Introducing Flat Elliott! (and the rest of my gear list)

If you were to ask me what I am primarily concerned about leaving behind while I hike, my first answer would be my dogs. No surprise there, right? I have two older dogs, one has three legs and the other has arthritic hips, so there is no way I can take them with me.

My second answer might surprise you though. In addition to my dogs, I am also concerned about a certain vulture who has attached himself to me over the past two years. Don’t worry: “vulture” here does in fact refer to a vulture, as in, the bird.

The story goes something like this: I work at a rehabilitation center for injured birds. If a bird isn’t able to be released back into the wild, we are a home for them, so we have a number of resident raptors and songbirds. One of these birds is a black vulture named Elliott. Now, before I started working at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, I never thought I would be a bird person, and before I met Elliott, I never thought vultures would be my favorite bird. But I am and they are, and it’s wonderful to be a surrogate mother to Elliott. Since I cannot take him with me (vultures have a few unattractive quirks), I will be hiking with a flat version of Elliott!



(In case you are unfamiliar with flat beings, it began with Flat Stanley).

In addition to Flat Elliott, the rest of my gear includes:

My Big Three (and related accessories)

Cooking & Water Treatment


  • Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down jacket
  • Patagonia Torrentshell rain jacket
  • Frogg Toggs rain pants (the most unflattering pants you have ever seen. Guaranteed.)
  • Fleece hat
  • Neck gaiter
  • Light fleece gloves
  • Hooded fleece jacket (in glaring orange; it doesn’t match anything else but it was cheap!)
  • EE booties (which I stole from the Easter bunny; seriously, they are pink and yellow. Again, they were cheap-er!)
  • Camp clothes: leggings, Cuddleduds long sleeve top, REI socks.
  • Hiking clothes: compression pants/leggings, synthetic wicking long sleeve top, 2 pairs sock liners and 2 pairs Darn Tough socks. Warm weather: short sleeve shirt, running shorts or convertible pants ( haven’t decided yet).
  • Crocs
  • Insect Shield buff
  • Sunglasses
  • Adidas Coolmax baseball cap

First Aid & Hygiene

  • UL First aid kit, including tick removal tool and small signaling mirror to help with tick checks.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Comb
  • Sea to Summit camp soap
  • REI towel
  • Chafing lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Trowel
  • Wipes


Electronics & Miscellaneous



I am still deciding on a few things, mostly based on whether or not I want the extra weight. If you have any suggestions, please comment! Right now I am sitting at around 20 lbs base weight. My guess is that the final weight with food and water will be 35 lbs-ish, which is more than I had hoped for, but oh well. The die is cast (almost)!

Less than two weeks till I start!!! 

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Comments 5

  • Barry Hudson : Apr 11th

    Love the Elliot story. I believe that your pack and worn content are totally as good as your comfort level is with it. If it works for you, then go with it. These things can always be fine tuned as you go along. If my memory serves me right, we both are embarking on the same day and starting point.

    • Mary : Apr 11th

      Hope to meet you out there!

  • Josh J : Apr 19th

    Thank so for the story about Elliot and the gear list! Good luck out there.

    Also, regarding water bottles (not sure if you made a final choice) – I use the Smart water bottle and I like them. I also like the “spout” they have over a twist off cap, personally. I wrap a little length of duck tape on the middle of the bottle to conveniently carry duck tape and add a little grip texture to the bottle.

  • chris steiner : Aug 31st

    Not sure if I know what I am doing. Hope this reaches you. I am sure Elliot is missing you. I will read your blogs to him. Have a wonderful trek!

    • Mary : Aug 31st

      Hi Chris! Thanks for reading! 🙂


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