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AZT Gear?

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mando
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AZT Gear?

Postby mando » Nov 07 2016 5:37 pm

Hello! I'm a newbie and very grateful for this site. My wife and I plan to start a NOBO hike of the AZT, starting in March 2017. We have a good bit of experience in Appalachia, Blueridge. But the desert is another beast. I have a couple of specific equipment questions and would appreciate guidance from experienced AZT hikers.

1. Sleeping pad. I prefer a blow-up, such as the Neo Air because I'm a side sleeper, but am wondering if the desert is too prickly for it. Am I better off with a foam pad, such as thermarest Z-lite? Or, is this a campsite selection issue, and not an equipment issue?

2. Hanging Food. I hang my food here, but we have plenty of trees. What is a wise way of securing food during the night? I have used an Outsak before, in the Grand Canyon, but don't want to carry it if it isn't necessary/helpful.

Thanks!!
Mando

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Dave1
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby Dave1 » Nov 07 2016 6:22 pm

Every campsite below the rim on the GC-AZT will have an ammo can to store your food. But hanging has worked fine for me outside of the corridor trails.

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rcorfman
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby rcorfman » Nov 07 2016 8:18 pm

An inflatable sleeping pad should work fine. Of course you will want to preen the ground under your tent or groundsheet to ensure there are no thorns, but that shouldn't be a big problem.

There probably won't be a reason to hang food anywhere on the trail. As Dave1 mentioned, any campsite along the Grand Canyon corridor you stay at will have large ammo cans to place your food in. If you just want to make sure your food is okay, you can easily find a tree or large bush most anywhere to get your bag off the ground enough to keep any small critters at bay.
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big_load
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby big_load » Nov 07 2016 8:20 pm

I use a NeoAir all over AZ. I do check out campsites with some degree of care, but only as much as I can muster after a long day on the trail.

For food protection, I carry an Ursack. In 14 years, it's never been messed with. I watched a bear walk right past it once, in the Galiuros.

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mando
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby mando » Nov 08 2016 5:44 am

Thanks for the advice! I think I'll try to go with the NeoAir.
On the food security part, I am not sure I understand. As we thru hike the AZT, it looks to me like there are long stretches where there are no trees suitable for hanging a food bag. In those cases, what do you do with your food bag?

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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby rcorfman » Nov 08 2016 9:37 am

@mando
There are trees throughout the AZT. I doubt there are any long sections without trees. Without pine trees yes, but not without trees. We're not talking about a bear hang here, just a hang to keep mice away.
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big_load
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby big_load » Nov 08 2016 10:01 am

I've never camped anywhere I couldn't find a tree. They're not always tall, but with an Ursack I don't need to keep it out of reach, I just need something strong to tie onto.

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mando
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby mando » Nov 08 2016 2:21 pm

OK. Not trying to be dense, but to make sure I understand--getting the food bag off the ground keeps it safe from mice, raccoons, javelinas, etc?

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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby lili » Nov 08 2016 3:15 pm

Hi. Just finished the azt. I would strongly recommend a foam pad. There is nothing worse than an inflatable pad with a hole. Very hard to get gear replaced or fixed along the way. Believe me. It happened to me. Also met another thru-hiker with a busted Pad.
I used an ursack. If you cannot hang it in a tree, just attach it to a bush or something else. this way no critters want to get into your tent or mess with you. Make sure you always tie it to something, so nothing can run off with it (even if they cannot get into it).

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big_load
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby big_load » Nov 08 2016 4:18 pm

mando wrote:OK. Not trying to be dense, but to make sure I understand--getting the food bag off the ground keeps it safe from mice, raccoons, javelinas, etc?
Much of the AZT goes through bear country.

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mando
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby mando » Nov 08 2016 7:09 pm

Thanks for the inputs! I truly appreciate getting knowledge from those that are familiar with the trail.

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Spiced Rum
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby Spiced Rum » Nov 12 2016 2:18 pm

MY two cents but I always hang food and I would use a foam pad. Can be a pretty hard rocky ground if you get a hole you can't fix. You do go through quite a bit of bear country and I had a skunk try to steal my food bag on one of the few nights I didn't hang.
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Re: AZT Gear?

Postby danman » Nov 20 2016 1:28 pm

Howdy Mando -
I am 275 miles into a southbound AZT Bike Pack and I agree with the advice above: Foam Pad is best ( I take 2 thin ones actually) as I have seen countless episodes with fellow hikers "air" pads being flat. There are stickers and thorns almost everywhere in Arizona. Regarding the "food" issues. I take a Rat-sack ( mesh bag to keep out critters) and hang whenever possible. There may be a few camps along the AZT where you cannot find any trees in which case do the best you can. But I try to hang my Rat-Sack food bag every night to avoid problems, and have not had any.


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