Sunday morning, a group of 28 students and four Outdoor Recreation staff will make the drive to Smokey Mountain National Park, Tennessee. Doing what you may ask? These brave souls will be backpacking through the Smokey Mountains for six days, enjoying the beauty of nature and creating new friendships on their annual Spring Break Adventure Trip. The excursion will include hiking the Appalachian Trail, traveling through Cades Cove and a enjoying day of fun in Gatlinburg.
You may be asking yourself, “why didn’t I sign up for this trip? It sounds awesome!”
Maybe you didn’t register because you were being a procrastinator (in true college student fashion). Or maybe it was because you weren’t too sure what to bring with you on a backpacking trip for six days.
If you were procrastinating, we can’t help you out. However, if you weren’t sure what to pack, then fear not! Cathy Steadman, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator, has decided to shed some light on the trip and offer a list of items to pack for the trails.
Cathy described herself as a “minimalist” when it comes to backpacking. She brings two bags – one for the car, and one for the trail. The “car bag” will include: cotton clothing. Things such as jeans, t-shirts, a hoodie, etc. “It will be for the drive up there and when we are done, it has what I will put on for our day in Gatlinburg,” says Cathy. “That bag will stay in the car.”
For the hike, the bag gets a tad more complicated. To make it easier for your reading pleasure, the items have been compiled in list-form. Enjoy.
– Nylon Pants (Cathy personally wears Patagonia mountain pants)
– Long underwear
– Fleece pants
– Rain pants
– A spare pair of long underwear
-Trip Tip: Cathy will be wearing the long underwear under her nylon Patagonia pants. The fleece pants, rain pants and long underwear will be packed just in case.
– Long sleeved underwear
– A non-cotton shirt
– Gloves, hat, and of course, hiking boots
-Trip Tip: “Last year’s trip was cold and rainy,” said Cathy. Try to pack for all conditions.
Along with the bag:
– A portion of a tent (Cathy will share a tent. If you want to sleep in your own tent, you will carry your own tent).
– A portion of the group food
– First aid kit
– Backpacking stove
– Fuel for the stove
– Head lamp
– Personal items (contact solution, toothbrush, deodorant, etc)
– Kleenex packs
– Large and Small Ziploc bags
– Hand sanitizer
– Facial cleansing sheets
Trip Tip: So what about toilet paper? Cathy recommends packets of Kleenex. They’re easy to pack and convenient. She also suggests bringing a large Ziploc bag and a smaller Ziploc bag. The smaller bag will be for disposing the used Kleenex and the large one will carry the small bag and hand sanitizer. Also, used facial cleansing sheets can help “freshen up” the small Ziploc bag of used Kleenex.
– Camping utensils
– Two water bottles
Trip Tip: It’s good to carry two liters of water with you because you may hike for a while without water.
Cathy’s favorite part about the trip is the people they meet while hiking the trail. Many people try to thru-hike (hike the entire trail) the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine. According to the Appalachian Trail website, of the people who attempt to thru-hike, only one in four people succeed.
Another favorite of Cathy’s is just the overall experience. “You can only get there by walking,” said Cathy. “Everything we need we are taking with us and the stuff we see can only be seen by walking.”
Now that you know what to bring on a backpacking trip, there is no reason why you can’t sign up next year! Not to mention, this newfound knowledge may also help you prepare for future Outdoor Rec Adventure Trips.
-Clearwater Beach Trip: April 7, 2012 and April 28, 2012
-Suwannee River Canoe Trip: May 7-11, 2012
Information about these trips can be found on the Outdoor Rec website.
By: Veronica Case