Abby’s Appalachian Trail Gear List

After deciding to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail this spring, I unlocked a new obsession: backpacking gear. Through much fixation, research, and mini shakedown hikes, I’ve got the gear I need (or at least think I do at the moment.) Here’s a summary of everything I’ve accumulated since May 2022 (when I graduated college and started my backpacking obsession.) A complete list of my gear can be found here.

Sleep System/Pack

ULA Circuit

Originally, I started out with the Osprey Aura but decided to switch it out for something lighter: the ULA Circuit. My Osprey pack was really comfortable with the mesh back panel and generous padding, but it was still a little weighty for my liking. The ULA Circuit was perfect and had fewer pockets. Fewer pockets means less temptation to bring along extra things I don’t really need. My only concern with the pack was its ability to hold up in the rain—which I have solved by getting a pack cover and will most likely use a trash bag as a pack liner on the inside. I’ve started to embroider it as well and plan on adding more before I head out on the AT!

Gossamer Gear’s The One

Similar to my pack, I started out with a Tigerwall from Big Agnes at first, but decided to switch it out to lighten my load more. While I liked the Tigerwall’s fun yellow color and easy set up, it was bigger than I needed, and I was concerned about how it would hold up in the rain. While I’m sure it would’ve been alright, I feel more secure in going with Gossamer Gear’s The One. The One is also lighter than the Tigerwall, and I enjoy how I can set it up with my trekking poles. (My trekking poles have already saved me from rolling my ankle dozens of times.) I’m not entirely satisfied with the tent footprint that came with the tent — so if anyone has advice on a tent footprint that would fit The One, let me know in the comments! Or let me know how Gossamer Gear’s tent footprint has worked for you.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Sleeping Quilt

Since I am a cold sleeper, I decided to get a super warm sleeping bag. I went with the 0-degree sleeping quilt just to be on the safe side. This has been my favorite sleeping quilt I’ve ever had! It’s kept me extremely warm and cozy during my backpacking trips and is easy to pack down into a tiny stuff sack. The quilt is really fragile, so I’ve had a few minor rips, but am planning to bring along the adhesive patches for repairs. I’ve even used this quilt as a comforter some nights (my roommate likes to keep the house cold.)

Nemo Ground Pad

Popular opinion: inflatable ground pads are way superior to the foam ones. I had been using foam pads (if anything) on my first couple backpacking trips and the first time I tried this inflatable pad—it might as well have been a Tempur-Pedic. I actually almost slept through the night. For reference, I am a side sleeper and a very light sleeper as well. I also am bringing earplugs (I’ve had miserable experiences with people snoring nearby at shelters) and a lightweight pillow.

Just for Fun

For my luxury items (besides the pillow), I’m bringing along some Apple headphones (wired), a Rite in the Rain Journal, a Kindle Paper White, and am thinking about taking along a tiny case of watercolors. I’m looking forward to using the journal to keep my poetry in and random thoughts in as I walk. I’ll be typing them up once I get into town and can use a computer. This works out perfectly, my writing style is usually word vomiting and editing later to form more coherent and synthesized thoughts. I’m excited to see where my mind wanders while my feet keep pace. I’m a voracious reader—and the Kindle will be a lot better than carrying a pack full of books. I’m also excited to listen to music and poetry as I walk. When I visit a new place or reach a new chapter of my life, I try to listen to new a new album or new music in general, so it will always remind me of that place or period in my life. I can’t wait to download some albums to listen to along the AT! Suggestions are welcome (but folk rock suggestions will be given heavier consideration.)

Wardrobe Favorites

Most of the clothes I’ve gotten to wear on the trail, I already wear all the time in day-to-day life. I am a big fan of Smartwool. Being a perpetually cold person, I have worn my base layer top and bottom around like a second skin, and it’s incredible at keeping me warm. It’s also cozy to sleep in. I also invested in a pair of fuzzy mountaineering socks from Smartwool that I wear as slippers sometimes, and will take with me to sleep in. Since I wear glasses, I got an Outdoor Research rain hat to prevent visibility issues—which has held up nicely when I wear it running. I recently have come down with a case of plantar fasciitis from upping my mileage too quickly (when training for and running the 50k), so I invested in a pair of plantar fasciitis socks (which provide some relief through compression,) a golf ball, and a belt that I can use to stretch with on trail.


Through collecting all my gear this past year, I’ve come to realize the value of flexibility. Instead of getting frustrated when something isn’t working right or it’s not exactly how you’d like it to be —you can just continue to change and invest in it until it becomes what you’ve envisioned. And that’s half the fun! I didn’t like how heavy my base weight was, so I kept trading out items until I got it to exactly where I wanted it to be. And I’m sure I’ll keep changing it. Asking strangers on trail for advice is an amazing way to make friends. When I first started backpacking on my own last summer around Blacksburg, I would run into thru hikers along the way and ask them about their gear and their journey so far—and they were happy to give advice and tell me what they had learned. Soon enough, we were walking and talking together and had become friends. I like to try and live by one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quotes:

“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”

So far, keeping an open mind and learning from strangers (soon-to-be-friends) has led me on some interesting and knowledgeable travels. I learn something new every time I set out on the trail—whether it’s about myself, my gear, or new people I meet. I feel like this thru hike will be a learning experience of a lifetime.

With all that being said, if you have any questions or advice about my gear, feel free to leave them in the comments!

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Comments 7

  • Jeff Yegian : Jan 23rd

    As a side-sleeper I love my Aeros. For a ground cloth I buy a sliding door sized window film and cut it to size. Have a great trip

  • Austin Armstrong : Jan 23rd

    Thanks for the list! For music, check out local Philly band Broadside Electric; sadly they are no longer performing, but they’re a really fun take on Steeleye Span, with some really talented multi – intstrumentallists.

  • Edward (Halupki) : Jan 24th

    Best of luck. Looking forward to following your adventure. HYOH

  • Christa : Jan 24th

    Hi Abby, best of luck on your thru hike, just wondering what are you carrying your food in? I am having a hard time trying to decide for myself, I know the AT would prefer everyone carry a bear vault. Thanks

    • Abby Evans : Jan 24th

      Hi Christa! I’m just carrying a regular sea to summit bag and am going to hang it up in trees and will put it into the bear boxes.

  • Swamp Irish and Sugar Gal : Jan 27th

    You have chosen wisely!
    Enjoy Your Adventurous Journey!
    PS Forget the water colors… extra weight! Hee Hee Hee 😉

  • Some random guy : Jan 29th

    If your plantar fasciitis lingers in the slightest, consider custom orthotics. Before you start. The support reduces aggravation, which you may not be able to stretch your way through.


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