Gearlist – Ultralight Hikers We Are Not

We will not be confused with an ultralight hiker and likely not even those who consider themselves to be lightweight hikers.  Our base weights are around 20 pounds.  On his 2011 thru-hike, Eric’s pack weighed close to 45 pounds.  So, by comparison, at just over 35 pounds, he is doing much better.  Hayley’s pack is just about 30 pounds but will be slightly heavier to start.

Below is the gear that has made the cut to start our journey.  After completing a few shakedown hikes, packing, and re-packing at home, I present to you the following list.  We will also include items we anticipate to send forward like shoes and cold weather gear.

Shelter: NEMO Dagger 2 with Footprint

Only used a few times but incredibly light-weight and spacious for a two-person tent.  Both of us fit along with our packs.  The only piece of gear that remains under the wide vestibule are our shoes and trekking poles. The tent will be a shared item in our packs.


Eric Hayley
Granite Gear Blaze 60 Osprey Ariel 65


Eric loves this pack.  It is well designed and on the minimalist side but holds weight very well.  Extra-wide water bottle holders are a great value to support our makeshift hydration system which includes a (platypus hose on a Smartwater bottle).

Hayley says this pack is amazing.  Probably one of the best in terms of support and weight distribution.  Hayley hardly notices the weight because of the incredible support from the hip-belt.

Both will have pack covers.

Sleeping pads:

Big Agnes Q-Core SLX insulated sleeping pad (X2) plus pumphouse

Super comfy – nuff said.

Sleeping bags and liners:

Eric Hayley
NEMO Riff 30 EMS 35
NEMO Riff 15 NEMO Disco 15

The NEMO Riff is the most comfortable sleeping bag Eric has every used.  The spoon shape design and gills provide extra-comfort.  Not the lightest bag on the market but at 800 fill, this keeps the weight down and packs with ease.

We plan to change our sleeping bags in southern PA or in VA.  We each have two sea to summit liners to provide additional warmth.

Both have small inflatable pillows.


Eric Hayley
Mountain Hardwear Traverse hat Visor
Hiking shorts (X2) Hiking shorts (X2)
Short sleeve hiking shirt (X2) Short sleeve hiking shirt (X2)
Long sleeve hiking shirt (X1) Hiking socks (X3)
Hiking socks (X3) Sock liners (X3)
Long underwear (X1) Sportsbra (X2)
Sleeping shorts (X1) Underwear (X4)
Short sleeve sleeping shirt (X1) Long underwear (X1)
Long sleeve sleeping shirt (X1) Sleeping shorts (X1)
Camp socks (X1) Sleeping long sleeve shirt (X1)
OR Helium II Rain jacket Sleeping sports bra (X1)
Smartwool PHD jacket Camp socks (X1)
Smartwood PHD vest OR rain jacket
OR down hoody EMS 600 fill down jacket
OR down beanie EMS down vest
Smartwool skullcap OR down beanie
Smartwool windproof gloves Mountain Hardware lightweight gloves
Knit hat Camp pants

We may be carrying too much clothing.  The weather is unpredictable in Maine and NH, even in June/July.  We’ll be walking into cooler temps so layering will be important.  We have a few warmer layers that will be sent forward including heavier wool items.

We also will each have a pair of sunglasses and a bug net.


Eric Hayley
Brooks Caldera Whatever was on sale


Eric has 4 pairs of Caldera’s lined up for the hike.  He really likes this shoe for both comfort and grip on rocky surfaces.  The description says “release your inner mountain goat”.   We’ll have these shoes sent forward at various intervals most likely every four to five hundred miles.  He also has a pair of Brooks Cascadia GTX for the final month of the trail when we expect conditions to be wet and cold.  This will help keep feet dry.

Hayley has 4 pairs of shoes lined up including Keen Steen Vent (starting), Salomon Trail Runners, Oboz waterproof low cut hiking shoe and then Altra Lonepeak on standby if needed.

Both are carrying crocs for camp.  Hayley is also bringing a pair of down Sundick booties for sleeping as well.

