My Gear List, AKA: “Yes, I Thought of That” List

One of the reasons I’m glad to be documenting my thru-hike is to prove that I sort of know what I’m doing. Then, of course, to look back on afterward and laugh at my pre-hiker-trash self.

Gear from Years Past

Through my experience hiking I’ve learned two things about myself.

One: A roomier two-person tent might be luxurious at the end of the day, but it’s too heavy. Go lighter.

Two: I am not a die-hard ultralight backpacker.

These points might seem contradictory, but I promise I’ve thought it out.

The tent I’m talking about is the REI Quarter-dome. This tent is a tent that I will use forever. I absolutely love this thing, but it’s stupid heavy for a thru-hike, so I went lighter.

I used to hike with a sweatshirt and a plaid flannel to change into. That only lasted through my “trying to look cute for the gram” phase. I used to hike with a full first aid kit (complete with a splint kit), a crazy-ass map that I had to unfold to the size of a small tablecloth, a heavy camera, and, of course, my books.

You read that right; I used to hike with books. Think in terms of a classic, hardcover Dickens novel; that was me.

To be fair to younger me, what were you thinking? That pack was too heavy and you were so out of shape.

OK, rant over.

The Gear of Today

I’ve now opted for lighter camp shoes (not my Instagram worthy Birkenstocks), cut the handle off my hairbrush, and chucked odd bags and extra items I just don’t need.

I swapped my heavy boots for the Altra Lone Peak 4 trail runners. which I was skeptical about. I was a boot girl All. The. Way. I loved my boots and planned on wearing them, buying pairs to send to myself on trail. But after a normal weekend trip in the Whites left my feet bloody and bruised I convinced myself to give them a try.

Now I’m a trail-runner girl.

There are a lot of things the more experienced backpackers in my life have to say. Some recommend boots, while others swear by trail runners. Someone told me their large knife was very useful, while another never hiked with his again. Ultralight backpacking seems to be the wet dream of many backpackers I talk to, while others prefer to have all the precautions at their disposal.

You have to decide what works for you. I think I fall very comfortably in the middle and that works for me. I’ve had time to hike with these choices, but I’m open to any comments or questions.

Now Without Further Ado, My 2019 Gear List

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Comments 6

  • Scott : Dec 25th

    I’m looking at your wish list and yes you do need some Dirty Girls…I don’t know the ins and outs of sponsers and such but I’d drop them a note, tell them you are blogging for the The Trek and who knows they might just send you some…? Otherwise you can get the ‘for sale’ ones for less than $20 (which you proably know). Personally I am not above begging for free gear…Just a thought – GL !!

    • D : Dec 26th

      Backpack itself is worn weight and not included in your base weight ? Just curious

      • Sarah Thomsen : Dec 26th

        Didn’t even notice that! Lol I’ll change it.

  • Quiet Storm : Dec 26th

    Base weight is everything but food, water, and worn clothing. You’ve got a 4+ pound pack, 4+ pound sleeping bag, 2 pound tent, and 0 weight for a number of other items. Your base weight looks closer to 20 given the weight of your big 3. Unless you’re done shopping, I would consider lightening up on the sleep system. You have a pad for cold weather only. What are you planning for warmer weather?

    • Sarah Thomsen : Dec 27th

      So it is an incomplete list (currently working on weighing my smaller things like hygiene products. My sleep system is heavier. I’ve never found a sleeping bag that I love so much, so that will stay with me, but I’m not sure yet on what pad I’ll switch to once it gets warmer (tbh I’m not 100% happy with it currently, but I’m trying to save $. Have any suggestions?
      I’m also planning on sending some things home in the warmer months, like my rain pants and my fleece. I’ve had hypothermia before…so you could say I’m being cautious.
      I’ve taken this gear out many times before and have been very content with the weight, hopefully after a few weeks on trail I’ll iron out the kinks.

  • EarthTone : Jan 1st

    The only thing that matters is if you like your gear. I’m so over other people’s gear lists, I’m actually surprised I read all the way through yours. I find the only time I actually look closely at someone else’s gear list is when they are bragging about how light their kit is and I want to find out where they are bullshitting.

    Seriously though, you have the experience to know what you are doing and what you need and like you said, you can always adjust as you go. Have fun and good luck.



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