Gearing Up Before I Start Hiking 2,661 Miles

The week before I left to take on this amazing adventure was full of emotions: numbness, fear, excitement, fulfillment, happiness, and sadness. Taking my last finals and graduating from WSU was a bittersweet moment that followed by having a last “hurrah” with my family and friends who I love and will miss dearly. It finally hit that I was leaving when I was coming home to sleep. The next day I would be waking up to take off with my mom and grandma to San Diego where I will stay with trail angels Scout and Frodo. The tears came when I said bye to my dad, but I will see him Memorial Day. It was still hard to say bye to him and my dogs – my snuggle bugs, Keko and Chase.

Graduation photo

In between finals, I was spending all my time preparing to leave, like packing my pack. I had to set up all my doctor appointments because I had to make sure everything was in line for the trail. Also I had to prepare my resupply boxes for my mom to hand me within the first section.

So here are the obligatory gear photos that apparently make me a “gearhead” according to a few people who know I’ve been obsessed with gear for awhile now.

Let’s talk gear

Total gear photo

Here is all of the gear I will be taking with me for the next 5-6 months on trail. The exception is my Sierra gear, and I will post about it later on.

My big three

These are what we hikertrash think of as the most important gear to carry. My pack is a Zpack Arc Scout, my tent is the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1, and my sleeping bag is an Aegismax 30° down bag.

Big three items photo

My sleep system

I don’t have the conventional sleep system because I like to make sure I’m sleeping dry and warm. My sleeping bag listed above is a part of this system. I have a Big Agnes Insulated AXL air mattress that’s full length and a Trekology blow-up pillow. With my Zpack down booties as my sleeping socks, I will be sleeping in REI silk thermals and possibly my fleece cap. If I’m in wet weather, this allows me to make sure I have dry and warm clothes at the end of the day.

Sleeping items photo


My everyday wear

With the exception of switching out clothes on the journey, I will be wearing this set up for the majority of the time. I have a Columbia SPF 50 sun shirt and another long sleeve SPF shirt. If I get too hot, I can take off my leggings under my purple rain adventure skirt. For socks, I will be wearing Feeture, Darn Tough, and Injinji. My shoes are the new Topo Athletic Terraventure 2. I chose these shoes due to the brand being my saving grace on big miles. They have the wide toe box and the rock plate, and are lightweight. And of course, I won’t forget my lightweight WSU hat – gotta represent my beloved COUGS.

Clothes photo

My kitchen setup

I have the new MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini stove kit, which includes the stove, cup and cooking pot. I had switched my beloved Jetboil to have a smaller yet similar setup. Included is a lighter, cloth, and Sea to Summit long titanium spoon. If necessary, I have a foil windbreak and an old bubble wrap mailing envelope to insulate my meals when preparing to eat. To store my food, I have the Zpacks bear bag and the hang rope for the kit.

Kitchen setup photo

Weather protection

Different protection against the elements will be necessary. I have the Six Moons Design umbrella that helps by keeping me cooler when the sun is out, but also helps with rain. The umbrella just doesn’t work when it’s windy out. I have sun gloves and regular gloves to help keep my hands protected. For a light weight rain jacket, I have my Patagonia Houdini wind breaker. I have the Zpacks wind pants to help with high winds and weather.

Weather protection photo


Here are all of my hygiene things that I will use. I have a Zpacks mini toothbrush that fits into that very small white case. I will be using the diva cup for my menstration since I’m very light. Instead of a comb or brush, I got something in between: a comb that has 3 sets of teeth to help keep the knots at bay. I will have hand wipes to be reused later on. I have body glide and baby powder to help with chafing, my feet and oily hair. Hair ties and my buff will keep my hair out of my face while hiking. Then I have the Deuce of Spade UL. My Kula pee rag is not pictured, but I have it and it is hygienic and antibacterial when the sun hits it.

Toiletries photo

Med kit

I have a more or less extensive kit than other thru-hikers. I have a bunch of medication for symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, allergic reactions, and pain. In case I drink contaminated water, I got a prescription for giardia. For sewing, I have a curved needle, thread, tweezers, and safety pins. I have repair kit, matches and fire starter, but this will be just for emergencies. For daily use I have KT tape, Leuko tape, band-aids, Neosporin, electrolytes, and ibuprofen/Tylenol ready.

First-aid kit photo

Time to start

I will be arriving at scout and Frodo’s soon and meet all the amazing people who I will begin the journey with. The time is finally here where the adventure begins instead of awaiting.


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Comments 1

  • Ken Anderson : May 14th

    Good luck Kali. Thia and I are looking forward to following you on your adventure. Have fun and GO COUGS!


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