably do the Black Forest Trail this September once it gets warmer. Last time I was on that trail it was mid 70's. A long, long time ago. My gear from back then is kind of antiquish. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
<span style="font-style: italic">Both raved about hiking sticks. </span>

Funny you mentioned hiking sticks. I never hiked with them until 3 weeks ago. I had a run in with a rattle snake just after I came off the AT. Thought poles would give me a better warning. I kind of like them. Not sure if I will buy a tent that uses them in case they break or get lost.
 

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Michaux , I just love that trail . Have hiked it 6 times but not in recent years since becoming an old guy now. Twice solo that were some of the best times . Have a great trip !
 

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MH,
Where are you finding sites regarding equipment?
I have been picking up some items for hunting in Colorado. Backpacking in and setting up camp. Always looking for reviews, recommendations etc.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #10
moosejaw, back country, mountaingear, Big Agnes camping supplies, traptent Ultralight shelters, plus Bass Pro, Cabeles to name a few. Also U-tube AT 2011 and 2012.
 

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I hiked quite a few sections.....
As far as gear goes... ounces equal pounds, try to find things that serve multiple uses. Brake things down into categories.

Cooking & eating...... I like to use a large soup can as a pot to boil water...make and eat soups from...drinking container. A lot of 16 or even 32 ounce water bottles will fit in the can to save space. A single durable utensil set or a spork if you like those. Lightweight easy to use burner (i use a MSR pocket rocket).

Sleeping..... pad, bag or blanket, tent, tarp or hammock.

Etc etc...

Buy the best you can, it is usually lighter and will last longer if taken care of.
 

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Also get the trail maps of the sections you'll be hiking, they have great info on camp sites, miles and most importantly where to find water.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Right about the ounces. I have the 2012 trail map book, but I'm sure a lot will change in 5 years. Not sure but will probably use 2 32 oz bottles and maybe a bladder during the summer months when water may be a long way between sources and hot weather.
 

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A good freind of mine from Alaska called me on Tuesday and said he would be in Duncannon on Thursday and wondered if I wanted to meet him. I ended up bringing him home for a shower and good meal. Dropped him back off where I picked him up.

He started April 5th and is planning on being finished mid-late Sept. He said it is an experience of a lifetime.

He was number 803 at the halfway point.
 

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Do your research......and make your gear as light as possible.

Talking with experienced thru hikers like you are doing is a good idea. Search the web for ultra lightweight gear, many things you can make yourself. For the things you have to buy, the old saying "You get what you pay for", holds true.

For cutting weight, start with the big 4 to make the largest impact: pack, sleeping bag, shelter, stove/cooking set-up. Know your gear well and make sure all the bugs are out on your shorter closer-to-home trips. Get in-shape before you hit the trail.

Good luck and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
TPlank said:
Doesn't hurt to have a hunting camp at the half-way point either.
I like it.
We are so blessed to have the AT go through PA. You would be a fool not to hike it. I can't believe I've waited so long. Setting for a Black Forest hike at the end of Sept or beginning of Oct. Maybe 3 or 4 nighter.
 
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