Less than a week…
until I hit the trail and my gear is as dialed in as it can be at this point. I have a gear list up for quick reference but I wanted to provide a few more details for those who were interested.
Overall Gear: The Flat Lay
This picture is the quintessential gear photo for thru-hikers. I mean, I don’t even know if they let you hike if you don’t take this photo. This is everything that’s coming with me for the next six months (minus food). I’ve definitely made some gear choices that people are going to disagree with (cough*Nalgene*coughcough) but I know these are things I like. I also know that I will have the flexibility to switch out gear as I need.
The Big Three
The commonly referenced Big Three refers to your pack, shelter, and sleep system. I chose to use and Osprey Packs Eja 48L with a Nyloflume liner bag from Litesmith. This pack is a good balance between lighter weight and comfort. It has a tensioned back panel that keeps the main part of the pack from resting directly against you. This gives some sweet ventilation to your sweaty back. The downside to this pack is there are no hip pockets, so I also purchased a little Kavu bag that I can slide the hip belt through and use as snack and phone storage.
My shelter is the Grand Trunk Air Bivy Extreme. This system is a hammock with an integrated bug net and rain fly. I’m bringing a hammock for several reasons including comfort and lessened ecological impact. I’ve always liked sleeping in hammocks more than tents and I’m hoping that stays true out on the trail.
My sleep system is my tried and true closed cell foam pad from Walmart ($10 y’all) and my new HammockGear Economy Burrow quilt, rated for 20 degrees. I felt good purchasing from HammockGear because I know they only use down that meets the RDS (responsible down standard) and work to support their local community.
Hygiene on the trail is important. Hand sanitizer is definitely your friend out there. For my personal needs, I’ve got a simple GSI Outdoors trowel for digging my car holes. I decided to start out using a travel bidet, which I’ll put a drop of Dr. Bronners baby mild I scented soap into, instead of packing out dirty toilet paper. I also purchased a Kula Cloth which is an amazing upgrade from the yellow bandana. It’s a cloth with one side waterproof fabric and one side absorbent fabric, which have silver integrated into it. The silver acts as an antimicrobial. Definitely an upgrade worth taking. The final item is my menstrual cup. I’ve been using a Diva Cup for years and it’s great to not need pads or tampons, especially in the backcountry.
The Kitchen and Water
My camp kitchen is super simple. I’m using an MSR Pocket Rocket stove and a GSI Outdoors Halulite Minimalist pot system. I’m also bringing a Sea to Summit collapsible mug to start out with as a way to have my coffee while I’m cooking. Simple.
Filtering water is a really important part of backpacking so you need to have something you can really rely on. I’m taking the tried and true Saywer Micro Squeeze System. I also have a 2L CNOC bladder and two Nalgene water bottles. The bottles are by far my most controversial gear choice but I love them and they have been with me on all my major adventures.
My clothing situation is really minimal. I have two pairs of Darn Tough socks, two pairs of ExOfficio underwear, and two medium impact sports bras from Cacique. My bottoms are Patagonia baggies shorts and Lane Bryant wicking leggings for hiking. I also have Icebreaker 175 merino wool baselayer leggings for sleeping.
Shirts are a Trek branded Patagonia capilene shirt, probably for sleeping and town, and an Appalachian Gear Company All-paca performance t-shirt and hoodie. The AppGear stuff is amazing and I’m a huge fan of this all-paca fabric. It’s stronger, softer, drier, and warmer than merino and I can’t wait to test it out in all the weather of the trail.
For rainy days I’m bringing my longtime loved Coleman rain pants and a Marmot Precip rain jacket. I have an REI down puffy and an AppGear Co all-paca beanie for colder days. My shoes are Keen Terradora Waterproof mids.
The “Final” List
I have used all of this gear before, but I’m sure things will be changing while I get into my hike. I’ll keep you updated on new purchases, what’s being sent home, and what I really needed to switch up.