Gear Shifts from the AT to the NET

Hikers’ equipment shifts and evolves over time.  Sometimes a piece of gear breaks out on a hike, and you have to go with whatever you can find in the moment. Gear technology advances and something new catches your eye.  A tried a true company suddenly starts producing lower quality gear so it’s time to take your business elsewhere. There is a constant tweaking and dialing in. An advantage of tackling the New England Trail, a shorter trail closer to home, is I can play with my gear. If I don’t something, I can swap it out with something else in my own gear closet with relative ease.

Why new gear?

First and foremost, I needed to replace some of my gear after the beating I gave it on the Appalachian Trail. I am not easy on my gear, try as I might. Second, I want to see what it is like hiking with a slightly lighter kit. My beloved pack Meg weighed in at Amicalola around 35lbs, and didn’t really change by Baxter as the minimal weight lost in my winter to summer gear shift was replaced with more calories as hiker hunger kicked in. I don’t really have any interest in going ultralight, but I do want to see how it feels on my body. Third, I found some new items I want to try.

Before my 2022 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, I wrote several blog posts about my gear. After my hike, I reviewed how all of my gear performed. In an effort to reduce redundancy, I will link those blogs here:


Big 3 changes

My biggest change comes with a new pack. Meg, my Osprey Ariel 65L, took a beating, came away with a few tears, and started to delaminate. I sent her off to Osprey and they determined because of the severity of delamination, they would not be able to repair her. Gotta love their repair or replace warranty, Meg has been replaced by Jules, same make but newer model. The newer shoulder strap system on my pack is a little different, so I had to swap my Chicken Tramper shoulder pouch for the Gossamer Gear shoulder strap pocket.  I also added a Gossamer Gear bungee attachment to keep my water bottle in place (the older Ariel had a shock cord loop on the shoulder strap).

Jules, taking in the view…

Clothing, Shoes, & Rain Gear swaps

A few changes here. My Appalachian Gear Co All-paca hoodie suffered a few holes, but it is still warm and comfy, so it stays. I am hiking in April, a definite shoulder season in New England, so I have both warm and cold clothing sets at the ready. I am ditching my polar fleece Buff in favor of my wool one, as the fleece made my head just too sweaty on the AT. I replaced my Smartwool 150 base layer hiking shirt with a new one. Rather than going from The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 pants to shorts as the weather warms up, I will be trying out The Trek’s Ramen Bomb Trail Shorts (men’s xl). I am also not bringing any camp shoes. Leaving my Chaco sandals behind will make a huge weight difference, we will see how much I will miss them.


Food & Hydration systems changes

I refreshed my Sawyer Squeeze filter and cleaned out my Cnoc bag, they are good to go. I thought I would have to make a new freezer bag cozy, but I think it has a couple more meals in it, and I wont be cooking much on trail. My big change here is in my stove. I put together a UL kit with a Toaks titanium 750ml pot and the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and a mini bic lighter. I think this is the one change I am most curious to see how it turns out.

No changes made to my electronics, hygiene, or toiletries kits. I am really happy with those. If it aint broke don’t fix it!

So that’s my gear, let’s get hiking!

Fashion, thy name is hiker trash!

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