Each will have pair of calf sleeves and DirtyGirl gaiters


MSR PocketRocket

Jetboil 1.5 liter pot

Jetboil Flash cooking system

Snowpeak Titanium double wall mug (14 oz) X2

Snowpeak Titanium spork X 2

1 large fuel cannister

1 small fuel cannister


Yes, we are bringing two stoves with us.  The Jetboil Flash will only be used to boil water.  The Jetboil pot and PocketRocket combo will be used to cook the majority of our meals in.  This solves a few problems.  The most important, no one likes to drink re-heated cheese mix water with their morning coffee.  The Flash system will be used to boil water for coffee, hot drinks and oatmeal, or for when we have the luxury of eating a Mountain House meal.  All other meals will be used cook in the Jetboil pot – think pasta sides, ramen, rice, etc.  This also allows us to cook two dinners when we get to camp so neither person has to wait to use the pot.  Also, it’s to avoid a past experience when our camp stove broke mid hike and we went without hot meals for a few days which made us sad. ☹

Update: Jetboil Flash starter stopped working on our last shakedown hike.  Still works otherwise.

Luxury items:

Hammock and straps

Chair (Helinox Chair Zero)


We’ll be setting up camp, especially in Maine, near the pristine lakes and rivers where we want to spend the afternoon relaxing in the hammock.  This will also help keep our mileage down to allow time for our trail legs to develop.  As we progress through the trail, we may send some of these items home.  Over the past few years, we have started carrying a chair and hammock on our backpacking trips.  This has proven to be beneficial to elevate our sore legs, allows blood to circulate back to the heart without fighting gravity, and recharge our muscles while easing the pain.  We have noticed we feel much fresher the next morning after just 20 minutes of swinging in the hammock.  We plan to tent for the majority of the hike.  The tarp allows for more flexibly when camping to create a dry space when we inevitably set up camp in the rain.

As the days get shorter, our legs get stronger, and our heavier layers sent to us, we will likely send the hammock home and maybe the tarp.

The chair will be the envy of all other thru-hikers.  Hayley has said she would rather send back half her clothing than her chair.


ALL THE STUFF SACKS!!!   Too many to list, in various size and colors.

ALL the Ziplock Bags!!!

Leatherman squirt multi-tool

Gerber 4-inch stainless steel serrated knife

Each will have own roll of TP plus hand sanitzer

Biodegradable camp soap

Bic lighter x2

Ben’s 100% deet

Extra pair shoelaces

Pack Towel

Makeshift first aid kit, some things include: Ibuprofen, Neosporin, band aids, bleed stop, vitamins, doxycycline


Toothpaste/ toothbrush

Nail clippers

Water filtration:

Each will have two one-liter Smartwater bottles.

The threaded platypus hoser tube will connect onto a Smartwater bottle.  This allows us to keep water on the outside of our packs with the option to hydrate while hiking.  The bladder is used as our water reserve for camp, or on long stretches with limited water that we may encounter.

Katadyn BeFree gravity filter



This will be the heaviest items in our packs.  Likely around 15 pounds split between the two of us.  Will mostly consist of tortillas, pasta sides, ramen, instant potatoes, cheese, pepperoni, peanut butter, tuna/chicken packets, oatmeal, granola bars, mountain house meals when available, and coffee.  One item that will remain consistent throughout the journey is Old Bay seasoning.  This just makes everything taste better.

Also carrying paracord and carabiner as well as several loksaks.

Trekking poles:


All hikers of all levels should never leave home without trekking poles.


Eric Hayley
Petzl Actik – 400 lumens Petzl Tikka – 300 lumens



Garmin Fenix 5 watch

Phones x2


All the chargers

Head phones

Extra AAA batteries


ATC Thru-Hiker Companion 2022

Small notebook and pen

Our journey on the AT starts Monday.  We’re continuing to check the weather forecast.  Just like all of our previous shakedown hikes, rain is in the forecast but we are looking forward the adventure.  On Thursday and Friday the forecast remained at 60% chance, and as of this post on Saturday, it jumped to 90% with heavy rain in the forecast.

We are looking into contingency plans like starting our hike on Sunday.  It really would not be a good decision to hike above tree line for several miles in this weather.  However, there is a 100% chance we take our first steps on the AT this week. We will be heading up to Millinocket tomorrow morning with Eric’s dad and then into Baxter State Park.  We plan to update our next post when we arrive in Monson.  Bring on Katadhin and the 100-mile wilderness!

Thru the rain and thru the pain.  We’ll be hiking to Georgia all the way from Maine.

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Comments 2

  • Wanda Hale : Jun 26th

    Good luck and look forward to following you along your journey.

  • Melanie : Jun 27th

    Who makes the Beef Pho and Fettuccini Alfredo meals next to Mountain House? Safe travels!


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