Welcome back, sports fans!  Thanks for returning to Episode 2, in which I regale you with a listing of what I am currently counting on using during my thru attempt, starting mid-March.  The author reserves the right to change his mind on any of the following, please comment as you see fit.


The Stuff

As with all gear lists, comments are appreciated but will not likely have an effect on my gear (change my mind!)  The What’s and Why’s Of My Stuff (please also watch George Carlin’s take on ‘Stuff’, you’ll see why).

It seems requisite to post a gear list.  It is certainly fun – I get to tell you what I am taking, and why, and maybe say why I didn’t take something else!  Then you post your opinions, and we all get to discuss and debate and offer theories.  At any rate talking about gear is just fun!

So let’s get to it – As of now, and subject to change, what is my gear?


Big Three

  1. Pack: Durston Kakwa 55, first edition.  Newer version is improved, especially the external pocket.  This pack is rock solid, light, a great carry.  Fabric is tough and waterproof, but seams are not, so liner is a contractor bag.  Full frame – rides incredibly well, have toted 40 lbs. and had no issues.  Pockets are easily available and include chest pockets for water and for phone, and all zippers are one-handed.  This is a win.
  2. Tent: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo (2019 version).  I have spent many nights in this tent in a variety of conditions ranging from freezing to hot and humid, to dry or gushing rain.  The AT is a wet trail, and this tent requires some care in setting up for real weather.  It sets up fast and dry as a single wall tent, even in the rain, but if weather comes in from the wrong direction, you are screwed.  I really like the tent, but if wetting-out becomes an issue from either rain or condensation, then I may look into a 2-wall tent.  We shall see what happens, I may keep it or not.
  3. Sleeping System: EE Revelation 20-degree quilt, Paria Recharge-S pad, S2S Liner, Gossamer Gear 1/8” closed cell foam pad.  I bought the quilt used on a Facebook group, for $125.  R/R, no draft collar, zippered footbox.  There is a short learning curve to quilts, not hard, and easily understood.  I learned how to properly strap my quilt at Quarry Gap shelter one 13-degree January night, and now I’m pretty good at this (and yes, I like colder weather)!  In the future, I may want a quilt with a lower temp rating, a sewn footbox, and a draft collar.  And a tightening string that doesn’t drop right into your face.  But this is solid.  I have a Sea to Summit liner, this is a blend and does not add the warmth of other S2S models, but there you go.  My pad is the Paria Recharge-S pad, this is a Short (S) torso length pad.  I sleep with my pack under my lower legs, it’s normal for me.  The pad is 3.5” thick, aka really comfy.  Width is 25”, which is simultaneously a) not wide enough, and b) a Nobel Prize-worthy advancement in comparison to the traditional 20” wide pad.  Quoth the Raven (as required, being from Poe’s hometown of Baltimore), “Nevermore.”  This pad has a 4.0 R-value, which is adequate, and the blow-up sack also is used as a dry bag in my pack, and for a pillow.  Under the pad goes the Gossamer Gear closed cell pad, which is crucial; the Lunar Solo is silpoly, which is slicker than whale snot (picture a one-man toboggan race, everything just slides to the right, slides to the left…) and the GG pad enables me to NOT careen around inside.  When warmer, I will likely just use an old Thermarest closed cell foam pad; I am that guy who sleeps well on roots.


Clothing and related stuff

Worn while hiking:

Normally, a wicking t-shirt, Patagonia shorts, Darned tough socks, Topo Terraventure 3 shoes.  REI Carbon Flash trekking poles for hiking and tent.  Some kind of ball cap.

If chilly, a thick long-sleeve UnderArmour shirt from a long-ago 10k (still great, warm and wicking), and some NorthFace fleece running tights.  REI glove liners (with the fingertips that let you use a phone) and OR waterproof shells.  Cold hands suck.  I may bring a few hand warmers just in case at the start.

