My Before and After Appalachian Trail Gear List

2189.2 miles on the Appalachian Trial taught me a thing or two about necessary gear for a long distance hike.  One of the first things I learned on the trail was how little gear you actually need.  I sent home as much gear as I could and continuously worked on ways to lower my pack weight. Here’s the gear that got me to Katahdin:


Items Sent Home

  • Stove and Cooking Pot
  • AWOL guide (bring this as a pdf on your phone and avoid the weight)
  • Nemo Astro Sleeping Pad (Inflating this pad at the end of the day was unbearable…)
  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Pouches
  • Outdoor Research Stuff Sack
  • REI compression stuff sack
  • Sea to Summit Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Pocket Knife
  • First Aid Kit
  • Soap/Deodorant (After a few weeks your realize how useless these items are)
  • Sea to Summit Folding Water Bucket
  • Multiple long sleeve shirts, extra socks, gloves, winter hat and a winter jacket (After the Smokies it was never cold enough to need extra layers)

During my hike the mindset I had was that if I hadn’t used an item for the last 100 miles I didn’t need it. Sending home my AWOL guide, stove and pot, inflatable sleeping pad, and a few smaller items cut over 5 lbs from my pack weight.  To future thru-hikers, I suggest testing your gear ahead of time and bringing only the bare essentials when you hit the trail. On the AT, resupply and outfitters are never far from the trail.  An inflatable sleeping pad and a silk sleeping bag liner sound useful until you get to the trail and realize the extra weight you are carrying.  Avoid unnecessary gear and save your money for a run to the buffet once you hit town!

Favorite Piece of GearSawyer Water Filter, for $40 this filter performed flawlessly for 5 months and best of all I never got sick.  I saw all different approaches to treating water; large water filter pumps, aquamira, chlorine drops and even no filter at all, but it is hard to argue with the simplicity and ease of use of the sawyer filter. If you’re using the sawyer filter, Send Home The Sawyer Plunger that comes with it. The cap from a smartwater bottle fits over the filter inlet and can be used to backwash the filter! Just a little trail knowledge for future AT hikers.



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Comments 7

  • Bill : Nov 21st

    for the most part, after sending back your stove and cooking pot, what did you eat?

    • Liane : Nov 23rd

      How did you eat without a stove or cooking pot? Trail mix and bars?

    • Jared : Nov 23rd

      I thought about going stoveless towards the end. I only cooked dinner anyways. My plan was going to involve a fair amount of peanut butter, granola and trail mix combined in various forms on a wrap. In addition to not carrying around a stove, the peanut butter and wraps, which you have to buy in larger packages, go down quicker. Plus pepperoni, cheese, you can pack things out from town, all kinds of things. When you consider that you’re in town to resupply every 3 days and can eat there, you don’t actually give up that much by going stoveless and enjoy towns that much more.

  • Sydney Evans : Nov 22nd

    I am curious how the Smartwater bottle cap can be used to backflush a Sawyer Squeeze filter? How do you connect the water bottle cap to a source of clean water to effect the backflush? Please give us more details – even a photo or two??

    • Jared : Nov 23rd

      The picture Packman used there is a little confusing as that’s not how you backflush, or at least that’s not how I did it. That picture is what people did if they wanted to get rid of the white drinking cap that came with the filter. I had 2 Smart bottles for clean water, both with the sport cap. I would filter water into the clean bottles, or just fill it at a hotel. Then screw the sport cap onto the Smart bottle like normal. On the clean outlet of the Sawyer filter, kind of inside of the filter, is a little nub. It’s where you put the plunger when flushing normally. Rather than going inside of that nub like the plunger, the sport cap fits over the nub and seals so you can squeeze the Smart bottle to force water through. Hopefully that makes more sense.

      • Josh J : Jan 9th

        That was very helpful as i had the same question. Thanks!

  • CassE : Nov 30th

    I’m interested in getting an Enlightened Equipment quilt. Did you have a specific reason for choosing the Engima? What temperature was it rated at? Did you use the same one for all climates/temps on the trail? Thanks!


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