I am looking for a 1-2 month hike (Feb-March), and would like to avoid extreme weather because I am inexperienced and cannot fit a bunch of camping gear in my apartment (I live in NYC). I am fine with being uncomfortable, but am afraid of hypothermia/slipping/dehydration. Are these even realistic concerns? How does one procure water on a long hike? What kind of supplies does it take to stay relatively comfortable in snowy/cold weather? I'm pretty cold-hardy if my hands and feet stay dry, and I feel like all long trails run into snow at some point, so perhaps I shouldn't cross cold states off my list? Thank you!
Loc: Portland, OR
January is already half over, so you would only have about two weeks until setting off on this hike, and you are so inexperienced that you do not know how to procure water while hiking? This is not a good start.
Yes, you are quite correct to fear hypothermia, especially in the February/March time frame you're considering. Hypothermia, along with falls and injuries, are the two most common reasons why hikers die.
As little as you would like to hear this, I would strongly counsel you to set aside all thought of attempting to do such a long hike right away and set your sights on an adventure that would allow you to gain experience without jeopardizing your safety. You should perhaps contemplate a car camping trip, taking day hikes and returning to your car and campsite each day. Such a trip could certainly give you all the challenge and satisfaction you could ask for. What you seek to do now is far too likely to end in failure, confusion and regret.
I agree with Aimless. You may feel fine with being uncomfortable now, in the city, indoors, but when you're actually in the uncomfortable situation, for real, you won't be. (I know I'm not.) The problem is, you won't have the skills, knowledge, or gear to do anything about it - and now you're in precisely the kind of situation where hypothermia and dehydration can be life-threatening.
Check with local colleges, to see if any offer some type of outdoors course (many do.) If you find one, get the training and go on a few of the beginner trips they offer. You'll quickly catch on, and you'll pick up a lot of tips. This is not a difficult pastime to become competent in, and the rewards are bountiful. However, running out into the woods, totally inexperienced, will see you return home vowing never to set foot there again.
As far as gear, you don't really need a lot of space to store it: it should all store inside the pack itself, so you're not talking about something any larger than an airline carry-on bag. If you really don't have room for that, there is another option: rent gear for your trips from one of those colleges I mentioned earlier, or from a backpacking shop like REI. That's also a good idea until you get some experience; you can learn what does and doesn't work, then pick out your own gear based on that experience.
I am also in NY, the other side of the State. I am in the Adirondacks quite often. I am always willing to have others join me on my adventures. I often have beginners on my trips. You are welcome to join us.
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I agree with all of this, but I would add one nuance to what Glenn said. Your sleeping bag should not be stored compressed, especially if it's down. You can store it in an oversized bag or hanging in your closet.
Hayduke trail southern Utah and part of Northern AZ is what i recommend but you have to be on top of your game with your map reading skills. This treks takes you through tons of canyons and slot canyon and you could get lost easily. Only than that I would look at The Arizona trail, Southern part of the CDT through the Gila Wilderness, and the desert section of the PCT.