What’s in my pack: Slaughterhouse’s Long Trail Gear List
Gear takes up so much thought, but I thoroughly enjoy it. You really have to take into consideration every little detail – which can be exhausting, BUT it can also be a fun puzzle to solve! I prefer to look at it as the latter.
Base Weight (+ How I Kept it Down)
I really wanted to stay lightweight during this trip. I am not an “ultralight” hiker by any means… primarily because I can’t afford to be 😂 However, I will be doing what I can to keep my base weight down.
There are a few things I did to cut my base weight:
- I bought an Ursack Major Bear Sack – 10 Liters for food storage. A LARGE chunk of the Long Trail requires proper bear-safe food storage (although, it is recommended for the entire length of the trail). I already had a bear canister from the Pacific Crest Trail, but I didn’t particularly enjoy carrying a bear can (let’s be real, only masochists would). The BV500 served me well, but it weighed in at a whopping 2 lbs, 9 oz. On the other hand, the Ursack 10 L is only 7.8 oz (0.48 lbs). The Ursack would shave ~2 lbs. off my base weight and provide almost the same storage capacity as the BV500. The cost for the Ursack was $144.43 (including taxes + free shipping). Ultimately, I decided the price was worth it.
- I left the stove at home. I really love my MSR PocketRocket 2, but I opted to leave it behind for a few reasons. First, I wanted to cut weight (obvious answer). Leaving the stove also cuts weight from the associated lighter, fuel canister, allows me the freedom to select a lighter “pot”. Second, I will be hiking in August (the warmest time of the year), and a warm meal may not always be welcome. Third, there are a lot of trail towns where I can get a warm meal. Fourth, because I am from Canada, I will be flying to and from the trail. Fuel canisters and lighters cannot go on the planes, as they pose a combustion risk. That means I would have to hunt for fuel after arriving in Boston, but before driving out to the trailhead. I would also have to remember and find a place to dump the fuel canister SAFELY before leaving flying out of Burlington. While these are relatively minor inconveniences, they did play a role in my decision. (I wouldn’t run out of fuel for the 2 weeks I’m on trail, which is why I’m not worried about finding fuel in town). With all this in mind, my stove will be staying at home.
- Classic weight-cutting:
- Trimmed the toothbrush in half
- Trimmed excess strap length off of the pack
- Decided to leave behind a few items that didn’t seem essential after re-evaluation (like Vit. C packets, water reservoir, lip balm, etc.).
All of these items will be worn all day, so they will not take up any room in my pack:
- Mimosa T-shirt. I had a gift certificate for Winners, and found a lightweight, breathable workout shirt. It’s white… and that definitely won’t last long, but white is best for warm weather!
- Victoria’s Secret Sports Bra. What a great second-hand shop find! I didn’t even know it was Victoria’s Secret until writing this post, but it is a very comfortable bra. I am fine taking it on trail because it is my oldest sports bra, and it has one broken strap. If I destroy it on trail, I won’t be heartbroken.
- Fabletics Breathe Run Shorts. I bought these shorts but they fit weird, so I chose these to go with me on trail so I can justify getting rid of them by the end of it.
- Altra Men’s Timp 2 Trail-Running Shoes. TIMPS are amazing! I wear them in daily life, not just on the trail. Their wide toe box and cushion make them very comfortable.
- Injinji Liner Crew Socks. I like wearing toe liners to prevent blisters between the toes. These are very thin, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive.
- Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion Sock – Women’s. I also wear Darn Tough socks in daily life. I love that they offer a lifetime guarantee on top of being very durable.
I will also be utilizing trekking poles. While these are not clothes, they don’t go inside the pack so I have categorized them as being “worn”.
- Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Adjustable Lightweight Trekking Poles. 8 oz each.
What’s in my pack + where?
The Pack Itself
I will be using a ULA Circuit 68 L on the Long Trail. It is a common pack and I am hopeful that it will serve me better than last time.
What goes in first?
My sleeping bag and tent (with rain fly) are the first items I pack, since I only need them at the end of the day. These lighter items go at the bottom so that the heavier items (like food) can be placed in the middle. The heaviest things you carry should be placed in the middle to reduce stress on your back and maintain better balance.
The tent and sleeping bag were used the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail, plus some other (much shorter) trips. So, they have lasted me a long time.
- Tent: MEC Spark 2.0 1-Person Tent. I LOVE this tent. The zipper is starting to go, but I will probably pay for gear repairs instead of buying a new tent. That’s how much I love it. The tent poles do sit in one of my side pouches, but the tent and rain fly itself go at the bottom of the inside of my pack.
- Sleeping bag: MEC Casseiopeia -9-degree C (48.2-degree F) Sleeping Bag. For summer conditions and no snow, this sleeping bag should work just fine. I sleep cold, but in the summer heat, this sleeping bag will be more than enough.
Next in are the clothes (packed).
Packed clothing will include an extra set of socks, rain gear, cold-weather clothes, and sun protection. The rain pants pull their weight by contributing rain gear and cold-weather categories.
