Another Hiking Gear List – Help Please!
I am not sure if this has ever been done before, but I am acquiring my hiking gear list virtually from over 7,000 miles away. I won’t be able to put a finger on any of it till about 10 days before I hit the trail. If you have read my previous post about training on The Great Wall of China, you will know where I am – in Beijing, China.
I have only purchased a few of the items below either because 1) it was on sale and I couldn’t pass on the savings or 2) I needed to pre-order the item since it was custom or mail order only.
Please, please tell me where I’ve gone wrong with my hiking gear list before I purchase the rest of my gear. I will end up getting most of my gear from REI mostly because of their incredible return policy. I will be flying into Atlanta, so my thought was to hit up some REIs in that area and possibly some other outfitters thinking that they should be VERY familiar with what it takes to tackle the AT. I also plan 1-2 shakedown hikes before I hit the trail for real.
The order in which I am tackling my gear list below is in the same order as the Gear List from The Trek’s Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Gear List.
My Virtual Hiking Gear List
Hammock (already purchased)
First of all, I am NOT getting a tent because this old back just can’t handle sleeping on the hard ground, even with a fluffy pad. I have never slept in a hammock, so this will be a huge leap of faith. That and what I understand, a pretty steep learning curve. But hey, I have many miles to get it just right.
I have read the many reviews from those that have purchased various hammocks and I have decided to go with the Kammock Mantis Ultralight all-in-one hammock which weighs 2 pounds 3 oz. The all-in-one aspect of this system is a major reason for me to pick the Kammock.
I think the one thing that scares many would-be hammock buyers is the vast variety of choices. Choices of a hammock, strap system, tarp, etc… Just give me everything in one bag and give me a video on how to hang it.
Then down the road, we can talk whoopie slings and shit. A tent is enticing because it’s all included and simple. Make more hammocks with all-in-one options and you’d have more people using them.
Check back in with me later and see if I am singing a different tune. Will I like hammock camping? Will I like the Kammock?
The Kammock Ridgeline organizer (2.5 oz) and the Joey Gear Sling (5.5 oz) were some other Kammock items I purchased. I am not sure I will take either on the trail but wanted to test them out on my shakedown hikes.
Backpack (not yet purchased)
The Osprey Exos 48 (2 lbs 9.1 oz) is the pack for me. I think! Based on the many reviews, and articles I’ve read, it is great for a beginner backpacker and should take me to completion of the AT. I like that it is an internal frame and while it is not ultralight, it is light and sturdy for the long haul.
I am choosing the 48L pack to limit my load. I have read too many times that if you have the space, you will fill it. I don’t need all that on my back. I will have to make 48L work for what I plan to carry.
The ULA pack is also a strong contender.
Quilt – top quilt/ under quilt (already purchased)
I have always used a regular sleeping bag and then I learned about quilts. Did you know that all that insulation under you as you sleep is compacted and therefore useless? So why carry it with you? It makes no sense.
Again I am making a leap of faith with a quilt for my top quilt. I chose the Enlightened Equipment Revelation, regular, wide, 850 down, 30-degree bag with a 10D lining inside and out. Boy did I just sound like I knew what I was talking about or what? I did learn what all that meant but boy that is a lot to wrap your head around.
I wish hikers could have a hiking concierge that would help with gear choices and be ready on the trail with alternatives should their current choice not work. But that would make it all too easy and take all the fun out of gear selection.
Because I am a hammock camper, I also need an underquilt. There are so many quilts that fall in this category it quickly becomes overwhelming. I ended up doing some research on the Hammock Gear Incubator and was very impressed. My selection is currently being custom made with the standard full length, a 10D lining inside and out and 850 down at a 20-degree rating.
Bag liner (not yet purchased)
Is this piece of equipment even necessary? If not, then if you decide to take one, does that make it a luxury item? I do like the idea of keeping my quilt clean and I can use it by itself in the dead of summer. The Cocoon silk mummy liner looks to be light and has the necessary addition of warmth I may need early on and in the high mountains.
