Gear…it’s what you eat, sleep and dream about

Gear…who would have thought that it would consume so much of your time as you prepare for an Appalachian Trail Thru Hike?  I never imagined that I would be spending so much time researching, comparing and purchasing of equipment for this Thru Hike.

I think it has overtaken a major portion of my life…I mean really, spending hours upon hours surfing the internet for a good piece of equipment.

For example, you want a good sleeping bag.  When you start searching, you easily come across many sites that provide “Best Sleeping Bags of 2016”!  However, after looking at several of the sites, you realize that NONE of them have the same bags listed.  In fact, some of the sites recommendations and reviews are contridictory!

So….where does that leave you in your hunt for the BEST (that could be based on price, warms, weight, etc.  but depends on YOU) sleeping bag to be had.

Then comes the dreaded spreadsheets you build to do comparisons of the various sleeping bags.  But WAIT, STOP the then happen upon the sleeping QUILT!  What’s this…a new item in the equation!   So, head back to the drawing board to add this new concept into your “what’s important to me” matrix.  Only to realize you don’t really know WHAT you want or NEED!

Now…multiply that by every piece of gear you plan on taking on your thru hike.  It’s gets…kinda overwhelming.

At times, I find myself more frustrated by this process.  I mean, I’m taking six months out of life to experience the Appalachian Trail!  What a wonderful thing to do…get back to nature, get out of the electronic world, relax, get in shape, and the list goes on and on and on!

But now you are faced with the logistics of HOW do I get the best (for me) gear to make a successful AT Thru Hike?  I don’t want to be ONE OF THOSE people who ditch gear at the first Trail Outfitters.  I would like to begin and end with the same gear.

It’s not CHEAP to hike the AT.  In fact, it is very costly to “gear up”!

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Comments 4

  • TBR : Jul 19th

    Oh, man, I know the feeling. I started looking into hammocks and discovered … way too much info. Easy to become paralyzed by the many choices.

    When it comes to gear, abundance is the norm, nowadays.

    I always try to keep it simple, and to remember that a lot of different pieces of equipment will get the job done. I tell myself there is no single best choice.

    Enjoy your retirement!

    • LarryBoy : Jul 19th

      TBR, My first gear list was overwhelming. I paired it down some, but still just looking at all of the choices. You’d think some of these BIG Named experienced people would do a better job of Reviewing the equipment. I’d like to see a yearly AT Gear List with the following categories — Ultralight only, Under $1000, DIY, etc. While I already have most of my gear, I think it may need some tweaking before I hit the trail.

  • Kestrelchick : Jul 21st

    Boy do I hear you! My teenage son and I are gearing up for our 2017 thru-hike and I was starting to feel like my life revolved around “the list”. I was starting to get lost in over-analyzing everything and it was stressing me out that I would pick the “wrong” things, so I forced myself to take a step back and see that there is no one best option for everyone. We have probably 90% of our gear but know we will continue to tweak it as the date approaches but will go forward with the thoughts just like someone posted above – keep it simple.

    • LarryBoy : Jul 22nd


      Thanks for the boost of confidence and I too know I will tweak the gear before and during the hike!

      Hope to see you on trail…



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