Inside the Pro’s Packs: Ian Mangiardi of Modern Explorer Inc.

inside pro pack ian mangiardi

At this point, if you don’t know who Ian Mangiardi is, I have no choice but to assume that this is your first time to the site.  In that case, welcome, cookies and juice are in the corner.  Make yourself comfortable.

For everyone else, you probably recognize Ian as the guru who wrote the gear chapter in Appalachian Trials.  Or the guy who talked the Good Badger off the ledge before his own AT thru-hike.  Or perhaps you’ve been to his awesome gear-review website The Dusty Camel.  Or maybe you recognize him from his recent PCT documentary As It Happens.  Or maybe…well, you get it.  Next time, Ian will simply go by “The Man” and you will know what that means.

Ian has recently launched his next project, Modern Explorer Inc., a full-spectrum expedition planning service.  With more than 6,000 miles under his belt, no one is more qualified for the job.

I asked The Man to kick off a new series for the Appalachian Trials Blog called “Inside the Pro’s Packs“.  Because with an ocean of gear information available to you, sometimes the most effective way to pack your own pack, is to mock the pros.  Below is what’s inside Ian’s.  Enjoy.

Inside the Pro’s Packs with Ian Mangiardi


AT and PCT thru-hiker, expedition manager, and logistics extraordinaire, Ian is a trained W-EMT, Chef. He has owns and operates Modern Explorer, Inc. which custom builds expeditions around the world, and is the Executive Director of The Dusty Camel, a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals experience nature first hand.

Gear / packing philosophy

Weight is key, but comfort is gold. Don’t sacrifice those few grams to get a featherweight pack. Take the pillow or stuffed animal to keep your sanity in check. A comfortable expedition is a successful one.


Gregory Z-65

Tent / Shelter

NEMO Equipment Asashi 3P

Sleeping Bag

NEMO Equipment Nocturne


Sea to Summit Coolmax Liner

Sleeping Pad

NEMO Equipment Cosmo XL

Footwear (hiking + camp)

Solomon 4D Gtx / Crocs!


Socks: Icebreaker Mid-weight hiker

Underwear: Patagonia Lightweight Boxer Briefs

Base layer: Smartwool NTS Mid 250

Mid layer: Fjallraven Lada Sweater

Outer/heavy layer: Fjallraven Eco-Trail Jacket

Shorts: N/A

Pants: Patagonia Alpine Guide Pants

Gloves: Mountain Hardwear glove liners

Hat: Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon

Rain jacket: Fjallraven Eco-Trail Jacket


(group propane stone)


N/A (group cookware, local supplies)

Hydration reservoir

Camelbak Antidote 3L

Water bottle

Swell Water Bottles


DeLorme InReach SE  (GPS, emergency beacon) Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone iPad

Luxury items

NEMO Equipment Fillow (camp pillow)


Lots of 550 Cord and duct tape! ALWAYS!

Because Zach is a dummy, he forgot to ask about hiking poles. He will do his best to get Ian to add that information in the comments below.

Are you a backpacking pro or know someone who is?  Let’s talk!

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