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  1. #1
    Member DanversPort's Avatar
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    Advice for the AT

    Hey guys, I had a few specific questions in preparation for my hammock jaunt on the AT. Iím looking to head north to Maine in the beginning of May starting in PA, and I may be able to start at MAHHA (after the raffle and dinner of course) if my schedule lines up.

    Anyway, here are a few questions:

    1) Pillows: What hammock pillows can people suggest for lightweight, comfortable options while hiking? Iím looking for something to stabilize my head so I donít strain my neck or need to put my arm behind my head. I havenít had any luck with my clothes bag double-tasking as a pillow, but if youíve had good experience with a Zpacks or similar fabric lined drybag option, Iíd love to hear.

    2) Snakeskins: what suggestions do you have for snakeskins on a Cuben Fiber doored Tarp? My Hennessy ones seem too tight, have people sewn mesh ones for CF tarps that work well?

    3) Shoes: has anyone hiked in Altra Lone Peaks or Hoka One One Speedgoats, and have any feedback on them?

    4) Food staples: Iím not planning on pre-buying much food other than what Iíll start with, but come my first resupply, what are your favorite suggestions to be found in a grocery or convenience store?

    5) Starting in PA: Iíve done some of the AT in VT and NH, but not much in PA and NJ- can those whoíve braved the rocks tell me a little bit about the section? It seems seemingly non-glamorous in comparison to New England but Iím certainly still excited to start here.

    6) Total pack weight suggestions: can those that have hiked big mileage clue me in on base weights that they were content with carrying?

    Let me know your thoughts

  2. #2

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    #2... I have mesh snake skin (single) from Hammock Gear... Fits my SF nicely. Good luck! Keep us all posted as you go.

  3. #3
    Ldog's Avatar
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    Advice for the AT

    For a pillow, I love my Exped Air Pillow UL M in my hammock. Has a curve that cradles my neck. 45g

    Hiking north from PA will be great. It starts easy and gets progressively harder. Each step prepping one for the next. I liked PA. Lehigh Gap at sunset is a highlight of all my AT sections. Donít think of the rocks in a negative light, think of them as an opportunity to dance with Mother Earth! There are some breathtaking views, and enough rock climbing to build the confidence one needs further north.

    Real hikers dance with their mothers.

    LDog

  4. #4
    johnspenn's Avatar
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    For a pillow:

    I've been using the small inflatable pillow here: https://www.litesmith.com/flexair-inflatable-pillows/ ... only 16 g and works great in a hammock about halfway inflated.

    Caveat- you will need to figure out how to carry and keep up with at least 6" of something like a straw/hollow tube to inflate it. I use a pocket bellows and it serves double duty to inflate my pillow.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deerless View Post
    #2... I have mesh snake skin (single) from Hammock Gear... Fits my SF nicely. Good luck! Keep us all posted as you go.
    This is the same snakeskin I use and really like it because it's a single rather than two that meet in the middle. Great piece of gear, I highly recommend!

  6. #6
    Senior Member soul embrace's Avatar
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    I love this pillow: http://www.hammockgear.com/hammock-gear-pillow/ small light weight and being made out of down it compresses really well
    There's magic in the woods,
    if you know where to look for it.
    -Pete's Dragon

  7. #7
    Senior Member j-Fish's Avatar
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    For a pillow I prefer to use my outdoor research down vest. It stuffs into its own pocket and zips up to a little square of down goodness. A little clip becomes exposed when you stuff it and I attach that to a length of shock cord I have attached to my ridgeline so it doesn't slide down while I am sleeping. When I wake up I just take it out of its own pocket and put it on.

    I just started using the Altra lone peaks. Really love them so far but only got about 30 miles on them.

  8. #8
    Peppy's Avatar
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    I haven't been on the AT (yet), but several shorter ones. I can't offer help in every area but maybe this will help.

    Concerning issue #1- if you are taking a vest/jacket anyway, it can serve well and being a multiuse item it cuts weight. Having said that, my go to pillow (after owning dozens) is the one from Simply Light Designs. Cheap and functions perfectly. I never travel without mine.

    Concerning issue #3- I use Altra Olympus 2's and Hoka Stinson ATR's, no issues at all. My max mileage is usually 18 miles with 10 being a minimum per day.

    Concerning issue #6- My summer weight is usually between 12-14lbs, and my winter weights are usually 18-24. I know it's a wide range, but maybe will give you an idea.

    Hope some of that helps! Best of luck, and enjoy the journey!
    Hammock Tourist / Hammock Fiend / Hammock Therapist

  9. #9
    Senior Member Vanhalo's Avatar
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    I just hiked from the NOC to Fontana Dam with my hammock and Altra Olympus 2.5s. I had no issues with trail runners and my feet.

