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wahoowa
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In the same spirit of the "anything mountain biking" thread, this would be a great place to discuss equipment, favorite camping spots and backpacking trails, discounts, off the beaten trail areas, great memories, and general advice.

Just a couple more months until I can start getting out and backpacking again, but Im looking for a new pack...maybe a 3-5 day pack...always had good success with Gregory, but does anyone have other suggestions?

This is the one Im currently interested in:


Gregory Z55

[Edited on February 16, 2010 at 8:27 AM. Reason : a]

2/16/2010 8:25:46 AM

wolfpackgrrr
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One of my favorite places to go camping in NC is on Hatteras down near Ocracoke. Just make sure you have your tent tethered down well lol.

2/16/2010 8:26:48 AM

wahoowa
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ha yeah and definitely dont forget the sand stakes....I camped on Ocracoke at the NPS campground and it got really windy one night...so bad I had to shove bags full of sand into each corner.

2/16/2010 8:29:13 AM

Johnny Swank
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I've got a bunch of hiking, backpacking gear, and Appalachian Trail-related stuff on our website. Hit me up if you have any questions.

http://www.sourcetosea.net

2/16/2010 9:15:40 AM

quagmire02
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i still don't quite understand the fascination with internal frame packs...i still have my jansport external from when i was in scouts, and i use it more than my internal, if for no other reason than i can carry MUCH more on it (which, granted, isn't always a good thing)

2/16/2010 9:19:53 AM

Jeepin4x4
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to each their own i suppose. I have a Gregory internal frame that has been great for me. Plus it's served me well as just a suitcase the last couple seasons as i haven't done much backpacking.

2/16/2010 9:48:04 AM

wahoowa
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i think the internal vs external comes down to personal preference. I like an internal..its more flexible when I need to do some irregular movements (like jumping down) and it feels better on my back.

2/16/2010 10:01:11 AM

se7entythree
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YAY!!

Fumbler and i are going backpacking this summer. haven't picked a date yet. app trail somewhere for 4-5 days.

we started getting serious about shopping for packs a few weeks ago. i want to get some practice carrying around the weight. i picked the Osprey Ariel 65 (Aether is the men's equivalent). from everything i read online and what all the rei folks told me, osprey is the most recommended brand. the rei employees recommended them over their own rei brand.

the ariel/aether has a custom moldable hip belt (they do it in-store), which is really awesome. i picked mine out and had it molded this past weekend, then the rei girl told me there's a member 20% off coupon in march, so it's on hold til this weekend so i'll be w/ in the 30 day price adjustment range.



i also read that if you're considering the osprey packs, go with the new versions b/c there have been some great upgrades to the straps, padding, etc and it's worth it. i tried on the ventilated series packs (aura/atmos) and the straps are really uncomfortable, even after just a couple minutes walking around the store. the super airflow thing is really awesome, but if your head is about to be sawed off by the straps it's not worth it. the aura/atmos didn't fit either of us that well, but the atmos did fit chris better than the aura fit me.

i did try on an rei brand pack, arc'teryx, & gregory. the rei fit okay. the arc'teryx was AWFUL. i'm not sure what creature they design those for but they're not human. the gregory had the swivel hip belt which i really liked, but the straps weren't good and the back panel didn't breathe as well.

[Edited on February 16, 2010 at 10:14 AM. Reason : gregory]

2/16/2010 10:12:54 AM

wahoowa
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thanks for the review on the osprey...I will check one out on my next trip to REI. I really dont like the REI brand at all unless Im getting a simple daypack. Also avoid Mountain Hardware.

Where on the app trail are you interested in going? Ive done 5 different sections in GA, NC, and VA. Im thinking about getting on somewhere in NH or VT this summer and do a section for about a week.

2/16/2010 10:22:00 AM

se7entythree
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somewhere in the NC area, maybe southern VA. this will be our first trip on it and we're still doing research on where to go and stuff. any info you have would be great! we're going w/ a friend from work and his buddy.

any suggestions on water filters. killing bacteria, protozoa, and viruses are important to us of course. we looked at the msr hyper microfilter. flow rate is awesome, but it looks like it only does bacteria and protozoa. i'd be most worried about those 2 anyway. i've never bought one of these and i'm just now researching them so i'm kinda clueless.

