Mike’s Appalachian Trail Gear List

The Trek provides a great gear list builder that shows the individual weight of the gear you input.  It’s broken down into several common-sense sections, and I’ve tried to fit my gear into those sections.  I’ll post the full list at the bottom of this page.  I’ll also go into detail about each of the sections.

Luxury

This is the category that I’m sure I’ll take the most heat over.  These are things that no-one needs walking a 2,000+ mile trail.  I want them, I’m prepared to carry the extra weight, and I’m bringing them.  The coffee items are in a dedicated 4L Sea to Summit ultralight dry bag.

Yes, that’s an electric toothbrush.  It weighs 1.9 ounces.  I can live with that.  And the coffee bean grinder and french press, nonnegotiable.

Misc

Another category where I’m carrying a nonstandard (if there is such a thing) amount of weight. Although the camera case and lenses are the only extra items in this section as far as I can tell.

Hygiene/ First Aid/ Survival

My hygiene and first aid kits are probably more thorough than they need to be.  All in for both I’m at 24.2 ounces.  That’s not terrible considering how important these things are, but I’ll use the “If I haven’t touched it in a week” rule to continuously monitor whether these are things I need or am just carrying.  All of the hygiene and first aid items are kept together in a 4L Sea to Summit ultralight dry bag.

Hygiene

In my hygiene kit I have a Quip toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, brush (with the handle still attached… no, just no), nail clippers, travel size Q-tips, earplugs, and a case and cleaning solution for a mouth guard I wear at night to keep from grinding my teeth.  All of this is in a small Sea to Summit toiletries bag.

First Aid

For first aid, I have anti-friction rub, Leukotape P, Neosporin, iodine, sunscreen, lip balm, loperamide, Zofran, Cipro, and ibuprofen.  All of this is in a ziplock bag, except the tape.

Bathroom

To facilitate going to the bathroom I have a trowel, toilet paper, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer that are in an outside pocket of my pack.

Survival

These items are also pretty standard, I think except for the MSR Guardian.  It might be (is) overkill for water treatment.  I also will never have to think about Giardia, so it’s worth it for me.  All of these I will either wear or will be in an external pocket of my pack.

Kitchen

My cooking gear consists of a Jetboil Minimo, with two 100g Snow Peak Gigapower fuel canisters.  The extra fuel is my one redundant item out of fear of running out of fuel and not being able to make coffee.  I also carry a Toaks long-handled titanium spoon, a Sea to Summit X-Cup, and I will be keeping my food in a BearVault BV450.  I considered a bear bag, but the convenience of a canister outweighed the extra pound and a half.  It was merely a personal choice.  The Jetboil is in a dedicated 4L Sea to Summit ultralight dry bag.

Clothing

For clothes, both cold and warm, I am taking one pair on convertible pants (the bottom legs zip off to make them shorts), two shirts, two pairs of underwear, three pairs of socks (one will be dedicated to sleeping and will always be dry).  For cold weather only I’ll have UnderArmor Coldgear top and bottoms, a silkweight long sleeve top, a Buff, one pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters, a Beanie, and a pair of glove liners.  Everything I’m not wearing will be in a dedicated 2L Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil dry bag.

Pack

For my pack, I have a 2015 model Gregory Baltoro 75.  It’s big, it’s ugly, and it’s heavy, but it gets the job done.  Someday I’ll upgrade this beast, but not before the trail this spring.

Sleep System

I’ve just upgraded my sleep system to a much lighter and more compact setup.  My new bag is a 20-degree bag, so initially, I’m going to take a bag liner with me and make a determination if it’s needed or if I’m mailing it home.  Eventually, I intend to send the 20-degree bag home and use the liner and switch back later if I need to.  I’m still waiting on my new kit, and so I have no pictures to post at this time.  When my gear comes in, I’ll update this post.

Shelter

I also upgraded my tent and am waiting for it too.  I’ll update this section with pictures when I get my kit.  I switched from a 2015 Copper Spur UL2 to the UL1.  The weight isn’t that much difference, just a few ounces, but the space in the pack is a big difference and worth the switch.

All Other Things

This list so far is a very comprehensive list of what I’ll be carrying with me.  The only things not here are a couple of random items that didn’t easily input into the list builder.  I have charging cords for iPhone, inReach, and the Anker Powerbank.  Those are in a dedicated 1L Sea to Summit ultralight dry bag.  I’m also bringing a pair of wireless, waterproof headphones and a lightweight selfie stick.  I’m on the fence about the stick and the headphones, and they both may get mailed home fairly quickly.

That’s my gear list.  I’m sure there will be a ton of opinions on what I’m carrying and why.  There are as many opinions on gear as there are stars in the sky.  No two setups are alike, nor should they be.  What works for me, or you, might not work for anyone else on the planet, but as long as it works for the person carrying it, that’s all that matters isn’t it?

