Finally, the Gear List
I’ve spent the better part of the last 18 months researching and accumulating gear. Like most thru-hikers, for me it was a constant balance between weight, comfort, and cost. After tweaking and spending entirely too much money, I’ve finally got most of my gear purchased and narrowed down.
The biggest exception is worn clothing. I can’t for the life of me figure out what I’m going to wear daily for hiking. I haven’t yet decided on running leggings vs. compression shorts vs. hiking skirt vs. hiking dress. Or short sleeve top vs. tank top vs. hiking dress. Or what kind of underwear or whether to wear underwear at all.
I also haven’t yet purchased or gotten together most of my personal care items, and my first aid kit is still a work in progress. However, those are all little things and small purchases with minimal weight added, so I figured I’d go ahead and make this post.
I’ve got two different “sets” of gear. One is for colder weather, AKA until I’m through the Smokies/around the end of May or beginning of June and possibly in September in New Hampshire and Maine. The other is for warmer weather, or basically all of the other months and states. I plan to ship my tent and 12 degree bag home when it’s warm enough and have my hammock, UQ, and warmer weather bag sent to me.
To view a full gear list with weight breakdown, click here: https://lighterpack.com/r/ertwt9
What I’ve got so far for my colder weather pack is 16.58lb baseweight. This is only missing a few small personal items and a couple of lightweight clothing items, as far as I can tell. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything major. I want to talk about a couple of these purchases specifically but won’t go into detail on all of them.
First things first, you probably notice two pairs of trail runners there. Obviously I’m not taking them both at the same time. I have a pair of Brooks Cascadias that I love and will most likely start the trail in these. The Salomons were purchased on clearance just because I wanted to try them out. I also like them, and will probably have them sent to me when my Brooks wear out. I’ll purchase new shoes on trail from there on out as I need replacements. You’ll also see a pair of Chacos. I know these are heavy compared to something like Tevas. However, I already own the Chacos and I also know that I can hike many miles comfortably in them so they are dual purpose hiking/camp shoes. I would LOVE to instead bring something lighter like Tevas but can’t justify spending the money at this point. I’m not going the Crocs route because I want something I know I can walk many miles in if something happens to my normal hiking shoes.
Second, you’ll see two jackets. I have a Patagonia Nano Air (synthetic) and a Patagonia Down Sweater. I do not think I will take both of these jackets, I don’t think I need to. I just haven’t decided which one I’m going to take. I’m planning to take the down vest (pink in the photo) and I think that, paired with the Nano Air, will be enough. The Nano Air is more breathable and stretchy, and it’s something I can actually hike in if needed. The down sweater is warmer, but I think I would roast and sweat in it if I hiked in it. I’ll make this decision at some point.
Why I chose…..
Osprey Aura 50L Pack: I bought this particular pack for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I got fitted at REI and after walking around in the store in pretty much every pack they had, the Osprey packs just fit better than any others that I tried. I chose the 50L because I really don’t need to let myself carry anything more than that. And I got this particular pack because it was up for sale on a gear yardsale page for $150 barely used. It was a deal I couldn’t pass up, and I have not been disappointed. I just hope it lasts my whole thru-hike.
REI Joule 12 Degree Down Bag: After much much much deliberation, I went with this bag for a variety of reasons. At $300, and 2lb, it was about the most reasonably priced bag I found in the temperature and weight range I wanted. After getting it, I do really like the bag. However, it is a bit snug. That said, I am a bit on the chubby side (something I hope will change pretty soon once I start hiking). I would like a roomier bag, but that also means the bag will likely take up more space in the pack and cost more, so for now I’m sticking with this one.
Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2: I originally purchased a BA Fly Creek UL1 on sale for $300. After it arrived and I set it up in my living room, I realized it was very very small and I felt claustrophobic in it. It was also so small that I didn’t feel me and my 60lb standard poodle would both be able to fit comfortably in it. I ended up finding someone who had this Seedhouse SL2 up for trade for a comparable 1 person tent and made the trade. I would love to have a slightly lighterweight tent. The Fly Creek UL2 would have been great, but at this point isn’t worth the extra expense so I’m sticking with this one, especially since I don’t plan to tent for more than about a month-a month and a half of my whole hike. Just FYI: I do not personally think this tent would be comfortable for two normal sized adults for any extended trip. A day or two would be tolerably, but for long distance treks, it would be too close for comfort.
