Squish’s AT 2016 Thru Hike Equipment List

Head Scratchin’

I’ve been putting my equipment together for three years.  This is one of the most daunting tasks associated with getting ready to hike the AT, or at least it was for me.   There are numerous books, magazines articles and gear lists to help you along but ultimately it is the individual carrying the gear that has to make the choice.  Too much weight for one, not enough comfort for another, too hot, too cold, not breatheable, clammy, etc… Fortunately there are a variety of suppliers out there and my bet is one of them will fill your particular need to a T.  But first, you have to decide what is important to you.  Weight is always a paramount concern unless it means being cold and then you can add a few ounces.  Maybe it’s not warmth but expense, you can get really light but watch the $$$ add up.  Many outfitters have worked with me and made me realize I have to make the decisions regarding my equipment and they will help me sort thru the best options once I have made it clear what is most important to me.  With that said, I have purchased some equipment in the past that met my criteria at the time but my thoughts and needs changed.  If it was a relatively minor expense I made the change but when it comes to the big three of shelter, pack and sleeping system it makes you scratch your head before laying out more bucks.

So I’ve made a number of decisions, be they right or be they wrong.  They are my decisions and I will live with them.  Thanks to everyone who helped me either personally or through advise in blogs, on-line and magazines. A special thanks to all the contributors to Appalachian Trials whose lists helped me make some equipment choices. So here’s my pack for the next 6 months with whatever tweaks come my way.  I’ll greatly consider any suggestions but as I already stated, I ultimately have to make the decisions, so go ahead and confuse this old feeble mind some more, it can’t get any worse.

Next Post: Why the AT & Where to Start

What’s in Squish’s Pack?

Below find the choices that made my pack to start my AT thru hike:

Shelter: MSR Hubba solo tent 2013 model

Pack: Osprey Kestrel 68 liter 2012 model (no longer in production)

Sleeping Bag: Marmot Helium 15 degree (spring and fall)

                           Snugpak Jungle Bag 45 degree (summer)

Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite

Footwear: Vasque Breeze 3/4 boot

                    Merrell low cut Moab ventilator

Base-layer: synthetic long sleeve shirt and long pant -2 pair (cool weather)

                      synthetic short sleeve shirt and ex-officio boxers – 2 pair (warm weather)

Mid-layer:  fleece pull-over

Insulating layer: Rab Xenon X hoodie

Shell: Marmot Precip Jacket

Rain Pants: Marmot Precip rain pants.

Socks: 3 pair, 2 pair Darn Tough medium cushion for hiking and one thick merino wool for camp.

Hiking Pants: Columbia Omni-shade convertible (nylon)

Gloves:  FootJoy Winter Golf Gloves

Hat:  Nylon fishermen’s baseball cap with extra long bill.

Camp Shoe: Crocs

Stuff Sacks: 5 Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Dry Sacks (waterproof) various sizes.

Cup/Bowl/Mug: Optimus Crux Lite cup and bowl

Stove: Optimus Crux Lite

Fuel: Isobutane?Propane fuel mix 3.5 oz

Water reservoir: 64, 32, 16 Oz. Sawyer Squeeze bags, 64 oz platypus

Water bottles: 2 each one liter Smart Water bottles

Water Purification: Sawyer Squeeze System and Aquamira for back-up.

Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot

Hiking Poles: Kelty anti-shock collapsible poles

Trowel:  Fiskars transplanter

Electronics: iPhone 6, earbuds, charger

First Aid/Toiletries: zip-lock bag with TP, tooth brush, bandages, moleskin, antiseptic, etc…

Sunscreen/Insect Repelent: Neutrogena sunscreen / Permethrin treated clothes and tent and Ben’s                     100 Deet.

Original Buff.

Guide Book: AWOL’s 2016 guide.

That’s all folks!!!!

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Comments 13

  • John Buffaloe : Feb 12th

    GOOD LUCK!!! I’m dreaming to hit the trail for a thru hike when I retire too but that years away. One kid in college and another almost, so will be some time! Keep us updated on your hike as I can’t wait to see you make it to the end!!

    • Charles Edwards : Feb 13th

      Thanx John for the encouragement. 38 days till my kick-off. It’s 16 degrees today and I pray for better weather to start this adventure. Keep your dreams alive and get plenty of shorter hikes in the meantime. Anytime spent in the great outdoors is psychologically healing so don’t wait for the big hike just enjoy whatever time you can.

  • Tom Bebee : Feb 13th

    Squish – good luck on your hike. I will be starting about 6 days ahead of you (assuming you are headed out from Springer) and am in the process of getting organized. IMHO it is definitely the hardest thing to as far a preparation goes (choosing equipment that is and then trying to pack it). Your list looks good to me and there probably are very few individuals that don’t make some adjustments early on. I am going to accept the weight increase for my sleeping setup. I don’t mind the cold while hiking, but do not like to be cold while in the hammock and trying to sleep. So my base weight will be a little more than normal heading out, but I plan on swapping it out once out of the Smokies.

