Beginning Gear List for February Start

I feel gear is such an individual thing and each person needs to find what works for them and not just what everyone else is using. As you read a gear list use it as a way to get new ideas. Them find what works best for you.

The Big Three

Coleman Max with Tyvek footprint: 5 pounds

Sleep system: 4 pounds, 6 ounces

Osprey Aura 50L: 4 pounds

In the beginning my sleep system will have some extra items in it because I am starting NOBO early in the season and some of these I will send home as the weather changes. The above weight for the sleep system includes: Marmot Sawtooth water-resistant down sleeping bag, Sea to Summit silk sleeping bag liner, throw size down blanket from Costco.

Everything Else

Cookset: 2 pounds

Water filter: 5 ounces

Firestarter: 14 ounces

Wipe: 6 ounces,

First aid kit: 11 ounces

Winter accessories: 1 pound, 15 ounces

Clothes: 3 pounds, 7 ounces

Miscellaneous: 2 pounds, 4 ounces

Total: 25 pounds, 5 ounces

My cookset is a pot and and bowl by Primus, plastic collapsible mug from Walmart, and folding spork by MSR. My water filtration includes both a Sawyer mini and a Sawyer squeeze; I have not completely settled on which one to take.

Firestarter is a luxury item for me. I love a campfire and hope to build one as often as possible. Always within Leave No Trace and local burn regulations, of course. Winter accessories are Microspikes, gloves and gaiters. 

The weight of the clothes includes both my hiking clothes and my sleep clothes. Both a short sleeve (my shirt from the Ultimate Hike event) and a long sleeve synthetic shirt from Walmart, a pair of REI brand water-resistant pants, three pair of wool socks (Smartwool and Darn Tough), Midweight Icebreaker base layer bottoms and lightweight Smartwool base layer top.

Some of these items will not be in my pack as my husband is making this journey with me and we will be sharing the weight of shared gear. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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Comments 5

  • Marlene Wulf : Oct 16th

    Um, I didn’t see the 14 oz firestarter in the pictures and not sure what exactly that is. Isn’t a mini Bic lighter a firestarter too, and a lot lighter? That’s not a criticism, just a genuine question. Thanks for sharing your preparations and excitement for your future journey, it’s fun to read blogs from hikers of all levels of experience. Good luck, and I look forward to reading more from Turtle on the trail!

    • Turtle : Oct 16th

      The fire starter is in the picture to the right of my down puffy. The box on top is solid fuel cubes that light with a lighter and can help start a fire and the box underneath (because I can’t make up my mind) is a product called Tumbleweeds that it wood shavings tied together and coated with paraffin. Thank you for asking for clarification.

  • Ruth Morley : Oct 18th

    Congratulations on having made the big decision to hike the AT. It’s quite an experience. However, I have my concerns about the base weight of your gear. Once you add water and 4-5 days’ food, you could be near 35 pounds. Having completed 1900 miles of the AT with just one summer left, I feel you will find this load very uncomfortable, especially on the relentless uphills. I encourage you to check out a lot of lightweight backpacking blogs and cottage industries (, Big Agnes, Enlightened Equipment, ULA ) for ideas on lightening the load. Start with the Big Three. Osprey makes backpacks that weigh less. There are lots of tents out there for around 2-3 pounds. And carefully examine your other items. For example, your first aid kit can consist of just a couple of bandaids of different sizes, 3-4 tiny packets of alcohol wipes, and the smallest tube of Neosporin. Remember, if you need more, you’ll be in a town soon, to buy more or find in a Hikers’ Box at a hostel.

    I speak from experience. Each of my 3 years on the AT and 3 years on a trail on Europe have painfully taught me the lessons of lightening my load. Good luck to you!!! I look forward to following your journey.

    • Turtle : Oct 19th

      Thank you for your feedback. You are correct that 25 lb is a heavy base weight. I am still doing some tweaking of the gear and trying to cut some weight.and there will be some of this that my husband will carry as we will be sharing the weight of things like the tent and the coolest as that will be shared gear. Also some of the pieces like my micro spikes and gaiters that will go home in the spring.

    • Dennis Turner : Oct 28th

      Good advice Ruth Morley and really good to read you again. DMFINO


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