Thru-Hikers’ Favorite Luxury Items

With few exceptions, most thru-hikers try to keep their packs as light as possible, dropping significant weight after a pack shakedown or two. That can mean paring down to the bare essentials and removing all luxury items. However, it’s not uncommon for people to start adding things back in, whether it’s an e-reader, a pair of tweezers, or the most common: some sort of camp pillow. Here are the items thru-hikers could technically live without during their hikes, but wouldn’t want to.

Generic Silk Bag Liner, Inflatable Pillow

I had a silk bag liner and an inflatable pillow. The were both cheap, generic items from Amazon that worked great and were as light or lighter than the name brands. They made the nights much more comfortable.

This silk bag liner is a good option, and this inflatable pillow is inexpensive and lightweight.

El Chapo, AT

Cocoon Travel Pillow

Best thing on earth. Dubbed “The Snore Pillow” by my fellow hikers. Every hiker who got one ended up snoring even if they weren’t snorers before.

Life Alert, AT

Small Throw Pillow

I used a miniature pillow like those that people use for decoration on their couches, but it was the best last-minute packing decision I’ve ever made. Easy to put through the washing machine after I continuously drooled on it, sleeping so soundly.

Spirit, Appalachian Trail

HyperLight AirCore Pillow

A Cocoon inflatable pillow, the Hyper-light Air Core. It only weighs about three ounces and made all the difference for me sleeping well. The inflatable liner did get a hole about five months into my hike, but I patched it and kept on snoozing.

Moon Pie

Town Clothes

My town clothes. I did the whole wear-my-rain-gear during laundry thing. That lasted one time. Never, ever again. Now I have a nice clean pair of clothes after my shower and am comfortable while my other clothes are being washed. Necessary? No. Awesome? Yes.

Here’s a ridiculous Hawaiian shirt and a pair of scrubs pants. True hiker trash fashion.

Froggy, AT

Addaday Massage Ball

My favorite luxury item would definitely have to be my Addaday Massage Ball. Having a massage ball on my hike was almost like carrying a masseuse in my pack. I’m a huge advocate for giving back to your body, especially when it takes you hundreds and thousands of miles. Perfect end of day routine that feels amazing.

Sniffles, AT

Town Dress

Loved my laundry day dress in the summer so I didn’t have to wear hot rain gear!

This dress is an inexpensive, packable, comfortable option.

Mountain Cat, Appalachian Trail

Nail Polish

I almost always had a bottle of bright nail polish. It was a real mood booster to break it out and paint everyone’s gross toenails, and I painted several of my small gear items to distinguish them from other people’s.

Rocky, AT

Mini Hair Conditioner, Tweezers

I always carried a mini bottle of conditioner. I tried to go without it for a while, but most of the cheap hotels don’t offer conditioner, only shampoo. Having conditioner was basically a must-have for my long, crazy hair. That, plus my good tweezers—just because I’m in the wilderness doesn’t mean my eyebrows can’t look good!

Mountain Cat, Appalachian Trail

Hightails Design Fanny Pack

I can’t write about my favorite things and not mention my Hightails Design fanny pack. That thing was insanely light, super comfortable, and, best of all, waterproof. It made grabbing my camera or a snack super easy and it sat perfectly above my pack’s hip belt. A+

Sniffles, AT

Tea Tree Oil

My jar of tea tree oil made my feet feel and smell better; can also be used on your body.

Minnie Mouse

A Real, Live Book

I carried a real book off and on, and I loved it. I’m not a fan of Kindles or reading off my phone; having a real book in my hands to read by headlamp was a huge morale boost at the end of some hard days.

Mountain Cat, Appalachian Trail

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Comments 2

  • stealthblew : Dec 5th

    While some may fear separation anxiety, electronics, namely smart phones, are a luxury item. They are not an essential part of gear and in many respects can impede an individual from inner growth on the road to a spiritual connection with our planet. Additionally, as our packs become dialed in, two pounds of electronics can be a significant amount of extra weight to carry.


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