My ‘Not Quite a Gear List’ List
Ounces and Pounds, or Kilograms and Grams?
If there is one thing I’ve learned while preparing for the Appalachian Trail, it’s that I’m not particularly detail-oriented. Every person and their dog seems to have a trail-altering piece of equipment that you MUST carry in order to be successful. The mountains of advice online lead me to the point where my eyes glaze over; Was the review I read about sleeping bags or dog bowls?
Most likely, I will not post my full Gear list online. As an overthinker, I’m worried online strangers opinions would lead me to throw out the gear that’s been working for years. I have a group of people to talk to and complete a ‘virtual shake down’ for me.
The All-Star Plate
So instead of posting my full gear list, I’m going to indulge my All-Star list. Just the favourites. They could be my favourite because they’re useful, or more likely, that they make other people head scratch. As an important aside, the All-Star plate is the second round of Thanksgiving or Christmas food; the things that are so good you have to go back around for. Arguably better than the entire first plate once the absence of brussel sprouts and green stuff has been taken into account.
All-Star Item 1: Umbrella
Its been a heated debate in our household on how to handle the rain on the AT, I think of myself as the absolute authority on this one due to being British. I have ruled that there would be nothing funnier than carrying an umbrella from Georgia to Maine. Britta of course has gone for the full rain suit and thinks that a small gust of wind may blow me off trail and into the hills and hollers of Tennessee.
I am taking the Gossamer Gear Lightrek Umbrella which is plenty lightweight and sturdy. Though I’ve only used this item once so far, I enjoyed not getting hit by freezing rain and getting confused looks by fellow hikers at seeing a bearded Mary Poppins. I’m also useless in the beating sun, so I’m hoping when summer comes around it will give me some refuge and stop me from melting into a puddle.
All-Star Item 2: Hiking Shirt
On our recent trip to Yosemite, we were stopped a couple of times by strangers who exclaimed “Hawaiian shirts… Y’all are badass!”. Affectionately known as ‘holiday shirts’ in our house, (since they bring you that holiday feel) we started wearing flowery shirts to hike because I sweat like a pig in a butcher’s shop. Since hiking in these bad boys, we’ve started to gain some trail credit for being crazy and wild; it couldn’t be further from the truth, but I enjoy people assuming we’re old head hiker trash that are maybe halfway through a calendar year triple crown.
For me, the weirder pattern the better for shirts- but I still wanted polyester to wick away some sweat while hiking so I went with the Marmot Syrocco Shirt-Sleeve shirt which was a pretty fun brown pattern that hopefully hides some stank on the trail. However, if nobody complements it in the first 300 miles it may get tossed.
All-Star Item 3: Backwoods Bidet
If you know me in real life you’ll know I’m a bidet guy. I’ve made it my personal mission to install one on every home toilet in my adult life. So you can imagine my elation when I found out about the backwoods bidet. After watching all sorts of youtube videos (like this one) I settled on the bidet over toilet paper. Sure, it uses drinking water. Sure, I’ll probably miss and soak my underwear. Sure, you feel uncomfortable knowing that- but I don’t care. This feels like one piece of genuine luxury on the trail. Not only do you get a clean butt, but it also gets rid of salty sweat which contributes to chaffing. Plus, I’ve heard that when your water bottle has nearly frozen in winter, and you’ve gotta go poop, spraying this on your tuckus has the same effect as 5 cups of coffee! Double-use item!
All-Star Item 4: Toe Socks
I was considering not bringing these into this list. Yet, all the times I’ve been harangued for wearing have cemented them onto the All-Star list. Yeah, they’re not cool, but dang they’re comfy! If you’re on this website and you’re not a toe sock convert, I suggest you pull your head out of the sand and feel the sun on your skin. There is no shame here. Let your piggies breathe.
I use the Injinji sock liners to help avoid blisters and to raise my self-confidence.
Bonus Item: Gas exchange
One item I haven’t used yet is the Campingmoon Gas Canister Refill Adapt. It interests me because I’m so bad at recognising when my gas is low. I imagine I might run into the possibility of being caught short (not bidet related) and would struggle to cook a meal. If other hikers leave behind partially filled containers, I could use this little contraption to refill my canister and never run out.
The big worry with using this item is that you must be specific with how much gas you put into your canister. Overfilling could lead to a dangerous situation. While researching, I found a way to use your hiking pole as a weighing scale. The pole becomes a Bismar scale and you can preeeetty accurately measure the weight of your canister without having a real scale. Hopefully this works and I’ll be sure to let you all know if it does!
Im sure some of this gear will make it to Maine and some of it wont. The idea behind them all is fun, but you can argue the practicality on most of these. Everyone has an opinion but i guess the one that matters is mine. Nevermind, its actually Britta’s.
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