Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tips on How to Lighten Your Pack

There are thousands of articles on what you should and should not do on a hiking trip. Some that you have heard so many times you almost want to pick up the computer and throw it. Well we probably have a couple on here that you have heard before but if you will bare with us, we might have something in this article that can help you shave some weight.

Here are some of the tips and tricks that We have applied to their packs over the years and have really lightened their overall weight:

  1. Select Lighter Gear - You’re probably thinking “well that is an obvious statement” but the reason they put it here is to tell you that this is the first step. Make your gear lighter and smaller. A lot of people think to themselves, well, I have this big pack that is heavy and that must be somewhere I can cut down some weight! The truth is you can cut weight in your pack but you must reduce the size and weight of your gear in order to switch to a smaller pack. Smaller, lighter, packs are made to only carry a certain amount of weight. So the smaller the gear, the more items you can carry (especially comfortably).

    Here is the easiest gear changes that will make the biggest difference in weight:


  1. First thing that is easy for most people to cut weight is the sleeping bag. Now this is also going to be one of your more expensive upgrades in quality and downgrades in weight. The thing about the sleeping bag is that, if you treat them right, a good bag will easily last you at least 5 to 10 years. Get a goose down sleeping bag because it provides the best warmth to weight ratio on the market and will really keep you toasty in the cold.


  1. Another piece of gear a lot of people carry, that is too heavy, is a tent. We, at GaHammockBros are avid hammock campers (imagine that) and we will tell you from the time that we used to tent camp till now, our shelters have lost about 2.5 lbs in weight each! Not to mention the fact that we are warmer at night than we ever were in a tent. Look into getting a hammock and watch some of our videos and read some of our blogs to figure out how it can be one of the best nights sleep of your life.


  1. The last thing that a lot of people carry that can cut weight is their cooking system. You don't need a pot, bowl, skillet, coffee cup, etc. We had this problem for a while until we realized that if you get a quality stove with a quality pot those two things can cover just about all the needs that you will have on the trail. There will be videos, reviews, and blogs on the cooking systems that we take on the trail and each one will be able to show you why it works for us.



  1. Leave your toys at home - You would not believe what we have seen people starting thru hiking and they are carrying lamps with 6 D batteries in them and a radio with another 4 in it. YOU DON'T NEED THESE. One of us actually packed out a lantern that someone had left at one of the shelters when they realized that it was too heavy to carry all the way to Maine. We were only hiking a couple of days and we were on our way out when we saw it. If you left that behind, we thank you for your donation to the lantern fund!

    The point we want to make is you can have some comfort items without totally killing your back in order to carry it in. Mike has a radio that has 3 AAA batteries in it and weighs 3 ounces with the batteries. It also is WAY louder than it needs to be so there is no worries there. We will review this product on our trip coming up. If there are things that you absolutely think you need to take, try to find lighter versions to make it easier on you to carry.


  1. Ration out your food quantity - One of the most common problems that most people have is this idea that you have to pack in way too much food. For example if we are going out on a 3 night 4 day trip and Mike will be taking right around 4 lbs of food. Steve is taking about 5 lbs of food because he really likes to eat! Some will tell you that is not enough. We have experimented with food amounts for a while now and we have pretty much got it down to a science. Below is a list of what we taking with me this trip.


Mike’s Food List:
  1. 3 Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals
  2. 6 Clif Bars
  3. 1 8oz bag of Craisans
  4. 1 8oz bag of Beef Jerky
  5. 4 packages of Oatmeal
  6. 1 8oz bag of Cinnamon Raisin Granola
  7. 1 8oz bag of Shelled Pistachios (Guilty Pleasure)
  8. 6 individual cups of Instant Coffee

Steve’s Food List:
  1. 2 packs of oatmeal
  2. 3 packages of pop-tarts
  3. 1 pkg of Mountain House breakfast Wrap
  4. 3 tortilla shells
  5. 6 packets of coffee -instant w/sugar
  6. Beef Jerky and Pistachio nuts as snacks on the trail
  7. 6 Clif Bars
  8. 1 Mountain House Dinner
  9. 1 bag of dehydrated chicken with Rice-A-Roni packet
  10. freeze dried fruit and nuts