2/16/2010 10:42:25 AM

ambrosia1231
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^PM Nerdchick or TheBullDoza. Also, check out the link johnny swank posted - I know he has some specific AT stuff up there

2/16/2010 10:44:22 AM

quagmire02
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i will always recommend the mount rogers/grayson highlands area...love that part of the AT

i gotta say, the best backpacking i did was in the arctic circle, in sweden...no one uses filters because you just drink directly out of the streams (which are all just glacier melt rivulets)...the water tastes GOOD (though i couldn't say how or why), and there are so many that you don't bother carrying more than 32oz, if you carry one at all (most of the swedes i was with just carry a cup and not a bottle at all

2/16/2010 10:49:33 AM

se7entythree
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that's cool. we'll be around nc though so we'll definitely need a filter haha

2/16/2010 11:04:23 AM

Johnny Swank
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Here are my AT thru-hike journals. Just remembered I had posted these awhile back. Bear in mind that I went from Maine to Georgia instead of the other way around.

http://sourcetosea.net/category/appalachian-trail/appalachian-trail-thru-hike-journals/

2/16/2010 11:11:19 AM

se7entythree
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oh, question! hiking/trekking poles: are these necessary? i've never felt the need or want to use sticks to walk with, but i could be missing something. we hiked a bunch in glacier nat'l park and i actually kinda felt bad for the people carrying poles. they looked more cumbersome than helpful. thoughts?

2/16/2010 11:22:11 AM

Johnny Swank
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Depends on where you're at. I like mine, and used them on my thru-hike, but they are a pain in the butt if you're doing a bunch of scrambling. YMMV.

2/16/2010 11:35:01 AM

wahoowa
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I use a pump filter but still carry some pills in case the filter breaks or malfunctions. If you ever drop your filter be very careful about using it again because the inside filter could be damaged and allow organisms to get through. Also boil water when you make camp and fill up bottles before heading out the next day. Also do a little research on the area you are going to determine how much water you need to carry...some places you can get water every day so you dont need to carry much...but other places you might need to keep enough water for a few days.

I never use a trekking pole, but some people benefit from it....I never found a need to carry an extra piece of equipment that isnt necessary. And if you really need one you can usually find a decent stick to do the job*.

* if you are walking across states dont do this so you dont spread parasites and bugs to unaffected forest

Is anyone a member of the Sierra Club? Im thinking about joining but not sure how they allocate their member dues and use donations.

2/16/2010 11:47:40 AM

cheerwhiner
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on another note with that, if you do use a walking pole wash it off from time to time for the same reason...........

2/16/2010 11:57:02 AM

arog20012001
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I love my Gregory internal frame (can't remember the model). It's been with me through thick and thin and even some international travel. Great pack. Light, functional. Even has a detachable fanny pack-type thing.

As for camping/hiking...in NC, there is no better spot than Linville Gorge. Loved it. Can't wait to go back.

Also, anything in the Smokies is pretty incredible and there is a lot of area to cover.

Don't forget Pisgah, too. Now I want to go hiking!

2/16/2010 12:37:58 PM

TerdFerguson
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Quote :
"somewhere in the NC area, maybe southern VA."


I would look into max patch mtn to Hot springs if you want to do some AT. Max patch is a bald so you get bomber views and hot springs is a little town you come off the AT into and allegedly has natural mineral waters you can swim in. Did this when I was younger and was only about 20miles if I remember correctly..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Patch



Its not on the AT but I would atleast take a look at the ART LOEB trail, just south of Asheville. Also has bald mtns with awesome views. This is by far and away currently my favorite hike in NC.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Loeb_Trail



I recommend doing both these hikes during the week if possible to avoid crowds

2/16/2010 1:23:18 PM

bumpintahoe
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Linville Gorge is one of my favorites. I've done the Art Loeb trail a few times when I was younger. Great scenery and wildflowers if you go at the right time.

Anyone know of any good hikes in WV? I'm there for school and have gotten some local recommendations, but wanted to see if anyone on here had any specific recommendations (other than Dolly Sods).

2/16/2010 1:33:42 PM

Johnny Swank
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The Monongahala National Forest is pretty awesome for some West Virginia backpacking.

http://fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPwhQoY6IeDdGCqCPOBqwDLG-AAjgb6fh75uan6BdnZaY6OiooA1tkqlQ!!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfMjAwMDAwMDBBODBPSEhWTjBNMDAwMDAwMDA!/?ss=110921&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=FSE_003853&navid=091000000000000&pnavid=null&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ttype=main&pname=Monongahela%20National%20Forest-%20Home/

2/16/2010 1:46:07 PM

quagmire02
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Quote :
"hiking/trekking poles: are these necessary?"

necessary? no...though i love taking one along with me

i don't even have a "nice" one...i have a $10 swissgear (wenger) from wally world and it does just fine

granted, i've never placed all of my weight on it, but that's the not purpose, for me...the purpose is to give you additional leverage in the terrain, be it rocks or sand or water or whatever...there are a number of times i've ended up hiking in the snow/rain/mud and been very grateful for my cheap aluminum trekking pole, since it's kept me from slipping any number of times

then again, maybe i'm just clumsy

2/16/2010 1:46:38 PM

se7entythree
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yeah, see, i guess i just don't know what you're supposed to do with them. i have good balance and i'm fairly agile and just didn't understand why i'd need one. i probably won't try it out...

