Badger’s Long Trail Gear List

After hiking an 80-mile section of the AT, the first 30% of the Oregon Coast Trail, a 100-mile section of the CDT (which was supposed to be the Pfiffner Traverse), and 60% of the Wind River High Route, I am determined to finally fucking finish something in 2019.  That something is widely regarded as the most rugged trail in the country—The Long Trail, a 272-mile footpath running the length of Vermont.

Not to brag, but: It is my sincere goal to set the new FKT on The Long Trail.  That is, Fattest Known Time.  This hike will be an ice cream / brewery tour on foot with ~135,000 feet of elevation change.  If you’re reading this and know of any standout breweries / ice creameries along the trail, please unleash some words in the comments.

I also chose this time of year in hopes of catching some of the legendary New England foliage—and to avoid bugs and mud.  Not necessarily in that order.

Here’s the stuff I will be bringing.

The Big Stuff

Sleeping pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite. This is the full length. I have officially retired from the short version (what I used for 70% of my PCT thru-hike).  The only scenario that could possibly draw me out of retirement would be if I were struck by a shrinking ray gun on the “Chaunce” setting.

Sleeping bag: Feathered Friends Swallow UL 20.  I’m fully expecting Northern Vermont (aka Canada’s southern crust) in late September to be cold as fuck.  For that reason, I’m not messing around with a quilt.  This will be my first time using this bag, though I did use the Lark 10 on the Colorado Trail (in the heart of September), which worked great.

Shelter: Nemo Hornet Elite 1p.  This trail is rugged and the odds of me snapping a trekking pole are above 0%, so I opted for a semi-free-standing tent.  Although there are shelters (which are quite nice, from what I’ve heard), I generally prefer not sleeping a few feet from strangers. I’m also bringing one MSR Blizzard Stake to dig holes for poo and a Tyvek ground cloth.

Pack: Mountainsmith Zerk 40. As much as I dislike the person behind the design of this pack, I very much like the way it carries, its plethora of large pockets, and roll-top closure.  The pack is lined with a trash compactor bag.

Fanny pack: Gossamer Gear Bumster. Because the Zerk lacks a hip-belt (and thus hip-belt pockets), and I like having a hoard of snacks within reach at all times, a fanny pack is a must.  The Bumster worked great during my AT section hike earlier this year.

Clothes

Rain jacket: Montbell’s Versalite Rain Jacket. It’s lightweight (6.4 oz), features a pair of zippered hand pockets, and performed well in the Winds.

Rain pants: Montbell Convertible Rain Pants (6.1 oz).  As if the fanny pack wasn’t enough, my dad-like fashion sensibilities require zip-off pants in some capacity.

Puff daddy: Montbell’s Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka (8.4 oz). The best down jacket I’ve ever used and going on >3,000 miles strong.

LS base layer: Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Half Zip Hood.  I treat this more as a midlayer, though will likely use this next to skin if/when it rains.

Underwear: One pair of Saxxone pair of ExOfficio.

Leggings: IceBreaker Oasis Leggings

Socks: Darn Tough, three pairs (two for hiking, one for camp), treated with Sawyer Permethrin.

Active layer: Exofficio Bugsaway Halo Check Long-Sleeve Shirt. Not expecting the mosquitoes to be an issue this late in the season, but deer ticks are ever-present, satanic disease spewers in New England and homie don’t play.

Shorts: Nike running shorts, treated with Sawyer Permethrin.

Gloves: Icebreaker Merino Glove Liner and OR Revel Rain Mitts (both not pictured)

Trail runners: Altra Timp 1.5 (not pictured; I somehow always forget to include my shoes).

WatchGarmin Fenix3 (not pictured)

The Other Stuff

Trekking poles: Leki Makalu Lite Cor-Tec Trekking Poles.  Though I mentioned that I’m somewhat cautious of breaking a trekking pole, I’ve been using Leki’s since my first thru-hike (AT 2011, drink), and have yet to snap one.

