Appalachian Adventures, part 1: Gear

In November I’ll be embarking on what I consider to be the first real adventure of my 20’s. I’m gonna hike 60 miles of the Appalachian trail, and I’m beyond excited! I’m on a tight budget from only working part time this summer, and have little to no experience camping. My boyfriend and I are planning it together and we are going to start at Springer Mountain and end somewhere around Tray Mountain. We are both in college so this trip is gonna be compacted into our week long Thanksgiving break. We’re trading turkey for granola and it’s gonna be great. The 8 day trek through the wilderness isn’t for a while, but the adventure starts now.

So how do you begin to prepare?
1. Figure out what the biggest purchases will be. For most hikers that’s the backpack, boots, a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad. My boyfriend will be carrying our tent so I don’t have to worry about that. The first two things on the list are probably going to be the ones you need to break in the most before the big hike. Most people will recommend going to a store and trying on the pack and boots before buying them online, and I agree. Although that’s totally not what I did. Hahaha, whoops! Anyhow, I got a TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame pack in Mecca Orange for my pack, and the Montrail Womens Fluid Fusion Mid Outdry for my boots.

My experience:

The pack was a pain in the shoulders for the first practice hike. I won’t say a pain in the butt, because that’s not where it was, haha. I didn’t have it adjusted properly so all the weight was weighing down on my shoulders instead of my hips, where it was supposed to be. HOWEVER. Once I got everything adjusted correctly, it was flawless. (And no, it didn’t wake up like that.) There’s enough room to fit everything, it holds my hydration bladder perfectly and fits my size very well. The only bad thing I can say about this bag so far is that there aren’t pockets on the hip straps.

When I was going to pick out my shoes I was originally going to get some Timberland ones until I found this blog post. {http://bearfoottheory.com/montrail-hiking-boot-review/} -and once I read it, I was convinced I needed some. I ended up getting them from Amazon and I chose the kind without the leather, basically for the fact that they were cheaper. There’s a lot of debate in the hiking world as to whether trail runners or hiking boots are better. Along those same lines, people argue about water proofing for their shoes. From my findings I had decided that I wanted something like a trail runner, and hiking boot combined. I also really don’t care much about the water proofing so the fact that these are waterproof, didn’t bother me too much. The main things I was looking for were that the boots were fairly inexpensive, had good ankle support, and a good grip on the bottom. This shoe has it all. As for the water proofing/trail runner debate, I’m totally impartial because I have no experience with either. I haven’t broken in these shoes either, so all I can say for now is that they seem to be a perfect combination of everything I was looking for, so I’m quite pleased.

Some of the other things I’ve gotten include a sleeping bag, a hydration bladder, headlamp and water filter. Like I said, I haven’t done much with my gear, but I really do enjoy what I’ve purchased so far and think it will do me well on the trail.

More experiences:

For my sleeping bag I got the TETON Sports Tracker +5-Degree F Ultralight Sleeping Bag. This looks like an awesome sleeping bag to have. The bag itself is super lightweight and fluffy. Yeah, I said fluffy. The inside is soft and I’m excited to nap in it and try it out. The bag it comes in has four straps on the sides where you can pull them to cinch the bag down to the most compact size possible. There are also two clips that help compress it down as well. Right now it takes some serious arm muscles to get it into the compartment of the backpack where it belongs, but that will hopefully get better over time.

I’ll talk about the hydration pack and water filter together since they sort of work together. I didn’t spend a huge chunk of change on my hydration pack because I still have to put gas in my car y’all. So I checked out Amazon, and found the Outdoor Products 2L Reservoir. It was only $10 and had 4 stars. Some of the more negative reviews were about the bite valve, which is super important and the taste of the water. But the good outweighed the bad so I took the plunge. Dun dun duuuuun! And it’s fantastic. It doesn’t leak all over the place…it doesn’t leak at all actually. I’ve had zero problems with the water taste and the bite valve works exactly as it should. Bite valves can be tricky and they take some practice to get used to in my opinion. It’s all about where you bite and how big the slit is for the water to come out of. If you make sure the slit is as wide as the valve, there should be no problem. It’s just trial and error basically, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. Then I got the Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System. I really haven’t gotten to test this out yet, so I don’t have much to say honestly. But I will keep y’all updated!

These are just some things that I’ve learned so far, and I’ll update every now and then as the hike gets closer and more gear comes in. I’ll also write about how the training and practice hikes go as well. Leave a comment if you’ve been hiking or have any tips or tricks for me!

***P.S. I don’t own any of the pictures of the products, I got them off Google Images so if I need to change them PLEASE let me know! I don’t want to break any copyright laws or anything!***

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Hey y’all!

I’m Quinn, and this is the blog where I’ll talk about everything related to hiking and camping and any other kind of adventures I might go on. I had previously been posting these to my other blog, Quinnly. The reason I changed to have two separate blogs is because I really enjoy fashion and beauty and lifestyle type things and didn’t want to have these two completely different topics getting all jumbled up together. So if you’re into adventures, follow me here. If you’re into more of the other stuff, then this might not be for you. I’m very new to the hiking/backpacking world but I love reading about it, experiencing it and getting to learn from others.