Caught in a Gear Romance

I think I’m in love!

My husband may be a little jealous of the special relationship I have with my gear.  If you have only done day hikes or short overnighters and never carried everything you need to survive for months on your back, than you may not understand just how special the hiker-gear relationship can be. Each piece of gear in my pack was researched, debated, purchased, tested, retested, and debated some more. I do not doubt that changes will be made once I hit the trail and I am open to this, but for now the items in my pack are just what I need them to be. It is such a comforting feeling to know this part of my preparations is complete. The base weight for my pack (thats the weight of everything I’m carrying without food and water) is right at 16 lbs.

Hike Your Own Hike!

The gear that I have selected was chosen because I believe it will function best for my needs, but what works for me will not work for everyone! I took each items weight, cost, function, and durability into consideration and arrived on a decision based on my circumstances. For example, I have chosen a tent as my shelter. This option is heaver than a hammock or tarp and more expensive than relying on shelters, however, since I am bringing a dog with me, it is the option that will work best. Keep this in mind as you check out my gear and how it relates to your own set up or gear that you may be considering.

Without further adieu, my gear list!

Sleep System


my backcountry bed

Cook System and Water Purification


Backcountry kitchen


hydration, hydration, hydration


Clothing worn


I expect most of this to become rags

Clothing Packed


camp/sleeping clothes

First Aid/Toiletries/Misc./Etc.


basically my junk drawer

  • toothbrush, floss, toothpaste
  • Purell (this is VERY important!)
  • chapstick
  • Pack Towel
  • Mini Bic
  • Dr. Bronners
  • ear plugs
  • benadryl, immodium, ibuprofen
  • triple abx, sunscreen (I may be adding itchy cream in the summer. And deet. Lots of deet. )
  • Victorionox Swiss Army Knife
  • Diva Cup and Diva Wash (ladies if you haven’t tried this, do!)
  • pee rag (again ladies you want this)
  • Sea to Summit stuff sack


  • repair kit: sleeping pad patch and patch glue, duct tape (on a 3d printed holder from my hubby), needle and thread, safety pins


  • Trowel: MSR blizzard Stake (another xmas gift)
  • FUD (female urinary device): Pibella (so I can stand and pee too! Once again ladies if you have never tried a female urinary device I highly recommend this one)
  • TP



I’m a little sad this gear is so heavy

The Big Picture

Here is everything I will be carrying on my back for the next 6 months* laid out in one small, neat, pile on the floor. This is the last time this stuff will be this organized or this clean.


a few things pictured that I have not yet shown

*I will be making changes to me gear for warmer weather and replacing items that are not working out or not holding up but you get the gist.

And the grand finale…


turtle shell weighing 16 lbs when full

All of this gear will be carried in my Osprey Aura AG 50 L pack. This is like my turtle shell. My home that I will carry on my back for the next 6 months. I expect that my budding relationship with my gear will blossom in ways I could never imagine over the next 6 months and that I will come out on the other end with a whole new appreciation for each and every pice of gear that makes it to Katahdin.

Please feel free to give feed back on my gear in the comments below. I love talking about my stuff so if there is anything you would like to know more about than just ask! If you are curious about the weight of any item listed check out my gear list in the right hand side bar. If you don’t see what you are looking for there than again just ask.

Next time…

This was more than enough hyperlinks for one post so next time I will have a post dedicated to Jetta’s gear. I’m not sure she loves all her gear quite as much as I love mine but hers is just as important.

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Comments 10

  • Kira Thornley : Feb 23rd

    I have the same color nano air! But mine is a hoody! I love that jacket.

    • Sara Ecay : Feb 23rd

      The Nano air is one of my favorite pieces of gear and one that I have already broken in. I love that color too and I’m glad I got it last year, the color choices for this year are much worse.

  • Alyssa : Feb 23rd

    Love the list! You may not want to use the fancy pump bag as your bear bag though… It’ll get beat up being thrown over branches and stuff. – a section hiker living vicariously! 😀

    • Sara Ecay : Feb 23rd

      Thank you I’m glad you liked it. For the bear bag I shouldn’t have to throw the whole sack over a branch. I am using a very small stuff sack with a rock in it as a weighted sack to get the rope over the branch. I just discovered the PCT method of hanging a bear bag and I will be trying that out because it looks like it could work really well. Check it out if you have never seen it, I’m glad I watched the tutorial!

      • Brian : Feb 26th

        How many times do you usually have to fill up the BA pump bag to fill your pad? Thinking of getting one…

        Also, I’ve been using the PCT method for years–definitely recommend it. I usually just tie the rope around a rock, but a small stuff sack would definitely be more convenient, especially if you need to try multiple throws.

        • Brian : Feb 26th

          Also, if you don’t have some already, I HIGHLY recommend getting reflective line for your bear bag–makes a huge difference trying to find it in the dark–you will be amazed how brightly it glows under your headlamp from far away.

          • Sara Ecay : Feb 28th

            I have tried to count the # on the BA Pumphouse but its like the old Tootsie Pop commercials. I think its probably around 12 but I usually start counting, get to 6 or 7, mind wanders off and ta-da its filled. I got bear rope from z packs and its very light and bright orange but unfortunately not reflective. I wonder if there is some reflective spray paint or something that could work.

  • Santos : Feb 27th

    very nice, just want to get my base weight closer to yours. I will shake down some more. thx for the information, well organized.

  • Erin : Mar 9th

    I’ve been debating between a 50 L and my 65 L pack. Obviously a 50 L would save some weight (and my pack is definitely due for an update), but I’m concerned 50 L won’t be enough. That being said, my gear list is very similar to yours and I don’t have very many “comfort” items. Did you have any trouble fitting all your pictured gear into your pack? Thanks and good luck on the trail!!

    • Sara Ecay : Apr 16th

      I have no problem at all getting all the gear listed in my pack and I don’t even need the brain (the top removable lid) on my pack. That being said when I am leaving town with 5-6 days of food I have to really cram it all in. Food can take up a lot of space! Two suggestions: if you have all or most of your gear take it all with you to the store and test it out packing it in a 50 L pack and make sure it fits well with enough extra room for food and water. Or if you are like me when I bought my pack and don’t have all your gear yet then get your pack from REI and if it turns out you need a different size you can use the very generous return policy to exchange it. Happy Hiking!


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