As you can see We have quiet a lot of food here but because we have used freeze dried and dehydrated food choices we get the nutritional value without the weight. Also with taking mostly meals that take little cooking we can cut back on fuel consumption which save weight as well. Make sure you bring enough food to be comfortable and energized but you don't have to bring 5 course meals on the trail (as shown below)


4. Try cutting back on clothes - Now this is one that is really a personal preference but a lot of people pack to many clothes worried about weather that is not likely. We are about to go on a trip in March and we packed to what we felt was usual for this time year. We did some further investigation and it appears that the weather is going to be a lot warmer than we had first predicted. That means there will be some weather gear that we are going to cut out of our packs in order to make our packs lighter. Please don't get me wrong about this, pack as light as you can on clothes but don't compromise your comfort level for cutting a little weight. Make sure to check with your favorite weather site right before you leave in case you need to make some last minute adjustments like we are having to do



.



5. Remember Have Fun with It! - Cutting weight and having competitions with your backpacking buddies can really make this process less tedious and a little more fun. The next time you plan a trip make a deal with a buddy and tell them that they have to buy dinner on the way back from the hike if their pack is heavier than yours. Create spreadsheets to track the weight of all the items that you have a really keep track of where the most weight can be cut. Pride in knowing that not only will you have a lighter easier hike than your buddy but also you will be getting a free meal out of the deal really sweetens it up while you are hiking. Also, the opportunity to rag your buddy the whole trip is well worth the effort. We have a standing bet with our usual stakes (dinner when we come off the mountain) on who has the lighter pack.

 



6. Cull unused items - Culling unused items is one of the easiest steps in the process of lightening your load. It is the easiest because you take this step as soon as you get back from a trip.
You may have seen us discuss our packs in a video. What we do when we get to our camping spot is lay out the ground cloth and unload the gear from our pack. We do this so we can get organized and set up our hammocks and get ready for dinner.

When we get back home after a trip, we do the same thing. We lay out our ground cloth and unload our pack so we can store our gear properly. (for example, you do not store a down sleeping bag in the stuff sack. you keep it in a larger bag to allow the bag to maintain its “loft”) So, while we are unpacking our gear, we make three piles.

In pile A, we place the items that we used every day:
Hammock - Sleeping Bag - Rain Fly - Stove... you get the idea.

In Pile B, we place the items that we seldom used or could have managed just fine without the item:
That extra fleece jacket - the extra flash light (for the “Just-In-Case” situation) -  all the left over food - I-Pod - one of the two extra pair of socks...

In Pile C, -and this is the easy pile- we place all the items that we did not use at all:
Snake bite kit - small pocket knife - extra canister of fuel...

Now, take Pile A and store the gear, wash the clothes, and remove all batteries from headlamps. This is the stuff that you will take next time.

From Pile B, you make a personal decision on which items to cull from the list for next time. Only you can make this decision since you will have to carry the weight next time. Just ask yourself -Is it really worth carrying the weight even though I seldom used the item?”  Once you answer the question, cull the item and store the other items with the items from Pile A.

For the items in Pile C, put them back and make a note that you did not use the items and will not take them again.

It is also a good idea to complete this process with someone that you went on the trial with on that particular trip. You can both keep each other in check on what you did and didn’t use. We know that we both have issues with certain items that we hold high even though we don't use them as much as we perceive we do. Doing this with a partner will keep you honest and help you eliminate some items you might not think can be eliminated.

Eventually, the more trips you take, you will be able to get your pack down to a pack that is light while still having the items you NEED, and the items that make the trip enjoyable. One thing that has remained constant for Steve, is he takes too much food. But he is okay with carrying the extra weight because not only do we need to eat on the trail, Steve eats tasty food and snacks which makes his trip enjoyable. For Mike, he likes to have a radio on the trip and also his down booties. These are both comfort items but he is able to get them both in his pack for less than 12 ounces.