Big Agnes Q-Core Insulated Pad: At a hair over one pound, with an R-value of greater than 5 and a thickness of 3.5 inches fully inflated, this pad was a steal for sale unused for $90. I haven’t field-tested this pad yet but it’s pretty luxurious when blown up. My only complaint is that it seems very narrow. We will see how it works when I’m out there but I’m hoping it helps alleviate some of the hip pain I experience when sleeping on the ground.
There are a few notable differences in the warm vs. cool weather pack. One being that right now, my summer pack (still including a 25 degree UQ) is over a pound lighter than my cool weather pack. Link to summer pack weight breakdowns: https://lighterpack.com/r/6iq5c1
Why I chose some of these items:
Ozark Trail 40 Degree Duck Down Bag: I realize this is a lower quality bag. I also know from using it several times that it does NOT keep you warm down to 40 degrees. But it does keep you warm at about 50 degrees and up, and paired with a silk liner and my 25 degree UQ, I think it will be more than sufficient for the summer months. I did not choose to purchase a “nicer” bag for a couple of reasons: 1) I already owned this bag therefore it was “free” as far as my hiking budget was concerned and 2) from what I’ve been told, hiker funk during the summer, paired with humidity and sweat, is probably going to ruin a down bag. I’d rather this cheapo bag get saturated with hiker funk and get myself a nicer one after my thru-hike than spend more money on a nice bag now to have to also replace it at the end of my hike.
Warbonnet Blackbird Hammock and Edge Tarp: I had heard nothing but awesome things about Warbonnet products and I made the very expensive decision to purchase this hammock/tarp combo (realistically, it cost less than my BA tent so there). I LOVE it. I cannot wait to spend most of my nights swaying gently in the trees OFF the ground.
Arrowhead Equipment 3/4 UQ: I went with this because a) I’m short, b) I’m using it during warmer months, c) I was going to bring a CCF square to sit on anyway d) it was being sold, unused, at a nice discount. This is a 25 degree quilt and in the off chance that I experience a really cold night after I switch to this system, I can take this quilt, my 40 degree sleeping bag, and the inflatable Klymit pad I’m bringing into a shelter and should be able to stay relatively warm.
Klymit Static V Pad: I’m bringing this and a lot of people probably think I shouldn’t, and maybe I’ll send it back, but I want to have the option to sleep in a shelter instead of in my hammock if I choose to do so. This pad weighs a pound and packs to the size of a soda can and will give me a lot of versatility. I also think that during the hotter states and months, I can probably send my UQ home and just carry this.
I still need to finish putting together my first aid kit and personal hygiene kit, as well as purchasing trail clothes mentioned above. Any recommendations on good summer baselayer tops, awesome hiking dresses/skirts, or your favorite hiking underwear/pants would be appreciated! I think I want to use compression type running leggings as my primary pant, but I’ve had a hard time finding ones that don’t fall down constantly. I love my Marmot long sleeve baselayer, but haven’t found a short sleeve top that I love.
In other news…
I’m still stuck in South Georgia, but I’ve been trying to get into the woods when I can. It’s so FLAT down here. I could walk for days and days I think. I miss the mountains, but trying to make the most of it by getting out into the wilderness and testing out some of my gear, most notably my recently purchased Salomon trail runners.
That’s all for now!
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Hiking dress, no underwear, running tights added in cold/buggy areas. I started in tights/shorts and switched to my dress in Daleville. One word: FREEDOM. Though Columbia discontinued my particular dress and I haven’t found a comparable dress.
I hiked in spandex shorts with a thin pair of shorts over, it was a combo (all one article of clothing). I liked it because my thighs didn’t chaffe and I didn’t show off my butt to the guys, but they took forever to dry if they got wet. I wore Exofficio underwear. I would wash one, let it dry, change my undies and repeat. They never smelled bad and wicked away moisture like a champ. I would also highly suggest some sort of wool top, obviously lighter than baselayee weight. I only wore wool shirts and tanks and they rarely ever smelled, even after a week. Ibex also makes a nice wool sports bra. Different stuff works for different folks though! I hiked with a chick for a few days that loved hiking in a dress and compression shorts, but she’s the only chick I saw in a dress. Most everybody else I hiked with had synthetic shirts. Good luck on your hike!