Gear Review after 100 miles on OHT

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I had lots of internal notes on what I packed that I wanted to help myself remember and share.

FILTER BOTTLE $40 (link)

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For this trail, this bottle was perfect and the source of 90% of my water. I was crossing water seemingly every mile and it was really easy to top this off all the time. I generally left the water in my camelpack alone as a reserve and just used this bottle. I also felt comfortable pouring water out of it to cook with. Dipping it in streams I would see a few things floating around in it, so whenever I refilled I dumped out whatever was remaining. After 6 days and a lot of litters through it the flow seemed just as good and the filter looks cleaned. When I got to potable water spigots I would rinse it all out. I never pumped water through a filter and am really glad I had this.

ASSORTED CARABINERS $7 (link)

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I had planned to take a couple of these but Pops got a pack of cheep random size ones and I found myself using all of them all the time. They made hanging my gear at night easier, keeping my pack organized, helped stuff to dry, less knots to mess with, less worry of things getting dropped or left.

TARP $30 (link)

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I thought I loved my tube tarp but I like this one a lot more. It packs almost as small and this shape provides a lot more cover and was ideal for making a covered patio area when hanging out in the hammock. I also really liked the light but strong spikes, each corner came with about 6′ of cord that I left tied all the time and there were 2 really long cords that made a nice ridgeline for the tarp and hammock. Each corner has a seemingly strong plastic loop to hook on to.

GROUND PAD (not pictured)

I just wanted to note I took a self inflating air pad and in hindsight I think a foam pad when hammock camping would be preferable. I’d guess it would conform to the curved shape of the hammock better. Also when around thorns or sharp things would not need to worry about puncture and could sit on it during rest stops. I didn’t sit on my pad when not in the hammock but I did let it inflate then roll it some sideways with the valve open to let some air out and get it in a better shape. I have a little camp chair that I think could double as hammock pad with just a little piece of foam I hope to try next time.

SMART WATCH $150 (link)

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I found this watch really useful. This main face is very customize-able and you can see besides time of day it will tell me the sun rise and set times, date, distance traveled that day, steps that day, altitude at that point and battery life. I also found it’s information on my pace, floors traveled (flight of stairs = 10ft in elevation),  and how much of my day had elevated heart rate interesting. The altitude and full screen compass combined with the topo maps was the most useful and the rest was just kind of interesting stuff. The mileage seemed to be pretty far off but would help with planning on my next rest stop. On my 6 day hike I did need to charge it once and sometimes the alerts for flights climbed got to be excessive.

SOLAR PANEL CHARGER $66 (link)

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This panel fits really well on my pack and I could clip it on with large grommets making it easy to get around if I needed something in my pack. I could charge 2 things at once and it seemed to charge well even in the shade. I also took 2 spare batteries. I kept my phone off at night and in airplane mode when below 1,500ft so I didn’t need to charge it much. I intentionally ran down 1 of my batteries for testing and this charged it up on a hike pretty easily. Cons would be it is pretty heavy, you really should have a battery for it to charge and even keeping it in a zip-lock I was nervous about getting it wet.

GUIDEBOOK/TOPOMAPS/GOOGLE MAPS $12 (link)

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My dad thought all 3 was excessive but I found it to be perfect. Most of the trail is well marked and you don’t need anything. However I found it nice to look and read ahead to plan breaks and camps in the best spots. I had downloaded the google maps on my phone ahead of time and would usually start there to see where I was in relation to them. Then it was easy to find myself on the topo maps and see where creeks and hills were ahead of me. The topo also sometimes indicated campsites. The guide book maps were really general but they had an easy reference for how much climbing or descending you were doing and they were super detailed about every turn in the trail and what to look for.

COOK STUFF

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I took 1 cup, 1 plate/bowl, 1 pot with handle and lid, 1 spoon/fork, fold up stove and lots of fuel. The plate bowl did not add much space or weight but I rarely ate out of it. I used it more to hold the spoon or other things out of the dirt then anything.  I usually ate out of the pot. I found the cup nice so I could have coffee or tea at the same time as food. I liked the plastic spoon so I didn’t worry about scraping the pot and actually used the saw part of the fork to help with some packaging. I had a multitool I barely uses I ended up ditching part way. I only used 2 partial fuel canisters the whole time and I had planned on a lot more. They took up a lot of space and I may look into an alcohol stove in the future.

COMPRESSION SACK $13 (link) not pictured

I borrowed a couple from Jon and I’m sold. I had a pretty small light sleeping bag so was able to stuff my sleep clothes into the bottom then my bag then hamock and hanging cordage. Once all of that was in I could compress it all down and fit it nicely across the bottom section of my pack. It seemed to be somewhat water resistant and was great when I stopped for the night or for a hammock break. When packed in the right order I could open it up and have everything I needed in order as I setup and not have to mess with the rest of my pack. I found my pack to feel really empty with so much of my gear in this sack.

POCKETS and ZIP PANTS

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Most of this is common sense but I did get better as I went. I ended up on my pack to have my lifestraw water bottle on one side and my bear spray and trail mix on the other side so I could reach those 3 things immediately with low effort. I liked having a mix of dehydrated fruit and peanuts to snack on without stopping.  In my pants pockets I had my pocketknife a lighter and a granola bar in the top right, the gorilapod cell phone mount and a pen in my right cargo. There were quite a few places I passed they wanted you to sign in and I found it to be too much work if I had to dig through my pack to find a pen but a nice easy break if my pen was handy. I had my cell phone in the top left pocket and the little waterproof sack for my phone in the cargo left. Having the waterproof sack handy made me way more likely to put it on my phone even if I was pretty sure I would not slip or step in a deep spot. I used my butt pockets for trash but emptied them whenever I got into my food bag. I kept my food in 1 large ziplock and other random supplies in 1 large ziplock. I had my poop shovel and travel klenex packs and sunscreen on the big back section of my pack so they could be grabbed quick. I put my maps and guidebook ziplock in the top pocket with my microfiber towel because they were light and if I was sitting down I could get to them without too much movement.

RANDOM NOTES

I went back and forth on boots or tennis shoes and I think boots was the right answer, the uneven rocks were hard enough on the soles of my feet.

I took a pair of hiking socks and a pair of sleeping socks and I needed a 3rd pair and something like smartwool not a cheep thick sock.

Being solo it was really nice to have music and books on my phone when killing time in a hot afternoon or before bed. I had a real paperback book but ditched it early on.

I took wool glove liners and a backup pair of pants but never used them. I did use my stocking cap at night and early in the mornings.I liked having long underwear that I just used for sleeping.

I’m glad I had a headlamp and kept it close but never used it.

After seeing the photo quality I think I would have been happy to carry my big heavy SLR. Also I may have taken my time and enjoyed getting some nicer pictures.

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