Gear to Leave at Home during a Thru-Hike

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Gear/Stuff I mentioned in this Video! —– SnowPeak Litemax Stove – SnowPeak 700ml Ti Mug – AT Gear List –



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45 Responses to “Gear to Leave at Home during a Thru-Hike”

  1. carizleify says:

    what about a tazor. I'm a small woman?

  2. jabba0975 jj says:

    I respect your decision not to carry a gun and advise others not to, but please keep your arguments as intellectually honest as possible. "…super heavy and bulky."  Kel-tec PF-9: 1" x 6" x 3.6" and 18 oz loaded. "You're gonna scare the hell outta people." Not if you carry concealed, as you should. Re black bears: "….they're gonna run away….."  Most of the time (maybe nearly all the time), but not always. I had a relative who was chased up a tree by a black bear that began chewing on one of his feet and had almost succeeded in pulling him down when the cavalry arrived and chased the bear off. I had a momma black bear break in to my car while I was about 50 yards from it, and while she did eventually run away, it wasn't before moving toward me and looking like she was thinking about fighting me for the car's contents. You ain't gonna fight off an adult black bear with your pocket knife, and death by black bear is a horrible way to go. So I also understand and respect the decision to carry a gun. I'm glad your decision has worked for you and hope that continues to be true. Also glad to hear free bear spray is likely to be available.

  3. The one thing I think you came across a bit strong is the firearm thing. I think if you feel you need it and are willing to carry the weight then go ahead. Some really wise words from a hiking sage… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JcPVEkNlqo

  4. Nugmaster224 says:

    Man I've gone on maybe 20 hikes and I've seen more than 5 bears. Watch Backcountry and you'll at least consider the possibility of bringing a gun haha

  5. John Glock says:

    Hey DOTT. I love your videos and since I didn't go through all 813 comments, did anyone mention batoning as a reason to pack a bigger knife? I know you've updated a few of your views (such as trowels) because I'm sort of a new viewer, but if there is one worthwhile reason to carry a larger knife it's the ability to baton larger pieces of wood for fire in wet conditions (like mornings). I know, I know, this is bushcrafting stuff, but if all your wood is wet, batoning is a quick way to get to the dry insides and keep from wasting fuel when you don't have to. It doesn't require a huge knife to do it (I see some people with machetes and think that's a little overkill), just sturdy enough to smack it with a rock to drive it through the wood. Food for thought.

  6. Shannon Dale says:

    Anyone who hikes without a weapon is a willing victim!!! 82nd Airborne

  7. Sarah S says:

    Not really hear but I'd say deodorant. You're going to stink. It's just the way it is…

  8. Chris Rose says:

    Murders involving the Appalachian Trail (AT) are super rare. In fact, the handful of murders on the Appalachian Trail is extremely low relative to the number of millions of people that hike the trail each year. When I thru-hiked, murder and violence were not something I really worried about when planning the trip. I worried even less about them once I started my hike and realized the wonderful nature of the people within the AT ecosystem. If you’re planning a hike on the Appalachian Trail, thoughts and preparations for violent acts should probably be pretty low on your prioritized checklist.

    If you’re super concerned, you can always check out the discussion about whether or not you should carry a gun on the Appalachian Trail.

    Trial violence is infrequent. However, from time to time, murders have occurred on the trail, and here are some of the instances of murder on the AT that I could find.
    2015 – Federal authorities captured fugitive James Hammes, who had been hiding on the Appalachian Trail. He had been on the run for six years. Hammes is alleged to have embezzled millions from his employer, Pepsi. Though not investigated for murdering someone on the trail, authorities are investigating Hammes for the murder of his wife, who was killed in a house fire when the Hammes’s home burned in 2003.

    2011 – A male hiker from Indiana died on the Appalachian Trail. The Roanoke Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said the man died of “asphyxia by suffocation,” and as of today the murder appears to be unsolved. Here is an article on the incident.

    2008 – Randall Lee Smith shot two fishermen on the Appalachian Trail. Both survived, but Randall Lee Smith was charged with two counts of attempted murder. Randall Lee Smith was convicted of the death of two hikers in 1981, crimes for which he served 15 years in prison from 1981 to 1996.

    2001 – A Canadian woman was murdered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The woman was stabbed to death near the Glen Boulder Trailhead just south of Pinkham Notch.

    1996 – Two women were found slain in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia from incisions to the neck. A collection of articles and various updates can be found here.

    1990 – Two thru-hikers were murdered at a Cove Shelter outside Duncannon, PA. The male hiker had been shot and killed, and the female hiker had been raped, tortured, and killed, according this article. The murderer was then 38 year old drifter Paul David Crews.

    1988 –  A young man, Stephen Roy Carr, fired his rifle eight times at two women, Rebecca Wright and Claudia Brenner, having sex in the woods in a Pennsylvania State Park. He struck both women with several shots, and Wright died as a result of those shots.

