Tuesday, March 31, 2009


As of March 31, 2009, the day before I hit the trailhead.

Big Three = pack, shelter, sleeping bag
  • Go-Lite Women's Quest Internal Frame Backpack
  • Eddie Bauer pack rain-cover, saved from the old pack I threw out
  • Sleeping bag, Feathered Friends Hummingbird, gift from friend, double-wrapped in 2 garbage bags (down can't get wet)
  • Silky nylon sleeping-bag liner, homemade
  • Sleeping pad, Therma-Rest Women's Pro-Lite 3, secondhand
  • Auxiliary sleeping pad, 1.5 feet square, to go under hips -- this is rolled and lashed outside my pack
  • Eureka! Zephyr one-person tent, stakes, shock-cord poles, Tyvek ground cloth begged from a home construction site


  • Rain jacket and pants, Marmot Precip
  • Warm layer (running tights, fleece half-zip long-sleeved top, knit hat, fleece mittens, SmartWool socks)
  • Midweight layer (microfiber stirrup tights, short-sleeved wicking polyester tech top from Vermont City Marathon)
  • Basic hiking layer (Danskin running skirt w/ shorts cut out -- they rode up -- long-sleeved wicking polyester tech top from Gasparilla Marathon 2005, Barely There sport bra & undies, SmartWool socks
  • Sandals for camp and for creek crossings, lashed to outside of pack -- Wal-Mart Crocs knock-off, $5
  • Sleepwear (cotton yoga pants, long-sleeved silk shirt, fleece socks)
  • Down jacket, doubles as pillow (Browning, from Gander Mountain, $30 on sale from $100)
  • Mosquito/gnat head net
  • Ironman Florida Finisher cap
  • Extra pair SmartWool socks (3 total, plus sleep socks)
  • Short gaiters, Mountain Hardwear, to keep burrs, rocks, crud out of shoes


  • JetBoil backcountry cookset (gift from Carlene)
  • Fuel canister
  • Bic Flick lighter
  • Nylon spork
  • Stuff sack for food, handle rolls and clips so it can be hung from a bear-baffle cable
  • Peanut-butter jar for soaking dehydrated food from lunchtime till dinnertime
  • Cord for stringing up bear bag


  • 2 20-oz Gatorade bottles, carabiner'ed to outside of pack with "neck nooses"
  • 70-oz Camelbak bladder, rolled inside pack, for extra camp water and to serve as cold pack if needed (can't use it as intended for on-the-fly drinking 'cuz it won't fit in my pack when filled)
  • Clorox, in nasal spray bottle to measure by drops (4 drops per liter)


  • Toothbrush, handle cut in half
  • Dental floss, doubles as sewing thread for repairs; container discarded as extra weight
  • Cup for my stupid front-tooth "flipper" (the fake thing till I get my permanent crown)
  • Small comb (broke down and cut my hair short)
  • Ultralight plastic mirror, cut in half (for getting things out of eyes and checking for deer ticks)
  • Tweezers for tick and splinter removal
  • Disposable razor
  • Tiny bottle hand sanitizer
  • Pocket-pack Kleenex (toilet paper)
  • Handi-wipe -- 1/4 -- as "pee rag" -- rinse after use, hang on pack to dry till next use, replace weekly (yeah, "Ewwww..." unless you're into hiker lore)
  • No digging tool.... I'll arrive at an outfitter's after 4 days and if I decide I need a tool for diging catholes, as opposed to rocks, sticks, heels, I'll get one there
  • 1/4 bar Ivory soap, in mesh scrubbie bag
  • Bandanas -- 2 whole and 2 halves, for sweat rags, handkerchiefs, washcloths, towels, ties for lashing stuff to pack, etc., etc., etc.
  • Antiperspirant stick -- controversial among hikers but I hate wet pits -- in snack baggie, container discarded
  • Contact solution
  • Contact case
  • Extra pair contacts
  • Eye drops for overnight contact wear
  • Backup glasses in case injury or infection precludes contact wear
  • Earplugs for noisy shelters or whippoorwills
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Lip balm (a dab doubles as hand/foot moisturizer)
  • Half small tube sunscreen
  • Nail clippers


  • Ibuprofen
  • Imodium
  • Benadryl
  • Epi-Pen (wasps, yellow jackets, fire ants) plus spare
  • Prescription to ward off nighttime panic attacks
  • Bactrim in case of bladder infection, to which I'm sometimes prone
  • Doxycycline in case of deer tick attachment
  • Skin-itch cream
  • Arnica gel for sore muscles, tendons (it really works)
  • Kinesio tape for tendons
  • Achilles night splints, 2 of 'em
  • Neosporin-To-Go, 2 packets
  • Few alcohol preps


  • Book of Psalms, torn from tiny pocket Bible
  • Irish whistle for playing music
  • Few sheets paper, pen
  • Sharpie marker so hikers can sign my pole
  • Driver's license
  • Insurance card
  • Prescription card
  • List of meds, emergency contact info
  • Bank card
  • Cash
  • Pen knife: cutting blade, nail file, tiny scissors
  • Watch (worn)
  • Headlamp (Petzl Tikkini)
  • Trail guide, current pages (future ones to be sent in mail drops)
  • 50 pages of a Dean Koontz book (future ones to be sent in mail drops)
  • Cell phone (will be turned off except when checking in w/ Steve and checking messages)
  • Digital camera (size of cassette tape) w/ extra battery & memory card
  • Chargers for both of these (charge when in town)

Believe it or not, all this plus food for 4.5 days (the .5 in case of emergency) and 20 oz water, weighed 27 pounds on the scale at the registration office. Twenty-seven pounds is a pack weight to be envied, from what I understand. Actually, it will probably come to 28, since my splints, phone, and camera were not in it when weighed.

And I think that's it. Let me know if I've forgotten anything or if this list has been helpful to you!


elizabeth said...

That's awesome! I wish you much luck! I'll look forward to you posting when you can - happy hiking!

Anonymous said...

hi! my name is sarah bodary, i stumbled upon your blog while researching the Appalachian trail. My goal is to do the whole thing in 2011! i have very little experience backpacking but i am tough and know i have the will to complete the difficult task. I'm 20 years old and inexperienced but i figure now or probably never so wish me luck! :) You are definitely an inspiration to me! i have never been a runner but i have set the goal for myself to run a marathon. I recently discovered i also love rock climbing, i noticed you want to work on your upper body strength, climbings a fun and great way to do that!

PureLight said...

Did you end up using the rain cover?