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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
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!
- 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.
- Tent: Dan Durston X-Mid 2p
- Groundcloth: Gossamer Gear Polycryo Ground Cloth
- Tent Stakes: MSR Ground Hog Stake (x8)
- May go back to original stakes
- Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking Poles
- Sleeping Bag: Cosmic 20 Sleeping Bag–Long
- Sleeping Bag Liner: Sea to Summit Reactor Fleece Liner
- Adding up to 10-15 degrees in warmth, hopefully…
- Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Sleeping Pad
- 4.2 R-Value
- Luxury Pillow: Sea To Summit Aeros Premium Pillow (Large)
- Camp Socks: Darn Tough Mountaineering Socks:
- Camp Shirt: Merino 250 Base Layer Crew Women’s
- Camp Bottoms: Minus33 Franconia Bottom Base Layers
- Cook Pot: TOAKS Light Titanium 650ml Pot
- Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Camping Stove
- Eating Utensil: Toaks Titanium Long Handle Spoon
- Water Filtration System: Sawyer PointONE Squeeze Water Filter System
- Replaced the Sawyer bags with Evernew Water Carrier, 2L:
- Bear Bag: Ursack AllMitey Bear and Critter Sack – 10 Liters
- Paired with the LOKSAK OPSAK Odor-Proof Barrier Bags – 10″ x 9″
- Luxury Cup: Sea to Summit X-Cup
- Rain Gear:
- Base Layers:
- Midweight Layer:
- Puffy/Down Layer:
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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