Sleeping Pad (not yet purchased)
Do I even need a sleeping pad with a hammock setup and an underquilt in tow? If I do end up getting one, which I could pick up along the way, I am looking at the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad coming in at 8.8 oz for the regular size. But over $200?!? WTF? If I want to sleep in a shelter or in the huts in the Whites, I will need one, right? I am really looking for feedback here from those of you who know the AT.
Footwear (not yet purchased)
Here I am waffling between the Altra Lone Peak 6 and the Altra Olympus 4. Since I am a Flip-flopper with a start in VA, I will be hitting the rocks in PA early on. I have heard the Olympus is more sturdy than the Lone Peak 5, but the LP 6 got an upgrade, so I am not sure.
I will be trying these at a local REI soon before my hike but would appreciate some feedback you may have with the LP 6 vs the Olympus 4. Also, I am planning on using the Superfeet Trailblazer inserts.
Base Layers (not yet purchased)
No idea. It will NOT be cotton, I know that much but am lost beyond that.
I will need to work with what REI has when I show up there before my hike. I know I do want something to keep me warm while I sleep when it’s cold. What works for you that takes you from colder temps at the start and end of your hike and in the higher altitudes and during storms? But can also carry you into the hot days of summer and not weigh your pack down. Boy, that IS asking a lot!
Hiking Fleece (already purchased)
Superior Fleece’s Cascade Hoodie (size large is 9.3 oz). I really wanted to get that hoodie Frozen has, but that was simply not happening for me. The Superior Fleece was reviewed as being about the same, but easier to get.
Insulating Jacket (already purchased)
Enlightened Equipment Torrid Jacket (size large is 8.4 oz). I went with the EE on this due to a couple of youtube video reviews I saw. Plus the fact that the EE Torrid with a Visp of the same size is designed to fit well together. Again, give me a package made to work together and I’m sold.
Rain/ Wind Jacket (already purchased)
Enlightened Equipment Visp Rain Jacket (size large is 4.93 oz). See above.
Umbrella (not yet purchased)
Guilty pleasure – that’s what an umbrella seems to me. I grew up in Oregon and I LOVE the rain, I just don’t love rain with the wind or the cold or both. But I do want to take one with me. I feel so much better that The Trek did not list ‘Umbrella’ under luxury items, plus that Frozen and others also used one on the trail. Zpack Lotus UL Umbrella (6.8 oz) is my choice.
Socks and underwear (sock liners purchased)
Your feet are your foundation. Try very hard to prevent blisters and you will be a happier hiker, or so I hear. Towards this end, I am sold on the Injinji sock liners which separate the toes from one another. As a marathon runner, I know how painful blisters can be. But after a marathon I can rest up the next week or so. I can’t do so with a thru-hike. I have some Injinjis now but am getting the liners for use on the AT. Over these, I plan on using the Darn Tough socks. Their lifetime warranty speaks for itself (and their many reviews).
Underwear will probably be ExOfficio due to reviews and very little competition in this category.
Hiking Bottoms (not yet purchased)
Shorts of some kind during warmer weather. Maybe pants that zip for other times of the year? It seems I have really put off the whole clothing category – I will probably narrow these choices down once I hit the REI stores just before my hike.
Camp bottoms (not yet purchased)
Same as above. Not a clue.
Gloves and hats (not yet purchased)
Reading and watching many blogs, hikers seem to get very cold fingers when caught in the rain and wind and find it hard to climb, etc. Their fingers are so cold. A waterproof glove seems to be the answer but I am not sure there is such a thing. REI has a highly rated Outdoor Research Waterproof Glove Liner which may not be fully waterproof. What are your thoughts on this? I would love to hear about your experience.
As for a hat, I will get a good quality Balaclava to sleep in and wear when it is cold. I also may need a cap to keep the bug net from my face when I get up north?
Also, the wool buff that I already own. I have no idea of the brand.
Camp shoe (not yet purchased)
Xero shoes Z-trails (10.8 oz) – I know some may see these as a luxury item but having a pair to wear in camp and air my feet out is so important for foot care. Plus being able to use these in showers that may have foot funk all over, is worth it. I think you may also be able to wear these when fording rivers.
