The Good Badger’s Final (?) Gear List

UPDATE: I have since successfully thru-hiked the AT!  Who would’ve thought? (see: not most people)  This is what I recommend for an Appalachian Trail Gear List

Today’s task: figure out how to get six months worth of stuff onto my back.

zd total gear

After months of trying to obtain sponsorship from companies, diligent research, pestering The Daily Camel on a near-daily basis, and hours of aimless meandering through REI, I’ve narrowed down my assortment of belongings. This is what it looks like.

I realize that to the untrained eye, the above photo likely looks like chaos. That’s because it is. Let’s break this chaos down a bit, shall we?.

Good Badger clothes image

  • Sock Liners (2 pair) – REI
  • Medium weight wool socks (2 pair) – Hi-Tec
  • Heavy weight wool socks – IceBreaker
  • Bandana (4) – Stolen from friends in college
  • Awesome John Candy hat – North Face
  • Medium weight glove liners – REI
  • Gaiters – REI
  • Short sleeve Capilene 2 Base Layer – Patagonia
  • Long sleeve Capilene 3 Zip-up – Patagonia
  • Zip-up Wool Camp Shirt – IceBreaker
  • Capiliene Boxer Brief (2 pair) – Patagonia
  • Convertible pants – Patagonia
  • Wool leggings – IceBreaker

This is all of the clothing I’m bringing (aside from jackets & footwear) for a 2,179 mile trek. Two pairs of underwear. TWO. I will smell like a swamp creature no less than 98% of time (my current rate is 93).

Socks: Sock liners are worn underneath the wool socks to wick moisture away. Medium-weight wool socks are help to protect your feet, they’re good at not retaining moisture, and take longer to retain a stank. The heavyweight wool socks are used exclusively at camp – something clean and dry to change into at the end of the day and keep your feet warm.

Zip-up: The IceBreaker zip-up will also be used exclusively at camp. Again changing into something dry and relatively clean will help minimize backpacking insanity.

Bandana: You’re probably wondering why if I’m bringing only 2 pairs of undies (yes, undies) why in the shit would I be bring FOUR bandanas? Other than staying fashionably sound on the trail (priority #1), bandanas serve multiple useful purposes including: filtering large chunks of crap out of stream water when filling your water bottle, cleaning dishes, drying tears out of eyes (for John), and probably a bunch of other stuff that I have already forgotten.

(Also you may notice the blue bag in the top part of the screen. It’s a bug net to be worn around my face. Although the Good Badger does not love bugs, bugs do love the Good Badger.)

good badger jackets

My jackets.

The rain jacket is ultra-light weight and will be used primarily during the warmer rainy days. The Hi Tec fleece/jacket combo is my cold weather jacket and will get a lot of use in the first couple months.

Good Badger Footwear

One piece of advice I’ve been offered repeatedly – take care of your feet. I am in extremely good hands (reverse pun?) having the help of Hi-Tec.

Although this is the footwear I will be starting with, it’s not what will be on my feet come hike’s end. AT hikers typically go through 3-4 pairs of boots/shoes throughout the course of the trail. I purposely wanted to start with something a little heavier in the beginning as it serves to keep my feet warmer during the colder months. I will likely be switching to something lighter somewhere near the start of Virginia.

Good Badger Sleep Stuff

I broke in the above items last night by camping out in my friends back patio (cement). I slept like a baby. Like a narcoleptic baby. The Casper bag rocks my world.

good badger tent

Assorted gear[/caption]

  • GoPro camera – so you guys have video evidence of how dumb we are
  • Headlamp
  • 3L CamelBak Bladder
  • 1L Bladder
  • 1L Nalgene (Considering how much shit I’ve gotten for this already, it might be swapped out for a Gatorade bottle)
  • Trowel (to dig poop holes in the dirt)
  • Hiking poles

  • Harmonica (duh)
  • Everyday toiletries (basically chamois cream, toothpaste and condoms)
  • First aid kit
  • Assorted electronic accessories (headphones/chargers)
  • Multi-use towel (Shamwow technology!)
  • Waterproof journal (my tears will roll right off)
  • Assorted cooking supplies (matches/spork)
  • Benchmade knife

  • Backpack – Gregory Z65 (w/ rain cover in blue sack)
  • Compass – Silva
  • (Semi-hidden) blue rope to hang food in trees and away from tent (so bears don’t eat you in your sleep)

The mess looks a lot less intimidating once the clothes are in their stuff sacs

And this is what 6 months of stuff looks like on my back (knife in hand of course).

I haven’t showered in a while. I’m not sorry.

Post Notes:

  • No – I don’t know how much my pack weighs. I need to find a scale. I will get back to you on this.
  • There are still some items that need to be divvied (i.e. mini-stove), some items that haven’t yet been added (i.e. food), and probably some items that I’m forgetting (this is where you can chime in).
  • If you’re an experienced backpacker, and see and glaring mistakes that I’ve made (nearly inevitable) please speak up. I’m looking for feedback.
  • I’m leaving for Georgia this Sunday.
  • Don’t tell John, but I hid a 5 lb. weight in the middle of his pack.
  • Melissalacey

    Zach, we have been really enjoying the videos and watching you get ready for the trail. We (Nick and Mel) are leaving for the trail on April 5th from CANADA! You may want to consider a sleeping pad to avoid nights of envy towards other comfortably sleeping hikers. Also missing, a water filter, shorts, and toilet paper (which is basically gold when hiking!). Hope this helps!

  • Wow- apparently the 2,179 mile trail wasn’t intense enough for you guys! That’s so rad. I hope we cross paths.

    I guess I did a poor job listing out all of my items – because I do have a sleeping pad. Thank you for reminding me to include that. It’s wrapped up in the tent bag (is that bad form?).

