Gear List for the Long Trail
It has taken a lot of mileage and a lot of research to come up with what I consider to be exactly what I need for my upcoming thru-hike. I’ve tested my tent and sleep system on three overnights and am content with what I’m carrying, so far. I’ve carried my pack for months now on many hikes with up to 30 pounds of gear and am extremely happy with it. I’ve carried the rest of my gear for quite sometime (a year or more for some of it) and I’ve developed a fluidity using it. So without further ado, here’s my gear list for the Long Trail.
The Big Four
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest (30oz) – I chose to go with the 2400 (40L) versus the 3400 (55L) because I’m a minimalist. There’s no need to carry a 55 liter pack in my opinion. I’m 100% happy with the amount of space I have with the 40L and despite the fact that this pack is considered frameless, and given my persistent back problems, this pack is extremely comfortable.
Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 degree custom (22.54oz) – I love the idea of using a quilt versus a sleeping bag. Because of my back problems, I have to sleep with one leg bent and that is really hard to do in a bag. I chose to go with the Enlightened Equipment because I’ve heard good things about them, they are very lightweight, and reasonably priced. After testing my quilt out on three overnights in temperatures as low as 40 degrees, I’m content with my purchase.
Big Agnes Q-Core SLX (17.5oz) – This was a tough purchase to make for me. I knew I needed a good sleeping pad because of my back problems but I also wanted one that wasn’t super heavy. I tried out a few other pads, including the more common Therm-A-Rest ones most thru-hikers carry, but couldn’t get comfortable with my feet hanging off the sides. Therefore, I compromised on a heavier pad to be more comfortable at night and am happy with my purchase.
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (37.5oz) – If there is one purchase I could trade in right now for a lighter option it would be my tent. I purchased this three years ago and had never backpacked before when I got it. I knew little about the ultralight backpacking industry, but knew that Big Agnes had some light gear. For now, this tent works perfectly. It’s easy to set up, it’s lightweight, and it’s a decent size. Now that I’ve used it on a few overnights, though, I think I’d rather get a one-person tent. The extra few feet of space is just not necessary and I only spend a short part of my day in it. I’d rather shave ounces than carry a larger tent than I need.
As you can see, I am carrying very little in the way of cooking. I hate cooking in real life, so why would I want to do that on trail? I’ve learned to suck it up and live off granola bars and candy for years now while hiking (and at work, unfortunately), so transitioning to the classic hiker diet will be easy for me (I’m so lucky I have an iron stomach).
MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Stove (2.6oz) – I love this item. It is so easy to use, it’s tiny, and it works perfectly. I tried out the Jetboil, but it’s just too bulky and this works just fine for me.
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter 20oz (2.1oz) – I know that I’m going against all things Trek by saying this, but man do I love this water filter. It is so easy to use and has such a quick flow rate that there is no way I’d get a different filter. For someone who dehydrates extremely fast, this filter has made hiking so much more pleasurable for me because I don’t have to worry about running out of water anymore. And it’s not that expensive and is collapsible to fit in your hip belt pocket if need be.
The rest of the gear pictured is described in the photo description.
Like most thru-hikers, I’m carrying minimal clothing. One outfit for hiking, one for camp. I’ve selected this gear based on comfort and have worn all of it on hundreds of trail miles already. The only swap I made in my gear after my recent backpacking trip of the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway was going from Injinji toe socks to plain old Smartwool socks. I made this change for two reasons: taking off wet toe socks is really annoying and surprisingly the toe socks seemed to encourage blistering on and around my toes.
- Exofficio underwear (2)
- Smartwool socks (2)
- Under Armour Bras (2)
- Smartwool 250 Leggings (1)
- Baleaf Shorts (1)
- EMS Techwick T-Shirt (1)
- Off-Brand Tank Top (1)
I’ve tested out both of these jackets throughout the winter and spring in New Hampshire, in various conditions, and am beyond happy with them. I was very hesitant to spend as much as I knew they would cost, but when you hike in temperatures that can run into the double-digit negatives, it’s worth the investment. Both jackets are staples in my hiking wardrobe and I carry them on all hikes now.
Gear not pictured includes a buff headband and trucker hat
I love technology and if there is one thing I wasn’t willing to compromise on when going on this hike it was using my phone. Because I hike solo, it can be a little boring at times, so listening to music and podcasts has become a must on all my hikes now. I knew I’d need a larger battery pack to be able to charge my phone, especially since I’m not going into town much on this hike, so I went with the larger sized pack despite the weight.
- Black Diamond headlamp
- Anker 10,000 battery pack
- RAV power charger
- Garmin Fenix 3hr watch (worn)
- Spot Gen3
- Headphones, extra batteries, charging cords
As a side note, I would like to say I’m not impressed with either the Spot or the Garmin Explorer GPS trackers. I’ve used both on many hikes and have had a lot of issues with losing the signal and therefore not having breadcrumbs dropped to show that I’m still moving. It’s frustrating for the people who care about me when it stops showing that I’m moving for hours at a time, and it’s even more frustrating for me when I get texts from my spouse saying, your tracker stopped working again. I’m carrying a tracker because I know it will make my family feel better, but I don’t rely on it anymore for accurate data on my hikes.
Overall, my hygiene and first aid are minimal. I was tempted to not bring a hairbrush, but chose to do it. I chose the Swiss Army Knife because it has a nail file, toothpick, tweezers, scissors, and knife in it. Those are all things I will need and having them all in one tool saves weight. I’ve tested out the bug spray and it worked pretty well; however, I usually don’t use that or sunblock unless it’s a dire necessity. Sunglasses are a must, not only for sun, but to block the black flies from getting in my eyes. Leukotape wrapped around my Chapstick I learned from listening to The Trek Podcast (thanks, Chaunce) and wearing earplugs while sleeping helps so much when you’re alone in the woods, trust me.
Overall, I’m content with what I’m carrying for gear. I wanted to get down to a 10-pound base weight, but it just isn’t going to happen. There’s nothing I can realistically cut at this point and the only way I could shave off more pounds would be to get a lighter tent and sleeping pad (that’s not happening). I’m hovering somewhere around 12.7 pounds for a base weight. The only items not pictured that I’ll be carrying are Black Diamond trekking poles (duct tape wrapped around the pole for use on trail as needed), the Long Trail map, six feet of paracord (my husband insists), and camp shoes (still need to buy some Crocs). I wasn’t going to get camp shoes but after walking all day in wet shoes I realized I need some.
With only days left until I leave for the trail, I’m more than ready. So let’s do this!
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