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Last minute gear questions:

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gringodevil
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Last minute gear questions:

Post by gringodevil » Mar 25 2018 4:21 pm

Hola HAZzers,
In about 5 days, I am doing a 2-3 week stretch of AZT, yet to be determined (which means I will probably figure it out on plane), something between passages 18-31. I have been reading the varied forums here, and some gear lists, the majority of which are for PCT, only a few for AZT, as it seemed hard to find detailed and recent AZT gear lists--maybe I missed something. A few gear questions:

What are people doing to secure food where there are no trees?--I don't have an ursack or other rodent-proof sack,bear canister out of question--I'm thinking well-sealed drybag suspended a few feet off ground via hiking poles--your thoughts?

From reading some posts, it seems that a number of people are not bringing rain jackets? I was planning on taking mine, for layering protection, another 9 oz., but maybe that is my Alaska brain thinking, where storms are intermittent here throughout the year--your thoughts?.

7oz down jacket at this time of year--overkill?

45 degree down bag vs. 20 degree down bag that weights less than half?

I have on order 13500 Anker battery pack and Anker 15W solar panel--I have read some debate on the forums here about that. Some say that you can get a decent charge while hiking, to charge your battery bank, some say that you are better off just carrying more or larger mh battery banks instead of carrying 12-15oz panel and recharging once a week at resupply points--your thoughts?

When I am looking at pack lists, I don't seem to see anybody carrying flip flops or Kindles--I am planning on bringing both--I know I will go straight to ultralight hell, bit it's a quality of life issue--am I the only one?

I am looking at bringing printed maps and compass, and iphone with Guthook AZT app, no GPS--I will recharge iphone from battery bank --thoughts from anyone who has done that, or that is the norm now?

I understand that you have been in drought for several years. I have downloaded the last water report, I know the AZT app has the latest water reports. I am not planning on pre-cacheing any water--any worries doing that in early/mid-April?

Thanks in advance. Russell

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KwaiChang
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by KwaiChang » Mar 25 2018 5:08 pm

How you planning on charging that kindle?? Mine takes FOREVER to charge and I wouldn't take it with me while hiking.....jmho
Out of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most.....

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rcorfman
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by rcorfman » Mar 25 2018 10:54 pm

@gringodevil
Hi Russell, I'm Russell. Nice to meet you.

I never worried about my food and bears when I hiked the AZT, just smaller critters. When I used a tent, I'd usually hang my food just to keep the mice away. When I used a tarp or cowboy camped, I just put my food bag by my head. YMMV. Maybe an OPSak?

I think a 45 degree bag would be a bit light this time of year, especially the farther north you go. It very well may get nice and nippy at night.

I got rained on several times on the AZT. It has been a dry year so far, but who knows when a storm may blow through.

If you enjoy hanging around camp in the evening and reading, then the puffy would be a nice comfort.

Enjoy your hike!
Go find a LonelyCache

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ultrazona
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by ultrazona » Mar 26 2018 4:30 pm

I have been aggressively section hiking it this year to finish it by May.

- Bring a rain jacket for sure.
-A warmer bag is always advised as the weather at the high elevations can get pretty chilly with the winds. We have had multiple nights in the high 20's at elevation this year.
-We always use a Ursack but have never had a bear issue. Seen them but never near our food. As mentioned, small critters are more an issue then the bears. Elevating your food in a tree, fence post, or other highpoint will not be difficult.
-Although not ideal you can use the Kindle app on your phone and then only have to charge one device.
-If you need camp shoes check out the Sockwa G4. They provide just enough protection from AZ ground, yet weight a few ounces and pack small.
-The water reports on the app have been a lifesaver. We have found a $7 1 micron felt filter bag to be a lifesaver for prefiltering the raunchy water sources along the route. We use it to supplement our drops, which is our preferred method for the water sources.

Hope this helps and have fun.
ultrazona.com

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gringodevil
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by gringodevil » Mar 30 2018 8:32 am

@KwaiChang

Hi Kwai,
I have a 15Kmah Anker battery bank--I was planning on recharging with that, if need be. In civilization, I can read the Kindle paperwhite for 7-10 days between charges, probably longer if I dim down the brightness, so maybe I would recharge it only when re-supplying.

I thought about the Kindle app to read on, but I am thinking that it is far less energy efficient to read on compared to Kindle. Given that I was planning on using iphone for GPS device (in addition to backup paper maps and compass), I was thinking it would be better and more energy efficient to have a separate device, apart from the PITHA of trying to read on a kindle.

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gringodevil
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by gringodevil » Mar 30 2018 8:37 am

@rcorfman

Hi Rcorf,
thanks for your sage advice. I don't have to deal much with rodentia in AK, so it is good to get some local knowledge. I was thinking the same thing re: (rain jacket, warmer bag), erring on the side of caution, but just wanted to make sure I'm not overdoing things.

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gringodevil
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by gringodevil » Mar 30 2018 8:51 am

@ultrazona

Hi ultra,
thanks so much for your tips, especially plinking out from the trail! I will check out the sockwa. I think I will test out reading on Kindle app, and see if I go crosseyed, and look at battery consumption compared to Kindle.