A quick note about my gear list.  I’ve not included the cost of each item on my list because it doesn’t accurately show what I paid for each item.  I haven’t paid the retail price for much of my gear and a lot of my gear is years old.

I hope that you’ll join me again as I continue to document my journey.  Next up for me are shakedown hikes to fine-tune my kit.

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Comments 15

  • Nate - Day Hiker : Jan 25th

    Best wishes on your upcoming adventure. It is a wonderful journey. What is the purpose of the Garmin Montana when you already have a GPS watch and a phone with GPS capabilities as well as the InReach that you can use for emergency communication? There wasn’t a day that went by on my entire thru hike that I didn’t have cell service at least one point during the day. Plus the AT is hardly a wilderness trail where you are days away from finding salvation. At least from Georgia through Massachusetts it is rare that a day goes by that you don’t cross at least one road and can pretty much always see/hear signs of civilization. Even in the 100 mile wilderness in Maine, you cross over a variety logging roads. It seems like a lot of weight for something that doesn’t provide much value for east coast hiking.

    The Guthook app for the AT uses GPS on your phone that can run in airplane and will pretty much always pinpoint exactly where you are on or off the trail. it is a great tool if you are concerned with location on the trail and what is coming ahead whether it be elevation change /water /shelter / roads/ towns/ etc.

    Reply
    • Mike Page : Jan 25th

      Nate,

      Your timing here is fantastic! I am looking at my gear, right now, asking myself the same question. I’ve been on the fence for a couple of days about the Montana, and honestly, I think the only reason I wanted to bring it, is because I had it and paid for the Appalachian Trail map set from Garmin. That purchase was well before I had heard of Guthook and in hindsight, my advice to anyone would be to not rush into a purchase until you’ve thoroughly explored what options are out there. Now, I will be shaving 10.5 ounces off my pack.

      Cheers,
      Mike

      Reply
  • stealtlhblew : Jan 25th

    I highly recommend a shakedown hike. (50 to 100 miles) In the process note what is actually used and additionally what items may serve multiple tasks. Then take note of experienced hiker’s lists and compare them to yours.

    This adventure is more of a long walk through a park than a wilderness adventure. Most of the time awake will be spent walking as opposed to camping. Less weight will equal more comfort, less injuries, the ability to keep up with new friends and flexibility scheduling mileage. The difference between a 12 pound pack and a 40 pound pack (without food and water) makes a big difference on the overall experience.

    Hopefully, you can return some of the surplus gear for a refund or credit. Chances are new items will be purchased along the way and the prices will be much higher.
    This evolution of less weight = more fun is something most everyone goes through. Save yourself money, misery and time by shaking down your pack before hitting the trail.

    Have fun!

    Reply
    • Mike Page : Jan 25th

      stealtlhblew,

      This is quality advice right here, I appreciate it! I have three shakedown hikes planned but am still waiting on my new tent. My old tent only ways a couple of ounces more but takes up less room in my pack so I may do the first shakedown with it. I spend a LOT of time researching other hikers success stories, lists, opinions, and advice. The reason I’ve halved my base weight is from following that advice. I’m getting close, and in fact, I may already be there, to the weight and kit I’m taking with me. While this is my first thru-hike, I’ve spent the better part of my adult life carrying a lot of weight for a lot of miles in terrain similar to what I think is in store for me on the AT. I understand the value of traveling as light as possible and all of my gear selection have revolved around the lightest gear I can afford. I’m also carrying some “luxury” items that I don’t need, and I’m ok with that. For me, this walk isn’t just about taking the bare minimum and making it. I want to enjoy the ride too.

      Cheers,
      Mike

      Reply
  • Randy Dube : Jan 25th

    Im excited for you and congratulations on your decision to make this journey!! I look forward to reading your posts along the way. To solve your selfie stick problem, I am pretty sure they make attachments that can attach to your trekking pole. Will save some weight and space. Also, I don’t know how much that trowel weighs but there or some reasonably cheap, significantly lighter ones out there that I think you would enjoy.

    In the end, it is your hike. Again, I look forward to your articles.

    Reply
    • Mike Page : Jan 25th

      Randy,

      That is a great idea about the selfie stick! I will be investigating that today. As far as the trowel is concerned, I honestly had not looked into it much. It’s another of those items I’ve had for years and never even considered replacing it… until now. Thank you again! Two easy ways to shave weight. Thanks again!

      Cheers,
      Mike

      Reply
      • Nicholas : Jan 27th

        Mike,

        It is refreshing to see someone putting together a thru-hike gear list that is more realistic for a lot of people and isn’t the same-old, same-old cottage pack plus cottage sleep system plus cottage tent and then as miminal everything else as expensively possible.

