Gear List Before : Part 1 (Gear)

Well, here we are! Two weeks to go, amazing how time flies! I’ve been doing some good workouts to prepare physically, and I’ve got (almost) all of my gear together, and I think I’m mentally prepared to be flexible and take each day with whatever surprises it holds… so I’m feeling ready to go!

I thought it would be fun to do a couple posts now with all of the contents of my pack, and then compare at the end of the trip, to see what I end up keeping and what I ditch, and if there’s anything I’ll decide I need that I don’t have yet! This part is strictly about gear. I will do another post in a few days about clothing, so stay tuned!

Gregory Cairn 48 Pack

I love this pack. It was the first piece of gear I got (as a gift from my wonderful mother) last Christmas, and it is the perfect size, and fits great. It’s already come in handy on several moves, and held up well on a couple of practice hikes and a canoe trip with my brothers. It was the piece of gear I was most nervous about choosing, so I’m really glad I got it early enough to test it on several occasions.

Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt

My sleeping quilt is amazing. I want to live in it. A good night’s sleep is incredibly important to me, as I’m sure will become evident as I talk about my gear choices, and I don’t like being confined in a sleeping bag. So a quilt was an obvious choice. However, I really didn’t want to worry about being cold, so I wanted something with a footbox and enough fabric that I can wrap myself in it if I want to. And it’s got a great hood feature, and hand pockets that make it easy to maneuver even when I’m half-asleep. Worth every dollar.

Fleece Liner

I will admit, I am a little hesitant about the bulk of this one. I just sewed 2/3 of the way up an old fleece blanket, because I really want to make sure that I’m warm enough at night. Especially right at the beginning of the trip, as it is still winter. I’m not attached to the blanket at all though, so if it’s too bulky and I don’t end up using it often, I’ll have no problem getting rid of it along the way.

Hammock Universe Mosquito Net Hammock

I do not like sleeping on the ground. I don’t think I’ve ever had a good night’s sleep in a tent, and have no interest whatsoever in sleeping in a tent for six months straight. Personally, that sounds awful, and I would be constantly miserable. Fortunately, there are hammocks for people like me! This is a very basic hammock, but I wasn’t looking for anything fancy, and I’ve had the best camping sleeps of my life in it. Looking forward to calling it home! I did switch out the heavy tree slings it came with for Grand Trunk Tree Slingswhich are less than half the weight, and so, so, so easy to use! The pink rope is what I use to hang the mosquito net.

Teton Sports Tarp Poncho

I originally bought a very large, very heavy tarp to hang over my hammock on cold/windy/rainy nights. I carried it on all of my practice hikes, and the weight wasn’t too bad, but why carry something if I don’t need to, right? So when I started looking into rain gear, this seemed like the best option, and is saving me a lot of space and weight! I have four shorter green ropes, and four tent pegs (packed with my tree slings) to secure the tarp over the hammock.

Therm-a-Rest Ridgerest SOlite Sleeping Pad

I was hesitant to buy anything that could get a hole in it which would render it useless. I also am planning to sleep in my hammock whenever possible, as I’m not excited about the idea of sharing my bed with rodents in the shelters. So I wasn’t looking for the most padding possible, just something to provide some insulation. I cut about 5 inches off of one end, so that it would fit in the straps on the outside of my pack, and it’s still plenty long enough for me, especially once I’m curled up in my hammock. The silver coating is starting to come off, but I haven’t noticed any difference in warmth.

GSI Halulite Minimalist Cookset

I am not planning on cooking. This is a decision I came to when I realized that I rarely cook in my regular non-hiking life, so I don’t anticipate being very keen on cooking twice a day when I’m exhausted from hiking. That said, there may be times when I want something warm. So I will probably bring some tea, and can heat water over a fire occasionally, if I need that comfort. It will also be handy to eat things like cereal out of, which I’m planning to eat a lot of (with powdered milk and protein powder), for as long as my taste buds and appetite will cooperate.

Victoria's gear

Those are the things that I really put a lot of time and effort into choosing. Listed below are the other gear items I will be bringing:

And not pictured, Toilet Paper, 2L and 5L Dry Bags, and one 15L waterproof Compression Bag

Let me know what you think! Feedback is appreciated! If there’s something I’m missing, I’d rather know now than once I’m out there, and if there’s a reason I shouldn’t be bringing something I have now, please let me know!

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Comments 26

  • George Turner : Feb 11th

    Razor? Will you ever actually use this on the trail?Embrace your inner Sasquatch! I question the soap too. I’m packing baby wipes

    • Victoria Ketteringham : Feb 12th

      I know I’m likely to ditch the razor, I’m just bringing it to help manage armpit stink. Haha

      • Nikki : Feb 12th

        Embrace the stink. It will not be tamed.

