Originally Posted by Cannibal
Mid-Feb? Plan accordingly!
It's gonna be cold, wet, windy, and cold. I would almost call rain gear a must on the southern AT until late March. Even if it doesn't actually rain, snow, sleet, or hail (probably will) the rain gear will do a marvelous job of keeping you warm on those windy days and nights. The bonus, the views are fantastic and forever!
Got a gear list put together yet? What's on your wish-list? Whiteblaze is a very good resource and the archives have pure AT gold contained within them. If you can get past some of the nonsense, there really is great info to be found over there. Baltimore Jack's Resupply Guide was probably the single most valuable piece of information I found online prior to my AT hike. Still, there are one or ten of us over here that have put boot to that trail. That Blackbird you have listed is a lot of cookie weight...just sayin.
PLUS: some of the support services aren't open or at least not fully functional for that early of a start. You may need to be prepared for arriving to a sign that says, "Open in 3 days" or similar.
Being a section hiker, I also second Baltimore Jack's guide to supply along the AT, stellar advice.
And, though it pains me to say, as Cannibal says, If/When I get to thru, I 'm leaving my Blackbird at home, going with something smaller / lighter. Being only 5' 7" I happily fit a Grand trunk UL To me, not quite as comfortable, but by using it I have more "cookie room"
Plus my top AND under quilts both fit the Black Bishop Bag, whereas with the blackbird, I pretty much need to carry the TQ separately.