Don’t Fail Us Now! Gear for Our Appalachian Trail Section Hike

As our trip start date approaches quickly (14-May), we are anxiously continuing our training daily and also being reminded of our trip with our living room being our staging area for food and packing.  We won’t know what to do when the living room comes back to a state of “living”.  The excitement has taken over and the countdown is real. 

While the weather on trail is quite unpredictable to start with, the weather in general is quite unpredictable these days. I feel like we are never putting away cold weather clothes as we have in past seasons.  With that, we are going to pack what is necessary for this time of year on trail in this section of the AT (PA). We do not anticipate any weather that would warrant cold weather gear so we are going to skip that on this trek (fingers crossed). Our list is the result of testing many products on trail and item’s we truly just enjoy and find useful. We have been using most of this gear for quite a while already without fail.  

The gear below is split between us in ways that work for us with regards to what we each need and can carry, based on weight and necessity.


Waymark Gear Co Thru 40L Backpack (Wildcat)

After years of not being able to carry a larger pack, finally coming into her older years (she’s 11 now YIKES!), we finally were able to get Wildcat into a pack that she loves and fits her.  Without much hesitation, the Waymark pack and sizing criteria fit her well.  This pack allows for all of her needs, including the newly added BearVault we all now carry; replacing our tried and true bear bag.  This pack sits comfortably on her, allowing her to carry the weight without any impact to her body over many miles day-after-day.   

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60L Backpack (Beans)

I have used this pack now for two season’s and I love this pack.  I cannot say enough about how it feels on me, even when fully packed out.  Somehow Gossamer Gear has been able to create a pack that creates comfort and style, all with the ability to keep my item’s clean and dry through all four seasons.

Osprey Ace 38L Backpack (Solo)

Solo is not yet in the shoes of his sister, with being able to carry a larger pack, compared to what he used on trail last year, but we were able to add a few more liters with the pack chosen for this trip.  Our initial shakedown hikes were super exciting for Solo.  Especially being able to carry the BearVault canister, along with all his own sleep system item’s and everything else needed for long-distance travel on the trail.  This pack has the pockets needed for easy access to important item’s while sitting nicely on his hips to allow for comfortability while putting in the miles.


Nemo Dagger Osmo Lightweight 3P Backpacking Tent

With us having the opportunity to test many tents over the years like the Durston X-Mid 2P Solid, Big Agnes Tiger Wall 3P, and even the Paria Zion 3P, we did end up going with the Nemo Dagger OSMO Lightweight 3P.  This tent is a fortress on the trail.  With its poly-nylon skin, the ability for this tent to shed water has been nothing but impressive for us.  Along with the interior space we need all sharing the tent space, this tent gives us everything we need while out and about.  The kids even enjoy the setup and takedown which for me is essential on any backpacking adventure.

Nemo Dagger Osmo footprint

We are not a footprint family by any means, but we will bring the footprint and use it as our tarp on rainy days where we have no shelter to cover under to stay dry.  We had done this last year on the Horse-Shoe Trail and it was such a mood booster when the rain was unstoppable.

Sleep System

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Roll-Top Stuff Sack (quilt) x3

This bag was our treat to ourselves for keeping our quilts dry on days where everything seems to get wet.  Plain and simple, it does its job.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Sleeping Quilt x3

I have been a quilt user for some time now, but the kids are new to the quilt game this season.  I was looking for a way to cut down on their weight and this was the easiest way to do just that.  While also giving them the ability for a good night’s rest while on trail.

THERM-A-REST Air Head Down Pillow x2

The kids enjoy having a pillow on trail even though they also do well without it.  At the last moment, I might ditch the pillow, even for trivial weight savings for them.

Hikenture Ultralight Pillow

I’ll admit this was a recommendation from a YouTuber and I love this pillow for ease of use and being comfortable.

Nemo Tensor Insulated Regular Wide (Wildcat)

Having been THERM-A-REST sleeping pads fans in the past, our hearts might have a new love with the Nemo Tensor.  This pad is lighter and does it’s job just as well, but does come with a cost.  

Nemo Tensor Alpine Insulated Regular Mummy (Solo & Beans)

Did I mention how much we love Nemo products!?!

Clothing & Other Stuffs

High Tail Designs Stuff Sack (clothing) x3

Being a Philly boy myself (Props to Fishtown!), I don’t think twice helping out a Philly based company like High Tail Designs.  These bags are so nice and their designs are wild!

I’m not going to go through each item for clothing, but know that we are taking lightweight base layers for nighttime, short pants and short sleeve tops for day time, along with rain gear and morning mid-layer item’s.  These include the following:

Tops, bottoms, socks, sleep stuff, rain stuff, mid-layers

Bug Net: Sea to Summit Head Net

Simply keeps bugs out of our face holes.