  • Dylan : Feb 11th

    If the quilt has any d rings running along the sides of it, take some shock cord and use that to attach the sleeping pad to the bottom of your quilt. There’s nothing worse than sliding off your quilt in the middle of the night and waking up with cold butt syndrome.

    • Victoria Ketteringham : Feb 12th

      Great idea! It doesn’t have any, but it’s much larger than the average quilt, so there’s plenty of tucking in space 🙂

      • Dylan : Feb 12th

        Another option is tucking one end of the pad into the footbox of the quilt. That will at least keep your feet warm. I looked up that quilt and all that extra room makes me jealous. Good luck on the trail!

        • Victoria Ketteringham : Feb 12th

          I did cut the end of the sleeping pad so it fits into the footbox, that does help 🙂 Thanks!

  • Caitlin : Feb 11th

    I will be hiking the trail a few weeks after you this year and have been doing the same planning. I have hiked several 200-800+ mile trails and have some questions and comments on your gear. If you want to chat, email me at [email protected].

  • Hack : Feb 11th

    I don’t recommend the Gizmo. The light is okay for when everything is going well, but nowhere near enough when bad things happen. Go for something brighter, even if it weighs an extra ounce. ReVolt has worked well for me.

    • Victoria Ketteringham : Feb 12th

      I have been wondering about that. I’ve got another brighter light, but I got this one at a charity auction and like how small it is. I’ll compare them and see 🙂 thanks!

  • Patrick : Feb 12th

    Don’t forget a compass. Very important even if you aren’t going far off the grid.

    • Victoria Ketteringham : Feb 12th

      We’ll have two cell phones, maps, and potentially a spot unit. Is a compass really necessary?

      • David : Feb 12th

        If your batteries die. 🙂

        • Copernicus : Feb 13th

          I sent my compass home after never using it by Franklin, NC. If you have AWOL’s guide and keep on the white blazes you don’t need to know if you are going East or West just keep track of which way you turned into the camp site and stay headed generally North!!

  • Kevin Neal : Feb 12th

    Looks pretty solid. Hiked 1900 miles last year, got 300 left. Most hostels have razors etc to use. I only shaved when in town anyway. I used the Petzl Tikka Plus 2 headlamp. It was great and had two different powers of normal light plus a red light which I used all the time in the tent and on night time potty runs.

    I carried the Sawyer Mini and it worked fine for me.

    Just got the new Platy 2L gravity filtration system for this June when me and the wife hike the 114 from Monson to Katahdin. Plus carry Smart water bottles.

    Also highly recommend electrolytes to add to your water because they get flushed out when you consume so much water.

  • Stephanie : Feb 12th

    I highly recommend a needle (or 2 in case you lose one like I did) and some thread/dental floss. Maybe you’ll need it, maybe you won’t, but it adds negligible weight and if you do need it, you will be thankful it’s on hand.

    • Victoria Ketteringham : Feb 12th

      Good call! Added 2 needles and dental floss to my first aid kit. Thanks!

  • Kevin : Feb 12th

    I traded my tarp for the plastic used on patio doors. The one you shrink…don’t shrink it. Large enough to cover ALL of you and then some plus wt. is about 6-7 oz.

  • Lil Bean : Feb 12th

    The razor is totally personal choice, I know girls who shaved the entire way. I certainly did not. I loved the fuzz! Hair doesn’t affect smell, hiker stank is unavoidable but no worries, you get used to it. You do you 🙂 Your gear list is pretty minimal for a start, so good work! You have everything you need to hike the AT it seems. I have serious gear envy for your quilt. Some observations/suggestions… Keep in mind if your nobo in spring, you are traveling through a temperate rainforest… It will pour, a lot, every day, and from every direction. Make sure that poncho is going to give you and your hammock enough protection from the elements. Hopefully, the weather is better for you than it was for me! The last thing you want is for that nice quilt to get wet. I agree with the needle and thread suggestion, it is great for blisters and if you have gear repairs. Washcloth and towel are redundant. I would just keep the washcloth or handkerchief for general use. Drop the towel and soap. You pass towns enough to shower, unless you don’t have money to shower (about $5/shower) then pack some soap, haha. Be kind to other hikers and don’t bath in/ near water sources like springs. No one wants to drink hiker stank. Hand sanitizer and a couple baby wipes are all you need to freshen up really. Unless it is that time of the month, then you may want some soap for some extra cleaning power. Hiker’s choice. Forget the compass, you hike north or south. The sun will show you the way. Done. Beware of the Sawyer Mini, I thought it was a good idea too because of the weight, but it will clog or slow down even with back flushing. And you will spend 30 minutes filtering 1L H2O. Sooo frustrating. I recommend the full size sawyer. It makes all the difference for a few extra ounces. Also, you may want to make sure(if you haven’t already) your filter fits on your platypus’. I read a lot of reviews reporting that some models aren’t compatible, but I don’t have personal experience with this. I used Smartwater bottles. They are easier to replace when they get scuzzy. Happy hiking!!!