2/16/2010 1:49:07 PM

wlb420
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Quote :
"any suggestions on water filters. killing bacteria, protozoa, and viruses are important to us of course"


I've been using this:



I used to use a filter, but if you're going to be near fast moving streams where you don't need to worry about actual debris in the water, the drops work great, they take up virtually 0 space and they last forever.

2/16/2010 1:50:24 PM

se7entythree
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^i just looked that up. their website says the product has been discontinued and the 1 page i could find that's selling it is a little sketchy. where do you find it?

2/16/2010 1:56:38 PM

wlb420
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Ordered online....Not sure exactly which site, but looks like they have some:

https://www.travelhealthhelp.com/order-form.html

This site sells a different brand, but looks like they're out of stock:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/aquamira_mcnett.html

It's been a while since I last got any (one package filters 30 gallons and I've only been on a few prolonged trips in the past year or so), so it's possible they stopped making that particular kind, but I haven't heard anything about that type of purification system being banned.

2/16/2010 2:14:47 PM

TheBullDoza
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Quote :
"any suggestions on water filters. killing bacteria, protozoa, and viruses are important to us of course"


moving water I'd say just go with bleach (believe i used 4-5 drops for litre and waited 45 min -hr)...taste didnt bother me as it wasnt that apparent...ponds, i'd use a filter...fuck ponds though


Quote :
"
i tried on the ventilated series packs (aura/atmos) and the straps are really uncomfortable, even after just a couple minutes walking around the store."


hiked the whole AT with an Atmos and loved it. Had no problems with being uncomfortable. make sure to get a size that fits snug. Different packs work for different people, so just find one which fits you best.



[Edited on February 16, 2010 at 2:25 PM. Reason : d]

2/16/2010 2:17:44 PM

se7entythree
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yeah, i'm sure they fit some folks well. i really wish i was one of them too. on all their other women's packs the straps curve out around the neck but the ones on the aura do not.

2/16/2010 2:45:25 PM

quagmire02
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^ i think you might be in the minority there (not criticizing or anything, just noting)...my fiancée picked up the aura before our AT hike and she loves it...i've had two female friends also pick auras out of the many REI offerings because they said they felt leaps and bounds more comfortable than any of the others (at least in that price range)

2/16/2010 3:09:45 PM

se7entythree
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maybe, but that's just how it worked out. chris thought the aether was more comfortable than the atmos too. we're special

2/16/2010 4:22:50 PM

wahoowa
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FYI REI Garage sale at the Cary location is March 6

2/16/2010 7:25:18 PM

Nerdchick
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forget external frame vs. internal

go frameless! You roll up your sleeping pad to become the backpack frame. It's only possible if you have a light load. When I was working in CO I had to carry these crushing loads to resupply the camp ... never again! I have seen the LIGHT! Lightweight that is.

I used the Gossamer Gear Mariposa on my AT section. See how glorious and tiny it is??? notice that I didn't even use the hip belt most of the time. Although this was at the end of the 100-mile wilderness so there's almost no food and the pack would normally be a bit taller.

PS the "AquaMira" brand of water purifier is the most common chemical out there ... it's the brand name version of the one posted earlier



2/16/2010 9:11:15 PM

wahoowa
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ha wow thats pretty cool. Is there a max weight load on those things? Durable?

2/17/2010 11:58:52 AM

Johnny Swank
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I was going to mention the frameless thing, but that's still a real niche concept for some folks.

That said, I thru-hiked it a frameless pack similar to Nerdchick's, and use a homemade frameless pack now. Keep your packweight down, and you can carry your crap in a pillowcase if you want (google Grandma Gatewood) I sew most of my gear now, and wouldn't have it any other way.

AT pack, Jan 11, 2000. 2,150 miles with a glorified bookbag



Current pack

2/17/2010 2:21:23 PM

Scuba Steve
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2/17/2010 2:59:15 PM

arog20012001
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Anyone want to give some more info/tips/tricks/favorite spots in the mount rogers/grayson highlands area? Can it be experienced in a 3 day weekend?

My buddies and I have been considering this area for a while and we normally take long weekend trips. We did Linville Gorge in a long weekend and the Cataloochee Valley (GSM) in a long weekend.

2/17/2010 3:43:43 PM

jataylor
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i have that gregory z55 and it is one of the most comfortable packs ive worn, even with 50-60lbs

2/17/2010 6:27:58 PM

Huarache
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I have a Golite Jam 2 (2008 model) stripped down to about 19 ounces for multi-day hikes as well as a Gossamer Gear Murmur (8 ounces) for weekend trips.