Stuff sacks (not yet purchased)
Yes – No idea what or which. I can pick some up at REI and more on the trail as or if needed. Not too worried about this yet.
Cooking gear (not yet purchased)
I had and love the Jetboil system but I think I will go with the MSR Windburner (15.5 oz). I plan to only heat water in the pot and use dehydrated meals. I will also clean and reuse the Mountain House pouch for hydrating other off-the-shelf ingredients like mashed potato and other food items like that. This way I can continue to keep my pot from needing to be cleaned while on the trail.
I already have the Sea-to-Summit short-handled spork, otherwise, I would have gotten the longer handle spoon but I can’t see buying another one.
The other item that I already have is the Toaks Titanium Cup which I will use for coffee, cocoa, and miscellaneous.
Trekking poles (not yet purchased)
I don’t have this narrowed down to a specific brand but I am looking for a pair of trekking poles with cork handles, flick lock, and made from aluminum, based on general reviews.
Headlamp (not yet purchased)
Nitecore NU25 Ultra Lightweight Headlamp (1.9 oz with strap) is my choice in this category. I like the way it operates and that it is rechargeable.
Water purification (not yet purchased)
First Aid (not yet purchased)
First Aid Kit – 4 adhesive bandages, ½ roll medical tape, a ½-ounce tube of antibiotic treatment, three small packages of pills: ibuprofen, Benadryl, and an antidiarrheal, 2-3 antiseptic wipes, 2-3 butterfly bandages, Tweezers, Safety pins, One sheet of moleskin, Water treatment tablets, Baby Powder, Pain Medication, Bandaids, Duct Tape – 2 feet wrapped around of pen shaft, Anti Diarrhea Meds.
Toiletries (not yet purchased)
Toothbrush, 1 oz toothpaste, toilet paper, hand wipes. I plan on purchasing a collapsible travel toothbrush at Walmart. Also to better clean my bottom and use less TP, I am getting a hiker’s bidet.
Guidebooks (already purchased)
AWOL’s guide on my iPhone. Guthook (FarOut) on my iPhone.
Luxury Items (not yet purchased)
No pillow to start, but I may add it if needed.
I am getting the NITECORE NB10000 Ultra-Slim 10000mAh (9.2 oz) for my battery backup.
I may get a small sit pad but I have not made up my mind on this item. I may rationalize getting it and use it also as a doormat of sorts for my hammock.
Trowels (not yet purchased)
Yes, titanium to keep it light but I am flexible on brand.
GPS (not yet purchased)
NO. Just the one on my iPhone.
Misc. (not yet purchased)
Permethrin insect spray for my clothes and other things. And speaking of bugs, a bug net may get this along the trail as needed. PackTowl is another item that I will need to add and I have no idea on brand but I want it light and on the small side. A very small Swiss Army pocket knife that has a knife, scissors and tweezers, and little else. It is the perfect size and weight and I already own that as well. Plus a Nylofume pack liner.
That’s my hiking gear list. I feel like there is way too much stuff that I am planning on taking but at the same time, I can’t seem to think of anything that I can leave behind. So that’s it. What did I miss? Where did I mess up? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance.
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Tiny bottle of alcohol gel. The alcohol gel is great for when you really really don’t want doubts about your hands being clean. Also, you can use it as a fire starter.
Umbrella is a game changer- I loved mine, sent home my waterproof jacket after two wet weeks. The green tunnel is good against most wind, and the brolly keeps your face dry as well as protecting the gap between your back and your pack cover.
Stuff sacks- I ordered a couple from gossamer gear that were super light, which were great; they’re inside a pack which is in a pack cover so don’t need to be too robust or canoe-bag level of waterproof. Only exception is the bear hang bag- I’d get something cheap because tiny bears can still chew through it when it’s hanging right. Walmart make a long hi-viz cord in the construction aisle (not camping) which is ideal for bear hanging, which you don’t mention at all.
Sealskinz make waterproof gloves.
Facecloth-sized towel, if you’re worried about your feet; they’ll need properly drying pre-baby powdering. Contraversial opinion- goretex socks are better than camp shoes; you sort your feet out, then put them on over some thin socks, then put your (inevitably wet) shoes on over the top. Toasty feet, weighs less, and it’s the fastest way to dry soaked shoes.