The bottom line is since you have to carry the weight, you make the decisions on which items to cull, but hopefully this culling process will help with you lighten your load.


Conclusion

We will be putting up gear reviews on our blog, Youtube channel, and the website that we are still working on. So don't for get to subscribe to both the blog and the Youtube channel for tips, tricks, and product reviews that can make you more efficient and lighten your pack! Always remember “Plan right and Pack light!”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dehydrated chicken for the trip


I dehydrated some chicken (and some bananas) for the trip. Like we both do before we try anything new -meals, gear, or even some new high-falootin' technique- we test at home.

The bananas didn't turn out as well as I thought. Some were still soft even after 12 hours. It may be because I placed them directly on the tray and not the plastic sheet that I had the chicken on. The next batch of bananas will be dehydrated on the plastic sheet to compare the two results.


I took some foil-packed chicken breast and dehydrated it for 12 hours. I set it up at 9:00pm and let it go all night. I had two packs of the chicken and dehydrated them on individual shelves.
After the 12 hours, I bagged on pack in a Ziploc freezer bag. and tested the other package of chicken.
Here is a shot of the chicken re-hydrating in some cool tap water after only a few seconds:

After one hour:
I forgot about the chicken and here is a shot after 4 hours:

The texture after 4 hours was not much different than it was at the one hour mark. So one hour might have been enough.  I took some chicken out of the bag and felt it and the texture was still a bit tough deep into the chicken. the exterior was soft like it should have been but kind of tough as you applied pressure.
I then started eating the chicken.  It tasted like chicken but was very firm as I chewed. I think (I did not test this part) after we boil it it may soften up some. I plan on taking some Rice-A-Roni  I dehydrated some time ago and eat that on the trail. With Rice-A-Roni, you need to cook it all first per the instructions and then dehydrate it. If you take the contents from the box and into your pack, it may not taste as good to you on the trail. I tried that once. I took all the ingredients and put them in a bag and took it on the trail. I added water and boiled it and for me at least, I didn't like the taste.


The next time I tested it at home by cooking it first. I re-hydrated it in boiling water for a bit and it tasted like I just cooked it. So for any type of rice that you need to add butter or oil to cook it, do so prior to dehydrating. If you like you can take it directly from the box and boil it, but it is my opinion to cook it first.

We will shoot a video on the process while we are eating dinner on one of those nights.
See you on the trail.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Staying Warm in the Hammock and while Backpacking

Mike is right about staying warm. On our last trip to Springer Mountain. Mike stayed in the shelter the first night and he was upstairs. The cracks in the loft let the 15* wind blow though the shelter like a wind turbine. He might as well have been sleeping outside. But another buddy of ours, Josh, and I were toasty in our hammocks and we didn't even have an under-quilt. I just pulled my rain fly down as close to the ground as I could to block the wind and closed the "doors" on the fly.



I did have a pad in my hammock so that helped. You can either use some sort of pad inside your hammock or an under-quilt. The thing with the pad is it takes away some of the comfort of being in the hammock. This is why we sleep in the hammock -comfort and warmth.
The way to keep warm when sleeping in a hammock or even when you are sleeping on the Forest's floor in a tent is insulation.


There are 4 ways to loos body heat when camping:








Convection
Websters defines convection as the transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas.

So when your warm face is exposed to the cold wind on the top of the mountain, the speed of that wind is what counts. If the if the wind is only blowing at a couple of MPH it may not cool your face very much at all. However if you are in a frigid wind storm at 50 or 60 miles an hour, you may actually get frostbite on your nose or cheeks. The blood in your body also transfers heat by convection. your body will protect its core body temperature by blood away from the extremities (arms, legs, feet and hands). This is why our feet and hands get cold quicker. Which is why I have always have kept warm with my raincoat on. though back then, I didn't really understand why. The raincoat acted as a wind barrier to prevent the cold wind from cooling down the air that is trapped underneath the raincoat.






Conduction:
Websters defines conduction as "the transfer of heat between two parts of a stationary system, caused by a temperature difference between the parts".

