Nimblewill Nomad: IAT Thru-Hiker

White Mountains, New Hampshire
Appalachian Trail

Week 8/2

Saturday, July 25, 2000
Trail day: 53/4
Trail mile: 750/27
Location: Rainbow Spring Campsite

While organizing my pack this morning I decide to take it over to the scales and find out just how much I've been lugging the past few weeks. My dry pack weight on departing Forillon National Park in Quebec Province, Canada was just under 14 pounds not counting food and water. Since then I have sent most of my winter gear plus some other items home, so I know my pack weight has gone down. Don told me yesterday about the dependability and accuracy of his scales, so I take my pack over and plunk it down. I'm pleasantly surprised to tell you I'm now carrying only 9.5 pounds. Hot dang, this puts me in the ultra lightweight category!Early on, the folks at, one of my generous and caring"Odyssey 2000" sponsors had expressed concern as to the adequacy of gear I planned to carry onto the tundra in Canada, and to the possible risk I might be taking by limiting my packweight. I was asked to inform them at anytime should I feel I had compromised myself or my hike as a result. I can tell you now and I am pleased to report that I did not suffer for lack of needed gear. This does not mean there weren't times of discomfort due to adverse conditions, for the trek began in two to seven feet of snowpack and near-constant forty degree rain for the first five days. But never was there a time when I feared for my safety or well being, nor were there ever moments of fear as to my ability to effectively cope with the elements and conditions. I got wet, yes; I got cold, yes; but in dealing with a treadway flooded with meltoff up to my knees, at near freezing temperatures through which I had to trudge at times, certainly little could have been done to improve the "comfort" level under those matter how much gear I might have chosen to lug!

And now for you doubters who can't possibly believe I can be happy and comfortable on the trail with what little I am carrying I will list all the items that make up my 9.5 pounds. Please look this over and tell me what you must have that I am doing without, keeping in mind all the while the pure joy I embrace by carrying perhaps 10-30 pounds less than you're lifting and lugging.

G-4 backpack with hipbelt
Nomad tent
Feathered Friends Rock Wren bag
Thermarest 3/4 Guidelite pad
Wanderlust poncho
Longsleeve wool shirt
Longsleeve capilene shirt
Nylon pants
Lightweight wool socks
Asics racing flats
Cotton towel
Painter's cap
Water bottle belt pouch
Liter pop bottle
20 oz. pop bottle (2)
Aluminum cook pot
Aluminum bowl
Stainless steel spoon/pot holder
Small vial of chlorine bleach
Cookware stuffsack
First-Aid kit in ziplock
Meds in ziplock
Data book/Companion select pages
Photon (white) flashlight
Lighter and matches
25 feet of rope
Pencil and paper
Comb, floss, brush, clippers
Nikon Nice Touch 4, extra film
Sharp TM-20 Pocketmail
Bread wrappers for stuff sacks
Large garbage bag

I carry no toilet paper and use no foliage (figure that one out). I can get by fine on a pound to a pound-and-a-half of food per day. I seldom carry more than a liter of water. I am immune to Giardia Lamblia so I drink directly from select water sources. I will occasionally use bleach. I cook on open fires and can get by fine on cold food on those days that I cannot build a fire. I have a six ounce hobo "little dandy" wood burning stove I'll carry through those states where open fires are prohibited.

On my person, in pocket, or otherwise not included in my packweight are the following:

Nylon shorts
Shortsleeve polypro shirt
Homemade gaiters
Lightweight wool socks
Vasque or New Balance cross trainers
Medicine Pouch
Gerber 400 lockback
Halfeye readers
Plastic wallet with cards/cash/change
Cotton headband
Ponytail band
Panasonic microcassette recorder
Data sheet for the day
Leki Super Makalu Trekking Poles

What is he carrying? Check Nimblewill's gear list.


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