    1981 – Randall Lee Smith killed two thru-hikers, Robert Mountford Jr. and Laura Susan Ramsay, while they were hiking along the Appalachian Trail.

    1975 – Paul Bigley murdered Janice Balza of Wisconsin, an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. Bigley killed her with a hatchet, reportedly for her backpack that he coveted.

    1974 – Ralph Fox murdered Joel Polsom of Hartsville, South Carolina. Polsom was murdered at the Low Gap Trail Shelter along the Appalachian Trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

    Violence is extremely rare on the Appalachian Trail, and our hearts are broken for the souls lost over the years and the families that live without these loved ones.

    You should adopt general best practices for being aware of your surroundings and strangers, but fear of violence should not keep you from the trail. The incidences of murder can be counted on two hands, and over a 40 years period that number of crimes is sparse relative to the frequency of murders and murder rate per capita in US metropolitans.

    Of course, the people who typically talk about the violence on the trail are not the hikers, but the friends and relatives of hikers. Before I left on my thru-hike, my mother and sisters pressed upon me the dangers and the potential for violence to deter me from backpacking the trail, but in reality the likelihood of violence is quite low, likely lower than living in a city.

    Also, keep in mind that most violence comes from people crossing paths with the Appalachian Trail, not from other hikers, so take care when you do find a person in the woods that seems completely out of place. I met several people on the trail who clearly were not hikers, and each one of them was quite strange. One man I met was alike a grown baby lost in the woods, carrying dozens of grocery bags full of gear. Several people that I met were most certainly homeless, taking advantage of the shelters and generosity of hikers. When you encounter folks like this, your guard should be on higher alert.

  9. Sam Crawford says:

    Seems like three of these are solid and two are based heavily on emotional opinion rather that experiential observations. Even those two could have been argued better using legal reasons.

  10. Hike your ass right the fuck out of my country.

  11. Adam S says:

    P365 Mirco gun 17 oz. if your afraid of guns stop watching the news.

  12. Adam S says:

    P365 Mirco gun 17 oz. if your afraid of guns stop watching the news.

  13. kenalpha3 says:

    Leave laptop at home during a hike because they have new projector technology that can pair with your smart phone display 🙂

  14. A gun and/or bear spray are necessities in a lot of areas. I get that this is AT specific but I'll be hiking through Wyoming this summer where there are black bears, grizzlies, moose, etc. I will be bringing bear spray and either me, my husband, or my brother in law will be bringing a gun. As far as scaring people, it really depends on where you are at. Wyoming and Utah are very gun friendly. While on my solo hike last year I was approached by several people and they either didn't care about my gun or wanted to know what kind I was carrying. And if I scare someone, I'm okay with that. Especially if I'm alone. I'm a 5'2" female who is very non-intimidating.

  15. Aaron Liu says:

    It's cool that you feel safe on trails but I know three people who have been attacked or sexually assaulted on hiking trails and now they won't hike without some sort of weapon so instead of telling people it never happens and weapons are useless tell them it's unlikely but if someone doesn't feel safe without it, they should carry it because it at least puts their mind at ease so they can actually get out and enjoy the trails. It's not like you gotta carry the weight for them.

  16. Derek Monson says:

    A knife big enough to process wood, and a way to start a fire should always be carried. The what if scenarios happen and people die. Even if your just going for an over night hike. People don’t get turned around and lost on purpose. Especially with the crazy weather we have seen this year. You never know what nature has in store. There could be a cold snap that hits and get record lows somewhere and you need a fire. A belt knife, bick lighter and ferro rod don’t weigh very much.

  17. WW Suwannee says:

    OK…I lived in Alaska for 19 years and can attest, at least up there, that black bears are much more dangerous than browns. Blacks will actively stalk and kill humans, browns seldom do. The only defense against a black is to fight back, you cannot climb a tree or play dead to get away from them like you can with a brown. Why the brown has such a bad rep is partially due to films and myth…because they are so much bigger and ferocious looking. I'm guessing the reason the blacks on the AT are timid is due to hundreds of years of hunting pressure, which the bears in Alaska have not been subject to. I'm throwing my 2 cents in here from experience…do not trust a black. I would keep my bear spray regardless of the trouble…besides it can be used on a flipped out human too if necessary.

  18. Sea Kayaker says:

    For no.2s – dont carry out waste toilet paper in a zip lock bag as that ends up in landfill. Use a little fuel and BURN that paper – it doesnt bio degrade so BURN it in the hole.

  19. I love how guys always claim something is safe because THEY were not threatened.
    I bet there are women who will have a different story to tell.

  20. Onzaras says:

    I carry a gun 100% of the time im out doing anything. I have been in situations that if i didn't have my firearm, things could have gone bad for me. if other hikers are scared of a gun, they should get educated and learn about them.