Basically conduction is the transfer of heat from one object to another object that is cooler while they are touching. Which is what happens in a hammock. Think about the hot summer days back when you would lay down in the shade of an oak tree or in the shade of a barn or other structure. It wasn't the shade that cooled you off, it was the ground. Your body is upwards in the 90* area if not hotter when you are working in the hot sun and the ground is so much cooler so when you lay down The heat transfers from your body to the ground by way of Conduction.


So when you are in a hammock, you need to keep the hammock (because you are in direct contact with the hammock) warmer than the outside air. We accomplish with a pad inside the hammock or an under-quilt. The under-quilt, because it is insulated, traps your body's heat and helps you to stay warm. If you are sleeping in a sleeping bag, even a 0* bag, the part of the bag under your body does nothing to keep warm because it is compressed and it looses its insulation factor.


Evaporation

Websters defines evaporation as the act or process of evaporating. radiation as the process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves.

Where this comes in while you are camping is when you are hiking or working in the hot sun, you can cool yourself off by getting your clothes wet. Like on the hot summer days when you are working in the yard, if you take some water and soak your hat or your shirt, you cool off. Especially if there is a light breeze. The process of the water evaporating cools off the surface from which is evaporating from. You can take a room temperature can of coke and wrap it in a wet bandana or tee shirt and it will cool off enough to enjoy. -I learned that one in the scouts.

When you are out there in the cold weather, this can still happen which is why we use layers when we are backpacking. When you start off on the trip you need to be almost freezing. you need to be shaking almost to the point of an uncontrollable shake.

Now you can start hiking. As you hike, you start to heat up and if you start out with too many layers on, you build up too much heat and start to sweat. In the col air, sweat is bad. You control your body's core temperature with the layers. If you get too cold, add a layer. An easy way I personally control by body temperature is with a simple wool cap or a bandana when I am hiking -depending on the season.


Radiation

Websters defines radiation as the process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves.
As we receive radiated heat from sun rays, our body also radiates heat. My wife loves me all the time, but she REALLY loves me in the winter time. I am like the human furnace.

To prevent loosing heat via radiation, keep your skin covered as much as possible. So in the cold months,when you are hiking, start out with short sleeves and short pants even. When you start generating heat because you are walking up the mountain with 30+pounds on your back, your skin will radiate heat off of your body. This will and keep you from over heating If you have too many layers on, you will start to sweat.

Think about the car's radiator. It does the same thing. the hot water in the engine block (blood in your body) passes through the radiator, (your blood passes along your extremities like your arms and legs) and the radiator lets the heat evaporate off of the engine keeping it working at a tolerable temperature.

Your body does just that. Your body radiates heat off your skin keeping your core working at a tolerable temperature. So when you are sleeping, you need to trap that heat radiating from your body. In a hammock, we use under-quilts. Under-quilts are made from several types of materials. But the basic premise is something that you can hang under your hammock to trap the heat.

 Some use an additional sleeping bag:


 -some use Insultex















and some use a couple of sheets or ripstop nylon with pockets of down sewn into it.






I hope my borrowing these pics from the net is okay with the picture takers.










It is very important to stay warm in the cold months when camping so do what you need to do to stay warm.
And as always Plan right and pack light. .

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Hammock Camping Rules!!!

I am sure that some of the people that have visited our blog in the past couple of days have wondered why we have not been talking about hammock camping. We are working on a couple of projects right now and are looking to use those as good worthy content to enter the hammock camping sector. Steve and I thought that it might be a good idea to give some of the reasons that we like to hammock camp. I hope that you might consider getting you a hammock to try out on your next trip. We are going on a trip in a couple of weeks from today and we plan on having a daily journal of the trip to go on the blog and the youtube channel.

As you can see if you click on that link anytime in the next couple of days you are not going to see any content. We have just been getting our channel off the ground and we want to have the best content that we can have to throw at our audience when we can. By this time in three weeks we should have videos of the trip, our setups, a couple of gear reviews, and maybe some funny experiences that we would like to share with whoever would like to listen. So, if you would go subscribe to the channel and in a few weeks we will have some valuable lessons that we have learned over the time that we have been hammock camping and also making DIY equipment.

