Lee Barry, 85
Lee "Easy One" Barry, the oldest guy to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, knows about hiking forever. The North Carolinian has trekked the 2,175-mile trail five times–all in the last 45 years–and in 2004 he set the age record at 81. Of course, Barry isn’t immune to the effects of growing up. When he first climbed Mt. Katahdin, as a forty- something, the trip took 7.5 hours; at 81, it was a 15-hour round-trip. "I’m the same person carrying the same weight," he says. "The difference is age." His secrets to going longer, stronger: daily gym workouts, a measured pace (1 mph), and a light pack. Trim your load with these tips.
1. Eat light
Invest in a food dehydrator and premake meals that reconstitute with boiling water. 2. Buy a new tent
The one-person Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 offers three-season protection for less than 2 pounds. ($300; 1 lb. 14 oz.; bigagnes.com)
3. Get grungy:
Bring one set of clothes for a week, plus a puffy, rain shell, and extra socks.