“Attention…Walmart Hikers!”


My gear half way packed.

My gear half-way packed.

If your reading this article your probably like me. Poor. So why not let me be the one to test some of the cheaper gear for you. Not all Wally-World gear is complete junk, you just gotta know what to buy and how to use it. I’m sure that there are a bunch of hard core, “shirt tag snipping” gear heads, that are laughing at me right now. That’s cool… I do that to an extent too, but the majority of us are normal people that like to save a buck.

This is the gear that I plan to start out with in the fall. Naturally, things will break down, wear out, and fail the tests of time. Some of those things, like shoes for example will obviously have to be replaced. A lot of the gear in this article will be sent home as soon as the weather warms up.


img_0740My 3-way Sleep System: 7.5 Lbs

  • Ozark Trail (0 deg.) Mummy Bag:  4 lbs
  • Therma-Rest 1″x 4.5 ‘ Inflatable mattress:  .5 lbs
  • Warbonnet Outdoors Ridge-Runner Hammock:  1.5 lbs
  • Ultimate Survival Technologies Hex-tarp:  1.lb
  • No See-um Bug Net (personally designed):  8 oz
  • Outdoor Products Backpacking Tarp 5’x 7′:  2 oz

This combination sleep/shelter system keeps ME comfortable down to 25 degrees. I can sleep comfortably in my hammock, in a shelter (if I’m feeling lazy), or on the ground in traditional AT fashion (In areas that don’t allow hanging). In my opinion… 7.5 lbs for shelter and sleep system ain’t bad at all. I’m sure I’m giving the ultra-light crowd nightmares of sore feet and blisters. I enjoy the total versatility of my gear. I’m sure I could get it down to 5lbs but unfortunately I can’t afford a nicer bag right now. I did make sure to reinforce the draw string stitching (on the hood of the mummy bag) on my Ozark tho… that way it wont fall apart.


Here’s What’s In The Kitchen: 2.5 Lbs

(with fuel and water filtration)img_0750

I am using a cheap Primus gas Stove I bought at Walmart. The Stove and light-weight fork fit into the self latching “Stanley ” cook pot for safe storage. The small mini vacuum thermos is a must have in colder weather. It’s nice to be able to save a warm meal for later. You will thank yourself when you wake up on a cold morning and realize you saved a warm cup of stew from the night before. If you are wondering why the stuff sack is so big, it’s because I use the rest of the room for food. That way all my food and cooking tools are in one bag that I can hang quickly and easily. No it is not a super cool ultra durable bear proof bag… but it hangs well and I can see it a mile away. I bought glow in the dark para-cord to hang it with… unfortunately it doesn’t work as good as the package claimed 🙁img_0749

For water filtration I am going with the Sawyer System. I plan to get the larger Sawyer Squeeze and use the Sawyer mini as my back-up… or possibly “in-line” on my bladder.


Gotta Rock The Layers: 3 Lbs

Iimg_0741f there is one thing I learned while growing up in Vermont, It is how to properly layer up. These are the layers I am going with this spring.  I did my best to stick to synthetics and wool as we all know they wick moisture better.

Base Layer:

  • 1 pair wool, 1 pair nylon dress, 1 pair nylon ankle socks
  • Exefficio Underware (Ad States: 17 Countries 1 Pair of Under-ware!)
  • Nylon stretch thermals (top & Bottom)

Middle Layer:

  • Mens tight fit Stretch Fleece (Top And Bottom)
  • Karbon K-wick long sleeve shirt
  • North Face non-insulated zip-off hiking pants.
  • Synthetic T-Shirt

Outer Layer:

  • Generic Fleece Zip-up
  • North Face 3 Season fleece lined shell
  • Mountain Hardware rain shell
  • Frog Toggs rain pants


Some Other Junk I Carry: 2 lbs

  • Outdoor Products: Lekki Poles (with selfie shot camera holder)
  • Gold Bond Powder ( your chapped ass will thank you)
  • Betadine (For those blood squirting flesh wounds)
  • Storm Whistle (Worlds Loudest Whistle… works under water… can damage ears.)
  • Pill bottle with daytime and night time pain killers
  • Kratom (Google it)
  • Pack Rain Cover
  • Santizer (Great for dry killing foot stink, germs, and starting fires)
  • Knife (Obviously)
  • My Alpaca Beani
  • Astral Convertable sandles (camp shoes)
  • Chargers and electrical crap

    My Beloved 72l Kelty Red Stone backpack (overloaded with a tent in this pic) More room than I will ever need… But I like having the space when I need it.