    • Charles Edwards : Feb 15th

      Hey Tom, You’ll probably catch up to me. My next post explains I’ll be starting from Damascus NOBO to Katahdin and flip-flopping to Damascus and finishing SOBO to Springer. Trying to avoid the crowds at Springer. You may want to think about that as well. My base weight is 23 lbs and my goal is 20 but I’m down to ounces that I can make a difference in without costing me another arm and leg. Hope to see you out there. You’ll see my register entries with a boot and the name “Squish” underneath. I’m not trying to set any speed records so you’ll probably catch me up north.

  • Terry Young : Feb 13th


    Good luck on your hike. I plan on retiring at the end of 2016. The first thing I’m doing is a thru hike of the AT. I am buying equipment now so I will have everything by next spring. Your list was helpful.

    • Charles Edwards : Feb 15th

      Terry, I worked on equipment for 3 years before my start date. Glad to see you’re putting yours together now. Remember, weight, weight, weight. The number of hikers I have met in both Pearisburg and Waynesboro tell me the overriding factor for them has been the weight they carry and how less weight will make the trek more enjoyable has influenced me but not to the point of risking being cold or wet. You’ll find a lot of great input from other bloggers on this site relative to equipment and I urge you to consider all these lists and explanations in coming up with what works for you.

      • Tom Bebee : Feb 16th

        I hear you on the “shaving ounces”. I run into the same problem each time I go out, as each hike seems to require somewhat of a different pack load. Not so sure I would be catching up to you, as I am not the fastest hiker. Also I plan on keeping the initial days reasonable as I get more used to the demands of hiking each day. This has worked on my other longer hikes. I did consider a FF thru-hike at first for the reasons you are voicing, however a bi-annual family vacation is scheduled for the Adirondacks in August, so I will be taking a week out for that (would not miss it for anything). With that in mind, it makes it much easier on everyone if I am in the NE by then to make it easier on someone to pick me up/drop me off. Who knows perhaps we will run into one another. I will keep an eye on the registers for “Squish”!

  • jerry prendergast : Feb 14th

    I am retired L.E. and older, planning to do 400 mile section hike late August 2016. I have many of the items on your list.
    I wish you the best of luck. good health one step at a time, into the adventure of a lifetime.

  • Charles Edwards : Feb 15th

    What section Jerry? Maybe we’ll cross paths. I have a great connection to the LE and Corrections professionals after 40 years in the business and I wish you the best as well.

  • Elliott : Feb 16th

    Love the alterbate use for the FootJoy gloves, those are awesome gloves.

    Might be able to lose the trowel since you could use hiking poles to dig. Might not need that many water carriers either, but better days than sorry.

    Not sure if I’ll run into you, but if we do, we should have a stogie together! I’m taking off from Springer on March 10. Best of luck!

  • Allegra Torres : Feb 16th

    Hi Squish! My name is Hot Sauce (class of 2012) and I am so excited for you and your epic journey ahead! Through personal experience I had to shed some things in my pack, and in return I had a lighter pack and a much more enjoyable hiking experience.

    Once the hiker hunger kicks in, that is pretty much what you’ll be thinking about all the time. Less stuff in your pack means more room for more food!

    -Ditch the rain pants and keep one pair of thermal pants. Rain pants are heavy and you get wet anyway (nothing is waterproof)

    -Keep the two long sleeve layers and consider getting rid of the fleece. Its bulky. If its really cold, you can wear your two long shirts and both jackets.

    -Water is plentiful (usually) along the trail and I only carried 2 liters MAX at a time. Consider one bottle and one bag and inline your sawyer with your hose. (have a back up Aquamira if Sawyer freezes)

    -Also, you don’t need two pairs of underwear. Maybe one. For swimming.

    – Another thing to consider: when you get wet while hiking DON’T HANG YOUR CLOTHES TO DRY OVERNIGHT. Wring out the excess water, put a DRY layer touching your skin 1st, then your wet synthetic clothes, then another dry insulating layer over. Get cozy in your sleeping bag and VOILA, dry hiking clothes in the AM. I did this, and it works. It seems counter intuitive, but you will love looking around at everyone in the morning cringing while they put on their cold and wet socks and shirts.

    I hope this has helped a bit. Enjoy it all. The journey is the destination! Happy Trails!

    • saints155 : Feb 16th

      That is great info Allegra, thanks, I am also L.E retired and heading out in April 20.

    • Charles Edwards : Feb 17th

      Thanx a bunch Allegra. Just the kind of input I was hoping for. Did 9 miles today with my pack minus food. Felt real good. I think I’m ready but know I have a lot to learn. All the research in the world doesn’t trump experience.


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