  • Gary : Feb 13th

    If you haven’t done so already get yourself a scale and weigh each item. You’ll be surprised how fast the ounces add up. I personally enjoy the challenge of finding lighter items that will do the trick. Good luck.

  • Bob Montgomery : Feb 13th

    Left Ga. Feb 24, 2014. Glad I had a 0 degree sleeping bag. There were mornings in Ga. and N.C. We woke to 10 degrees and everyone had frozen water and broken filters. Some slept with the filters so they didn’t freeze. Started with 32 lbs and eventually cut the weight down to 22lbs including food. I found myself eating more in town and not needing all the drop shopped good. Good luck with your hike and enjoy it. Remember when it rains and no one picks you up on the side of the road it is still fun!

  • Heather : Feb 15th

    I started on March 2nd last year. Here are some suggestions; however, you will figure out what you need for yourself. It is different for everyone.
    1. I brought a buff and used it for everything. I did not need a washcloth or a towel.
    2. You will love warm food when it is cold. At the beginning of the hike, make sure you know how to use your cook set in any weather conditions. I watched people who struggled to get their alcohol stove lit and ended up eating cold snacks when it was 25 degrees outside. Miserable.
    3. The mini sucks. Get a full sized squeeze and a big sawyer filter bag. This is a hard item to find along the trail once you start, because…they sell out. That’s how much the mini sucks. It’s so nice to be able to bring a big bag up to a non-muddy bench in camp and filter water there.
    4. I like baby wipes and hand sani. I did not use a razor or Dr. Bronner’s soap. I brought both and ditched them. They have stuff at the hostels.
    5. Bring camp shoes. Crocs are popular, because you can still wear your socks with them when it’s cold and they’re light. It’s muddy at camp, sometimes, and you are really going to want to give your feet a break from your (probably wet and muddy) hiking shoes at the end of the day.
    6. I did not see a clothes set up. I wore down booties with covers, so I could pee in the middle of he night. I also had smart wool thermos and a ghost whisperer down that did wonders when it was cold.
    7. I never needed maps or a compass.
    8. I’m a small girl, so the the 48 sized pack was perfect for me.
    Good luck, and have a great time! The people and environment are so amazing!
    No matter what, you will make changes and send things home/buy stuff, as needed. It is good to have a trail angel at home that can help with those things.

  • Patrick : Feb 16th

    A compass probably isn’t needed on every trip, but it is part of the 10 essentials. This list has been updated and changed many times, but all include compass and map. I don’t use my first aid kit every time I go hiking, but I wouldn’t leave without it. Having your 10 essentials is like wearing a seat belt in a car, it’s an inconvenience but will save your life when/if there is an accident. Don’t rely on a cell phone compass that might require service to operate. They make small Keychain and globe pin on compasses that cost a few bucks, slip one in your first aid kit for emergencies. A small mirror or polished piece of metal is a smart item that is also great to have for emergencies, they are used to reflect sunlight to indicate rescue aircraft your location. Read some basic survival and first aid info because relying on your cell phones is a gamble and service usually sucks out on the trails. I don’t want to be a another jerk posting things to brag about how much I know, but read a few accounts of people getting lost in the forest to see how easy and fast things can go wrong. I wish you safe and fun times out on the trails

  • Patrick : Feb 16th

    The last thing to add after reading a few more post, the sun is great for direction, except on overcast days/nights. Also, never put pack weight a priority over basic survival gear/safty gear. This gear or 10 essentials can be worth it’s weight in gold if things go bad. Gary has a great point to weigh items because it will make you look at everything you pack from a different perspective of necessity. If your safty equipment or 10 essentials are to heavy for the application, get something more suitable, but don’t drop them.

  • Matilde Patterson : May 8th

    The mosquito net hammock was not available on that website a few days ago, but luckily I found it here – Just wanted to thank you for pointing to it as it’s great for the purpose!

  • Brent : Mar 26th

    Ham radios work where cell phone don’t


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