New Hike, New Gear

In the past, my severe budget limited what gear I could afford. I used walmart trekking poles, wore a lot of cotton layers, and had heavy gear that wasn’t too durable. There’s nothing wrong with saving money, but it was obvious that text equipment I used was making my hikes much less enjoyable, maybe even unsafe.

When I finally decided to do a thru hike, I resolved to get better quality gear.

Big Five

  • Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1
    • Though many hikers prefer the UL2, I find the one person model to be plenty big enough for me and my gear.
  • Tyvek Ground Cloth
  • Osprey Exos 28
    • A huge improvement to the heavy 40l pack I used to use, the Exos 28 is super light and comfortable. However, it’s a bit smaller than I expected.
  • Teton Trailhead 20
    • One of the very few things I kept the same was my sleeping bag. For only $40, it’s a 2lb 9oz synthetic bag that I’ve used in all weather.
  • Thermarest NeoAir XLite-Regular
    • Replacing my  Thermarest Ridgerest, the NeoAir XLite saves a few ounces, is more compact, and much more comfortable.



  • Toaks Titanium 900ml 125mm diameter pot
  • Toaks Titanium 375ml cup
  • Soda Can Alcohol Stove
  • Snowpeak Titanium Spork
  • Esbit Folding Stove
    • Though originally designed as a solid fuel stove, I’ll be using it as a pot stand.
  • Nalgene 8oz Fuel Bottle



  • Mountain Hardware 9″ Shorts
  • Reebok Moisture Wicking T-shirt x2
    • One will be my every day shirt, and the other for camp.
  • Patagonia Capilene Midwieght Crew
  • McKinley Kapaa Thermore Insulated Jacket
  • Asic Gel Venture 5 Trailrunners
    • I’ve put over a thousand miles on a pair of Venture 4s, but since I couldn’t find any more of them, I went with the newer model.
  • Superfeet Green Insoles
  • Frogs Toggs UL Jacket and Pants
  • Navy Watch Cap
  • Boonie hat
  • Sun Glasses
  • Darn Tuff socks
  • Mesh Gym Shorts
  • Packtowl



  • Canon Elph 180
    • This will be my first standalone camera, so hopefully I can get some better pictures of the trail than I’ve been able to do with my phone.
  • Memory cards
  • JOBY GorillaPod
    • At only 2oz, this super compact tripod is exactly what I needed. Plus, how cool is a flexible tripod?
  • Power cords
  • USB wall adapter
  • Ravpower 13k mAh battery pack 6oz
  • Sanza Fuze
  • Headphones
  • Petzl Tikkina Headlamp 3oz



  • Blackdiamond Cork Trekking poles 1lb
  • Duct tape on trekking pole
  • Electrical tape on trekking pole
  • 2016 AWOL Guide book 8oz
  • Sawyer Squeeze
    • I used to use the Sawyer mini, but when you are dehydrated on a hot day, it seemed to take forever to filter just a few drops.
  • Smart Water Bottle
    • For those of you who haven’t heard yet, you can use a smart water bottle instead of the Sawyer filter bags. They are much cheaper and easier to replace.
  • Sheffield Pocket Knife
    • I picked up this awesome little folder for only $5 years ago and it’s never failed me yet.
  • Cut Down Colman Trowel
  • TP
  • Reflective paracord
  • 40l Dry sack
    • It will be packed empty unless it looks like rain and will also be used to hand my food at night.
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
    • This is probably tied with foot care as the most important things to take on a hike.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Chap stick
  • Nail clippers
  • Needle for blisters
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Cut down tooth brush

Fully loaded with 5days of food, my pack now only weighs 21bs. That’s a huge improvement to the 38lbs for 3 days that I had when I first began hiking. I’m sure when this hike is over, I’ll be wondering how I thought 21lbs was light. But for now, I’m extremely happy with the progress I’ve made.

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