Requisite Gear Post
I’m super stoked about my gear. I feel like I’ve read every single review on every single model from every single brand that exists. I have an Excel spreadsheet that auto-sums the weight (in ounces and pounds) and the expense, sorted into category, sub-sorted into carried or worn, warm weather, cold weather, or both, and a separate column for noting the brand/model name. Y’all know what I’m talking about. I don’t have to tell you how satisfying it is to see all the pieces coming together. I am talking to my people.
Important to me:
-Sleeping well and being warm. These go together for me. I have learned on previous trips that I sleep very cold and that makes me very unhappy. I’m not so much worried about being warm while hiking, more when in camp and sleeping.
-Being lightweight: I weigh 103 pounds fully clothed. I simply can’t have a heavy pack. My goal was 25 pounds fully loaded with full food and water. I have done previous trips carrying up to 30 and it was…ok…but I can do better.
Not important to me:
-Manufacturer: I don’t have much brand loyalty, not because I dislike any brands but because I love them all. I think different companies are excellent at different things. I just wanted what worked best for me, and ended up with a good range of gear makers.
-Price: It’s not that money is no object (see here for just how careful I am with money), just that I was prepared to spend a good amount and I wasn’t going to skimp on quality for a few bucks. It costs what it costs.
-Other peoples’ opinions: I absolutely considered product reviews and input from the good folks at REI when making decisions, but they are not me and ultimately only I know what works for the unique combination of human that I am. I appreciate feedback and suggestions, but please don’t tell me how wrong I’m doing something (if that’s how you feel). It’s simply not constructive. I won’t die out there. Everything else I have to figure out for myself. Mistakes might be made, and that’s ok, too.
Without further ado…
This is going to be a game-day decision. I have my trusty internal frame Gregory Jade 40 that’s made it through some excellent miles with me, but I also impulse-purchased a frameless Gossamer Gear Pilgrim 36 as a weight-cutting experiment. I love them both. It’s a tight gear squeeze with the Pilgrim, but it’s almost 3 pounds lighter than the Gregory. If I can Tetris everything into the Pilgrim, that’ll be the winner.
Gregory weight: 59 ounces (just shy of 4 pounds). Pilgrim weight: 21 ounces (1.3 pounds).
EDIT: I ended up with the Gossamer Gear Gorilla. It’s 40 liters- I just was not going to be able to fit everything into the Pilgrim. I think it weighs 25 ounces, still ultralight.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1. It’s small, it’s light, and I think it’s being discontinued so I got it on sale. Rather than getting the manufacturer’s brand ground cover, I got a custom-cut Tyvek sheet with grommets on Amazon for $25. It’s lightweight and super durable and works juuuuuust fine.
Total shelter weight: 38 ounces (2.4 pounds).
EDIT: I found some wiggle room in my budget and splurged on the ZPacks Solplex. It sets up with trekking poles, which I wasn’t planning to use, so I bought the tent poles to go with it. Total cost and weight: $618, 21 ounces. Also, after 50 miles of my thru hike, I bought $20 trekking poles at Walmart (my knees demanded it), so the total shelter weight should be sub-20 ounces now.
This was a big one for me. Much money was spent and several test nights in the backyard helped me nail it down. Warm, cozy, and comfy.
I’m going with an Enlightened Equipment 10* quilt (Short and Slim to save weight and money), a Sea to Summit Reactor liner (adds 20* to your sleep system for only 9 ounces), a Thermarest NeoAir XLite in short (it comes down to my thighs), and the foam pad from the back of the Pilgrim in the foot of the quilt. I can send home the quilt once it gets hot and just sleep in the liner. I’ll use a stuff sack with extra clothing for a pillow.
Total sleep system weight: 42 ounces (2.6 pounds).
Sawyer Squeeze Mini, Snow Peak GigaPower stove, Sea to Summit XPot-Kettle. I’ll also have a SmartWater bottle for dirty water. I find the Sawyer pouch infuriating to fill but way easier to squeeze, so I’ll use the dirty water bottle to fill it and then drink directly (via Sawyer mini) out of that. I bought an Ursack for food storage – they’re bear-proof so you don’t have to hang them, just secure to a tree.
Total kitchen weight (excludes food and water, includes Ursack and 2 small fuel canisters): 34.8 ounces (2.2 pounds).
For some reason, this is the category I struggled with the most. I want to be warm and comfortable, and have layers be multi-functional. Some of it is high-end, some not so much, but I’m pretty happy with and have field-tested it all. Probably send home the hat, Trekker pants, Arc’teryx jacket, and Mountain Hardware fleece once it gets warmer.
Top row: Black Athleta trekker pants, Injinji liner socks underneath, light gray Nike half-zip, hot pink Arc’teryx Atom LT, black Saucony RunWarm leggings.
*The puffy jacket was something I was really struggling with selecting. Thanks to Brian at my local REI for pointing me to the Atom LT, which I was extra excited to see justified here by the good editors of this fine website. I LOVE this jacket after testing through my car-less winter commuting.*
Across the middle: Purple and pink Columbia jacket that is actually not coming, gray and pink Mountain Hardware zip-up fleece, Merrell low-top boots, REI hat, SmartWool socks underneath.
Along the bottom: silver rubber Old Navy flip-flops, powder-blue North Face t-shirt, Rugu and Nike sports bras, pink Ex Officio tank, C9 Target-brand running shorts.
Total weight for all clothing: 61 ounces (3.8 pounds), but at any given time I’ll be wearing much of it or have sent it home.
Electronics, miscellaneous, first-aid, and toiletries (not pictured):
Phone, Kindle, charger, earbuds, sketch book and pens: 24.4 ounces (1.5 pounds)
Petzl Tikka X2 headlamp and extra batteries: 5 ounces.
Plastic orange poncho with hood, big enough to go over me and my pack.
Toiletries: glasses, contact case, lens solution, spare pair, toothpaste and toothbrush, small liquid soap (Dr. Bronner’s?), comb, nail clippers, tweezers, disposable razor, Chapstick, plastic trowel, TP.
First aid: Ibuprofin, Benadryl, Immodium, antibiotics. Leukotape, Neosporin. Maybe some wet wipes.
Base weight (this includes everything listed above, if I carry the Pilgrim, wearing cold-weather hiking clothes, excluding food and water): 12.5 pounds. Throw in food and water and I’ll be right between 20-25 pounds.
Through the use of some sales, discounts, and coupons, I’ve spent a total of $1,670 on gear. I had budgeted for $1500-$2000 so I’m pretty happy with that. I still have wiggle room to replace anything that doesn’t work, as well as buy a few more pairs of trail runners.
EDIT: got the base weight down just under 12 pounds, for a total cost of a touch over $2000.
OK, I think that covers everything! Questions are always welcome below if anything is unclear or you want details on the specs or cost or reasoning behind a particular piece of gear. Or, email at [email protected], and follow on the Instagram @nicholeyoung1 to see it all in action.
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