Now, I thought it would be a good idea to give you some reasons why Steve and I love sleeping in a hammock as much, if not more than, as our beds. For those of you that have hammock camped before and have experienced what we like to call the “cloud effect” you already know where we are going with this first assessment. When you sleep in a hammock it is like floating in mid-air (I know that is obvious but until you experience it you don't fully understand). Steve and I have both been in some accidents over the course of our lives that have affected our backs in one way or the other. Mine was a car wreck where a drunk driver hit me at a light going about 65 in my door while I was turning left at a red light (picture of my car after below). Hammock camping takes all the pressure off of all the trouble sections of your back and gives you support that only a hammock can. Depending on the sag you can have your “firm hammock” or your “soft hammock” so its like a cheaper sleep number in itself.

My car after the wreck about 4 years ago.



Another thing that I like about hammock camping is the warmth that it provides you in cold weather if you do it correctly. There are various ways to keep warm in a hammock and all of them will beat a tent hands down. Steve and I use under quilts or UQ’s when we hammock camp in colder weather and in conjunction with a full rain\wind fly you can be ingulfed in warmth all night. The concept of an under quilt is a pretty simple ideal. When you sleep in a hammock your backside is the most exposed part of your body. If you sleep in a sleeping bag (99% of campers do) when you lay in it, whether on the ground or in a hammock, you compress the bottom with your body weight. What happens when this compression occurs is lack of insulation. The concept of both down and synthetic builds are that the fluff in them insulates your body heat in the bag. When these materials are compressed they loose the functionality to do so, enter the UQ. The UQ is a quilt or in my case a converted sleeping bag that hangs right at the sag in the hammock and traps the warmth that the sleeping bag allows to escape. It hangs from the same tree huggers that you use for your hammock and has its own independent suspension that you can make to be adjustable to meet the needs of the sag and tree distance. So now that your back side is warm you are probably thinking “what am I going to do about my exposed topside?” That is where the rain fly comes into play. We both have rain\wind flys that hang almost to the ground. When this is done it will block the wind from hitting you all night. We both made ours out of rip stock nylon and made them 1 foot longer than the ends of the hammock. The reason for that is to be able to take the ends and cross them to make what becomes a cocoon around the hammock. When you do that with the heat rising, naturally, it gets warm and toasty in your “cocoon” around your hammock. The last trip that we went on my hammocking system was still in need of work so I tent camped and Steve hammock camped and he had a cocoon that was about 65-70 degrees inside versus my tent at about 40 (it was around 20 that night). Warm and toasty for Steve, a struggle for me all night. 



The last camping trip we took. Steve's Hammock setup is the green one,
and yes that is my little old tent that I got to be cold in all night!





Lastly, the benefit of a hammock is light weight sleeping system. As you might know a hammock, generally, does not have poles associate with it like a tent. This makes it LIGHTER! You will learn that Steve and I have a real big issue with trying to cut weight in our packs and making our trips more about enjoying nature and taking in the beauty than “how am I going to get this monstrosity of a pack up the hill!” Currently Steve and I have a little bet (mostly for pride but there is a dinner in the mix also) and my pack is at 27.5 lbs and his is around 28.25 lbs. That is with all our food and everything we need but a camera in our packs. I digress, a hammock is light. My entire hammocking system is about 4.5 lbs with an under quilt and there is no way that I could do a tent for that weight and with that warmth level. Steve's is a little lighter than mine, but like I said I am under his weight for total pack. 




My elation when I found out that Steve's pack was heavier than mine at the test weigh in. 







In conclusion, there is nothing like a good hammock hanging in a tree and you floating after a long day of hiking without a care in the world. There is not many things that Steve and I would rather be doing and we both hope that you can learn something from us. We hope you will take our camping journeys with us and also learn how to “Think Right, and Pack Light” so you too can find yourself floating on the clouds without a care in the world and nature your best friend. 





Think Right, Pack Light. This is a motto that Steve and I adopted
after carrying 45 lb packs one trip.


