For those interested here is a breakdown of what I will be primarily carrying over the next 3 months on the Appalachian Trail. When choosing gear I put an emphasis on simplicity, weight, and volume. This gear works well for me and I have thousands of miles of use and experience with most of my choices.
The most important and lightest piece of gear you can bring with you is judgment. Trust your instincts and don't overestimate your abilities. Happy Trails!
- Sassafras Fastpack: I will be carrying the Yama Mountain Gear Sassafras. This is a frameless 34L pack with running vest-style shoulder straps. I am beta testing the V3 for Gen so I don’t have much trail experience with this pack yet. One of the big things that I really like about the pack is that I can cinch down the pack body if I need less volume. There is ample storage in the shoulder pockets for soft flasks and snacks. Overall I can’t speak much about my pack yet, but the design and craftsmanship that went into this pack speak volumes about the quality and craftsmanship of Yama Mountain Gear.
- Nyloflume Packliner: Lightweight, durable, and keeps my pack contents dry. No need for a pack cover.
- Katabatic Gear Palisade 30* Quilt: This quilt is super high quality and one of the best down quilts I have ever used, I have the 900 FP hyperdry down. It is rated to about 30 degrees conservatively and I agree with these ratings wholeheartedly. I have even brought this bag down into the low teens with a neoair-xtherm. I like down for its compressibility but I am always worried about moisture and having the ability to dry the bag out fully. I think proper campsite selection and airing the bag out when I have a sunny opportunity will outweigh the small downsides of using down.
- Neoair Xlite Regular: I will be using a full-length inflatable sleeping pad from Thermarest. I have used their pads for a long time and have been nothing but pleased with the durability and rest I get from using them.
- Polycro: For a ground cloth, I use a 3’x6.5’sheet of .7mil window insulation. I like how light and packable these groundsheets are and I find with care they can last thousands of miles and many nights of sleep.
Hygiene & small items:
- Deuce of spades #1 trowel: dig a cathole!
- ID/Debit card/$20/Insurance card, all in a small ziplock
- Cut in half plastic toothbrush & travel size toothpaste
- Repair/Medical ziplock:
- Leukotape, a few strips (best blister tape ever)
- Few strips of tenacious tape
- 5x Tylenol
- 5x Ibuprofen
- 5x Asprin
- 5x Imodium
- Extra Guyline
- Bic Mini
- Zip Ties x2
- Anti-sting packet
- Small sewing scissors
- 3x small cotton firestarters
- Bundle of matches with a small piece of the strike area
- 2x sewing needles (pop blisters)
- Small tweezer
- Few packets of aqua tabs (backup water purification)
- A small towel that expands when wet
- Borah Gear Event rain Mittens
- Montbell Chameece Gloves
- Frogg Toggs Xtreme Lite Jacket
- 1x Injinji Run lightweight crew socks
- Patagonia Micropuff hooded
- Alpha 90 GSM fleece with hood
- Patagonia Capeline Lightweight t-shirt (sleep shirt)
- Body wrappers dance pants: these are the cheap amazon equivalent to more expensive wind pants available. They kept in an amazing amount of warmth especially early mornings and when night hiking.
- Defeet Woolie Boolie Losock (sleep socks!)
- Patagonia 5” Baggies (liner removed)
- Injinji Run lightweight crew socks
- Patagonia Sun Hoody
- OR Sunrunner Cap
- Borah Gear Side-Zip bivy (large netting over face): Simple design and light, mainly used to help keep splashback down in heavy rain and add slight warmth to the sleep system. I will probably switch to my Mountain Laurel Designs bug bivy II when bug pressure gets worse.\
- Gossamer Gear Twinn Solo Tarp: Super light catenary cut tarp. I like the ease of setup, but I may switch back to my MYOG 6’x9’ flat tarp if I want more pitch options as I can only set up this one as an A-frame.
- 6x MSR mini Groundhog stakes: Durable, stay put and are pretty light. Fun fact, I have owned the same 6 stakes for over 5 years and they come on every trip of mine!
- Umbrella: Helps keep me sane in heavy downpours, can take breaks under it when no sheltered areas are available, keeps me cooler in hot environments, can use to cover the head/toe area of my tarp in bad storms. It is also super compact and lightweight.
- Empty Jif peanut butter jar: I only cold-soak on the trail. I use this to make my morning drink mix; Cascadia Instant Adventure coffee, powdered peanut butter, and soylent. I will use it again at dinner to soak beans or couscous. Been using the same one for two years, very tight seal and doesn’t leak.
- Toaks Long-handled spoon: durable and sentimental has been on every overnight of mine for the past 5 years. Helps put food into my belly!
- Platypus collapsible 2-liter bladder: will only fill when I need extra capacity or to dry camp
- 2x hydrapak 500ml soft flasks: Like to have soft flasks because they feel nice in my shoulder strap pockets as they mold to the shape.
Katadyn Befree Water Filter: I have this filter attached to one of my soft flasks so I can drink directly from it. The flow rate is really fast, longevity is fairly short. If I find I am going through them too fast I will likely switch back to using aquamira (chemical filtration).
- 1-foot iPhone cable
- Anker 10k battery bank
- Anker dual plug wall charger
- Apple Headphones
- 4” MicroUSB cord
- Nitecore 20 headlamp: USB rechargeable, super light, no red light. These are not very waterproof and I have killed a few when hiking in severe downpours.
Excited to head out on my journey soon. Follow along with me on Instagram @underground_research