I wouldn’t bother with camp bottoms. You can sleep in your thermals.
Consider a Klymit Inertia skeleton pad for sleeping. They are very comfy, light, pack small and if you can use it without issues they are great. Good luck.
Make sure you have a 20 degree rated underquilt and topquilt set for your hammock. HammockGear gives you the best bang for the buck. I like their hammocks and tarps better than the Kammok Mantis by far. (I own both)
You mention Alras but you don’t say if you already use zero drop shoes. If you don’t be aware that getting used to zero drop can take several weeks. If you don’t transition slowly you run the risk of archilles and or calf muscle issues.
If you’ve never hammock camped before, there’s more to it than meets the eye. How to find the right trees (that are the right distance apart), what to do when that isn’t available, how to adjust the rainfly (especially when it’s raining/expected to rain), how to adjust the underquilt so there isn’t a draft, where to keep everything at night. Hammocking is more “finicky” than using a tent.
I have that headlamp and really like it. I did swap out the charging cable and got one online that is 4 inches long and works with both my iphone and the port on the headlamp. I know you already got the hammock but here is something to think about. I love hammock camping but moved to Virginia a couple years ago and have since ditched that sleep system. I am a mosquito magnet and have not found a hammock system that keeps them out effectively. Even with a connected system like you got, inevitably a part of my leg is touching the net or somehow they get me through the hammock itself. I have a sitting pad and really like it as a luxury item. Keeps my butt dry when its wet out and weighs less than 2 oz. I would consider trying to find a marino wool tee and getting your clothing sorted in Beijing. REI has benefits, but you are putting a lot of trust in them having the right size gear in stock when you go, and you will pay for better quality. If you are locked on their return policy, I would consider ordering everything online and shipping to store so you know it will all be there in your size and you can research before buying. Shelter floors are usually wood planks, so unless you are comfy with just a bag and a hard surface, I would suggest some sort of pad. I have that pack and it is very comfy, but I do often wish I had a lighter alternative. Many people ditch their trowel. Quite a few privy setups along the way and a stick or hiking pole when going off-grid.
I’d get a bidet. There’s too much TP all over the AT. Takes up less space, cleans better, don’t have to worry about it getting wet. If you’re still not comfortable going without TP, take coffee filters. Great for a variety of uses. You can use to wipe. Use to clean wounds and with duct tape for bandages, and can use to clean cook pot, mug… Unlike TP, works great wet.
It sounds like you’ve done a lot of research on every aspect of your hike. I imagine that you’ve also researched information about how to deal with get the most out of your hammock gear. When I switched from a tent to a hammock, I got a lot of information from Derrick Hanson’s Ultimate Hang and from Shug Emery’s hammocking you tube videos. It made the transition very easy and if you haven’t checked them out, I’d recommend them. Good luck with your adventure.
For my first ever backpacking experience I choose the kammock hammock mantis ultralight absolutely loved it! Best sleep ever. I did take me a minute to get the set up correct. The one thing that is great is if you keep the tarp handy when it’s raining, put that up first then you can set your hammock up under the tarp. I did get lazy and left my under quilt and sleeping bag completely setup and would just stuff it in a compression bag worked for me. I did take a pad just in case I wanted to sleep in a shelter and be at least somewhat comfortable. But if you don’t think you are going to then no need to buy or carry one. Good luck and best wishes.
My husband and I have day hiked only on the AT (we have completed about 3/4 of Georgia) so we don’t have any advice for through hiking, but since my husband broke his leg last year (not on the AT) we have slowly gotten back to hiking 5-6 miles in the mountains now. One thing we do know about it trekking poles, since my husband has used consistently since coming back from his broken leg. I have been using hiking sticks since 2016 when we first started hiking the AT in Georgia. We love our cork handled Trail Buddy poles. They have saved both of us recently from falls as they keep us steady and help us at creek crossings. We are 67 years old if that helps you decide. They seem to be pretty light, but I’m not sure if you have a certain weight in mind for a through hike.