The shelters of the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail system are incredible. Each one I stayed at was unique and felt like a home. Probably because it was raining most of the time and while many of the shelters only have three sides, they all have a roof.
Here are photos of most all of the shelters along the Long Trail in order of appearance, north to south. Photos taken in 2011.
This is the gear I brought with me on my 2011 SOBO End to End hike of the Long Trail. I have some notes added to the gear list after the trip; for the most part the gear worked out fine. This isn’t too complex of a trip to prepare for gear wise – any Appalachian Trail hikers or people with experience in the New England area can expect to bring what they normally would on any other backpacking trip in the area.
First off, I made a couple glaringly obvious mistakes with my gear:
Titanium spork – nice and light and fancy right? Not so complementary however with my REI Ti Cookpot – I quickly replaced it with a plastic spoon after scraping my pot for a few nights.
Ray Way 1P Quilt w/ “Alpine Upgrade” – For my first sewing project ever, I made a sleeping quilt using the Ray Way quilt kit. Supposedly with the “Alpine Upgrade” dual layer insulation it was rated down to 28 degrees. In reality is froze my ass off and cursed it any night it got down to the mid 30’s or lower. I learned a big lesson here and this has since become my summer weight bag. I think Ray Jardine makes some great products, but this one was not good for the conditions.
Gore-Tex Trail Runners – Prior to this trip I had switched from hiking in traditional hiking boots to lighter trail runners. In general I bought Gore-Tex lined ones because who doesn’t want dry feet? Well within the first couple days my feet were soaked regardless. Attempting to dry the shoes by the fire didn’t end well (effectively hardened them) and I was looking for a new pair of shoes the next resupply. I picked up a pair of Solomon XA Pro 3Ds and have been buying that model for the past 6 years. My feet love em. More on the why “waterproof” shoes suck on Andrew Skurka’s blog here.
Thankfully it was really easy to send back gear along the trail and buy anything needed in towns. To any future Long Trail thru hikers I suggest the following:
Prepare to get wet – It rained more days than not during the hike. Gore-Tex, Laminates, everything but rubber is going to soak through. If you are active and it’s raining you are either going to get wet from your sweat or the rain when your jacket wets through – it’s inevitable. My “raincoat” was crucial for blocking the wind, however soaked it was.
You don’t need a tent – Like the Appalachian Trail that it shares miles with, the Long Trail has pretty well maintained shelters for the entire length. I only used my Tarptent Moment once on the entire trip when a shelter was near capacity. A light versatile tarp is all I’d recommend carrying.
Aquamira > Filter – The water sources along the trail were plentiful, crystal clear, cold, and delicious. I sent home my water filter as soon as possible and switched to using Aquamira with no regrets.