2021 AT Gear List: My Top Five Before the Trail

Cool. Another gear list post, so what?

I’m totally the person who has spent hours reading through others’ gear lists. I have probably spent too much precious toilet time stressed out comparing and wondering why someone chose what instead of finishing my business. I foolishly thought all along how simple these lists seemed and I overlooked a small factor.

Making a gear list is really annoying.

It’s annoying for SO many reasons! I now have a lot more respect for those that have put out these lists hike after hike. Thank you for that! Why is it annoying, well…Since initially writing this post I have changed at least 4 pieces of gear. I realized that things are going to change a lot over my journey. I can’t be the person who commits to saying this is the best piece of gear forever because I might feel different in a few months here, haha. Slowly I’ve been able to test things as well as I can and make changes where I’ve needed. Some changes big and some not so much. I know that all along the way things in my pack will change. That is just the way she goes!

“Gear She Goesss…Gear She Goes Again…fa-la-la-la-la!”

Well, What the heck am I bringing?!

I get this question A LOT. It’s a valid question! What am I going to bring on a 6-month adventure galavanting and frolicking in the woods? Hmmmm.

Disclaimer: I am not an Ultralight backpacker for those that understand what that means. I am as weight conscious as I can afford to be at the moment, and that’s that. With that being said I’ve done a lot (probably too much) research on gear and what I think will work for me on this endeavor.

Let’s break down my top five items I am excited about and why.

  1. Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded Down Jacket: I am obsessed with this jacket. I was searching for something light, compact, and most importantly warm as hell. I am a cold person so my biggest fear is freezing my ass off all night long. Therefore with this 800 fill down jacket I know I will be warm. It’s been a pretty wild winter season for the South and I am taking no chances. No thank you.
  2. Dan Durston X-Mid 2p Tent: I know, I know. I’ve talked about this tent already how annoying. Too bad, because I am stoked on it. I picked this tent out for a few specific reasons! I am tall. I am a long string bean of a woman. I need a lot of space. This has ample headspace for me which is awesome. I also wanted to try out a trekking pole tent, eliminating the weight of carrying tent poles. The added feature of being a double-wall tent as well means I still have the option of removing the rain fly and having a starry-filled night’s sleep. Bonus feature is minimal condensation! If you want to hear more details on why this tent is amazing check out Backpacker Radio Episode #82 where they talk to the man himself!

  3. Six Moon Design Fusion 50L: One of the last-minute changes I made was my backpack. WOAH, tampering with the Big 3? I know, insane. I felt like I had really dialed in my gear and it still kept coming up heavier than I was hoping. After a pack shakedown Birdfeeder told me the best way to lose some weight was changing my pack. Urgh. I did not want to deal with that, but I did. I ended up trying out the Six Moon Design Fusion 50 L and loved it. Switching to this bag from an Osprey Aether 65L was life-changing! What a difference a few pounds can make when it’s sitting on your back. I LOVE the way it sits on my body. For a bag without an external frame, it’s extremely comfortable and very versatile with how you pack it. It has a roll-top and tons of external storage! I am excited to get some miles on this bag that will be carrying my home.
  4. Chicken Tramper Gear Chest Strap Pocket: Woah. Chicken Tramper, sick name y’all. A chest strap pocket…I know it seems simple. What you might not know is that this will allow for maximum snack pocket usage. I was going to get a fanny pack which is super popular in

    Featuring: Petrie my turtle and my old Osprey!

    the hiking community but opted for this instead. This is an added attachment to my backpack strap. I can fit my iPhone11 inside a Lifeproof case in the mesh outer pocket filling the inside with miscellaneous items such as all the snacks or masks, lighter, daily plans, etc. This allows for my LARGE hip strap pockets on my backpack to be filled with MORE snacks and treats for throughout the day. Wah-bam!

  5. Darn Tough Mountaineering Socks: I swear I have the coldest feet in the entire universe. Even after 8 years of living in Vermont I still have yet to find warm socks, until now! Thank you Darn Tough for making the warmest socks I have ever put on my frozen toes. These will be my sleep socks because without warm toes there’s no way I am sleeping well. If you need warm socks, these are the ones for you. Oh yeah, and they come with a lifetime warranty. You just can’t beat that.