“Total Weight Without Food And Water: 18.5 lbs “

This Is actually a pretty good pack weight for gear that will keep me comfortable down to 25 degrees. As you can image, things will change drastically in the summer and my base weight may be closer to 13-14 lbs! Not bad considering half my gear comes from Walmart.

If your wondering what kind of foot-ware I will be rocking, I’m not sure yet, but they will likely be something along the line of Solomon trail-runners.

I will post 2 more gear updates. One half way, and one at the end. Can’t wait to see you all out there! Please tell me what you think down below.  I don’t claim to be any kind of professional. I would love to get feedback and suggestions on things you think I should consider. Also feel free to share cool gear and secrets I may not know about! Especially if they are cost effective!

Happy Trials,

Jordan aka: Vermont


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Comments 7

  • Concerned : Oct 5th

    Trials, this is garbage… Let him cut his teeth a little and then watch him cut that gear down… A 72l pack???

    • Hakoonamatata : Oct 9th

      Cut his teeth? What’s that supposed to mean? Way to be rude btw… Great job at portraying the kindness and respect of the trail community. If you have a suggestion you would like to make… Make it. No need to be an A**hole. Everybody has their own style.

  • Cheezypoof : Oct 9th

    Aparently your reading comprehension sucks… His base weight is only 18 lbs. He just likes extra room incase he wants to carry some beer or something… Nothing wrong with that.

    I agree with Hakoonamatata… If you have a suggestion, make it. No need to be rude.

  • Vermont : Oct 9th

    Haha, Thanks for the support guys 🙂 Guess you cant please everybody… Dead On Cheezypoof. Where am I going to keep my prom dress if I don’t have extra room 😉

  • Willough : Oct 14th

    That first comment. Wow.

    At any rate, Vermont, I found your post quite interesting. I appreciated your candor and got a few chuckles to boot.

    Being on a super strict budget, I’ve got to postpone my thru-hike until 2018 to ensure I have the necessary gear. (Necessary gear, not ‘nice’ gear.) So I’d love to know how these items have all worked out for you, what you kept, what you ditched, what you would do differently if you did it all over again.

    Keep us abreast of your adventures, please!

    • Vermont : Oct 31st

      Thank you Willough,
      That is very kind of you 😉 Sry it took me so long to reply. I had to take a little social media break lol.

      I have already tested the gear I have on several section hikes that were over 200mi each. So I’m pretty confident that I have made the right choices. Just to clear things up a little bit…

      Ozark trail mummy bag: These bags are rated to 0 deg. but they aren’t really that good. These bags are NOT solid winter bags… but they are more than acceptable for three seasons camping and only cost $35. Mine keeps me comfortable down to 30 deg, and If I layer all my clothes on I can survive a subzero night easily.

      Primus Camp Stove: People say they don’t work in cold weather but I have yet to have a problem with mine… Used it in 15 deg. temps a few times. Soda can alcohol stoves are also very popular… They are super light, however they do not work in colder weather without volatile chemicals (like either) that may end up in your food. ($25 for the Primus gas powered stove.) A Wisper-light stove is definitely cooler and works at much lower temps… but is not necessary, because your not hiking the Swiss alps lol.

      As for sleep: I would suggest an ENO Jungle nest hammock… as they are the best ones I have tried lately. Bummed I lost mine 🙁

      Anyway, just wanted to clear up those few details for you. Hope that helps a little bit!

      Thanks again for the complement! It certainly brightened my day 🙂

      • Bryan Watson : Feb 17th

        Following your journey. I am sticking my gear slowly because of my budget. Trying now to find a descent pack at a very low price. The glow in the dark para cord you said you bought that doesn’t work very well is why I’m replying. I bought some reflective para cord at home depot that works great. Orange and white in color and the least little bit of light and you can see this stuff super easy


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