The Inevitable Gear Lists! Part 3: THE KITS

To continue on with the gear list series, today’s post will be about the various kits that I am bringing along on my 2022 thru hike. The kits fall into the following categories: Electronics, First Aid & Repair, Hygiene, and Bathroom. I believe they are pretty comparable to what many carry, though there might be an extra item or two.

First of all, let me say that I lovingly refer to myself as a ‘techno-idiot.’ In fact, this blog is probably the most technological thing I have ever tried to tackle. My kids help me regularly with computer issues, but hey, I taught them how to use a spoon, so I’d say we are even. I will not be vlogging, so I don’t require the backup battery power that some do. I’ll stick to the written word. So, my kit nicely fits in a pillow stuff sack that is silnylon to offer a little dampness control. The sack will also double as my ‘purse’ on town days. To keep everything charged, I have a basic Anker 10k battery bank. It has served me very well. In town, I can charge devices using an Anker dual-port wall charger. Previously, I had a simple dual-port travel charger but found it would get dangerously hot trying to recharge my battery bank. Let’s prevent motel fires, shall we?

Just a basic kit for a half-deaf troglodyte.

My headlamp is the Petzl Aktik Core with the rechargeable battery. I lent it to a thru-hiker last year, so it has already seen Katahdin, so it has that thru-hiker mojo in it! My phone is an iPhone 12. It takes great pictures, has plenty of storage, and is large enough that I don’t have to break out reading glasses while navigating. With those devices, I also have the corresponding cables, nothing fancy. I prefer wired headphones because I am already packing one Bluetooth device. That would be my BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid). After a disease tried to kill me in 2016, I have no hearing in my right ear. So now, I’ve got this handy device that snaps onto an implant in my skull. I don’t really hike with it because my Buff interferes and the battery gets zapped on really cold or rainy days, but I like to use it in town.

I think this is my most standard kit. Some vitamins, including ‘Vitamin I’ and Aleve. I carry the Band-Aid brand of Hydro-Seal bandages for blisters. They stay on forever and really cushion your boo-boos. For other dings, I have some Leukotape, and I will have duct tape on my trekking poles. If I need anything more technical, I carry a small patch kit from Therm-a-Rest. A simple Victorinox swiss army knife that has scissors is really all I need out there, much to the chagrin of my older brother, who wanted to outfit me with his Crocodile Dundee knife. I bring a small tube that contains really great tweezers, as well as a small safety pin and a sewing needle. For foot care, I love my Rawlogy cork ball after a long day. I keep them happy with some foot balm and massage at night. To round out the kit, a small bic lighter for sterilization or in case my stove igniter fails, and some Gold Bond powder for monkey butt or, more commonly, super greasy hair.




Let’s just get it out of the way. YES, I am carrying deodorant. While yes, I do swipe it on my pits in the morning, I also use it like body glide. To be frank, we chunky gals have a few more places for friction to occur, monkey butt is the least of our worries. So yes, a simple deodorant is going with me. If Tom’s made a smaller size, I would bring it. I live most of my day in contacts, just regular ones, so I’ll have a couple backup pairs. I take extra precautions at camp to ensure my hands are clean (I’ll explain more in the next post about my hydration and cook kits), and I’ve never had an issue thus far. Glasses for camp and town days, sunglasses because my eyes are light sensitive. Not shown in the picture is the Crystal Light container I’ll be using to carry both pairs together. For you gram weenies, there’s a great hack on YouTube university. While I am not an ultralight hiker, I found it a simple way to save a few ounces and ensure that my glasses were protected. For my waist-length hair, I will be carrying a comically small folding compact brush, and I do brush my hair out every morning and night. I hike with it in a braid and sleep with it up in a yoga bun. I have a few extra hair ties because they come in handy. Dental care is pretty basic: travel-size toothbrush and paste and floss (for teeth and repairs). After almost 40 years of playing brass instruments, I find Blistex to be preferable to Chapstick for my lips. And of course, I’ll be carrying a small container of hand sanitizer. Stay away, norovirus cooties!

Be warned, this may wander into the TMI zone a little, ok maybe more than a little!

Keepin’ it simple. There’s no time to be fussy when ya gotta go!

My kit is pretty simple: half roll of toilet paper, the Deuce of Spades (still the best name for a piece of gear EVER, in my opinion), and some baby wipes that will also be used for my nightly bath, hiker trash style. After two kids and a few years, there’s no taking time for bathroom breaks. My hip belt is cinched down tight and everything in my lower abdomen is constantly massaged, so when I need to pee on trail, I need to go RIGHT NOW. I don’t have the luxury of time to take off my pack and dig out my toilet paper, so I experimented with a few alternate solutions. I started out with a pee rag, had a hard time figuring out how best to hang it on my pack and which corner I had last wiped with, you do NOT want to make that mistake! Then I tried out the Kula cloth, which is a bazillion times more comfortable than a bandanna for me, and I love the super convenient snap as well as all the crazy art. Bonus for supporting an awesome small gear company, too. My last item in my kit is a small pack of panty liners. I’ll turn 48 while I’m out on trail this year, and, well, Mama Nature has been playing monthly menstrual cycle Yahtzee with me for the last few years. Add to that the effect of increased exercise on the body, and it is really anyone’s guess. So if ‘shark week’ does arrive, I am ready. I also find liners to be very helpful in case I can’t get my hip belt unbuckled in time, and it also keeps the lady bits a little bit fresher on the daily. Ok, end of TMI time.

So that’s my kits I’ll be carrying for my thru hike. I have it all dialed in, there’s nothing in there I don’t use on a daily basis, aside from repair kit things. I am pretty happy with it.

The final chapter of my gear series will be out shortly. Part 4! Hydration & Cook Kits and Thoughts on Food on Trail. Thank you for following along!

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