I will look for 7micron felt filter bag. From your 'supplement' water response, it sounds like you are pre-cacheing the majority of your water? Do you do that in 1-day intervals or whenever a road intervenes with the trail? When you are doing that, where are you putting your water? I've read something about occasional boxes for that, but I would imagine there would be many spots without. Do you bury it? I am thinking about Everglades, where I learned the raccoons and other critters learned to chew holes in your water containers...

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gringodevil
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by gringodevil » Mar 30 2018 9:02 am

Me again--everyone, thanks so much for all of your input.

A few remaining questions, apologies for redundancy:

How common is it to not bring GPS, only guthook app and paper maps/compass?
Is anyone bringing a solar panel??? or is that negated by battery banks and recharging every 5-7days at resupply points?
can you update Guthook water reports on smartphone from the trail--do they get updated that often? are you getting enough cell reception to do that?
How common is it for people to pre-drop water for themselves on the trail? is that the norm or the exception? any recommended method?

gracias!

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ultrazona
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by ultrazona » Mar 30 2018 9:23 am

@gringodevil

Because we are only doing a few sections at a time we often are just carrying the water we need if the AZT app water reports don't provide enough. The reports on the app are updated very often right now because of all the Northbounders on the trail. In most areas we have found cell coverage with Verizon along the trail. Obviously there are areas where you don't have it, but most of the Sections we have done from Happy Jack to the Southern Border have had some sort of coverage. You can update the apps water reports offline and then it is updated automatically when you get cell service.

We have seen some water drops along the way, they are labeled with your name and a 'Use After (Date)' so other users can use the water if they need it after you have passed by. The water drops have been placed in a shaded area near the trail but not buried. The cache boxes are still the safest bet though. The AZT water cache boxes are located mainly at trailheads that are semi-easily accessed by vehicles. There have been plenty of trail angels leaving contact information at these locations to assist thru-hikers also. Most the sections we have done have had some sort of water source along the way. Although time consuming we have found it useful to follow your intended route in the app and read the comments at each pinpoint. There are often water reports buried in the comments for 'Gates', 'camps', and other pinpoints.
ultrazona.com

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CannondaleKid
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by CannondaleKid » Mar 30 2018 9:56 am

@gringodevil What @ultrazona said, and a bit more...
gringodevil wrote:How common is it to not bring GPS, only guthook app and paper maps/compass?
It's all up to personal preference, but iPhone/SmartPhone using Guthooks and/or AZT apps are becoming the norm. (The only thing Tracey has used for a few years is the AZT app.)
wrote:Is anyone bringing a solar panel??? or is that negated by battery banks and recharging every 5-7days at resupply points?
Some have done very well with solar panels, others using battery packs. Again up to personal needs/preference, balancing various trade-offs between weight, convenience, reliability, etc.
A battery pack will provide the most consistent charge compared to a solar panel, but how heavy a battery pack is required for YOUR needs.
Personally I have used both at different times, and whenever recharging capabilities are readily available at opportune times, I'd go with the battery pack. If not, the solar panel was the way to go.
wrote:can you update Guthook water reports on smartphone from the trail
I know you can on the AZT app (at least Tracey has done so), and I believe you can on Guthooks.
wrote:do they get updated that often?
It all depends on the users... if everyone (or probably even only 10%) posted as they passed by water sources, you'd probably have daily updates, at least for sources easily visible from the trail. The more information provided, the better it works for everyone
wrote:are you getting enough cell reception to do that?
It all depends on where you are and who your provider is, but I'd guess you may have reception at least once at some point for almost every passage. (Tracey had reception for most of AZT#15)
wrote:How common is it for people to pre-drop water for themselves on the trail?
This is becoming a more frequent occurrence... even to the point of becoming a problem, when the water is consumed and plastic jugs are left to disintegrate, instead of crushed and carried until they can be disposed of properly.
wrote:is that the norm or the exception? any recommended method?
For the folks used to filtering water on a regular basis, they likely rely less on pre-cached water, whereas particularly those who want 'fresh, clean, pure' water, caching is the preferred solution.
While the 'public boxes' are an option, they cannot always be relied on. Personally, we AVOID them because we don't want to take the chance someone else 'needed' them and thus we'd come up short. (Once burned was enough...)

For caching, we use HEAVY plastic trash bags, placing them in locations off-trail, usually stuffed at the base of a shrub where they are hidden from view. If there is a clear spot underneath where an animal may have rested, we don't put it there.
So far our water has always been where we left it and we've never had even the plastic bags so much as chewed on.
Last edited by CannondaleKid on Mar 30 2018 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
CannondaleKid

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gringodevil
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by gringodevil » Mar 30 2018 3:26 pm

@CannondaleKid

Hi CK,
thanks for all that--very informative! I am planning on hiking tomorrow with Anker 15w solar panel on top of pack to get some idea how well it charges while in constant movement--report to follow.

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gringodevil
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Re: Last minute gear questions:

Post by gringodevil » Mar 30 2018 3:29 pm

@ultrazona

Hi Ultra,
the app reading of comments at each pinpoint is a great idea--will that to the reading list.

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