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I Hate Talking About Gear (Also Here's My Gear List)

Much of this is discussed in my article for The Trek, but I've made some changes here to be more beginner-friendly.


I hate talking about gear, and yet it is one of the many necessities of thru-hiking.


As I prepare to hike the Continental Divide Trail, I've been reflecting a lot about my 2021 Appalachian Trail experience. I thru-hiked the AT in 135 days (over 2 weeks faster than recommended) with a base weight of 22 pounds. One of the most beautiful qualities about the AT is it's about as unpretentious as it gets. Some people were ultralight disciples, and others (myself included) opted to use whatever gear we had available. I started the AT with a pump water filter (carried for 500 miles), hiking boots (didn't switch to trail runners for 1500 miles), and a stainless steel water bottle (carried the whole way through). Perhaps my perception of trail culture was naïve and simple because it was my first thru-hike, and maybe the Appalachian Trail is just particularly nonjudgmental, but it never seemed that anybody cared about anyone else's gear setup.



Other trails feel more judgmental. On the Colorado Trail, I was told repeatedly that my friend -- a first-time thru-hiker with ultralight equipment -- looked like an experienced hiker, whereas I -- an Appalachian Trail veteran with a large pack and even a camp chair for fun -- looked like a novice. I didn't realize that the weight of one's gear directly correlated to their perceived trail experience. In my (albeit inexperienced and trail-uneducated) youth, I actually assumed the opposite: the larger the pack, the more legitimate the adventurer.


More than the Colorado Trail, the Continental Divide Trail feels like a trail that requires an aesthetic presence. You're not just a thru-hiker anymore; you're embarking on the most logistically difficult and overall dangerous trail of the Triple Crown, and you have to look the part. At least that's how I've been made to feel over time. I'm a middle child through and through, with a deep need to prove myself and feel belongingness, and as a result, I've actually changed a lot of elements of my gear. While I am very pleased with the new gear that I've gotten, and a lot of my upgrades make the most sense for my current needs and style, I recognize that the other gear that I had for earlier trips is still good and purposeful for other occasions, and I try to make use of them for other activities.


(To be clear, I think I would have eventually chosen to make the choice to get lighter, more compact gear anyway; I just wish the most influential factor at the time wasn't judgment from other thru-hikers.)



Gear conversations have become my least favorite way of interacting with other thru-hikers. Every question feels like an accusation: Why did you get this pack instead of that pack? Why did you spend that little/that much on that piece of gear? Don't you know that xyz is the best xyz that ever xyz-ed?


That being said, here's my own personal gear list. It has changed in many ways from the Appalachian Trail to the Colorado Trail to now. I have a different pack. I have a different tent. Overall, my gear is more dialed in and intentional. Each item has been selected for a specific purpose, and I'm very pleased with my setup. Let me know if you have any questions, and I'd love to discuss my gear if it's coming from a place of curiosity and not from judgment.



My Gear

You can more readily find this list, plus shop for specific items, in the Shop My Gear page.


Big 4 + Big 4 Adjacent

The Big 4 in backpacking refers to the four most significant pieces of backpacking-specific gear: backpack, tent/shelter, sleeping bag/quilt, and sleeping pad. These four items are in bold.


Pack

  • Gossamer Gear G4-20

  • Osprey pack cover

  • Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear 2.5L fanny pack


Sleep

  • Gossamer Gear The One

  • Tyvek ground sheet

  • Diorite cork trekking poles

  • MSR Groundhog tent stakes (x10)

  • Hammock Gear Economy Burrow 10° quilt

  • Hammock Gear Premium Down Quilt Hood

  • Hammock Gear 14L dry bag

  • Therm-a-rest Neoair Xlite (Women's)

  • Therm-a-rest Synergy Lite Sheet

 


Kitchen


Food

  • BV450

  • Toaks 750mL pot

  • MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe stove

  • Long-handled spork

  • Isobutane fuel canister

  • FlipFuel fuel transfer device

  • Bic mini lighter

  • Bandana


Water

  • Katadyn BeFree 3L water filter bag

  • Katadyn BeFree 0.6L water bottle

  • CNOC Vesica 1L water bottle

  • Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear water bottle sleeve (fit for Vesica)

 


Safety & First Aid


Safety Items

  • Garmin inReach

  • Swiss Army Knife

  • Gossamer Gear Gold Dome Ultralight Umbrella (New Mexico, Colorado)

  • Black Diamond Spot 400 headlamp

  • Pepper spray

  • Sleeping pad repair kit

  • Microspikes (Colorado)

  • Ice ax (Colorado)

  • Bear spray (Wyoming, Idaho, Montana)


Med Kit

  • Ibuprofen

  • Bandaids (x5)

  • Neosporin

  • Hydrocortisone cream

  • Moleskin

  • Gauze

  • Tweezers

  • Tick key

  • ACE wrap

  • Wilderness First Aid booklet

 


Toiletries


  • Kula Cloth

  • Menstrual cup

  • Never-worn socks that act as reusable pads if needed

  • PACT poop kit

  • Baby wipes

  • Trail Stuff Trailbrush

  • Toothpaste tablets

  • Lip balm

  • Sunblock stick

  • Extra quart-sized plastic baggies

 


Clothes


Tops

  • Patagonia Capiline Cool Daily Hoodie

  • Melanzana microgrid fleece hoodie

  • Patagonia Nano Puff

  • Frogg Toggs rain jacket

  • Pajama t-shirt


Bottoms

  • Running shorts from the thrift store

  • Melanzana Windpro Sweatpants

  • Frogg Toggs rain pants


Footwear

  • Altra Lone Peak trail runners

  • Darn Tough Micro Crew socks x2

  • Tent socks

  • Crocs

  • Dirty Girl Gaiters


Head & Hands

  • Buff

  • Hair bands x2

  • Bucket hat

  • Glove liners

  • Bug head net

 


Electronics, Etc.


  • Anker 20,000 mah power bank

  • iPhone 13 Pro

  • Garmin Forerunner 230 watch

  • Earbuds

  • Sony a6000 camera

  • SD cards x2

  • iPhone charger

  • Micro-USB charger

  • Watch charger

  • Wall port for charging cables

  • SD card to lightning adapter

  • Tripod

  • Bluetooth phone camera remote

  • AAA batteries

  • BD 1500 rechargeable headlamp battery

  • Deck of cards

  • Wallet baggie

 

If you have any specific questions about any of the gear I'm taking (or not taking), please send me a message!


Happy trails!


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