Rain means you’re going to get wet, weather from the rain outside or from the swamp jungle inside your shell.  I got a Frogg Toggs rain suit from Mrs. Santa (Thanks, Sweetie!), this will allow me to get mainly from sweat, rather than rain.  I hear that’s better….

Cold – Yes, it will be.  Noone knows what lows will be, but weather in March and April can vary wildly.  Monsieur Trail, I see your cold and raise you – warm stuff!  Topping off with a wool watch cap.  I am starting with the REI basic down jacket.

Sleeping Clothes – these stay in a separate dry bag.  Long sleeve Smartwool 250 shirt and bottoms, thick Smartwool socks, and a spare pare of Darn Toughs for hiking (3 pairs socks in total, 2 for hiking and one for snoozing).  I can use the Smartwool shirt as an extra layer while hiking if needed but will need to ABSOLUTELY keep it dry without exception.



  1. My old 90’s-era Pocket Rocket, has never failed me. Heavier than some, but I am not obsessing over the minimal weight penalty.   Pair that with Ye Olde Propane and a lighter (Bic), and you can set things on fire!  Or cook.  I have an Evernew 750 titanium pot (wide pot, which heats more quickly than the tall pots) and the lid.  I will likely be using this setup more in the cold (coffee excepted) and may just boil and dump with food in a bag, or may get lazy and just cook in the dang pot.  I have a nephew who provided me some fun ultralight stuff (he owns Dandee Packs) including silicone dry bags and cooking bags, these are really neat!  Possibly heading to ColdSoakTown when the weather warms.  SO MANY QUESTIONS.  Moving on:  A bandana goes in the pot with the stove and lighter, to keep everything from tinkling like a bear bell in my ear all day long.  Food Bag – Sea to Summit 8L dry bag does everything I need it to do and looks different from other bags (reducing the likelihood that my food is mistakenly carried away by someone else).  Bear line and cord, kept together (line can also be used for drying things out, or to play Cat’s Cradle with any curious bears).  Long spoon (I hate sporks).  Since I will likely start off boiling water and dumping it into dehydrated Knorrs, Mountain House, etc. (which then goes into my DIY Reflectix coosie to rehydrate more fully), I will be able to have coffee in the leftover hot water.  I may bring a cup later, but for now I do not see the need.


Other Gear

    1. Electronics – just switched from Android to iPhone (got the 14 Pro for the camera) and charging cable/outlet. FarOut guide and ALDHA Thru-Hiker Companion are both loaded on the phone.  I just got a new Inuit 10mA power bank, works well and is a fast charger; The Magic 8-Ball says, “Good call, the old Anker is slow.”  Magic 8-Ball can be kinda cruel.  Black Diamond Spot 350 headlamp, this is batteries-only (not rechargeable) so I may lose illumination for a day or two at some point if it dies on trail; if it happens, I will likely be able to get batteries most days, as needed.
    2. Poop kit – Deuce of Spades, Purell, and TP all in its very own bag.
    3. First Aid – for me and my gear. K-Tape and patches for tent and pad.  Meds, including Vitamin I, some Imodium for that day when I lose at playing the game, “Was that cheese still okay?”, Benadryl tablets for when the bees sting (5-10 total), leukotape/bacitracin for blisters.  Body Glide and foot powder, to reduce the “Heartache of Biofeedback.”  Also, a Rawlogy cork ball, to work out soreness in feet and legs, or to play a game of kickball with mice in the shelters.
    4. H2O – Sawyer Squeeze, backup Aquamira (for now, can always boil in an emergency). Summer can get dry, so a 2L CNOC with the coupler for the Sawyer.  2 1L Smartwater bottles (or similar)
    5. Everything Else — I have that teeny Swiss Army keychain knife, really the scissors are the bomb. I have a Thermadrop thermometer on my bag, which will let me know what level of discomfort is reasonable, given prevailing temps, and what amount of my discomfort is me just kind of being a weenie.

I think that’s about it; I have used all of the gear and feel comfortable.  There are a few items (cold weather) I will be able to swap out to save volume and weight, so that’s the plan.  Let me know what you think!

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