What’s in my pack?

If I showed you what was in my pack right now you would give me a strange look.

It doesn’t look like much.

Okay. A bunch of little bags. What’s the big deal?

This, my friends, is my life.

What I’m going to be carrying on my back for the next several months.

This is my life.

First up. A Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack. I’ve taken it on several hikes already and am in love! The pack barely weighs two pounds empty, and even when loaded with my gear I don’t notice it on my back. Compared to when I tried an Osprey Aura in our local REI, I’m super happy with this one! The Osprey was great but it definitely had weight to it and I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it.

And of course, I have to shout out to Gossamer Gear’s amazing customer service! I initially ordered my pack with a hipbelt that turned out to be a little too big for me. They responded to my email almost immediately and I had a smaller, better fitting hipbelt in my hands in under a week and half.

So. With the exception of June 21, I will not be hiking naked (most likely not). So, naturally, I’ll be bringing clothes! I plan on swapping out my clothes once it starts getting warmer but keeping some cooler weather gear for unexpected cold snaps, especially as I get farther north.

My cold weather gear includes a Patagonia down jacket, two sets of spandex leggings (one for camp, one for hiking), two sets of Columbia mid weight base layers (one for camp, one for hiking), Marmot Precip Full Zip pants, REI Powerflyte gloves, two pairs of Darn Tough wool socks (one pair not pictured), a pair of running shorts for the warmer days, and my Buff. Not pictured is also a pair of SmartWool socks for camp only, a Patagonia Houdini jacket, Dirty Girl gaiters, and a Patagonia R1 Regulator Fleece Hoody to wear on top of my base layer as I hike. I also plan to snap up a poncho for the rainy days.

For the warmer months I plan to send home my down jacket, one set of leggings and base layer, gloves, and the R1. In exchange I will get two REI Screenline tank tops and my other pair of running shorts.

On my feet, I will be starting with Keen Targhee II Mids (gifted to me by a trail angel). I will be switching to Altra trail runners in northern North Carolina and continuing in them. I may switch to another pair of Targhee IIs for more technical sections of the trail but that’s still up in the air. For my camp shoes I’ll be wearing a pretty nifty pair of Bedrock sandals.

At night I’ll be fairly cozy! I’ll be snug as a bug in a rug in a Therm-a-Rest Mira sleeping bag atop a Therm-a-Rest Neoair XLite sleeping pad with my head resting on top of a Sea-to-Summit Aeros pillow. My Mira will be protected from a grimy hiker with a Sea-to-Summit bag liner.

Hygiene is important! Even if you don’t shower for days on the trail, it’s essential to keep your teeth clean. I have a small bag full of toiletries. Since the picture I’ve gotten rid of my floss and a little box that holds my night guard. I’m a contact lens wearer so I’m bringing a small bottle of solution and a lens container. I also have a 2 oz bottle of Dr Bronner’s soap and a thing of Gold Bond powder. Also included is a roll of leukotape, a travel size tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush with the handle cut off. The only “special” item that I’m bringing is my night guard. I’m a chronic sufferer of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and the guard is essential in preventing me from grinding and clenching my teeth at night. This sack goes in my food sack so I can remember to hang it up at night, especially since toothpaste smells like food to hungry animals. Im a little nervous about losing my night guard especially since I’m not bringing the box that it has lived in for the past seven years, but it’ll be worth the risk to not to have to hike with a tension headache.

My water filtration system is fairly simple. I have a Sawyer squeeze system, with the three filters and equipment in one stuff sack. It is in one of the top pockets of my pack for easy access, so I don’t have to dig in my pack to get to it.

Everyone has a “junk” drawer in their homes, right? I have a “junk” stuff sack! These are items that are essential, but don’t really belong anywhere else. Since this picture I have moved my rope to my food bag, and plan to add my phone charger to this sack. This sack includes my titanium spork, a smallish microfiber towel to clean my pot with, a Black Diamond headlamp, and a pocket knife. You never know if you need to cut something loose (or cut off your hair…).

I also have the AT Guide in a convenient pocket on my pack, my trekking poles and my tent in a large side pocket, and a pretty sweet Lifeproof case with a battery pack on my iPhone 6S. After trying a few options I decided this case had the best bang for my buck in regards to ease of use and battery life.

I have a little tiger living on my pack. His name is Ritchie. My university gives out these tigers to students who study abroad, to encourage them to take part in a photo challenge to win a bunch of money and stuff. I was too lazy to take pictures with Ritchie while I was in Costa Rica, but I feel like RIT would enjoy seeing pictures of Ritchie on the Appalachian Trail!

What do you think? Is there anything you think I’m missing? Something you think I need to get rid of?

T-minus six days.

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Comments 6

  • Thomas Thompson : Feb 23rd

    I like your cover photo looking off of Pilot Mtn State Park down into the Shoals community in Surry County. That large field below is the home of my hangar and grass airstrip 🙂
    Sounds like you are ready for the big hike too!
    Good luck…

  • Emily D : Feb 25th

    Yey! Another RIT grad will be on trail, hope to see you out there!

  • Fred Pilon : Feb 26th

    Maybe some DEET/Picaridin for the bugs?

  • kait2333 : Feb 28th

    Have you tested your cold weather gear? I found one pair of leggings in camp WAY too cold. You’re no longer moving and the spandex is so thin it doesn’t really do anything to keep you warm. Unless the midweight baselayer you reference is for your legs. Generally I see those as tops.

    Additionally, have you tested the squeeze? You are definitely going to want a scoop (usually people use the bottom half of a water bottle) in order to get water into those darn collapsible bags. I spent forever and a day at a spring that bubbled up from the ground trying to get water into that pouch to try and filter it. Yuck. I ditched everything except for the squeeze itself and will be using two smart water bottles instead (the caps from the 750ml bottles can be used to back flush).

  • Russ : Feb 28th

    My sawyer failed last fall, carry some tablets for back up water purification, or drops

  • Glenda : Mar 1st

    I am so excited for you Gina!!! You have planned out everything so precisely!! The only thing I would have added is 10 canisters of spider spray!! I look forward to following your blogs and will be praying for you everyday!!


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