The things I learned during my LSHT (Lone Star Hiking Trail) thru-hike I find invaluable in preparing for my upcoming Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Attempt.
I used my thru-hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail as a shakedown hike for my upcoming Appalachian Trail thru-hike beginning February 2020.
The purpose of a shakedown hike is to be able to test out all your gear to see what is working and what is not, but I also learned a lot during this hike like:
- I need a new pack. Even though I have had my Osprey Ariel AG 65 for years, I learned that hiking with it for longer than a couple of days was just not working for me. It became uncomfortable on day 2
nomatter what adjustments I made. I used my 2 days off the trail to make a switch to a lighter Osprey pack which I love!
- The tent I claimed to love so much I ended up hating. I have the Nemo Hornet 2P and while it worked great during all my backyard camping shenanigans, it did not work for me on the trail with all my gear. I found that while it held me and my gear, I didn’t like the lack of elbow room due to the side walls. It’s a minor annoyance but enough so that I am ready to change it out. I also found that on cold nights I would have a lot of condensation in the tent (and yes it was pitched correctly). It has done this every time I have used it when it is cold out. In fact one night while in the back yard, I had so much condensation that it left a puddle on the tent floor. I was using the footprint with it and found that the footprint was also wet (where the floor touched the footprint). This was actually one of the biggest things I learned during my LSHT thru-hike. I had thought this tent was perfect for me until I used it for multiple days.
- A hot shower does wonder for one’s mood after 4 days on the trail.
- Making camp on sand is a completely horrible idea.
- Drinking electrolytes first thing in the morning does amazing things.
Usually,when I drink electrolytes it is midday after I have already started sweating. During this trip,I got the idea to drink 16oz of water (with electrolytes) with my breakfast first thing in the morning. The result was less fatigue during the day and I never showed any signs of electrolyte imbalance.
- Use flavoring or electrolytes with pond water. We had to get water from a very, very stagnate pond. Unless you have ever
drunkpond water, there is no real way to describe how it tastes other than pondy =) I found that adding electrolytes made it much more tolerable and cover the taste. We also tried to pond water for cooking instead of stream water when we could.
- Wipes are worth their weight in gold. I could care less how much they weigh and I will never dry them out again either! Carry a whole pack? Why, yes I think I will! They can be used for so many different things on the trail. You can use just one to clean your face, body,
andfeet after a long day to get a more fresh feeling (works wonders for one’s mood), this is known as a baby wipe bath. Use them instead of TP after going #2 so you can avoid chaffing in the buck crack area (it cleans better than TP and unless you have explosive diarrhea you only need one). Of course, you need to pack it out, but since I have always packed out TP as well, this was nothing new to me. Women, when our lady bits get gross it lets off a foul odor (more than a man does), use one to clean the folds of your lady bits. You’ll stop any extra funky smell and feel so much fresher. Men, let’s get real, clean your ass and balls because that is where most of your “funk” comes from!
- Women a FUD will change your life.
Ok,maybe not your life, butyou will find peeing in 20-degreeweather so much more enjoyable. A FUD is a female urination device. The one I use and love is the Freshette. It has a retractable hose which is flexible and allows you to aim (before long you will be writing your name in the snow too, just like one of the guys). We will talk more about FUDsin another video.
- Using a peri bottle to rinse after going #1 is so much better than using TP, however, due to not sitting if using a FUD, a portable bidet works better (due to the angled neck).
- Having your mattress deflate sucks. Thankfully it was on the last night, but my Thermarest NeoAir XLite women’s deflated and we never were able to find a hole.
- I want a shorter air mattress. Despite being 5′ 9″ I have decided I want a shorter air mattress. One, it will save me on weight and two I like propping my feet on my bag when on my back or stomach. When I am on my side my feet are pretty much pulled to my chest. I found that I was
scootingdown on my mattress so I could do this. I basically was not using about 1/3 of my mattress. This was the 2nd biggest thing I learned during my LSHT thru-hike. I never understood how these long-distance hikers could be comfortable with shorter mattresses. Now I know!
- Take time to organize your gear in your tent before bed. I know it sounds silly, but waking up to an organized space instead of gear all over the place, works wonders for one’s mood. It also allows you to have things that you may need to grab quickly nearby. For me, I make sure my headlamp, potty supplies, water,
andany meds I need for the morning are easily accessible, especially the potty supplies and headlamp. Nothing like waking up at 3 am needing to pee really bad just to fumble in the dark for 5 minutes trying to find your headlamp or potty supplies!
- Shakedown hikes are a must before a long “trip”. You learn real quick what will and won’t work. You also learn all the extra “stuff” you thought you needed, you all of a sudden no longer need and are happy to get rid of.
Something else I learned during my LSHT thru-hike was that shoes really do have a life span on them of about 500 miles (this pair I had worn for about 400 miles before starting the Lone Star Hiking Trail and are now my mowing shoes lol).
Watch The Video
Watch the video for a more in-depth review of things I learned during my LSHT thru-hike.