Carrying only what you need: My AT 2017 gear list
Warning: This post is for the gear nerds!
March 14th I’m coming for you! I’m officially jobless and homeless (aren’t you so proud, Dad?) and I couldn’t be happier! I’m spending my last days pre-trail scribbling notes all over my AWOL guidebook highlighting side trails, shelters, and hostels I want to be sure not to miss. Before I started out, I wanted to share what’s in my pack, my initial thoughts on my gear, total weight/cost, and what I’m not bringing. Comments/Critiques/Questions are all appreciated.
If gear isn’t a topic you particularly care to read about, feel free to skip right over the post and tune back in after the 14th! (Follow me on Instagram for the most up to date posts)
If you are an ounce counter or have become one like me, check out all the individual weight of all items here.
Total Base Weight: 16.2 lbs
Base weight is everything you carry excluding food and water. Water typically weighs 2 lbs per liter and Food weighs roughly 2 lbs per day. So with 5 days of food and 2L of water, I’ll be starting my hike carrying about 30 lbs total. As I figure out what I actually use on a daily basis, I’ll adjust my gear accordingly.
Total Gear Cost: $1868 (not including everyday items such as toiletries, medicine, or electronics)
Now that amount might seem staggering, but this cost has been a series of purchases over the past 2 years. Thanks to REI’s generous 1 year return policy I was able to make an initial investment in gear at a quarter of this cost and I’ve returned and upgraded the majority of the gear I originally purchased. You can definitely do this for less money up front!! Don’t let my deluxe price tag scare you from going on an adventure or dipping your toes into backpacking! Chances are you already own some of the equipment needed.
What I’m not bringing:
I was actually surprised that one of the most popular questions I was asked after announcing my thru-hike was whether or not I’d be bringing a gun. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the weight when I believe I can get my self out of any situation that would warrant one. (For those who still doubt me, read this article from the National Park Service on dealing with bears)
Camera: I’ll only be using my IPhone to capture the images and videos from my hike for two reasons: 1st, only carrying my phone saves weight, and 2nd, I’m only an amateur photographer. If I already had a nice camera and knew how to use it, then maybe I’d reconsider.
Gourmet Kitchen Setup: As much as I’d like to bring multiple pans and a fully stocked spice rack, weight and practicality wins out for me. And no, I won’t be carrying a long knife or living off the land.
This trip will test my ability to be a minimalist. Anything I don’t really need/use, I don’t intend to carry.
So without further ado, here’s everything I’ll be taking with me on my thru hike attempt this year:
The Big Three (Pack, Shelter, Sleep System)
Pack: ULA Circuit (2.59 lbs, $235, w/pack cover) This item was the last major piece of gear I acquired. I originally had an Osprey Aether pack (over 5lbs), but I wanted to choose a lighter pack built for long distance hiking. So far I love the large hip belt pockets, shock cord/mesh pockets on the exterior, and the light weight. My only gripe would be that the back padding doesn’t allow for too much airflow so I sweat more.
Shelter: Nemo Hornet 2 person Tent (1.9 lbs, $370, w/polycro groundsheet($10)) I love this tent! While there are lighter tarptent options, the Nemo Hornet is probably the lightest freestanding tent with 2 tent vestibules (which is great for gear storage.)
Bag: REI Igneo, (1.8 lbs, $180) Nothing too special about this bag, but it’s comfortable and warm and rated to 19 degrees. I do like that the foot box and sides have a waterproof fabric to protect the down fill from getting wet.
–Sleeping Pad: Nemo Tensor 20R (13.5 oz, $120 w/Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow($28)) This pad’s best feature is the 3″ of comfort at a low weight penalty. The rectangular shape allows for some shifting around at night without slipping off the mat.
Columbia Ridgeline Synthetic Shirt ($37) Bottom Line for all clothing is go for synthetic! It dries quickly.
Columbia synthetic zip-off pants (~$40)
Handy dandy Buff ($17) Buffs are super versatile: headband, balaclava, pillowcase, pot warmer, etc
Darn Tough Socks (~$18)
Ex-officio Boxers ($17)
Vasque Breeze 2.0 boots (~$100) planning on switching to trail runners after these wear out. I’ll probably go through 3-4 total pairs of footwear during my trip.
Marmot Precip Rain Pants ($45 (used from REI Garage Sale)
Layers/Extra Clothing (in an 8L stuff sack):
Patagonia Down Puffy Jacket ($100 (used from REI Garage Sale) I love my down jacket. I won’t be bringing a fleece, I’ll just have to keep it dry since down doesn’t do very well when wet.
Columbia fleece hat ($4)
North Face E-tip gloves($35)
Two extra pairs of Darn Tough Socks (~$18 each)
Flip Flops (Generic Walmart brand for camp shoes)
Food and Water
BRS Stove ($20, 0.9 oz) This is one of the lightest canister stoves on the market. And unlike the normal ultralight trend, one of the cheapest.
Snow Peak titanium solo cookset (pot/cup) ($75)
Human gear duo bites spoon/fork ($8)
13L Sea to Summit Bear Bag with 50′ of rope/carabiner (~$20)
Sawyer Squeeze water filter with tornado tube gravity hack ($30) see this video to turn squeeze filter into a gravity filter – much less of a hassle!
2 SmartWater 1L Bottles
IPhone (I’ll be using this as my camera, journal, and I’ have Guthooks navigation app)
Kindle (I may send this home if I find myself having enough battery on my phone to use it as my reader. The kindle’s battery last for nearly a month however!)
Dual Usb quick charger ($17)
Ankr 13k Ohm portable battery charger ($35) Should fully charge my phone 3-4 times before needin to be recharged, making sure I always have juice to take pictures/listen to audiobooks)
headphones (generic, lightweight iPhone headphones)
Petzl headlamp (~$20) For night hiking, all the cool kids do it
Ditty Bag (First Aid Kit and Toiletries)
First Aid Kit
Ibuprofen, Benadryl, a few bandages and alcohol wipes (You can never carry enough here, but you can certainly carry too much – my philosophy here was carry only enough of what I think I’ll need to make it to a road crossing or town to get medical supplies/attention)
Repel bug spray
Bodyglide (for chafing)
Tick remover (I’ll be treating my clothes with permethrin a few times throughout my trip – ticks are the only real danger on the AT – Lyme disease is no joke)
Athletic tape for blisters
Trowel ($5) poop shovel!
Dehydrated wet wipes
Black Diamond Distance Carbon z poles (~$100) trekking poles have become a must for me to save my knees!
Therm-a-Rest z seat ($19) Super light and keeps my butt dry and comfy
AWOLs AT Guide
Leatherman CS multitool ($15)
Mosquito Headnet ($3)
And that’s it! Let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: All items mentioned in this post were purchased by me and the opinions are my own. No one paid me or gifted me equipment in exchange for a review (even if that would be really, really cool).
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