These items get tucked into any crevices around the tent + sleeping bag. They really don’t end up taking up much space. On rainy or cold days, I may keep some of these items in the pouch or cords on the outside of my pack for easy access.
- Injinji Liner Crew Socks. Extra pair.
- Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion Sock – Women’s. Extra pair.
- REI Co-op Women’s Rainier Rain Jacket. Rain gear.
- Gelert Horizon Waterproof Trousers – Men’s. Rain gear.
- Amazon Essentials Women’s Lightweight Long-Sleeve Full-Zip Water-Resistant Packable Hooded Puffer Jacket, Tan, Medium. Cold weather + sleeping.
- PCT Buff. For cold weather or dusty areas.
- Sunglasses ($16 pair from Wal-Mart). It’s important to carry some sun protection for my eyes (since I’m not taking a hat with me), so I bought a cheap pair. I broke an expensive pair on the PCT, so this time I’d rather break a cheap pair!
- Puma Visor. ($19 from Winners – gift certificate used). Haven’t used a visor since I was a kid, but I love ball caps and this seemed like a cooler alternative on trail (at least, temperature-wise).
Middle of my pack: Food Storage + Prep
Food carries will be relatively short, as there are plenty of towns along the way. The goal is to reduce food weight by only packing out 2-3 days of food at a time. (Unless there is a must-see town, I would prefer not to go into town every day). With my timeframe, the variability in hitching and the risk of town vortexes are not something I want to deal with all the time. As much as it would be nice to see the sights, I’m out there to spend time in the woods – not in town.
- Ursack Major Bear Sack – 10 Liters. Bear-safe food storage strategy. I will carry this the entire length of the trail. Proper food storage is required for most of the trail, anyways.
- Talenti ice cream jar (not yet obtained). This will serve as my cook pot! It’s great because it is lightweight, has a twist-on (sealable) lid, and is pretty durable.
- Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork.
What sits on top? A dry sack filled with items related to hygiene, first aid, electronics, + travel documents.
I use a 2 L Sea To Summit Lightweight Dry Sack to hold a variety of smaller or water-sensitive items.
Hygiene items include:
- Toothbrush (with the handle cut in half)
- Baby nail clippers
- Travel-size hairbrush
First aid kit:
- KT Tape
- Cell Phone (charging cord + block)
- Garmin InReach (charging cord + block)
- Headlamp (with batteries)
- Credit cards
- ID + Passport
- Copy of flight documents (in case something happens to my phone)
Front Pouch, Side Pouches, Hip Belt, + Attachment Sites on the Outside of my Pack (for easy access).
The front pouch contains my bathroom kit, food for the day, the CNOC 2 L bag, and any occasion-specific items I might need. For example, a headlamp, rain gear, or cold-weather clothing may be placed here if it looks like I might need them (or just finished using them but don’t want to make an extra stop just to put them away).
In my side pouches, you can find tent poles (right) and a SmartWater bottle (left). A sawyer squeeze is placed inline from the SmartWater bottle and attached to my Osprey mouthpiece to drink fro, as I walk. If I am not using my trekking poles, I can also slip them in the side pouches alongside these items.
My hip belt contains snacks that I would want while hiking. I don’t like stopping, I enjoy hiking. While breaks are nice, I tend to break only when stopping to fill up on water (since I have to stop and take off my pack anyway). I don’t want to stop every time I’m hungry… because that would be a lot. I also carry my cell phone here, because it also functions as my camera. I will occasionally listen to music or podcasts, but not too much.
Attached to my pack you can find a bandana (shoulder strap loop), a Kula cloth (side compression strap), and my sleeping pad (top compression strap).
- TheTentLab The Deuce #2 UL Backcountry Trowel
- Small Bottle of Hand Sanitizer
- Bag of Baby Wipes + Empty Plastic Bag
- CNOC Bag – 2 L.
- (Day’s worth of food)
- SmartWater bottle.
- Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System – Regular Size. This is the best Sawyer size (in my opinion). The mini filtered too slow for me. While the micro was decent and had the same initial flow as the regular size, the micro required more frequent flushing to maintain that flow rate. The regular size does not weigh much, requires little maintenance, and has the faster flow rate.
- (Hiking snacks)
- Cell Phone (camera function)
- Kula Cloth Women’s Reusable Antimicrobial Pee Cloth
- Sleeping pad: NEMO Equipment Inc. Switchback Sleeping Pad. The sleeping pad I had shipped to me at Warner Springs (mile 109.5 of the PCT). So, there are definitely some miles on it and it could use replacing. The reason I’m not going to yet is that I am heading out in August, so it should be pretty warm. Plus, my sleeping bag will be excessive for the temperatures and will provide some additional insulation from the ground. The additional cost for a new one does not seem worth it until my next trip.
On-Trail Changes are Inevitable.
I know there will be changes as I head out on trail (as is the case for almost everyone, I would think). I will keep my list as updated as possible, but this post outlines my initial strategy.
I also want to mention that this is a great time to let me know what kind of details you would like to hear about from the trail! Leave a comment if you have any questions!
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