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:
- Hyperlight Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack, 55 L
- Enlightened Equipment Enigma Quilt
- Tyvek material used as a groundsheet for my tent
- Foam Sleeping Pad ($10 at Walmart)
- Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter *Standard Size, I don’t recommend the mini!
- Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket
- Black Diamond Head Lamp
- Nalgene 32oz Water Bottle (I would not bring this again but it had sentimental stickers on it…)
- 2 Liter Plastic Bottle (Loose the sawyer bags and bring 2 plastic bottles, works wonderfully!)
- Light My Fire Titanium Spork
- Anker Astro 13000mAh External Battery (This was way too much battery, a battery with a 1/4 the capacity would have been fine)
- Lawson Equipment Titanium Deuce Scoop
- Journal / Pencil
- Toothpaste & Toothbrush
- Rope (Cheap paracord worked great)
- LokSak Opsak’s 12X20 Food Storage Bags
- ZPacks Roll Top Food Bag
- 1 Pair of Shorts
- 1 Pair of Pants
- 2 T-shirts (1 for the trail and 1 for town)
- 1 pair of Darn Tough socks (These can be replaced at outfitters on the trail if they wear out)
- 1 Fleece (Worked well as a pillow)
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 Gear – Sawyer 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.
LESS GEAR = LOWER PACK WEIGHT = MORE ENJOYABLE MILES ON THE TRAIL!
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