Homer's Travels: Appalachian Trail: And The Packing Begins

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Appalachian Trail: And The Packing Begins

I have always been a late packer.  When we go on our long vacations I always pack the night before.  So far I have never forgotten anything that I needed.

Packing for the Appalachian Trail (AT) is a bit more complicated.  Friday afternoon I brought everything together and laid it all out on the basement floor.

That is a lot of stuff to get into one bag!
What you see in the picture above is enough stuff for seven days.  This includes two pairs of pants (I will be wearing one), three shirts, three pairs of socks, toe socks, and underwear, winter and rain gear (I described this gear here), toiletry kit, first aid kit. tent, sleeping bag (and bag liner), stove and cooking pot, and roughly two pounds of food for each day on the trail.  Also included will be my tablet, an external battery pack (to charge the table and cell phone), a camera, a GPS, and all the batteries, chargers, and cables that go with these.  Water will be carried in soft-sided platypus bottles.

Everything packed away in my backpack.
As you can see it at left, it all fits in the bag ... almost.  The blue bag on the top of the pack is the second food bag I had to buy.  I mentioned before that it would be a tight fit to get all my food in one bag and, in fact, it was too tight a fit and a second bag was necessary.  Both food bags will fit in the pack but it would be too full to seal properly so one food bag will be strapped on top.

After I packed the backpack, I weighed it.  As usual, the pack was heavier than I expected.  I expected forty-two or forty-three pounds but ended up closer to 48 pounds (21.8 kg).

It seems to be a lot but, when I think about how I can whittle it down I can only come up with less than a pound of excess.  The tablet (and external battery) is probably the heaviest "luxury" item I have.  I will probably leave the sandals at home along with a few small things.  My weight will go down once I can ship my winter gear home which may be fairly early this year.

The weight of the pack will also go down as I eat my way through the food bags.  If I eat everything, the pack weight will shrink by just over two pounds (1 kg) per day.

It will be interesting to see if I eat it all.  On my first Camino I didn't eat nearly as much as I should have and lost weight over time.  I was just not very hungry when I was walking or when I was tired at the end of the day.  I ate better on my second Camino but still lost a few pounds.  Whatever happens I suspect I will be adjusting the amount of food I will be eating as I go.


  1. Brucie aka Shuffle Monkey: so you get each week's supply of food somewhere along the way?? Where do you get bananas ( get it, bananas for Shuffle monkey)?? Do you set up a tent each night or sleep under the stars? If you meet any moonshiners, I would like to try a jar. I will check on your lovely wife. And finally, don't worry, I won't tell you how Guardians of the Galaxy ll ends. Safe travels, and I look forward to some great stories and fabulous pictures upon your return! Love, Goat Girl

    1. Goat Girl: Yes, every week or so I will be stopping in towns to rest, shower, laundry, and to buy food. There are a few places that don't have much so the Wife will be shipping my food (3 or 4 places along the trail). Bananas will have to wait until I'm in a town.

      By the way, I think I will be using Shuffle Monkey as my AT moniker ... unless the trail decides to give me another name.

      Thank you for checking in on the Wife. I do worry about her when I'm away.

  2. Bruce, we hope you have an excellent time on your trip! Stay safe, and enjoy creation! John and Sara

  3. I don't care if the trail gives you another name, you'll always be Shuffle Monkey in my heart. Be safe and have fun!!

    1. No danger of that now. I did write Shuffle Monkey on the official trail registry at the start in Amicalola Falls state park.