What I Have Packed for the Appalachian Trail

Being that I had never thru-hiked before, I did not have a ton of ultralight gear prior to the AT. As I began purchasing equipment, I kept in mind that I wanted to strike a balance between sticking with items I already had if they would do the job an, if necessary, purchasing new things that fit the bill but didn’t break the bank. That being said… my bank still hurt when all was said and done…

I break down my pack by The Big 4 (Pack + Shelter + Sleep system), Clothing + FootwearElectronicsKitchen, and other.

You can find these broken out by weight at my LighterPack link.

Big 4 (Backpack + Shelter + Sleep system)

  • BackpackOsprey M/L Eja 58L
    • I chose this backpack because I needed more volume than some of the other ultralight backpacks on the market, and this backpack has great reviews and is decently affordable.
    • In the process of finally landing on this backpack, I went through the Gossamer Gear Mariposa, Osprey Aura LT 65, and the size XS/S Osprey Eja 58
  • Shelter:
    • TarpTent Double Rainbow. I chose this because I wanted a lightweight tent with good reviews that could be both free-standing. TarpTent is well known for their quality, and customer service, and the Rainbow is know for being large. I chose the Double Rainbow because I hope in the future to use this tent to backpack with others.
    • Footprint: Polycryo. I bough this from Duck Brand Window Shrink Film from Amazon
    • Stakes: Easton Stakes
  • Sleeping Quilt/Bag:
  • Sleeping Pad:
  • Sleeping Pillow:
    • Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow. Not technically a part of the big 4 but a part of my sleep system and technically not even a necessary piece of gear (many backpackers will just stuff a bag full of clothes to use as a pillow) but considering all I am going to have to deal with as I backpack the AT, I decided that adding this provided a little bit of extra comfort may make a big difference and would be worth the size and weight.

Clothing + Footwear




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Comments 3

  • val vitols : May 17th

    Hi Dakota, can I catch you for an interview 5-18 or 5-19?

  • Jim T : May 20th

    Hi Dakota

    Great article.

    I’m a gear type guy and appreciate the work you have done on your kit.

    Hiking can be very expensive. I’ve been working on my kit forever and will continue to do so.

    Couple of things that may help…

    When buying tops make sure you have an attached hood.

    For Headwear purchase a down hood . When in your quilt it will keep you supremely warm.

    I have that Torrid jacket . If you get the down hood you can zip your Torrid over the foot section of your quilt.

    Buy some down booties . I have El cheapo duck down used for sleeping only and they are toasty. They weigh nothing ,pack smaller than a wallet and as most hikers know it’s all about the feet when keeping warm.

    For gloves I have the Gore Tex OR rain mitts over the EE Possum Down gloves . Can be used both summer and winter.

    I find the Sawyer filter clogs all the time so I’ve switched to a cap type bag filter . Name escapes me now . Much more flow and super easy to clean.

    A mesh water bottle sleeve on your shoulder strap weigh nothing and keeps water handy. I got two from Z Packs.

    Hope this helps


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