What I’ve Sent Home, What’s Been Added
I began my hike northbound on the Appalachian Trail from Amicalola Falls on Feb. 25, and my gear plus food for five days and water weighed in at 31.2 pounds. Prior to my hike, this gear list was tweaked, then re-tweaked, and then tinkered with again until I arrived with the ‘finalized’ gear explosion (analysis paralysis/overthinking = one of my favorite hobbies unfortunately, ha ha). After a few days on the trail, I began to hone in on the collection of gear that was either a hindrance when I packed up in the mornings or not used frequently enough to justify the additional grams, ounces, and pounds on my back. I also added or straight swapped certain items to account for water treatment, filtration, and convenience.
The first cut sent home included:
–Stuff bags for pillow, sleeping bag liner, and Therm-A-Rest
–Measuring cup and stand for Jetboil
–Therm-A-Rest patch kit (Leukotape for the win)
–YakTrax traction cleats
–Sawyer Squeeze water filter
–Icebreaker long-sleeve shirt
Gear that was added:
—AquaMira drops (Frozen Katadyn/Sawyer = You’re gonna have a bad time)
After Zultan showed me the flow rate of his Katadyn filter, I swapped my Sawyer Squeeze for their one-liter option. The scoop and drink system without adjusting Smart Water bottles was more efficient and helped me consume more water throughout the day. This was an important switch because of slight dehydration issues in the early days of my hike. I also picked up Aqua Mira as a water treatment backup plan. If the temperature drops below 32 degrees, I don’t want to be stranded with a broken filtration system.
I had multiple shakedowns of my pack’s contents prior to the Appalachian Trail, but I was able to cut even further into my absolute essentials for the backcountry based on my comfort level and what was and wasn’t working. The weather, my level of fitness, terrain for the day, pace, distance between water sources, and many more factors all played into my gear decisions.
The gear on my back will continue to shift for weather and sections of the trail (I’m looking at you, Smokies). My best advice is to stay flexible and adjust when necessary.
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