Moderator, please feel free to move this to hiking if you see fit. I just felt the knowledge base and prolonged nature of my trip would be better answered here.
First, I'm new here. Stumbled on this site yesterday. There's a huge wealth of knowledge here. I'm 24, from Chicago, mechanical contractor (mostly boilers and high pressure steam), hiker, and I used to play paintball professionally (weird I know) so I'm athletic and good with a gun (I go to what few ranges Illinois has... we do have great deer hunting though).
Now my plan and question.
I'd like to go to AK sometime in the summer (late June to early Sept.) for about 2-3 months for an extended hike/living remotely. Most likely not until 2010. I need more time to prepare. I'm not trying to live there, and I don't want to be there during the cold. I live in Chicago. It gets cold here and I understand the magnitude of AK's weather... so summer. My questions are mainly these: best time of year, best area, and what gear?
Time of year: June-Sept. Is that a good time? How do I keep the bugs from carrying me away?
Place: Near Anchorage for ease of access. Kodiak Island sounds cool... actually about a dozen places sound cool. My current plan is to hike then camp for about a week, hike and do it again, and slowly make one big loop. As I said before; lasting 2-3 months depending on availability of food.
Supplies: My current list looks like this (most of this is familiar gear to me)...
Gun - Marlin 70PSS w/ scope (.22 break down) w/ multiple spare clips, good ammo, lots of it, basic cleaning kit.
Pack - 6,000 ci Arcteryx Bora 95, love it. I can easily haul 100+ lbs around... well not easily but I do it.
Knife/Axe - 4" drop point Buck, and utility knife, plus sharpening stone, plus spare blades, need to buy an axe. I was looking at the Gerber XL. Any suggestions? I'd prefer full size.
Shelter - Basic tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag. Plus tarp, rope, some nails, and a folding shovel (just seems like a good thing to have).
Food - 40# brown rice, dried black beans, quinoa, lentils, etc. Plus salt, some spices, vitamins, and a half gallon of olive oil. Need a water filter, anybody have one they really like?
Misc. - Compass, maps, h2o2, antibiotics, basic first aid, basic rain gear, sewing kit, fishing line, super glue, lots of bic lighters (why flint and steel? I can never find a suitable answer to this), there's more and I have it all listed... but you guys don't need to be bothered with underwear, cooking utensils, sunglasses, and tp.
Is there any big stuff I'm missing? Sattelite phone when stupid 24 year old Chicagoan breaks leg type stuff?
I'm not trying to bring down caribou and moose with my .22. I don't want to stay in one spot long so big game is out of the question. Rabbit, squirrel, and that sort of thing is what I have planned to supplement my diet with. I have a really nice Rem. 700 in .223 but I don't want to lug it around. Plus it wouldn't leave much meat on a squirrel or rabbit. Is it a good idea to pack a .45 or something of that nature for bears, or is a rapid fire 10 shots to the head with a .22 enough for it to leave me alone. I'd prefer more clips and rounds to bear spray.
I know fishing gear would be a good idea, but I need to research some really small portable stuff. I thought maybe just some hooks, line, etc. would suffice. Guess it depends where I end up.
And the real question... how do you keep bears from coming into your tent at night? Other than keeping food and clothes you cooked in far away and high up in a tree? Is this a problem?
As stated previously I'm a hiker and I'm still researching, but I've hit the point where I'm re-reading the same stuff in different sources. I just don't want to be ill prepared. Alaska is way bigger and scarier than the usual NC mountains I'm used to. Thanks in advance.