Making Plans for a Long Hike

Physical Conditioning

Physical fitness is without a doubt a top priority when preparing for a hike like the Appalachian Trail. Most of us do not think of being in shape when we think of being physically prepared for a straightforward 6-mile, challenging hike. The major differences are:

-the burden of your loaded pack on your back. – Your trail conditioning will benefit greatly from shorter multi-day hikes with a heavy pack; the longer the better.

* With that pack on your back, you hike for days on end. – I haven’t yet found a way to replicate the conditioning needed for daily 10- to 20-mile hikes with a heavy pack. (I found out the hard way what no real condition resulted in when starting a 9-day hike on the Appalachian Trail)


Where the most weight may be found in your pack are the items that you absolutely must have. Such articles are:

– The law of nature states that space will be filled if it is available. With your backpack, that will be the case. You can therefore choose the size of your pack. Again, speaking from personal experience, I began with a backpack with a 6,000 cubic inch capacity. Before I realized the load was too much for me to bear, that pack covered about 200 miles. I looked at backpacks and decided to buy one with a 3,850 cubic inch capacity. I haven’t looked back, and I’ve taken numerous 9-day hikes on the AT with that pack.

– The number of hikers on the trip has a big impact on the tent size. If the tent’s design made it possible to divide the weight almost evenly between the two hikers, a two-person tent would be ideal for two hikers. If not, two tents are the solution. How the question changes to “how little space do I need.” D I must be able to set up in the tent with complete accuracy. The responses to each of these queries will have a significant impact on the weight of the tent. The choice is one that you make for yourself.

– How cold will it get in the sleeping bag? Type filling comes in second. In general, synthetics weigh more. Sleeping bags with down filling are more lightweight. Wet down sleeping bags have received some criticism, I’ve heard. I traveled more than 100 miles in a down-filled sleeping bag that was 20 degrees in a week of nonstop rain. That sleeping bag is still with me.

-The weight of the stove and its accompanying utensils is typically equivalent to that of the fuel. I’ve always carried a very light stove and a canister of propane because I think they’re great. Solid fuel stoves are lighter when using alcohol. I’ve observed alcohol and a pop can cut in half being used by through-hikers on the AT. Once more, this is a private matter. The dried foods available today can be consumed directly from the container. I’ve discovered that a small titanium pot with a lid works well and serves as a handy container for packing a stove and a cleaning cloth.

What additional actions do I want to take are decided after these decisions have been made.

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