Preparation, Equipment, Clothing and Food

When Tim agreed to hike the trail with me in September 2015 I immediately started to prepare myself. Our scheduled departure date is the day after tomorrow, February 20, 2016.  This left me ample time to prepare myself physically, mentally, and to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies. My physical conditioning the first few months was mainly walking, and as I get closer to our departure I have begun to hike with a full pack. I should make it clear that this kind of preparation may not be appropriate for everyone but it was comfortable for me. I wanted to become comfortable with the weight of the pack before I actually had to use it on the trail. I also took this opportunity to hike with my running buddy Tom, using my trekking poles to become familiar with their use.


I began researching equipment long before I had a date-certain hike planned. One of the great things about the internet is that research is relatively easy and many hikers are willing to share what has and hasn’t worked for them on the Appalachian Trail. However, the downside to internet research is that it can and does consume huge amounts of time!

This is my final list for the beginning of my hike. I have added items, taken them off (usually after weighing) and then added a few items at the last week. Everything has been weighed (and re-weighed) and this information is as accurate as I can make it.

GEAR (weight in ounces)
Sleeping Pad, Klymit Static Vlite, 19.2
Big Agnes Pioneer Tent,  41
Groundhog Tent Stakes (8)
Tent footprint,  14.5
Sleeping Bag Big Agnes Mcalpin SL   47
Back Pack, ALPS Mountaineering Cascade 4200, 82
Stove, Jet Boil Flash  14
Bear Bag Ursack    7.8
Odor BagOpsak (2)   1
Hiking Poles, Komperdell Mountaineer Titanal Hiking Poles, 2 section 145 cm
Solar Charger, Spark by Inergy Solar Charger w/connections,  7.6
Sleeping Bag Compression Sack  2.6
Camel Pak Bladder with water,  39-80
Water Filter,  Renovo 4
Platypus Plus Water Bottle with water, 39
Sun Glasses
Stanley Insulated Cups (2)  7.9
Spoon for eating/stirring   0.1
Camp Shovel, 1.9
Jetpower fuel  22.9
Flashlight w/lithium batteries 5.2
Toilet Paper
First Aid kit,  33
Camp Soap
Emergency Whistle
Collapsible Water Basin,   8.3
Baking soda (teeth)  5.3
Gold Bond (feet)  1.9

Total Weight for Gear About 24 lbs. 12 ounces

I purchased my dehydrated meals in bulk from Emergency Essentials at and packed them myself. I have two plastic insulated cups with lids that are perfect for hydrating the food. I also packaged Top Ramen that I will mix with tuna and salmon.

AT Dehydrated Food

This may seem light but I plan to meet my wife at Fontana Dam (approx. 164 miles from Springer Mountain) to resupply. Prior to that, I will supplement with purchases along the trail.

AT Food Pack

My hiking partner Tim and I heavily researched how to protect our food and the best “bear bag” to use. We went back and forth between using a canister or a bag. We both finally opted for the Ursack Tevlar bag. It seems pretty tough and has good reviews. On their website, they show videos of bears in action trying to get to food within the bags.

Bear Bag Filled

I chose this bag because I am not very good at tossing ropes up into the trees at the exact spot where the bears can’t get them! Apparently neither are a lot of other folks who have hung bags where the bears have figured out how to get to them and then proceeded to enjoy the hikers only food supply!

AT OpSack

In addition to the bear bag, I purchased two odor barrier Opsak bags.

Top Ramen (6 servings)
Beef Jerky
Tuna Fish
Chicken Alfredo (2 servings)
Spaghetti with meat sauce (3 servings)
Beef Stroganoff (3 servings)
Instant Coffee (20, 8 oz. servings)
Oatmeal (5 servings)
Raisins/black walnuts/sugar for oatmeal
Trail mix
Energy Bars
Chocolate bars

Total Weight for Food About 7 lbs. 4 ounces


Salomon Goretx Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boots
Outdoor Research Rocky Mtn Low Gaiters
Merino Wool Sweater
Merino Wool Socks (3 pair)
Gortex Rain Jacket and Pants
Merino Wool Mittens
Wool Gloves
Merino Wool Beanie
Underarmor Top/Bottom
Short sleeve wicking shirts (3)
100% propoleneHiking Pants (convertible) (2 pair)
Hiking Pants (non-convertible) (1 pair)
Jacket 100% Synthetic Water resistant Down Jacket Converts to pillow
Wide Brim Hat
Mosquito netting for head
Micro fiber towel/wash cloth
Wicking Underwear (3 pair)

Total Weight for Clothing About 5 lbs. 2 ounces

Total pack weight about 37 lbs.
I will pick up Tim at the Atlanta airport and we will drive to Amicolola State Park Lodge for the night.  Our hike begins Saturday morning, February 20th.

My next post … from the trail!


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2 Responses to Preparation, Equipment, Clothing and Food

  1. Margaret Mattox says:

    Wishing you both a safe and adventurous hike. Happy Trails!!!


  2. Strong Log says:

    Love these preparation posts! Have a great trip, the AT sounds like an awesome trail 🙂


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