Trekking Poles x3

As the trail does quite a bit of up and down and all around, trekking poles are a staple with us these days whenever we step foot into the forest.

Gossamer Gear Closed Cell Foam Pad x2

These pads are new to us this year, replacing our nemo single seat pads we used last season.

Outdoor Vitals Closed Cell Foam Pad

Got it super cheap and it serves many purposes.

15’ Paracord

This will have many uses I am sure, but for now we are going to use it as a line to dry out item’s as needed.

PackTowel Personal x3

Yup, a towel.

Bigfoot Bushcraft fire starters & Ferro rod with striker

This was an impulse buy one time at a great price and my goodness am I glad I did it.  These fire starter plugs work so well and in pouring rain too!

Pocket knife x3

To ward off things that go bump in the night, obviously.


This tool comes with me always.  Nothing more needed.

Bear Horn x2

Just a fun way to communicate and scare the crap out of each other in moments of silence.

Water Filtration & Kitchen

Sawyer Squeeze x2

We have always been a Sawyer family and will continue with what we know works.

Water Bottles (1L for clean water & 591ml for electrolytes) x3

Gulp. Gulp. Gulp.

CNOC Vecto 2L (dirty water storage)

Dirty in, clean out.

HydraPak STOW 1L (clean water storage) x2

These are new for the kids this season so that they can carry their own water back from a water source to camp.

HydraPak Seeker 2L (clean water storage)

I like how compact this water bottle is and it dries out quickly for storage.

Cook System & Food Storage

BearVault BV-450-Jaunt Canister (max four day capacity) x3

We were bear bag users before moving onto the bear canister and I can see a place this piece of gear now going forward.  Yes, it is bulky, but it is also manageable.  Yes it does add weight, but it is worth the weight for ease of use.  For us, having the ability to leave the canister near camp overnight, knowing it is secure and will be in place or close by in the morning time is super convenient.  Plus, where else are we going to place all of our stickers we have been collecting!

TOAKS Titanium 500ml Pot with Lid x3

First mug/pot we tried and stuck with it.

TOAKS Titanium Long Handle Spoon x6

So hear me out.  Yes, six spoons comes off as super excessive and overkill, but have you ever lost a spoon while on trail, wondering how you might get by eating until you can manage to find another spoon?  Enough said.  Carrying an extra for each of us just feels better in the brain.

Sea to Summit X-Mug

This little collapsible mug just works so well for measurements and extra room for a cup of tea at night or coffee in the morning.

Bic Lighters x2

Fire.  Good.

Fuel x2

We will start the trail with some bigger fuel canisters and see how long they last.  We just might be able to get a couple hundred miles in with just these.  We will see.

Stove: Firemaple Polaris

We have quite the collection of stoves these days, but have been super happy with the output of the Firemaple Polaris.  It burns hot, boils quick, and take a reasonable amount of time to cool down.  Not the end of the world.

Toiletries & First Aid

Tooth Care Bag (toothbrush, toothpaste tablets, floss)

My mama says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush. 

-Bobby Boucher

Poop kit (vargo dig dig tool, toilet paper, soap)

We all need one.

Kula Cloth

After my daughter used this a few times it sunk it just how amazing this cloth is for her needs.  Also, the company is rad, the owner is a blast, and they even showed us that men can enjoy them too for all sorts of other uses.

First Aid

Here is a short list of things we will be bringing if needed for first aid purposes.




Leukotape & gauze

Triple antibiotic ointment

Alcohol pads

Bug bite ointment


Electronics & Navigation

iPhone & charger

I wonder how many people leave these at home.

FlexTail Gear Tiny Pump & charger

Some love this pump and some like to exhaust themselves with those air bags.  We love this pump.

BioLite Headlamp 330 & charger x2

We have had no issues at all with this model and until it no longer works, the kids will use these.

Black Diamond Moji Lantern (tent party) & charger

A birthday gift this year that has been amazing in the tent at night before bed.

Garmin InReach Mini 2 & charger

I always say that this is an insurance policy and the easiest way to keep friend and relatives comfortable in spots where cell reception is non-existent.

Nitecore NU25 headlamp & charger

This thing one time was used to guide ships into the harbor.  Love this headlamp.

Nitecore NB20000 powerbank & charger

This thing is like magic with its ability to charge multiple item’s multiple times, but to re-charge this powerbank takes more time then I have off trail.

Whoop fitness tracker & charger

Replaced my Apple watch with this fitness tracker and haven’t looked back.

Beats headphones & charger

Only bringing these to walk hands free in the event of needing to be on the phone.


This gear should service us well on this six week journey and beyond.  If not, the trail will provide. I wonder if the trail can make us some cookies?

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