The List Before the final Gear List

I’m looking around at my pack and the variety of things that I own for backpacking and camping and panic sets in. Yup, that crappy picture (sorry, my living room has really bad lighting) shows pretty much all the backpacking gear I currently have to my name.

Oh lord. I don’t have ANYTHING.”  

That’s not quite true.  I have my Gregory Jade 50 (2lb 15 oz), my Big Agnes Seedhouse 1 (with rain fly and footprint, of course; ~ 2 lb 6 oz), and my Montbell Super Spiral 30 degree down bag (1 lb 2 oz)….except my down bag has a tear in it because I’ve used it extensively and it’s actually never quite gotten me through 30 degrees even at my most bundled – the most I can sleep comfortably with it is about 45-50 degrees. I figure it needs a good turn through the dryer with some tennis balls and then we’ll see from there. I’ve never had a problem with the Seedhouse, but it needs the seams sealed. I have a Thermarest Prolite sleeping pad (16 oz) somewhere, but currently am not able to find it.

Shopping List:

  • Stuff sacks – personal recommendations are welcome
  • Stove and fuel
  • Hydration system (UV? Tablets? Gravity? Let’s go check those posts again!)
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Winter sleeping bag
  • Trekking Poles
  • Pocket Knife (should I invest in a multi tool as well?)
  • Repair/Sewing kit
  • Bandana
  • Camp clothes (baselayers, etc)
  • Trowel (a fancy lightweight one? Or a regular plastic one?)
  • Carabiners (since my pack could use them to store stuff off of)
  • Ex-Officio Underwear or something similar
  • Smartwool socks (easy enough for me to obtain)
  • Sock liners
  • Trail mug
  • Pot (for cooking!)
  • First aid, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.
  • Journal
  • Go-pro?

With 8 months to go (hey, if I don’t start planning now…), though, I think I have rounded out the basework for my gear – tent, sleeping bag, pack. I need to get a cold weather bag and an insulated liner but beyond that I’m good to go shopping for the rest of my adventure. But then, what about sponsorship? What if I actually get someone to support my hike, or offer products at cost, should I hold off on buying things like trekking poles and hydration systems and fuel systems? Measure twice, cut once, as they say, and on my budget I’d definitely like to make as few purchasing mistakes as possible.  I’m sure in one way or another I’ll be down on my knees on the great trail, cursing the heavens as tears pour from my eyes but I’ll be damned if it’s because of a poor purchase.  Yet my thru-hiking anxiety always seems to catch up with me – and please don’t get wrong, it’s a good kind of anxiety if that makes any sense – and no matter how many times I check the White Blaze forums or Appalachian Trials blog posts, I always end up second guessing myself. It’s just…the last thing I need on the trail is dysentery, you guys.

My most recent purchase was The North Face Leonidas Jacket from their Summit Series. I plan to use this lightweight waterproof jacket as my raincoat, and so far it’s done an amazing job of keeping me dry when I’ve tested it on rainy days. I also plan on using my TNF Thermoball Jacket (I’ll give you one hint as to what my retail job is) to hike in starting out until the weather warms up. Both jackets are lightweight and compactible enough that I don’t have to  worry about them taking up space when they aren’t needed. Hiking shorts, tank tops, and plenty of sports bras are already in my possession for the hike. Clothing shopping is very easy for me, as it turns out.

My luxury item will probably be my DSLR, although I’m hesitant as to how often I’ll take it with me and I’m not sure I feel comfortable leaving it in a bounce box, either. With lenses, plus dirt and muck and rocks, I’m not so sure about taking a sensitive piece of equipment out on the trail but I know I’ll beat myself up if I found the perfect shot with no camera. A point and shoot or go-pro would offer the same capabilities for snapshots, and that’s better than nothing I suppose.

Am I overthinking this? I’m overthinking this, aren’t I. Any and all advice is welcome – I’ll continue to lurk here and there, reading gear reviews and archives to find the best gear for my money. I’ll have a complete list, with weights, ready to go for whenever our first shakedown happens. Thanks for reading!

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