I’ve got a long 16 day section hike planned for later this summer in Maine and then New Hampshire, primarily on the Appalachian Trail, with a few scenic detours. I’ll be hiking through the 100 Mile Wilderness again, climbing Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park, and then driving back down to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to hike from Pinkham Notch to Franconia Notch along the AT, with detours to Mt Carrigan and the Bonds. Should be an epic trip!
I’ll also be playing host to my friend Martin Rye from England (author of the Summit and Valley Blog), who’s going to be hiking with me. This will be his first time in the United States and I’m looking forward to showing him the best part of it. Martin and I have never met in person, but despite that I’m sure we’ll get along. He helped me plan out my hike across Scotland in the TGO Challenge in 2010 and we’ve corresponded regularly ever since.
August on the New Hampshire and Maine Appalachian Trail is generally hot and humid, with frequent and sustained rain. High temperatures will be in the 90’s with evening lows in the 60 and 70’s, although slightly cooler temperatures are possible at higher elevations or if a cold front is passing through.
The trail in Maine will be wet and muddy and buggy. Despite the heat, I plan on wearing long sleeve shirts and pants which have been pre-treated with Permethrin (Insect Shield), in order to minimize the amount of DEET I have to put on. It’s easy to cool off in Maine by walking into a river or stream or lake, and often unavoidable, because there are so few bridges on the trail and fording is required.
We will probably spend a few nights in AT shelters if they’re not too crowded with thru-hikers. The thru-hiker wave seems a bit ahead of schedule this year, so the trail might be a little more crowded early in August than in previous years. Given the likelihood of sleeping in wooden lean-tos, it doesn’t make much sense to bring a heavy tent that we don’t plan on using, plus we both like sleeping under tarps, if it comes to that.
The trail in New Hampshire will be a lot drier and rockier than in Maine. Bugs will also be an issue in the woods, but above treeline the greatest hazard will be afternoon thunderstorms. The trails will be crowded on weekends, but less so on weekdays. Regardless, we’ll mainly be stealth camping deep in the woods to Leave No Trace. I don’t believe Martin has ever hiked in terrain like the White Mountains, so it will be fun to teach him these stealth skills, which are perfectly legal in the area we’ll be hiking.
For the first part of our trip, we expect to hike through the 100 mile Wilderness within 6 days, which should keep the weight of our food to about 10 or 11 pounds each. I’m planning to bring a slightly larger backpack than normal, the new Gossamer Gear Mariposa+, which has 69 liters of capacity with 47 liters of covered storage in the main compartment and 22 liters in external pockets. This should give me plenty of capacity to carry more food if we want to do some long wilderness detours later in our trip.
Backpacking Gear List
There’s a fair amount of change in my clothing and gear mix this year over last, because I’ve worn through a lot of my old backpacking clothes. I’ll also be trying a very low cost aluminum pot from Olicamp that has a built in heat exchanger (like a Jetboil) to save fuel, in addition to a canister based stove that I’ve been using for the past year.
In terms of water purification, I’m leaning toward using chlorine dioxide again because it requires shorter break times at streams. While filtering water using my Sawyer filter is fairly efficient, it still takes longer than I like if I’m trying to hike a fast pace.
Other than that, I’ve made the switch to a quilt from a sleeping bag for summer backpacking, which has actually added a bit more weight to my sleep system, but also added a few more degrees of comfort.
All in, I consider this gear list fairly luxurious, even though it’s still under 13 pounds. With 6 days of food and 2 liters of water this brings my load up to about 28 pounds total and 33-34 pounds skin out which is not bad as a maximum trip weight, especially since I’ll “eat down” the weight fairly rapidly.
If you have any questions about the items in this gear list, feel free to leave a comment.
|Gossamer Gear Mariposa+ Backpack||25|
|Gossamer Gear Sitlight Pad||1.5|
|Gossamer Gear Pack Liner||1|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite (Regular)||12|
|Jacks ‘R’ Better 8×8 Silnylon Tarp||5.3|
|Mountain Laurel Designs Plastic Ground Cloth||1.7|
|10 X tent stakes and stuff sack||4|
|Extra Ties for Tent Platforms||0.5|
|Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down 35 Quilt||22|
|MLD Superlight Bivy Bag with head net||6.9|
|Camp Clothes/Rain Gear|
|Golite Tumalo 2.5 Layer Rain Pants||8.4|
|Patagonia Capilene 1 Bottom Long Underwear||6|
|Gold Toe Synthetic Socks, 2 pr||3|
|Icebreaker GT Run Ace Crewe Shirt LS||7.7|
|EMS Helix Technical Shell||18.2|
|Mountain Laurel Designs eVent Rain Mitts||1.4|
|Black polypro glove liners||1.4|
|Mountain Hardware polypro hat||0.8|
|Monbell Tachyon Wind Shirt||2.6|
|1 x 3L Platypus Bladder||1.5|
|90 x Katadyn Micropur Chlorine Dioxide Tablets||5|
|Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter minus plastic bags||3.5|
|2 X Qt Recycled Soda Bottles||2|
|Cut down Platypus Water Scoop||0.5|
|Gear Repair and First Aid Bag||7.2|
|Kitchen and Camp|
|MLD Spinnaker Bear Bag, Rope, Rock Sack||2.7|
|OPSack Odor Proof Liner||1.1|
|Olicamp XTS Aluminum Pot with Heat Exchanger||6.7|
|SOTO OD-1R Canister Stove||2.6|
|MSR Camp Towel||0.8|
|BPL Long Titanium spoon||0.3|
|Suunto A10 Baseplate compass||0.9|
|Panasonic Lumix Lx3 digital camera||9.3|
|Black Diamond Spot Headlamp||7|
|Spot II GPS Satellite Messenger||4.1|
|2 extra Camera batteries, filter, brush||7.2|
|Maps and AT Guide Pages||1.5|
|Digital Tape Recorder||2|
|Personal Items/Stuff Sack||3.9|
|Dermatone tin – Sun tan lotion||0.8|
|QiWiz Big Dig Ti Trowel||0.5|
|Total gear weight in lbs||12.87|
|RailRiders EcoMesh Long Pants (Insect Shield)||13|
|RailRiders Madison River Shirt (Insect Shield)||10|
|Pacer Poles (Aluminum)||23|
|Inov8 Terroc 330 Trail Runners||24.6|
|Gold Toe Synthetic Socks||1.5|
|Under Armour Boxer Jocks||3.5|
|Golite Team Hat||1.8|
|Total weight worn, in lbs||4.84|