Our Colorado Trail Gear Lists: The Comforts and Details
For the most part, our gear has been accumulated through trial and error. For example, Legs went through multiple rain jackets while on the AT, but not because he found he had a preference for something else but because it broke and he needed something else.
Legs says, “My brand loyalty comes from the products not failing me. If I have something it’s because it lasts and has worked for me, not because it’s the newest or lightest or cheapest. I respect companies that make gear that lasts. Because when you’re 15 miles from the nearest town in a thunderstorm and your zipper breaks, you really start thinking about what brands have failed you.”
Most thru hikers I encountered in the beginning started carrying Nalgene water bottles or CamelBak bladders (myself included). By the halfway mark on the AT, only once in a blue moon would you see a hiker without a SmartWater or LIFEWTR bottle. They’re cheap, durable (one lasts upward of 500 miles), and light. The only decision to make is what brand to hold loyalty to. “We’re a LIFEWTR family.”
We use this as a reusable trash bag while on trail. I remember buying packs of disposable ziplock bags just to pack out four or five of them and would dump the rest in a hiker box. The occasional hiker hostel or outdoor store would sell them by the piece! So not having a disposable plastic bag dependency this time around will be a welcome change. The Opsak also keeps the smell in so as not to attract unwanted visitors.
Ferrovia22 KYDITD Shorts
Questionable language aside, these shorts hike with a purpose. Ferrovia 22 is so named for their mission of raising awareness about veteran suicide, the 22 being derived from 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. The founder of the company, Tommy Williams, says this about the shorts. “This phrase means so much to me. My buddies and I used to always talk about ‘kicking something in the dick.’ I thought this would be a funny take on that. When the demons come knocking, I try to do a good job of hiding it. But my family sees the struggle, and fight that I go through.” And before you ask, yes, these do make lots of elderly people stare. Legs says, “Bonus, when I was hiking the AT and hitc hiking into town, people would start to pull off. Then they saw beyond the back of my legs and my short shorts and I could hear them accelerate off past me. It was awesome.”
Darn Tough Socks
The only brand either of us have tried that don’t get holes. They also have a lifetime guarantee and if you ever do manage to destroy them you can get a new pair for free.
Bayer Back and Body
When on trail, everything aches. There were many mornings in my tent I remember barely moving my legs and feeling the sharp soreness through my calves. This definitely helps offset the ache, and also has caffeine to help power you up a few mountains.
Sawyer Micro Squeeze
The best on the market for the rate of flow, weight, and effectiveness. There are so many water filter options out there (I actually started with iodine tablets for my first few weeks on the AT) and this one is consistent and my hands don’t go numb squeezing ice water through my filter for ten minutes!
Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Ultralight Regular
I tried my hardest to just use clothes as a pillow and drop the couple ounces (because I’m insane) but I wear all my clothes at night to stay warm. This pillow lasted the AT and is easy to clean, too! And trust me, it needs it.
REI Flash Carbon Trekking Poles
I had a TON of pole trouble on the AT, the most unique of which was “resolved” by a generous outdoor store owner who gave me a decades-old ski pole with a cork handle to hike with after one of mine snapped. These ones are Legs’ old pair and hopefully they’ll make it!
Goal Zero Flip 20: 5,200 mAh
This battery bank was able to charge my iPhone 6S last year for three full charges; it only charges my new Android little under two charges.
Snow Peak Folding Titanium Spoon
Legs and I once appeared on Hiking Thru, a popular podcast that features people who had completed or were in the process of completing a thru-hike. In the episode, the host asked us what our favorite piece of gear was. Legs answered quickly, “Oh, definitely my spoon.” She was stunned, I was stunned, and I’m sure everyone who has ever listened to it has been stunned. “It speaks for itself.” Granted, my spoon did break my first day of my thru-hike during lunch. So he may have a point.
MSR Pocket Rocket II and Snow Peak Titanium Pot
This is not a shared item because yours truly chooses to cold camp (hike without a stove). This is where most hikers say, “Oh, well what do you like to cold soak?” referring to the practice of soaking food in water and waiting until it gets soft enough to eat. Well, I don’t, cause that’s gross. But honestly, I’ve discovered that I’m just very very lazy after a day of hiking and cooking is just not in the cards. Peanut butter and tortilla for me, please! On the other hand, Legs loves Outdoor Pantry meals and his stove has always been reliable, especially when I mooched off it for a few months after we met on the AT in New York.
Lighter Pack Gear Lists
There is a great website out there for any hikers looking to figure out their base weight. Base weight refers to your pack weight minus the clothes you wear while hiking and consumables like food and water. Mine is around ten pounds and Legs’ is between seven and eight pounds. Base weight is constantly changing and depends on what items you may pick up along the way and which you choose to send home.
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