    Whatever you can do to simplify your gear...do it......On the last day I was throwing everything in the pack liner and revisiting my tarp deployment process (it was just taking too long).

    You are just too tired to deal with the fiddle factor.

    Also I was surprised that a good set of trees was not always relaible @ each shelter site. Usually someone is already using the best set of trees.

    On Cheoah Bald I am pretty sure I hung my hammock across the Appalachian Trail. They were the only trees on the site that worked for me.

    Blackbird XLC/HG Winter Palace on Cheoah Bald (across the AT...whoops)
    0060.jpgScreenshot at 2018-03-19 21:40:08.png



    Having my hammock in a lazy tube was very helpful.
    Last edited by Vanhalo; 03-21-2018 at 07:33.
    "...in Florida, she felt air conditioning for the first time, and it was cold and unnatural upon her skin."
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Shrewd's Avatar
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    Advice for the AT

    Woooo buddy Iím excited for ya! I hiked t last year with my trusty Blackbird. Let me tackle your questions here.

    1) Pillows: I picked up a down pillow from Loco Libre when I ordered my underquilt. It doesnít do anything if youíre on the ground but it was great for behind my neck in a hammock.
    However, by Virginia I was staying up a bit and reading before bed every night. To make this more comfy I used my puffy as a headrest and that evolved into just using my puffy as my pillow. I enjoyed the larger size and being able to wrap it around my head at times.

    2) mesh skins all the way! Theyíre cheaper and more useful, in my opinion. I kept my tarp strapped on the outside of my pack so I wanted it to breathe and dry off as I hiked: I couldnít see why people would purposely use cuben for this purpose but then again I suppose itís better if you stuff your tarp inside you pack?
    Mine was from Mountain Goat Gear, though now I believe Dutch sells them also

    3) Shoes: try them both on at a store if you can. I wore Altras the whole way and was mostly satisfied with them. I would advise on bypassing the lone peaks and splurging for the Olympus; as itís pretty much the same show with more cushioning and better tread.
    My feet were a mess the first 500 miles but when I switched from LPs to the Olympus it made such a difference. Being a big dude (6í3 230) probably was a factor but I noticed lots of people switching to the thicker shoe along the way.
    I briefly wore lone peaks again for a few days in Maine and my foot Pain was notably increased and I was sliding all over those wet rocks.
    Hokaís are known for good cushioning also, Iíve been tentatively checking them out as well

    4) Food staples: ah ye olde resupply.
    Standards for me and lots of people I saw
    Breakfasts: oatmeal, breakfast carnations (often mixed with instant coffee), cereal bars, cliff bars, any other kind of bar, pop tarts.....

    Lunches: ALL THE TORTILLAS, tuna packets, random flavor packets (maya, sriracha...), cheese, summer sausage, cold cuts fresh outta town...more bars

    Dinners: I always cooked a hot dinner, for me the weight was worth it. Commons ones include knorr pasta and rice sides, easy mac (Ymmmmmmm), ramen

    Snacks: more bars, most commonly snickers.

    Random stuff: small ounce Nalgene bottles of olive oil and sriracha (olive oil always leaks, use dedicated ziploc), cheeses, pepperoni slices or sausages or precooked meats to add to dinners, veggies if fresh outta town (I often mixed spinach and sausage with my easy mac).
    Youíll get a handle on this quite quickly and start to experiment. Oh! A tub of peanut butter

    5) Starting in PA: the rocks really do suck, but they certainly arenít worse than the rocks youíre climbing in the Whites. The thing about Pa is that the rocks (which still totally suck) often hit nobos right around the time the worst of the summer heat and bugs do. At least that was the cause behind a lot of my frustrations.
    The state in general is really quite flat, however, and offers some real nice camping spots as well as road crossings near a town or pub.
    Thereís a fire station in Port Clinton that has its own bar and is really quite friendly to thru hikers
    The rocks were really only bad for the last 3 days for me, so the last 50 or so miles. Then you hit the Delaware water gap and youíre into jersey, which I quite enjoyed.

    6) Total pack weight suggestions:
    This is a super personal thing and youíll get lots of peoples opinions and maybe a third of those people have thrued.
    All I can do is tell you what I carried.
    My starting base weight was around 15 and dropped to around 12 once it got warm and mostly stayed there.
    I did my research and went light, but not ultra light. I found it important to stay as comfortable as I could because a lot about long distance hiking totally sucks! Small things like a pillow weigh little but can greatly and positively effect your quality of life.

    The longer you go the easier youíll find it is to slowly strip away inessentials from your pack. A decent rule of thumb is if you havenít used it in a week, maybe think about sending it home.

    Do you have a gear list? Iíd be happy to go over it with you.
    Last edited by Shrewd; 03-21-2018 at 08:18.

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