Katniss Neverclean’s Before and After Thru-Hike Gear List
During my 2014 thru hike I made a lot of changes to my gear. I had a decent set up to start out but ended up replacing most of my older gear with lighter weight versions along the way. Before leaving I was able to get a lot of my new gear at a discount because I was working at REI.
My initial packweight was about 25 pounds without food. That’s pretty darn good to start when compared to other starting pack weights. I soon found, however, that if I wanted to hike big miles and keep my body in one piece, I would need to go lighter. I ended my trip with my base weight at about 16 pounds. Still not ultralight but my final set up worked really well for me.
This is a comparison of the gear list that I started out with, what I ended with and what I would do differently in the future.
→ = Changed from this to that
strike = Gone within the first few weeks
* = Kept the whole time
( ) = Seasonal
Eastern Mountain Sports Trail 50 → REI Flash 45
Somewhere in Virginia I was lucky enough to aquire a lightweight pack from a friend who no longer wanted it. The Flash 45 was at least 2 pounds lighter than the Trail 50. The difference in weight made a huge difference, and by that point I could fit all of my belongings into a smaller bag.
REI Quarter Dome T2 → Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 with footprint
I originally shared the Quarter Dome T2 with my hiking partner in order to save money. By the time we hit Virginia we had both decided it was worth the money to have our own sleeping space. Dear god the smell. This tent worked really well for me. I liked having a space to organize my things in the morning, especially if it was raining. It was also nice to have a little space all to myself. The trail is a very social place and sometimes after a tough day, I just needed to be alone.
- REI Joule 23 women’s sleeping bag*
- Klymit Insulated Static V sleeping pad*
- Cocoon Air-Core Hyperlite Pillow*
I thought long and hard about my sleeping system. I figured that I would be spending almost as much time sleeping as I did hiking, and I wanted to be comfortable. I am a cold sleeper so I stuck with the Joule Sleeping Bag the entire way. Try as I might I just couldn’t justify getting rid of the pillow. It was so comfortable and only weighed a few ounces. Some people would use their clothes bag, but when you start pairing down your clothes to just the essentials, there isn’t much leftover.
- REI Fleet SS Shirt*
- SmartWool LS Midweight top*
LS shirt REI Midweight Baselayer top REI Midweight Baselayer Bottoms
- REI Revelcloud Synthetic Jacket (Springer-Pearisburg, Killington-Katahdin)
Mountain Hardwear Phantom Down Jacket
- Marmot Precip Rain Jacket (Springer-Pearisburg, Killington-Katadin)
- SmartWool Midweight bottom*
- REI Fleet Shorts*
- Town shorts (Pearisburg-Killington)
- Hiking Pants (Springer-Pearisburg)
- 1-2 Sports bras
- 2-3 pair SmartWool socks
- 2-3 pair Patagonia underwear
- Wool hat (Springer-Pearisburg)
- Fleece Headband (Killington-Katahdin)
- Fleece Gloves (Springer-Pearisburg, Killington-Katahdin)
- Balaclava (Rangeley, ME-Katahdin)
- 1-2 bandanas
I started out with way too many clothes. I was afraid of being cold, but ended up being over prepared. In the summer months I sent even more home like my rain and insulated jackets, and had them sent back to me in Killington, VT.
- Salomon Sense Mantra*
- Green Superfeet*
- Flip flops (Springer-Killington)
Trail runners worked great for me. I added the Superfeet because I tended to roll my feet inwards. The arch support in the Superfeet helped my feet deal with a heavy pack and lots of miles.
- Snow Peak 900ml titanium pot with lid*
- HEET Alcohol fuel and container*
- Soda can alcohol stove*
- Snow Peak Titanium spork*
Snowpeak titanium mug
- REI mini Pack towel*
I am surprised to say that the stove that I made out of a Coke can lasted the whole trip and is still quite functional. This is one of the lightest weight stove options. Hot meals (and coffee) are important to me.
MSR Hyperflow Water Filter → Sawyer Mini Water Filter
3L Platypus Hoser bladder and 1L Platypus Soft Bottle → 2 Smartwater bottles
The cost of the repair kit for the Hyperflow was the same as a brand new Sawyer Mini. Hard bottles work best with the Mini. Smartwater bottles are super light, made of more durable plastic than cheaper waterbottles and their thin and tall size fits well into packs.
- Glasses with case*
- Contact Solution*
- Body butter
- Gold bond (Harpers Ferry-Killington) Seriosuly at one point I considered writing a love poem to Gold Bond. I found the solid stick deodorant style worked best.
- Dr Bronners soap*
- Toilet paper*
- Toothpaste and toothbrush*
- “Girl Stuff”
- Extra headlamp batteries*
Sleeping pad repair kit
DeodorantHA! Gone by Fontana Dam. I once read that putting deodorant on a thru hiker is like putting lipstick on a pig.
- AWOL guide*
- Petzl Tikka 2 Headlamp*
- REI Trekking Poles*
- Duct tape (attached to trekking poles)*
- Phone and charger with Mophie Case*
- Sea to Summit Ultra-Light Pack Cover*
- Gerber EVO Serrated Knife
- PMI Utility Cord
- Sea to Summit Stuff Sacks and Compression Sack
- Sit pad (Franklin, NC-Killington)
What I would Change
If I were to do another thru hike, here are some additional changes I would make:
- Lighter and smaller sleeping pad such as the NeoAir Xlite
- Lighter and more waterproof rain jacket such as the Marmot Minimalist
- I would get Lasik eye surgery. Having to haul around contact solution and glasses was a real pain and I would probably toss at least 8oz.
- Warmer Jacket in the fall. September in Maine was very cold.
Alright kids, that’s everything! Feel free to poke fun at me in the comments!
Related reading: AT Thru-Hiker’s Suggested Gear List
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