        I think you will shave weight as you hike, but that is part of the journey, and suffering comes in many forms (including bad coffee). Good luck!

        P.S. I have found that an orange REI snow stake makes a pretty good lightweight trowel replacement and only costs $3.95.

        Reply
  • steff : Jan 25th

    Great list, and I can related to the need of having some nice coffee on the trail 🙂

    I just recently came across the MSR Guardian, and really like what it seems to offer. However, the high price and weight put me on the fence. Do you already have any experience with using it?

    Reply
    • Mike Page : Jan 25th

      steff,

      I took the Guardian with me for six months in Central America last year and it performed amazingly. At a pound I know it’s not considered a backpacking water treatment system, more of a basecamp setup really. But for me, I’ll never use anything else. It’s incredibly easy and fast and never clogs. It’s worth every gram of extra weight for the peace of mind. And yes, I am one of those “coffee is life” people

      Cheers,
      Mike

      Reply
      • steff : Jan 26th

        Thanks for your reply, much appreciated!
        Looking forward to more articles, and wish you lots of fun on your hike 🙂

        Reply
  • Shane Horvath : Jan 27th

    I thru-hiked the AT in 2015 and in January of 2015 I was obsessed with the gear thing and spent hours and hours obsessing about it. Rightfully so I think as I was about to live in the woods for 6 months and I had never camped or hiked before. I ended up taken a lot of items I did not need because of fear. The raw emotion that drives our emotions and decisions. What I learned quickly is that hiking up and down mountains is not easy and the less weight you have the easier it is. So then I became obsessed on what I could get rid of. It is hard to tell someone what to take and not to take as I believe you will learn as you go. Just keep an open mind in the early days of the hike on what you “need” and dont need. Looking at your list I would assume that you would probably ditch some of your items pretty early on.

    Some advise I would give you about your list.

    Your pack is really big and heavy. You could drop 2-3 pounds easy just by getting a more lightweight pack. I started with a huge Osprey and switched to Exos 48.

    Bear Canister- Not necessary….Unless you are hiking in Grizzly Bear country or you just dont like hanging a bag. Also having the bear rope came in handy along the way. IE clothes line.

    Water system seems really heavy….Sawyer squeeze is like 9 oz for the big one and 3 oz for the little one.

    GPS stuff….The iPhone is all you need. You really are in cell range for most of the hike. AT guide can be downloaded also I recommend an app called GAIA. Its free or has premium option. Tracks and records everything. Distance Altitude MPH. You can even get rid of the watch with this app.

    Nalgene bottle….Too heavy also you might find it better to have two bottles. Disposable water bottles are great and just replace every few weeks. Also will be free for first few hundred miles with all the trail magic….

    Flip Flops….I also started with flip flops….switched to Crocs…..They are actually super light….easy to slip into with socks…great for town and also I wore to forge rivers in Maine. Crocs with Socks are a thru hike staple for a reason.

    Starbucks VIA—-Have you tried? I also love my coffee and grind beans and use a french press at home but found that starbucks via was perfect for my needs in the woods. Your taste buds will change after a few weeks and what you think is gross and disgusting now will be amazing.

    Anyway I hope some of my input can be helpful to you. I will try to look for your posts as you go.

    Shane

    Reply
  • Bj Clark : Jan 30th

    I don’t see a puffy. Check out Andrew Skurka’s website for his clothing system. You don’t need the sleeping bag liner if you have the right clothing. Think multipurpose. Also lose the tent footprint. Totally unnecessary. Swap out the nalgene. Gatorade or smart water bottles work fine and are way lighter. Agree that the trowel is too heavy and that the REI snow stake can do double duty at 1 oz. If you pay attention to the ounces, the pounds will take care of themselves.

    Reply
  • Lucius : Jan 31st

    Thorough. With all due respect, you’re hiking heavy. Several have made great weight saving suggestions – I’ll add one: Gerber multi? If you must, switch to the Dime. I love coffee too – try a pour over w/ just a filter. Honestly, 10lbs+ can come off pretty easily.

    Wishing you all the best – most importantly, thank you for both your service and sacrifice for our country. Freedom isn’t free. Enjoy your walk!

    Reply
  • Stephen R Marsh : Feb 3rd

    I’ve been looking at electric toothbrushes that claim to have a long time between needed charges.

    How did you choose yours and what is the recharge cycle?

    Reply
    • Mike Page : Feb 3rd

      Stephen,
      I went with the Quip toothbrush. It runs on a single AAA battery and with the battery and travel case, which comes with the toothbrush, weighs in at 1.9 ounces for the aluminum model. The plastic model I assume would be even lighter. According to the website, one battery will last about three months. I’ll let you know. I have a Phillips Sonicare toothbrush at home, and I can not tell any difference in the sonic vibration of the two.

      Cheers,
      Mike

      Reply

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