“What’s your base weight bro?”

According to my Gear List, my starting cold-weather gear is at 17.4lbs. This is what they call base weight. Base weight is equal to the total weight of all of my gear without counting consumables such as food, water, and fuel. Those things change over the course of the trip. The base weight also excludes worn items such as socks, shorts, shirts, etc.

As I said earlier I am not an “ultralight” backpacker. To be considered UL I would have to have a base weight of fewer than 10 pounds. Think about that for a second. Carrying everything you need to live besides food and water weighing only ten pounds. That is wild.

Technically I might be considered a “lightweight” backpacker by the end of my trip. This groups in anyone with a base weight ranging from above 10 to less than 20 pounds. Considering I have not accounted for the weight of many miscellaneous items in my toiletry and emergency kit, I know I am on the higher end of this spectrum. That being said when I can ditch some of my winter gear I will lose at least 3 pounds right there. Sweet deal.

I am hoping with food and water included my pack

will not exceed 30 lbs.

That could be a pipe dream…

So what else am I bringing?

Gear is a very personal decision. I could research, ask questions, spend hours on youtube watching gear reviews all for what? To take that $500 tent EVERYONE said I “had to have” just to find out

I don’t like it? 

With that being said I am happy to present my gear! MY GEAR. The gear I chose and fell in love with. This is not for you, this is not so I can be the ultralight champion of the universe, and this is not meant to sway anyone. I chose the things I did based on budget, experience with the product and recommendations from trusted hiker trash friends.


Sleep System:



If you’re curious about what else I am bringing feel free to check out my (mostly) FULL gear lists! I have one located on HikerLink.co OR you can find it right here attached to my blog! 


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Comments 7

  • pearwood : Mar 4th

    I expect my gear to be a wild mix of old and new. I really don’t want to carry a lot of weight on this 70 year old frame. On the other hand I’m going to take what this 70 year old frame needs. With limited funds I will go as much as possible with what I have.

  • Jody Smith : Mar 5th

    The REAL reason you decided against a fanny pack is because your family would never let you hear the end of it….

    Tis true….

  • Jeffrey Pascoe : Mar 5th

    Hi! Thanks for bringing us along on your journey! This post is really helpful. I do have a question: I’ve been stuck on what stove to get because I don’t know how easy it will be to get the proper fuel canisters along the way. Is isobutane-propane commonplace? Any other thoughts? Also, I’d be interested if you have any comments about what sort of food you’re bringing. 🙂 Thanks!

    • A Wild Jocelot : Mar 18th

      Hey! Forgive me for taking so long to answer! The last few weeks have been wild! Fuel is available all along the trail! A lot of trail towns carry it at their local shops off the AT. I haven’t heard of it being an issue at all along the way! I will find out and report back though! Haha i will be carrying the smallest size and hoping to replace it every 2 weeks!

      I am bringing all sorts of food! I have a lot of nice dehydrated meals that lovely humans sent me. I also bought a lot of ramen & added dehydrated meats & freeze dried vegetables to them to make sure I am getting the right nutrients along the way! My lunches will consist of tortillas & hummus or peanut butter, maybe dehydrated black bean flakes if I am lucky! I’ve added nutritional yeast & spices to all my meals as well & olive oil to add a nice caloric intake as well! I’ll probably do a post about my meals once I’ve dove in on trail!


      • Jeffrey P Pascoe : Mar 18th

        This is so helpful! Thanks a lot! Now I have the same tent and the same stove as you. I hope you agree that imitation is the highest form of flattery. 🙂

  • Michael : Apr 2nd

    Tryin to find a warm jacket since I sleep cold and ran across your blog post on the Fuego Hooded Down Jacket. Did this jacket work for your? warmth? How did it wear? Any issues with the stitching?

    thank you

  • Rob : Aug 20th

    I will be doing the 100 mile wilderness in September and am wondering about the xmid tent. You used the 2p; I have the the 1p. Did you find it difficult to find enough space during that section to pitch the tent with such a large footprint? I’ve only used my new xmid once and it was on the PCT where there was plenty of space. Trying to decide on bringing my new 1p or going back to my Big Agnes freestanding tent for this hike. Thanks!


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