  21. but muh Second Amendment rights

  22. I guess you’ve never gone hiking while it’s cold and raining, good luck trying to start a fire with an axe!

  23. Zippr says:

    Hi, I was thinking about hiking through a area with alot of schools, should I still not bring my gun?

  24. lmao.. that was funny… thanks….

  25. Brett Gough says:

    "Bears are skittish and will always run away"….
    Tell that to the guy who woke up to a black bear chewing on his sons head, last year on the AT.

  26. mrq1701 says:

    Walk up on a momma black bear wth cubs and you might wish you had a gun or spray. Just saying. Big cats and bears are real. We hike in their home. I carry my gun and I don't give a shit if I scare anyone. If you are scared of my gun, you are a pussy and the problem is you, not me.

  27. JR says:

    any ultralight gun recs? :kappa

  28. josh baker says:

    Thumbs up if you thru hiked the AT with a firearm.

  29. People, please, for the love of god, do not buy car insurance. That has to be one of the most common questions asked to drivers; "Well, are you going to buy insurance?" [[Condescending look]] No! I'm not going to buy car insurance. Why do you need car insurance on a paved surface like the public roads? You don't. You're not going to be trying to crash other cars. There was never a time when I was on a public road and I felt unsafe, like I needed to protect myself with car insurance. If you feel unsafe, simply get away from the situation, but don't buy car insurance. Number one, it's super expensive, so why would you want to carry something that's going to cost so much? Number two, think about the people that you're driving around. You're going to scare the hell out of people when someone sees that you have insurance enabling you to drive recklessly. So don't buy car insurance. There's no need for it. It's just going to be overkill, and you're going to scare the hell out of the rest of us.

    When you rely on the strength of your opinions to get a point across, you can swap out the subject and it will work just as well (or, rather, just as badly) regarding any number of random topics. Not saying you're wrong about the guns; rather that you, in no way, addressed any of the concerns, reasoning, motivations, or mindsets of people who would consider bringing a gun. What you did was dismiss them, with an air of ridicule and incredulity. Maybe you should ask some of your questions genuinely, instead of rhetorically.

  30. I had a friend who actually started carrying a gun after hiking for 5 or 6 years. Now, she hikes by herself and weighs about 90 pounds soaking wet. Her dad actually bought it for her after her third or fourth close call with a man trying to rape her and/or destroying her tent during the night/doing weird stuff to her gear. But no one can see/knows that she's carrying it. I do not carry a gun, but I, like you, am a man.

  31. tubenachos says:

    I actually have two tickets to the gun show. I'm good.

  32. John Scott says:

    Very high quality videos.
    My little sig P958 9mm is like an American Express card, I NEVER leave home without it. It's capacity is 7+1. If I need more than 8 rounds I figure I'm screwed anyway. These days you're better safe than sorry. I'm not a thru hiker but a motorcycle camper which is similar to a backpacking as far as packing gear goes.

  33. Chaslasher H says:

    Gigantic ass power Banks

  34. So no gun, no bear spray, and only a tiny pocket knife for your journey. Seems a bit of a gamble, given some of the AT bear videos out there. 🤔

  35. Knife, axe, bear spray? sure! I'll leave it at the house, but not the gun.

  36. Oh my word, THANK YOU! I'm so sick of getting "you're going hiking and not carrying (firearm)?!" Heck no, I'm carrying enough crap as it is and my money is going to food! Lol, I'm not worried about a serial killer venturing miles up a mountain to find victims.

  37. DK USMC says:

    Pointless ayy! U changed ur mind on the trowel. Lol

  38. DK USMC says:

    So sorry bro but my gun goes with me everywhere. And you will never know I have it.

  39. I am really sorry for people that feel naked and scared without their guns. The ironic thing is that a lot of them don't believe in health or medevac insurance or emergency beacons, that are actually come in handy a lot more often in the backcountry. For the "home of the brave" there are quiet a lot of scared people here.

  40. Only thing I see needing or wanting a gun on a hike for: Cougar/Mountain Lion. Most people attacked by them are solo. He is dead on about bears! Walked up on one once, that thing could not get outta there fast enough!!!

  41. I hike in AK and I have deff been too close to bears ahhh so scary! I carry a small throwing axe (for my confidence, it used to be a knife) and my dogs. My rat terrier held off a bear for me to get to safety once bc "getting big" w 3 people and 2 dogs wasn't enough

  42. – "The whole purpose […] is to effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain and if you compromise the process, you're an asshole when you start out and you're an asshole when you get back". Yvon Chouinard on 180º South

  43. Bil Carter says:

    A gun doesn't weigh 5 pounds. A small .380, .22 or even a 9mm can weigh under a pound, even with a full magazine. I carry when I hike, and it has never been a problem or scared anyone, mostly because I have it where they can't see it.

  44. Barbara P says:

    As a writer; my pen and hiking journal.
    As a woman; a pepper spray.
    As a swimmer ; a quick dry towel.

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