Filter: Sawyer Squeeze

Portable charger: Anker 26800

Food bag: Zpacks Large Food Bag. The girth on this thing is impressive (insert). The wider entry makes it easier to quickly peruse food options and achieve my FKT dreams.

Hygiene: Baby wipes, TP, toothbrush / paste, sunscreen, supplements, non-illicit drugs, Swiss Army Knife, and other stuff.

Headlamp: Coast FL75R.  I’ve never used this, but wanted something brighter than my Black Diamond Spot since daylight will be at a premium (relative to summer hiking at least). And I’m interested in testing something with a rechargeable battery.

Cords: Cords.

GPS communicator: SPOT Gen3. To remind my wife that I’m alive and to not get remarried yet.

Pot: Vargo’s Bot 700

Stove: Snow Peak LiteMax Stove. It’s light (1.9 oz) and turns isobutane and propane into fire. What else could you ask for?

Spoon: MSR folding spoon (the only one that I haven’t lost, not pictured)

Wall charger: Anker 4-port Charger

Wallet: Zpacks Zip Pouch

How’d I do? Roast me in the comments below.

Disclosure: Many of the products in this post were donated for the purpose of testing. I’ve had most of this gear for years, so I can’t recall which were bought and which were supplied. Just assume that everything was given to me. Except for the garbage bag. That was all me.

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Comments 13

  • Bill Armstrong : Sep 7th

    Tough but absolutely worth it.
    Inn at the Long Trail Guiness and Guiness stew. 158 Main in Jeffersonville

    Camp Crocs or roaster bags over clean dry socks in wet muddy hikers. You WILL have wet muddy hikers.
    Baby wipes have to be carried out and in general not environmental friendly. I use Dr Bronners orange or mint mixed with 1/3 alcohol. Hand sterilization and with two bandannas fir wash/ dry that can be washed out. Also a thousand other uses.
    The trail is largely along the high spine of the Green Mountain range. Even in July and August ticks were not a problem.
    I completed the end to ender in 2017 at age 72. My hiking/climbing years in the Whites, Katadhin, the Winds, Shasta, Ranier left me with great respect for the Long Trail. I found a 0 day at the 5-7 resupply schedule invaluable and should support your fkt!
    Foot care key. I had no blisters etc. air/ soak during day. Wash thoroughly each night and apply something like Bonnies Balm from andrew shurka. The mud is abrasive. Did I mention the mud?!
    Goretex baseball hat and a warm beanie.
    Be prepared for icy times possible, especially if you go south to north, especially on camels and mansfield and beware the short stretches of exposure.
    The Guthook app (and I don’t use apps) was great in logging areas with trail disturbances and crossing ski areas.
    Colors should be tops and lots of wonderful solitude. The Trail flourished my spirit and spiritual side. May it do the same for you.

    Reply
  • James : Sep 7th

    The must stop Breweries are all in the north in my opinion:
    The Alchemist in Stowe
    Prohibition Pig in Waterbury
    Lawsons Finest Liquids in Waitsfield

    Reply
  • Jay Ellison : Sep 7th

    Why do you use print space to express your dislike for the pack’s designer? Why do you dislike him so? It seems super petty and hypocritical to snipe at the person without committing fully to not using his product. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Bubba : Sep 8th

      Jay,

      If your comment was sarcasm? If not Badger is joking. The pack was designed by the Real Hiking Viking who is a friend of Zach’s.

      Reply
      • Bubba : Sep 8th

        Is*

        Reply
  • Scott A Brotherton : Sep 7th

    https://www.craftbeer.com/beercation-destination/craft-breweries-hiking-trails

    First hand I’ll agree w/James on the his first two choices, can’t speak to the 3rd. My VT geography is sketchy so these may not be w/in an appropriate distance (of the trail) but shoot you can spit across VT, + its for a good cause, right ?

