Appalachian Trail Gear

We’ve finalized our Appalachian Trail thru hike gear! It’s similar to our PCT gear but even lighter. Check out our full AT gear list at:

https://wanderingthewild.com/gear/at-gear-2013/

Here are some of the new items we’ll be carrying on the Appalachian Trail:

Northstar wearing Marmot Crystalline jacket and ULA Rain Kilt
Northstar twirls in her new rain jacket and kilt.

Rain gear:

Northstar will wear a Marmot Crystalline women’s rain jacket on the AT. This minimalist jacket weighs just 6.2 ounces. It’s durable and protective, yet small enough to pack into its own pocket.

She’ll trade rain pants for a well-ventilated ULA rain kilt (2.9 oz). In addition to providing rain protection, this will allow some modesty when washing all our clothing in town.

Shutterbug will be sporting a 7.1 oz Rab Pulse rain jacket. Rab has managed to keep this jacket light while integrating a very functional and adjustable hood.

Montbell’s Dynamo wind pants will provide Shutterbug with basic wind and rain protection. They’re very breathable, and at 2.6 oz, they’re lighter than his shorts!

Appalachian Trail Food Resupply

We created our Appalachian Trail food resupply plan with two priorities in mind:

  1. Stay close to the trail. We prefer to remain in the wilderness away from city noises and distractions. We’ll walk to our resupply points and avoid cars and shuttles wherever possible.
  2. Keep it strictly vegetarian and mostly organic. We’ll buy from grocery stores where feasible and ship food boxes to areas with slim vegetarian pickings.

We used a similar resupply strategy on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and it worked very well. On our Appalachian Trail (AT) thru hike we plan to buy food at 16 stores and pick up 20 maildrops. Some sections of the AT run close to convenience stores and restaurants. In those sections we will carry less food than normal.

Five Lessons from the Trail

Our thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail taught us many things. Here are five of the most important lessons we learned on the trail.

Marmot on the alert

Senses awaken in nature. After years of living in a city, our minds subconsciously created filters to deal with the contant  jumble of sensory information. It was thrilling to remove those mental filters and reawaken our senses in the great outdoors. The crack of a distant twig alerted us to an elk, almost hidden in the forest. We could smell day hikers’ deodorant and laundry detergent from several feet away. Our eyes tracked the subtle movements of a soaring hawk adjusting to shifting air currents. The longer we lived in the wild, the sharper our senses became.

People are good. On the trail, day hikers and trail angels gave us encouragement, kudos, and tasty food. Other thru hikers shared our joy during good times, and cheered us up during harder moments. Crews of volunteers labored to maintain the trail. The people we met in the small towns along the PCT were incredibly friendly and accommodating. Strangers went out of their way to give us rides, find us rooms, and some even offered us their homes for a night. The kindness and generosity we received went beyond anything we could have expected. We saw the fundamental goodness of people during our thru hike.