Gear List (Or: How You Can Tell I’m New At This)

Well well well, I guess it’s time for me to post my own gear list and get the expert thoughts and opinions that the Appalachian Trial community is abundant with. I thought  I had every thing figured out back in November. Then I tweaked and narrowed down my gear and in January I was sure I had it right. Now, with 4 weeks to go til the big stepoff, I’m drowning under the (literal and figurative) weight of my gear. Any and all critique is welcome!

Let me walk that back. The gear weight isn’t an issue; I’m coming in around 20 lbs for base weight and I realize some things will be sent home depending accessibility issues and climate. With food, I’m in at around 10 lbs for a week (more on that later), and I have the capacity to carry 3L of water. So while not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, I’m not doing so horribly that I need to rethink all of my life decisions.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty, shall we? (For reference, here’s my tentative lighter pack breakdown as well)

The Basics (pack, tent, bag, and pad, not the awesome band from Australia)

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My PTBP system, as nobody calls it, consists of:

  • My trusty Gregory Jade 50L
  • Big Agnes Seedhouse 1 with fly and footprint
  • Montbell Super spiral in puke green (don’t let the color fool you, though. My beautiful teal one was sent in to warranty because it never distributed down the way I needed it to and Montbell was super great about replacing it within a couple weeks. This one seems to be heavier and warmer than my previous down hugger). Also pictured is my liner
  • Thermarest prolite

This is where things get a little bit tricky….as you can see, my pack looks like it’s nearly busting at the seams trying to accommodate everything I’ll “need” for 6 months. Let’s move on.

Clothing Systems

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Yes, I know I’m going a bit overboard with the headwear. Here is:

  • A cunning hat to keep me warm in the cold weather
  • A fleece headband for when it’s sort of cold
  • My favorite cap to keep the sun out of my eyes
  • A bandana. It’s blue. Not sure what else to say about that
  • A mosquito net thingo that I’m not sure I’ll be using for sure or not

My clothing, warm, cold, and carried consists of:

  • Hiking pants
  • Thermal running pants (for camp/sleeping more than likely as my hiking pants do pretty well by themselves)
  • Compression leggings
  • Mesh shorts
  • underwear x2
  • TNF Summit Series Leonidas rain jacket
  • TNF Thermoball Jacket
  • Baselayer (need to get a second one for camp/sleeping)
  • Activewear shirts x2
  • Sports bra x2 (TNF Bounce-B-Gone and Old Navy)
  • Lightweight sundress for doing laundry in town
  • Smartwool hiking socks x2

That’s a lot of clothes! I just don’t know where to stop, apparently. And while I know my long sleeve and long legged clothing will be going home eventually, I’m afraid to not carry my warm weather hiking stuff with me just in case I need it sooner than expected.

Food and Water

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This is pretty straightforward. I’ve already been advised to upgrade from the Sawyer Mini to the full size, but I think I’ll hang on to the Sawyer mini and see how it does for me personally. I’ve only used it a couple times. My food (shown here as my first week’s worth) is what concerns me the most. I’m afraid I’m not getting the most calorie/protein efficient to weight diet. I don’t like tuna so that’s out for me. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Luxury, First-Aid and Hygiene, and Odds and Ends

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This category could probably benefit from some trimmin’ as well. But where? 

Luxury items, although few in number, will be pretty weighty as not pictured is a telephoto lens, my phone, and my phone charger

  • Journal and pen
  • Camera (Nikon D3200 with 50mm lens)
  • No, that’s not a gun case, it’s a neoprene camera case
  • Camera battery charger
  • Remote timer for times when I need the camera to be absolutely still
  • Lens wipes
  • Sewing kit. It’s “Oh Sew Cute!”

Hygiene wise, the picture speaks for itself. Not pictured though is my diva cup and I was thinking about getting a go-girl as well.  Also not pictured, the leukotape and Dr. Bronners soap I have coming from Amazon.

Odds and ends are a point of contention for me. I feel like I have so many little things (also, now I’m irked that I didn’t put the TP in the hygiene category. Duh.) I’m thinking of ditching the trowel, but honestly, I don’t understand how one digs a cathole in hard soil with a trekking pole. Soft or sandy soil, sure, but not in the winter. I’m also refusing to drop my friction-ease stick. I used to rogue and detassle cornfields in jr. high and high school and I know what sort of blister nightmare awaits me. This stuff is a godsend.

In Conclusion

All in all, when put together it looks like this lovable mess right here:

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So, Appalachian Trials, what do you think? What are some things you would cut? What did I do right? How would you most efficiently pack it all together? What pocket or compartment would you carry your water in? I’m dying to know how I could be more efficient and happier on the trail. I know those first few weeks I’ll be making plenty of mistakes and choices on what to keep but I’d like to be the best hiker I can possibly be out of the gate. Most of the stuff worked pretty well during my shakedown in November but that was before I added a whole week of food, received a larger sleeping bag, and made room for my camera. Thanks for reading!