Also, if you would, if this information that we are going to be offering interests you please follow us and subscribe to the blog. We love feedback and we enjoy learning from people as much as trying to teach people. We learn something almost weekly that we did not know and it helps us lighten our load and be more efficient hikers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

History of the Appalachian Trail

Introduction
Each year there are many people that around this time of the year make their way to Springer Mountain in North Georgia to begin the 2,184 mile hike that is the Appalachian Trial. The trail cuts up the east coast to the state of Maine and on its way passes through 14 states. It is mostly wilderness but there are times when the trail cuts through towns and involves roads. There are many structures that one will come to when they are hiking the Appalachian Trial such as shelters and privies (outdoor bathrooms). 

In order to keep up the trail and make sure that everything stays functional for the hikers there are around 30 trail clubs, the National Park Service, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The trail, however, was not always as we see it together with the conveniences of the shelters and privies that line the trail in many places. The history of this great trail is just as much of a part of the hiking intrigue as the nature that one enjoys while completing it.
The plaque at the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail








Early Development Years
The trail was thought up by a man by the name of Benton MacKaye who was a forester that decided to put the trail together shortly after the passing of his wife in 1921. The trail over the course of time was built and walked section by section by various adventurous people. 

There was some clashing of what the Trail was going to represent and what it was going to offer to the hikers from MacKaye and a young associate that took up the cause of expanding the trail Myron Avery. Also involved was Ned Anderson a farmer from Sherman, Connecticut, who took the task assigned to him by MacKaye of creating the blaze that goes through the Connecticut wilderness. Anderson’s effort with the trail sparked more and more interest from the general public and he was eventually able to bring other states on board with the project.

The problem that came between MacKaye and Avery was the overall view for the trail. Avery wanted to make it a simple trail and he wanted to reroute some portions of the trail for more scenic value and to avoid newly constructed developments. In the end Anderson won out and MacKaye left the organization and Avery rerouted the trail and was the Chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy from 1932 to 1952 when he died soon after resigning. 


On the left is MacKaye and the right is Avery. They are the Godfathers of the Appalachian Trail.







Early Hikers
Ned Avery was the first person to walk the trail from end-to-end. His efforts were not in a thru-hike but was still an accomplishment all in itself. He completed this task in 1937. The ATC then focused on protecting the trail land and mapping the blazes for the hikers. In 1948, a man by the name of Earl Shaffer from Pennsylvania brought some very needed attention to the trail and the work that so many had done to try a preserve this magnificent project. He hiked the trail from start to finish at one time, also referred to as thru-hiking, hiking from Georgia to Maine.

He later, also, became the first person to complete the reverse thru-hike hiking from Maine back down to Georgia. Lastly, but definitely not the least, at the ripe age of 80 years old in 1998 Mr. Shaffer completed the trail one more time, thus making him the oldest thru-hiker ever. Since, these accomplishments it is the dream of many hikers to complete the thru-hike of the trail. Many people to year complete the trail from beginning to end.
This is a picture of Shaffer when he complete the Trail  with the first thru-hike. 
Shaffer on the hike when he is hiking the trail at the ripe young age of 80 years old. 


The AT Records and Stats
There are two different type of hikers on the AT. Thru-hikers as mentioned before are people that set off from either Maine or Georgia and go to the respective other at one time. Another type of hiker on the AT is called a section hiker. These are people that complete sections of the AT and leave, then come back and start back where they left off.
The first blind through hiker was a man by the name of Bill Irwin. He hiked the trail in 1990 at the age of 49 years old. He had the help of a seeing eye dog and is estimated to have fallen 5,000 times on his trip which took around 8 ½ months to complete.

As of 2010 there were more than 11,000 people that have reported to have completed the trail in its entirety, with about 75% of these being thru-hikers that completed it in one period of time. 

