Honey Badger and Hare’s Before & After Gear

I recently posted a semi-embarrassing photo of my before-and-after AT pack, and some people wanted to know what changes were. So here it is. I focused on my own gear, because I know it better. Rocky’s gear alterations were very similar though.

We started with stereotypical setups: giant packs, fancy hydration bladders, lots of clothes. Rocky’s base weight at Springer Mountain was 32 pounds, mine was 27. By the time we reached Katahdin, his base weight was 21, mine was 18. We sent home winter gear in Virginia, and since we finished in the second week of August, we never got it back. Most of the changes listed were in place by the time we hit Damascus.

I wish we had done more research before the trip. Much of the best gear isn’t built by major companies, but by smaller enterprises not represented at big-box stores. My advice to future thru-hikers is to do your research and pay attention to smaller companies. Carrying a lighter pack will make you more comfortable, and save you money since you’ll be less likely to replace stuff along the way. We estimate we spent over $1,000 on trail replacing gear. Ouch.

Here are some pictures for a visual comparison of our packs. And our faces.

joindfirstlast

Rocky's before-and-after.

The evolution of our faces. Rocky got really hairy, and I just look vaguely confused in both pics.

The evolution of our faces. Rocky got really hairy, and I just look vaguely confused.

Yes, we're still engaged. Why is everyone so surprised?

 

Without further ado:

Maggie’s gear at Springer, March 4

Base weight: 27 lbs

Full weight (water, six days of food): 40 lbs (FORTY!)

Pack: Gregory Deva 60

Pack cover: REI Duck Back

Sleeping bag: Mtn. Hardware 0-degree down

Sleeping pad: Thermarest Prolite

Water: Three-liter Camelbak, Smartwater bottle

Shoes: Reebok OneSeeker GTX

Filter: Sawyer regular, backflush, three 2-liter Platypus bags

Hiking poles: Leki Jannu

Clothes:

  • Short-sleeve synthetic shirt
  • Reebok running shorts
  • Sports bra
  • Running tights
  • Smartwool beanie
  • Water sneakers for camp
  • Marmot Precip raincoat
  • Pullover fleece
  • Smartwool camp pants
  • Smartwool camp shirt
  • Camp socks
  • Two pairs hiking socks
  • Down coat
  • Buff headband
  • Regular buff
  • Merino wool buff
  • Baseball cap
  • Longsleeve synthetic shirt
  • Rainpants
  • Huge gaiters
  • Heavy gloves
  • Exofficio underwear

Extra:

  • Journal/pen
  • Good-luck tiny stuffed dog from my grandma 🙂
  • Chapstick
  • Kindle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Half of a comb
  • Toothbrush
  • Advil
  • Guidebook (Tore out pages as we went)
  • MSR stove
  • GSI 2-person pot, two bowls with lids, two Foons
  • Biodegradable dish soap, sponge, scrubby
  • Athletic tape, BandAids, blister patches, antibiotic ointment

Gear at Katahdin, August 10

Base weight: 18 lbs

Full weight (less water, lighter food): 23 lbs

Pack: Osprey Exos 58

Pack cover: Trash bag liner

Pillow: Sea-to-Summit Aeros UL 

Sleeping bag: North Face 50-degree synthetic

Sleeping pad: Thermarest NeoAir

Water: Two Smartwater bottles

Shoes: Reebok OneSeeker GTX

Filter: Sawyer mini, two 1-liter Sawyer bags (we ended up getting a regular Sawyer again at the end. Minis are sloooow.)

Hiking poles: Leki Jannu

Clothes:

Etc:

  • Journal/pen
  • Tiny dog
  • Chapstick
  • Kindle (best luxury item ever)
  • Half of a comb
  • Toothbrush
  • Advil
  • Guidebook (Basically 5 pages left)
  • Foon
  • BandAids

Sent home:

  • Baseball cap
  • Longsleeve synthetic shirt
  • Running tights
  • Rainpants
  • Gaiters
  • Light gloves
  • Heavy gloves
  • Exofficio underwear
  • Regular Buff
  • Merino wool Buff
  • Winter sleeping bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • MSR stove
  • GSI cookpot, two bowls
  • Biodegradable dish soap, sponge, scrubby
  • Athletic tape, blister patches, antibiotic ointment

Rocky’s changes were pretty much the same as mine except he started with more stuff, like four pairs of pants. He ended up with a pair of Smartwool pants for camp… and women’s running shorts from the Dollar General. We sent the stove home in Massachusetts—we were so sick of eating, and nothing was appealing anymore. We figured we’d save the weight and trouble of cooking.  We also changed our tent from a Nemo Obi2 to a Nemo Dagger3, and it was totally worth the extra weight… especially since Rocky carried it. :/

Bonus:

He's going to kill me for posting this

He’s going to kill me for posting this

My favorite photo composite ever

My favorite photo composite ever

Hopefully this covers it. Leave any questions or comments below. Hope everyone’s fall is going well; Rocky and I are back to our usual lives of working, paying bills, and going on hikes that aren’t 2,000 miles long.

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Comments 9

  • Avatar
    Grayson Cobb : Sep 19th

    40lbs to start :O Yikes. Very cool to see your gear changes!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Barbara Long : Sep 19th

    One of the best posts ever here @barbaralong:disqus

    Reply
  • Avatar
    TBR : Aug 10th

    Everyone should post a stuff-I-sent-home list like this. Most interesting.

    No stove … I don’t know if I could have done that. I grew fond of my stove and the whole firing-it-up routine.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Mike Manning : Oct 14th

    What happened to the good luck stuffed dog???

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Paul : Oct 14th

    Any idea how much money you spent grand total for replacement gear?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Maggie : Oct 14th

      Oh my goodness… we easily spent over $1500 on replacement gear out on the trail. Terrible, terrible planning and money maintenance. I actually wrote another post about how to save money hiking, because I definitely did NOT do that. Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Steven : Oct 15th

    And I thought my base weight was bad at 12 pounds!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Artemis : Mar 8th

      This has to be the most d-bag humble brag I’ve seen. Hike your own hike and stop waving around your 12 pound base weight like it’s a 12 incher.

      Reply

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