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Comments 7

  • Avatar
    lostagain : Feb 24th

    So, not being female, I can’t comment on the clothes you need. But the rest… So, first off, lose the bladder and keep the Platy. There’s plenty of water on the AT and with this current weather, plus what ever else is to come, there should be water at least during the first part. You might consider getting a 1.5L Smartwater. Those bottles are ultralight and you can use it strictly for cooking water, or alternatively as your dirty water bottle should the Sawyer one fail (though that’s not really likely unless you abuse it). You don’t need two insect repellents. You can get a lighter trowel, but it’ll be of Titanium and really costly to save about 4 ounces. Headgear: mail the ball cap to yourself somewhere up the trail. keep the bandanna as it’s useful for a lot of things. The one problem with the AT is that during March and April, there is no “sorta cold”. It’s cold or warm and anything in between your ears can handle, so ditch the earwarmers. Keep the X-cup and ditch the X-bowl. You can eat out of the Jetboil. The good of the X-cup is you can drink your coffee and eat your breakfast out of the Jetboil. Ditch one of the lighters, you won’t need both. As hard as it seems, you might want to rethink the zoom lens. You’ll find the short lens is adequate for most on trail shots. I don’t know what the blue tin in the camera picture is. And as cute as it is, you can find thinner and far lighter sewing kits at just about any Walmart, CVS, Walgreens or fabric store. That’s it for me! Good luck and happy hiking!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Bushy : Feb 25th

    Hey there, we totally feel your pain doing our own packs now. lostagain pretty much covered everything so I will say something on clothes, being female but older. I am taking one set of clothes for hiking, hiking pants with zip off legs so easy to use. Long sleeve shirt is Marmot which are wicking and will protect arms from sunburn and poison ivy. We leave March 11th so using Capilene 3 base layer for hiking during the day and a second set to sleep in at night so the first set can hang off our back packs the next day to air and dry. We have small loops on our Deuter backpack and put tiny metal clips on them that attach to the small loops I have sewn into the clothes. I have three sets of socks each so I can switch out during the day and let air on my backpack, sweaty socks mean blisters. Someone also suggested washing socks each day if possible to remove salt which makes the socks stiff and rough, in the warmer months I will do this. I will not wear underwear, previous hikers say it only promotes chaffing and if using the P-style or other plastic item to urinate in the woods (standing up) it only makes it harder. I didn’t think I could but I have been in training the last two months and now started going without underwear and find it is fine and much easier. I also have a pair of rain pants that have zippers at the bottom of the legs so can be put on and removed with boots on, also EMS rain jacket with hood that also doubles as windbreaker and shirt to wear with rain pants while doing laundry. We also wear the buff around our neck and can be used for so many things, see their web sites. Gloves, heavy ones for extreme cold and lighter ones to protect hands from sun or rocks while climbing. I am taking a waterproof ball cap since the EMS jacket hood does not cover my glasses from rain and a balaclava for windy extreme cold and possibly wearing in my sleeping bag. The most important thing is try out your gear before you go. Go in the wind and rain see if they really keep you warm. Sleep in your gear on a very cold night to see if it is enough. We thought we had it perfect till we tried it and found some things just didn’t live up to the hype. I agree on the Glide anti friction, I started using it and now a convert. Also on toiletries I got some pill Ziplocs from Walmart about $1.89 a set of 50 put my creams and powders in them with a cotton ball and saved carrying a full container but I do have drop boxes coming so may not work for you. If I was say thirty years younger and looked totally different I might keep the sundress ;>) Hope your hike is everything you hoped for.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Tatiana on the trail : Feb 25th

    Hey, totally understand the whole “what-do-I-bring?” dilemma. I will say that on my thru-hike last year, I never used a trowel – a handy stick or rock was always sufficient. Also, the bug spray and bug net can always wait until you really need it – I had a bug net but only ever used it once. Ditto with some of the warm weather gear, like the t-shirt – I carried a wool long underwear top to sleep in and a long-sleeved lightweight wool shirt for hiking in, and that was pretty much all I needed for the first couple of months – you can always roll up the sleeves if you get hot. You could also downsize your lighter and your sunscreen – I only carried one tiny tube that lasted three months – you don’t often need it given the rainy days and the tree cover. I also agree with the tip to eat out of your jetboil – that works great, so you could lose at least one of the bowls. The sundress could also probably disappear – it’s nice to have, but might be annoying to carry. And I would recommend thinking about changing out your flip-flops for a different type of camp shoe, one where you can still wear socks easily. I had flip-flops for a while, and they were treacherous when wet and didn’t hold up very well. Crocs are popular, and something I really liked during the second half of my hike was cheap pool shoes – they stay on well, are flexible but fairly sturdy (so your feet muscles get a chance to stretch themselves out after a day of hiking), lightweight, dry quickly, and are awesome for fording water in Maine, since that’s what they were made for.
    Really, though, in terms of weight, after a couple of weeks on the trail you’ll get a good feel for what works for you and what you don’t want to carry. Happy hiking!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Nichole : Mar 4th