    I’ll add –

    Ten Bends &
    Lost Nation

    Reply
  • Scott A Brotherton : Sep 9th

    Let me add also – this has (in buggy season) become my ‘go to’ in camp top. I’ve had it a year and I think I have had to wash it once (due to spillage). Check it out, they started on Kickstarter. https://www.nobugsclothing.com/collections/mens/products/nobu-gs%E2%84%A2-adult-hoodie
    My kids both have one also, I mention this only because I loathe going through the ‘treatment process’ w/permethrin. and Zach said he was treating his socks…

    Reply
  • Jim Rahtz : Sep 9th

    While not a brewery, Jay Peak Resort is a pretty handy spot to get a beer near the northern terminus. If you time it right, you can take the tram from near the trail by the top of the mountain right down to the resort. I don’t think it runs in the evening this time of year so you can either get a room (return in the morning) or just do some day drinking.
    jaypeakresort.com has more detail.

    Reply
  • Eagle Eye : Sep 10th

    Am interested to hear how you like the FF sleeping bag. I’m using the Petrel UL 10 after exchanging it from one of their 20 degree bags because I was cold, and am not a fan for a couple of reasons. It doesn’t compress well and takes up half of my GG Mariposa, and the comfort rating is more like 30 degrees. I also have the short bag, which says it’s for women up to 5’3”, but I’m 5’5” and am swimming in this thing. Since you’ve been raving about Katabatic, I’ve been eyeing their quilts. The Blue Stone in Waterbury is excellent, as is Doc Ponds in Stowe. Also agree with the above brewery recommendations.

    Reply
  • Scott A Brotherton : Sep 10th

    Zach – You are going to need one of these: https://www.give-r.com/collections/all/neck-koozie

    Reply
  • Basement Troll : Sep 11th

    Howdy! Just starting listening to the podcast and following the Instagram. Ya’ll keep me sane at work! Long time camper with shorter hikes per day(less then 10 miles per day), weight and space was never a super big deal. But as I’m working to do longer trips and not just weekends, I’m looking to lose some pounds with out breaking the bank right away. I’m happy with my sleeping pad, tent and pack( Klymit V, XMid 1p, & GG V.C. 60) but my winter sleeping bag is just way too big to be reasonable for longer hikes. it takes up a lot of space(more then half my bag) and weighs like 3.5 lb. I’m looking for a budget friendly bag…any thing to recommend for a good starter bag? i know i can look at online but was there one you started with?

    Reply
  • Shepard : Sep 14th

    The Challenge of the Fattest Known Time, love it. Been doing that for a while and now have a name for it! Def stop at the Inn on the Long trail and in Waterbury you have the Reservoir, Pro pig, Black back and others all within a stones throw. Certainly more beer than Ben and Jerry’s could be a worthy goal!

    Reply
  • David : Sep 14th

    From a gear perspective, I think you are about right. We are already seeing frost warnings down low, so expect sub-freezing temps at night up high. So, don’t skimp on warm stuff. As for pubs, not sure I can help much with that, but unless you want to take a 0 day, the recommendation in Waterbury will likely not work (good places, but too far). That said, see the note below.

    My colleague did the LT this summer. He went SOBO and was happy he did so. With his spouse, his planned time was 16 days (provided just for reference. After all , the FKT is under 6 days! Which is an insane 45 miles/day). Going SOBO, he hit the I89 “break” in about a week. From there, if you wanted a zero day, by all means, great reason to go S on I89 to Waterbury and indulge. The other advantage of SOBO, besi=des fewer crowds, is you tackle the hardest, most technical terrain in that first “half” including the highest peak (Mansfield). While the other 4 4000+ are are still SOBO from here, the LT will get easier (relative) the further S you go, with the one exception of the 1st assent from I89 up Camel’s hump. The other advantage of SOBO is you will be going against the cooling temps (colder to warmer), so that might help.

    Can’t wait to hear how you do. so, just shut up and hike.

    Reply

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