A map of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine

Conclusion
Early spring in the North Georgia mountains, the chill is in the air and the fog has set in on the mountain as you make the ascent to the southern terminus of arguably the most impressive trail in this great country. You get to the top of the Springer Mountain and see the plaque that signals the beginning of your trek from the Georgia to Maine. You find the log book and flip through it to see all of the names that have set out on this journey prior to you. You flip through reading the names and the little comments that each made on the beginning of their journey. Some have their doubts, some are confident, but all of them have a purpose and a desire that burns within them. The idea that we have a beautiful country and that we are meant to explore all the wonders that God has created for us. You sign your name and begin to think on your journey and what you would like to leave behind for future hikers to see. You consider some words of comfort, excitement, and resolve but you eventually pen these words of wisdom for each and everyone to draw encouragement from:

“Each and every journey must begin with the first step, it is then when you make that first true leap of faith that you find your true meaning and passion in life. The pilgrimage that I am about to start and you will eventually will begin is one of perseverance, persistence, and self evaluation. Know that if I, and you, complete this voyage that we will come back changed for the better. Self confidence will be gained, self worthiness will be obtained, and self improvement will be accomplished. I plead with you to vow to yourself what I on this day am vowing to myself. I will not quit, I will not back down, and I will make this journey the joy of my life!” --Mike

Sources







As a standard, usually about 10%-15% of people that start a thru-hike actually make it through the entire length of the trail. There are people that hike the white blaze which is the original and actual recognized route of the AT, some hike the blue blaze which is a shorter path that goes from the same starting location and ends in the same location but it more strait from point to point, and you have some that follow the “yellow blaze” which essentially means that they hitchhike the yellow lines of the roads that boarder the trail.





You also have the people that are trail runners. These are the people that don't actually camp on the trail but run the entire length of the trail stopping from location to location at hotels. These trail runners complete in the shortest time but don't have the gear to carry like a true thru-hiker. The fastest to complete the AT was Jennifer Pharr Davis who completed the entire trail in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. She made the trip from Maine to Georgia in June and July.


There are a few kids that have hiked the trail. It is on record that 6 year old Michael Cogswell hiked the trail along side his parents in 1980.







Monday, February 20, 2012

"Adventurous, God Fearin', and Southern by the Grace of God"

The GAHammockBros (Mike and Steve) will be posting videos to our Youtube channel, writing this blog, and working on getting a review website up and running. The website will include reviews of our gear and food experiments that we think up over time, as well as trip reports so you can join us on the trial. We will also offer the information on how to buy all the things that we have in our arsenal and also we sell a few things ourselves.
If you love the outdoors and like to compare and contrast ideas for packs and like to see opinions before you buy something then you have come to the right place. We plan on posting reviews and ratings on products that we use and try out on a regular basis. If you have any questions or comments we really appreciate feedback and hope that you love what we do as much as we love doing it. Below we thought we would introduce ourselves to you and let you know a little more about the guys behind this blog.
Mike:
I am the young buck of the pair and I love anything and everything that is camping and outdoors related. I grew up in the mountains of North Georgia and am a country boy through and through.I love my Momma, my God, my woman, and my dog. I love the peace that comes from waking up to a brisk morning and getting the coffee on the stove for the morning wake up or baiting the pole to fish the day away.
If there is something to do outside I am there. I have been on a lot of trips and have stories from every single one. I plan on sharing some of those with you as well as walking you through the many upgrades and changes I make to my ever changing pack. I hope everyone enjoys this blog and gets as much out of it as we did while researching and reviewing these products.
Steve:
I am an avid outdoorsman at heart but seem to be stuck in an office. I would much rather be in the mountains of North Georgia stoking the early-morning fire for coffee or or in a boat in the middle of Lake Seminole at sunrise using a Buzzbait to hook that early-morning bucket mouth.
Bottom line- I want to be outside. so every chance I get I hit the trail. Either for a hike or even car-camping. Check out our trip reports and you can experience the outdoors with us. I will introduce you to my pack and the gear I take and why I take it. If I am not on the trail, I am usually writing about it in my trip reports or maybe a tale or two.
And like Mike, I am a good ole southern gentleman. I say Sir and Ma’am and Pray to God above. We love our country, our family, and the freedom to camp in the wonderful outdoors. Come on with us and take a trip.