What’s in My Pack

Everything that I will need to survive for the next 5 months will be carried on my back. That’s pretty wild to think about. With thru-hiking, the goal is to be lightweight. The notorious question you constantly hear on the trail is “what’s your base weight?”

Over the past year, I have researched, tested out different gear, and made numerous REI trips. I’ve watched countless gear review videos and have read just as many blogs and surveys from previous hikers. I’ve spent the last few months dialing in my gear and going into my hike I can say that I feel confident with what I have. My base weight is sitting at 16.5 pounds. It will weigh slightly more in the Sierra due to my bear canister and microspikes.

Big Four

Out of all my gear, my pack was the hardest decision for me to make. I hiked with an Osprey Eja 58L all summer but kept getting bruises and aches from it. Then I tested out the Gossamer Mariposa 60L and the Hyperlite 3400 Southwest. I like both but overall felt better carrying heavier loads in the Hyperlite.

Luxury items

A luxury item is something that’s not necessary for survival but is nice to have in your life. For now, I have a few of these.

  • Pillow: SeaToSummit Aeros
  • Cork massage ball
  • Hairbrush
  • Sit pad
  • Wilderness wash (multipurpose soap)
  • Retainer (spent too many years in braces and do not wanna go back)
  • Journal and pen

You can check out my full gear list here:




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Comments 6

  • Ralph B. Mahon : Apr 12th

    Looked at your full list, didn’t see a multitool.
    A Leatherman multitool will give you two types of knife blades (regular and serrated) scissors, multiple screw drivers, pliers/wire cutters.
    File (great for nails too) can opener, and a nice saw blade. Use it for cutting fire wood, and after blowing out my knee one time, I made a crutch to help walking with.
    I carry one always.
    And if you are a First Responder, Medical Professional, Teacher, Student, or Military, you can get a 40% discount.
    No, I am not connected to the company, just like their product

  • Cathy Tomsett : Apr 12th

    I love your blog! You remind me of my daughter. She starts the AT on Friday.

  • Dave : Apr 12th

    awesome Kelsey! I am excited for you…and envious…as a backpacker/hunter born in California living in Colorado myself…I think you have plenty of room for a few more luxury items and a good book. 16 lbs is a dream… didn’t see your shoes and throw some of those little blister circle band aids in..good luck!

  • Leo : Apr 13th

    Personally I’d add 2 things;
    1) roll of tenacious tape
    2) a good medical blow out kit (trauma first aid kit)
    When you are going into a situation where help could be days away it’s best to have a good trauma kit and the knowledge how to use it.
    Enjoy your trip – safe travels

  • Steven Bryan : Apr 14th

    Thanks so much for your base weight inventory list posting! It’s always fun to see others choices. Looks good, thanks for sharing!! Best of luck! May the NOBO god’s be gentle to you…Steve

  • Dan : Apr 27th

    I didn’t see a decent way to start a fire, such as matches or a lighter. Also, I bring some parachute chord, for repairs (tent, tarp, pack) or ties. Nice article.


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