Gossamer Gear
Ultralight Adventure Equipment (awesome packs)
Six Moon Designs
Mountain Laurel Designs

Check these cottage manufacturers out for some sweet ultralight gear.

2/17/2010 7:21:46 PM

1985
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If any of y'all are ever in Oregon, look me up and ill take you backpacking in places you couldn't dream of in NC.

I too was wondering about the trecking poles, i've never used em but I'd like to try em.

I've recently got into snowshoeing and am looking to buy a pair, any advice on that?





[Edited on February 17, 2010 at 7:35 PM. Reason : .]

2/17/2010 7:35:12 PM

omgyouresexy
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A friend of mine got me into backpacking by inviting me along on the trip where we get that horrible picture of quagmire02 above. I'd been hiking before at a couple local places, and it's pretty and all but it wasn't my thing. Backpacking was something totally different. I was probably the coldest I've ever been in my entire life. I loved it, it was beautiful, and it was something else.

I learned, however, the cold is not for me. Any suggestions on places to go when it gets a little warmer? I loved the part of the AT I went on. I'd be down for going somewhere else.

2/17/2010 8:33:05 PM

wahoowa
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^^ Id love to go hiking in Oregon or anywhere on the West Coast. I plan to move out that way someday.

^there are tons of options to choose from. Linville Gorge is popular with alot of people. Youre best bet is to explore....do as many trails as possible.


Quote :
"i have that gregory z55 and it is one of the most comfortable packs ive worn, even with 50-60lbs"


Thats great to hear. It felt great to me when I tried it on at REI and stuffed some weight. Im pretty much sold...just need to break out the checkbook sometime soon.

2/17/2010 8:55:09 PM

Wintermute
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Quote :
"I've recently got into snowshoeing and am looking to buy a pair, any advice on that?"


I have a pair of MSR Denali Classics. They are superior to any other snowshoe I've tried.
Get skis, a way better way to travel the backcountry.

2/17/2010 8:56:54 PM

1985
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^ I'd like to try that, none of my friends do it though

2/17/2010 9:29:17 PM

Nerdchick
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Quote :
"ha wow thats pretty cool. Is there a max weight load on those things? Durable?"


Most frameless packs get uncomfortable at 25-30 pounds. As with any lightweight stuff, it's not as durable and you have to be more gentle than with a mammoth 8lbs-bone-dry Gregory pack. I tore the mesh side pocket early on and had to patch it with duct tape.

But I met several people who hiked the entire AT or PCT with the exact pack I posted. If you take care of your stuff it'll last. Also most lightweight gear companies are small businesses with good customer service - they're willing to fix your stuff if you need it.

2/17/2010 10:09:29 PM

Wintermute
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Black Diamond, as well as other companies, make removable internal frame packs. I have a 35L BD bag like this.
For approaching climbs and carrying a lot of stuff you need the frame but the then the frame gets in your way when you have a climbing harness on.

2/17/2010 10:16:56 PM

wahoowa
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FYI REI is offering 20% off a single item in the outlet store.

http://www.rei.com/cj/outlet?PID=552179&AID=10514129&cm_mmc=CJ-_-Aff-_-552179-_-10514129

3/5/2010 9:55:30 AM

omgyouresexy
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^ Thanks for the heads up. I'm thinking about using the discount to finally get a decent set of cookware, but I could use any opinions you might have.

I'm trying to decide between the Duralite Mini (I'll often be responsible for only myself and MAYBE one other person), cheaper Blacklite, or whether its worth a few bucks more to get the Blacklite Gourmet with the frying pan. The weight is higher, but if having the frying pan is worth it, maybe I'll get. Is the Duralite a lot more durable and will last longer? What say you all?!?!

http://www.rei.com/product/792577 (Blacklite Classic - cheapest )
http://www.rei.com/product/796489 (Blacklite Gourmet - slightly heavier, has frying pan)
http://www.rei.com/product/796490 (Duralite Mini - small, light)

[Edited on March 5, 2010 at 12:27 PM. Reason : lawl @ grammar]

3/5/2010 12:23:41 PM

wahoowa
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^ I would go ahead and splurge on the extra frying pan....its only a difference of $10 and the 20% will give you a bigger discount. Personally, I have never had the desire to fry anything...a pot and a fire are usually all I need to cook. And of course you dont need to bring the frying pan if you know you wont need it to cut out the weight.

Also FYI.....garage sale tomorrow at the Cary location

[Edited on March 5, 2010 at 12:29 PM. Reason : a]

3/5/2010 12:28:40 PM

omgyouresexy
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Yeah, I'm not going to be able to go cause I'll be out of town with the wife. Would I most likely be able to find a cookset there for cheaper? I could see if I could get a friend to go for me.

3/5/2010 12:31:18 PM

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