    Yessss – Solid “Firefly” reference – had to read it twice to make sure I saw it right!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Guest : Mar 5th

    Hey! I don’t have much experience backpacking yet but the amount of researching I’ve done has prompted my mother to joke that I should get a PHD in Backpacking (haha). The clothing you plan to use for strictly sleeping can just be kept in the bottom of your sleeping bag/sleeping bag compression sack for when you get ready for bed and change. Then, if in the morning, you feel like you are going to need more layers you could just layer on top of your sleeping clothes. I would also suggest keeping your lighter, cup (I agree, you should ditch the bowl) any utensils and any small items you are unlikely to use in your pot. If you are cooking for both you and your brother at the same time rather than carrying separate cooking systems then you would need the bowl (depends on how close you two are, my sister and I could probably share but it would probably end in someone getting punched in the face). Also, you do not need that much tp, remember you are going to have to pack out all that you use. If you are mailing yourself resupply boxes just have them include a little baggie of some more tp. If you are just really attached to that roll of tp then I would suggest unrolling it, folding it into 25 square groups and putting each group in their own plastic baggie. It will help control your waste and it’ll pack down easier because you’ll just be able to stash each baggie in any nook or cranny in your pack. I don’t know why you’re bringing the camera but if you can I would just take a phone or a smaller, shock-proof camera. Otherwise, wrap the camera in any clothing you aren’t wearing. On packing your bag (something I’ve done and redone about 200 times over the past year), sleeping bag and pad goes in the bottom, cook gear and food (minus that days snacks and lunch) next and then fill in the spaces with clothing and luxury items. I would go to REI and grab some velcro straps or gear ties (they are pretty cheap) so you can latch your shelter to the bottom of your bag then put your rain coat anywhere easy access and tuck your snacks,shit system and water system wherever it will be easiest for you to get to them (on the outside of the main compartment). Finally, ditch the flip flops and grab some crocs and a carabiner to attach them to your pack with. Otherwise you look pretty good to me! Happy hiking!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Ruth : Mar 5th

    Hey! Having only gone on a few overnight trips (and one week long hike) I don’t have much experience backpacking yet but the amount of researching I’ve done has prompted my mother to joke that I should get a PHD in Backpacking (haha). The clothing you plan to use for strictly sleeping can just be kept in the bottom of your sleeping bag/sleeping bag compression sack for when you get ready for bed and change. Then, if in the morning, you feel like you are going to need more layers you could just layer on top of your sleeping clothes. I would also suggest keeping your lighter, cup (I agree, you should ditch the bowl) any utensils and any small items you are unlikely to use in your pot. If you are cooking for both you and your brother at the same time rather than carrying separate cooking systems then you would need the bowl (depends on how close you two are, my sister and I could probably share but it would probably end in someone getting punched in the face). Also, you do not need that much tp, remember you are going to have to pack out all that you use. If you are mailing yourself resupply boxes just have them include a little baggie of some more tp. If you are just really attached to that roll of tp then I would suggest unrolling it, folding it into 25 square groups and putting each group in their own plastic baggie. It will help control your waste and it’ll pack down easier because you’ll just be able to stash each baggie in any nook or cranny in your pack. I don’t know why you’re bringing the camera but if you can I would just take a phone or a smaller, shock-proof camera. Otherwise, wrap the camera in any clothing you aren’t wearing. On packing your bag (something I’ve done and redone about 200 times over the past year), sleeping bag and pad goes in the bottom, cook gear and food (minus that days snacks and lunch) next and then fill in the spaces with clothing and luxury items. I would go to REI and grab some velcro straps or gear ties (they are pretty cheap) so you can latch your shelter to the bottom of your bag then put your rain coat anywhere easy access and tuck your snacks,shit system and water system wherever it will be easiest for you to get to them (on the outside of the main compartment). Finally, ditch the flip flops and grab some crocs and a carabiner to attach them to your pack with. Otherwise you look pretty good to me! Happy hiking!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    AT Hiker : Mar 9th

    Do not bring your DSLR and all those accessories for it.

    You’ll probably ruin your camera when it gets wet and it is an absolutely a waste of precious space and weight. You can take awesome pictures with a camera phone if you know what you’re doing. If you really want to use your DSLR, jot down locations along the trail and come back at a later date on a day hike with your DSLR.

    Reply

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