Great Gear for the Great Loop

STOP! If you want to try to guess how much some of my gear weighs before I reveal the answers below, please see my Youtube video at the following link: Play along with my friends as I quiz them!

One of the most talked about topics in the backpacking world is gear. From old external frame backpacks to lightweight, frameless dynema packs, gear has come a long way. Now, I am by no means a UL (ultralight) hiker, but I did have to upgrade some of my equipment for this next adventure of consistent 30+ mile days over the course of 8 months. Here’s what I am working with… at least to start.

Base Weight

This is the weight of my gear without food or water. For ultralight backpackers, this number should be under 10 lbs. I am more of a lightweight backpacker coming in at 12.19 lbs without winter gear and 16.3 lbs with winter gear and my bear canister. My “Big Three” total to 8.13 lbs.

Pretty much everything minus winter gear and my bear canister.

Big Three

My Big 3, and unfortunately my backpack isn’t orange/yellow, which I didn’t even realize was a theme until I laid them all out!

Cooking and Water

Safety and Camp

  • Emergency Device- Garmin InReach Mini, Weight: 3.5 oz
  • Headlamp- Nitecore NU25, Weight: 0.99 oz
  • Shmoo shovel (yes this is what I call it, and it’s way cooler than saying “trowel”)- Deuce of Spades, Weight: 0.6 oz
  • Protection from wildlife and strange men who my mom worries about- Pepper Gel and Bear Spray

Don’t Fuck with Me Starter Kit


Shoes! Glorious shoes! I will probably go through about 10-14 of these on trail…


  • Ice axe- Grivel Ghost 48 cm (starting south of Sierras until snow mostly melts), Weight: 9.3 oz
  • Microspikes- Hillsound Trail Crampons (starting south of sierras until snow mostly melts), Weight: 15.7 oz

In my bear canister, you may notice some common trail foods. At some point, I will be doing a “trail diet” post, so stay tuned for that.

Luxury and Miscellaneous

And that’s all folks! I’m going to be starting very soon, so Update 1 will be coming at you in the next week!

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Comments 7

  • Amanda Lee : Mar 29th

    We are so excited for you, Emma! We will be following you all the way!


    The Lee family (Park City March 2021)

    • Emma Rosenfield : Mar 29th

      Thanks Amanda! Send my love to everyone for me!

  • Katie Houston : Mar 29th

    I was planning on hitting the GWL in 2022!!! Looks like you’ll beat me to it, I think only 2 people (both men) have actually completed it. Can’t wait to follow along!

    • Emma Rosenfield : Mar 29th

      Woohoo! That’s awesome! Gotta get more women out there 🙂 I know of at least 3 other men attempting it this year. We will see what happens, and I look forward to following you next year!

  • Sarah : Apr 5th

    Thanks for a well elaborated list of gear. What about a towel? (Perhaps also a pee rag? Toilet paper? Or manage just with leaves etc? By the way: I like the word shmoo shovel! I call mine “Turdy”.) I envy your courage when approaching such a great challenge. I wish you good luck and look forward to reading more from your hike.

  • Bruce : Jan 4th

    I notice that you used the Senchi Wren mid-layer pullover. Was it heavy enough? Or, did you wish that you had a heavier model from Senchi Designs?
    I’m hiking PCT in 2022 & seriously considering using Senchi.

    • Emma Rosenfield : Jan 17th

      I loved the mid-layer pullover, but I also had a down jacket and a thin rain coat, so the combination usually kept me warm enough. Didn’t really feel like I needed anything heavier, even when going through the Sierras in May. Had to be strategic about what gear could get wet during storms of course.


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