It’s Entirely Normal to Wear the Same Outfit for 6 Months, Mom, I Swear

Okay, so this is the inevitable “gear-talk” post. I’ve been silent on The Trek as of lately, but of course, I had to make one of these, as it seems to be a rite of passage. In this post, I’ll cover my Big 3, cook system, and the clothes I’ll be taking on trail.

Let’s Talk Weight!

Now, all of my weight here is approximate and could be +/- (~1lb.), though I’m fairly certain it is just about spot on.

Base Weight: 14 pounds.
Total Weight (Food, Water, other consumables incl. That is coming with me to Amicalola and will sustain me for an anticipated 4 days to Above the Clouds Hostel): 26 pounds. 

By no means am I Ultra-Light, nor am I packing with the most calorically efficient food. But, I have the gear that will work for me, and the food that I would like to eat!

Zach, What is your Big 3?!

I’m using the Osprey Exos 58 with the brain removed for my pack. This pack, at around two pounds, fits my body snugly and has a suspension frame to keep the weight off the center of my back, which also helps with breathability. I’ll have the bag lined with a compactor bag to keep the remaining gear in tow dry on the rare rainy day on the AT (wishful thinking, I know). Additionally, the Osprey product warranty is Iron-Clad, so I won’t anticipate running into any pack-related issues that are not resolvable on trail easily (RIP hip-belt pockets on the new Exos models, though, am I right?).

I’ll be planning to spend most of my nights in the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1, which will be conveniently stored in the pack in a 6L Osprey stuff sack. The one-person model of the Fly Creek is definitely tight, and I may opt for a bigger/more weight-efficient tent later on in my trek, but I do enjoy the weight of this tent and the ease of set-up. I’ll be using the additional groundsheet from Big Agnes as an insurance policy against roots, rocks, and moisture and as a tool to fast-fly in the rain. 

While sleeping, you can find me nestled up in the REI Magma 15 Down bag, or if it is summer, I’ll be using the REI Magma 30 Trail Quilt. I’ll be combining that with a silk liner to serve two purposes: 1) add some warmth, 2) keep the stink out of the bag for longer. All of this will be served on a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite, acting as the line of demarcation between my frail flesh-bag and the cold ground that wouldn’t mind more compost. 

And how do you expect to eat, Mister?

Obviously, I need to have food and water, and because Willy Wonka seemed to fail with the everlasting gobstopper, I need to get something figured out. 

For water, I will have two 1L Smartwater bottles with a Sawyer Squeeze to treat any non-potable water, with water purification tablets as a backup if my Sawyer fails or freezes. 

All food (and stinky items) will be hung in the Zpacks bear hang kit, lined with an Odor Proof liner (Opsak). I’ll be using a Toaks Titanium pot for heating water, and the MSR PocketRocket 2 to provide flame. We are yet to determine if the Toaks long-handled spork that I have can shovel calories in my face fast enough – a review yet to come. 

It’s completely normal to wear the same outfit for 6 months, mom, I swear. 

Let’s start from the boots up, shall we?

I’ll be putting the Oboz Sawtooth to the test for this trail. I was considering trail runners and could have saved a substantial amount of weight by going that route. However, I’m much more acclimated to hiking in shoes so I’m going to stick to what I know best. Inside of those will be some Darn Tough socks, because this is a darn tough trail and I need the darndest and the toughest – their warranty is also the bees’ knees, duh. Inside of those, will be the Injinji synthetic ultralight liners for moisture and blister management.

Starting off with me will be some Columbia SilverRidge lightweight pants which will eventually be swapped out for some REI Sahara zip-off pants. Protecting my butt will be some Ex Officio briefs. My hiking top will be an REI Sahara polyester hiking shirt. 

I’ll be using REI 185g Merino Wool base layers for the extra cold mornings and to sleep in. 

My mid-layers will consist of a microfleece by Fayettechill (a knock-off of a Melanzana made with the same fabric as the Patagonia R1). For camp, an Arc’teryx Cerium SL down jacket will keep me cozy. And, I’ll be trusting Outdoor Research’s Helium pants and jacket to keep me protected on those rare rainy days on the AT (let me wish, please). 

Am I missing something?

Alright folks, that’s going to wrap this one up. If there’s any interest in this post I can make another one with the rest of my gear. Please, if you have suggestions, concerns or any advice, reach out! I’m planning to make a post regarding mental health pre-trail, diet, and other trail prep here soon. Happy hiking!


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Comments 1

  • pearwood : Feb 21st

    I love my Oboz Sawtooth hiking shoes. With a pair of gaiters I’ve even worn them in Rochester, NY snow. REI merino wool liners and Darn Tough light trail socks inside. They kept my feet secure going up the approach trail with my insanely heavy pack. I’ll be wearing them when I restart in early March.
    Steve / pearwood


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