    For water filtration were using Aquamira drops instead of a pump just for simplicity’s sake.

    For shorts- I’ve got the convertible pants. Would you recommend an additional pair on top of that?

    TP is a must – I can’t believe I forgot to include that. I’m sort of a douche like that.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Good luck on your trek!

  • Wow, I am very impressed with your packing abilities! I also vaguely wonder how much will get chucked out for weight issues after the first few miles. Can’t wait to see some pictures from the trail!

  • Greg

    We’re flattered with your comment on our Innate Mentor Storage Sacs “Super bad-ass, whoever invented this is 1 billion times smarter than I will ever be” but we claim no special smarts! We’re just like you-lots of time on the trail which we used to go effect as we obsessed on a product that would fill our wish list of an effective storage sac under our umbrella of a reduced ecological footprint. Look forward to your ongoing updates!
    The Innate team

  • Randy

    Hi, Sleeping pad is a must for me. Also sounds like you are going to be sweating a lot with all that cold weather gear. I also noticed the compass but did not see any maps. Compass won’t help without maps.

  • I will probably using my iPhone to search “Appalachian Trail Sherpa” within the first few miles.

  • Maybe you can shed some insight but I’ve heard mixed reviews on carrying maps. I’ve read both that maps are very necessary to all you need are the data guides and AT companion.

    If we won’t need the maps, it’s a lot of extra weight.

    But yeah the compass does little good without a map. We need to get that straight.

  • Rick

    great work dude. love your page. my gf (that’s girlfriend, not goatfu*ker) and I are starting down in Springer on April 23rd. so hopefully we’ll see you on the trail. most hikers love to talk about gear, i actually kind of hate it, but through trial and error i have two suggestions that may make your life easier. 1. supercat stove 2. aquamira drops (instead of water filter). this has saved us about 2 pounds and at least a 100 bucks. the stove you make yourself from a cat food can using a hole punch. it took me about 10 minutes and cost 50 cents and weighs less than the lighter you’ll use to start it. google supercat stove. sounds like something from district 9 but it actually works awesome. and the aquamira drops weigh alot less than a filter. and you can’t break it. pour some water into your jug through a bandana, a drop of aquamira and keep walking. we found them cheapest at

    anyway, some other hiker will probably write on here anyway and say how this advice sucks but it works well for us.

    good luck and see you on the trail

    Rick & Bec

  • Lindsey

    Looks like you can leave a few things at home. You really need to weigh your pack, the weight is very important and what ruins a lot of thru hikes.

  • So… to avoid extreme swamp ass, for both you and Pony Fart (I have yet to figure this name out), you should convince your loyal readers to have a fresh pair (or two or three) of briefs (for PF) and undies (for you) to meet you both at each mailbox pickup. The post office could be a brief/undie exchange station!

  • Hahaha. Thanks for informing me that there’s another meaning for gf. I never knew that stood for girlfriend. Enlightening.

    Definitely taking Aquamira drops. I don’t think John and I are competent enough to use a pump, and it mostly just sounds like a pain in the cornhole. I’m all about avoiding cornhole pain.

    As for the stove, we already bought a big new one. I’m curious as to how much I’ll require hot food, I tend to eat trailmix most of the day as is, but I have also never lived outside before. If it ends up sucking, I will need for you to show me how yours works.

    Let’s make an effort to meet up on the trail. I look forward to meeting.

    Best of luck to you and yours.

  • Does that mean you’re volunteering? 🙂

  • I learned that food is heavy. Mostly because I consume a lot of it. I am avoiding the scale because I don’t like what it’s going to say. (insert fat person joke)

  • Yeah we’re having 2nd thoughts on the maps. I guess the trail is marked super well, rendering maps unnecessary. Thoughts?

    I might shed a jacket too.

  • My sanity will be the first thing to get tossed.

  • International hikers. Bad. Ass.

    Thanks for the advice. For filter we’re going with the aquamira drops. I’ve since added TP. And yes, I have a Eureka manual inflating sleeping pad. Very comfortable.

    I hope we cross paths on the trail. Make an effort to track us down 🙂

  • I only call them super bad ass because they are super bad ass. Thanks for the super bad ass sacs.

  • Lindsey

    Lol well at the very least you could lose the trowel, 3 of the bananas, the nalgene bottle, and the sleeping bag liner. I’m not bringing gaiters or a compass either but thats just me. Gregory packs are heavy to begin with. I had one to start with and traded it in for one half its weight. My pack was close to 40 pounds when I went before and I traded stuff in so now its down to 23, including food. You have to watch out for your feet, which is one reason the weight is so important. Once those go, you don’t have anything else. Not to mention it just wears you out so much faster. Have fun and good luck! Maybe I’ll see you out there.

  • Ryantwills

    Do no trust you packs water proof cover, if your hiking for any length of time, categorize all you stuff and put each category in its own water proof compression sack. If you can find em, put them in a compression sack and then put that into a water proof sack, this will make your life better in many ways on the trail

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  • Tony_morris1986

    Just wondering how the trip is. My gf and I are going and I’ve actually looked to your page for a lot of ideas. Well let me know I’ll be out there next year leavin Atlanta in the beginning of march

  • Dpyle

    Cool man…very interesting. Seems like a lot, but looking forward to reading about it.

  • Bobalu

    Exactly! Keep the weight with food under 25lbs!! The less weight the more fun the hike.

  • Commander Zero

    Good call on the condoms… No other list I’ve looked at has included those. As a wise man once said “There’s nothin like safe sex”

  • Pierre

    Thanks for this rundown of your gear, very helpful. There is one issue I seem to find contradictory info on : shoe size. I know for a fact that shoes should be a good / snug fit to avoid blisters but on the other hand, some thru-hikers are suggesting starting with slightly bigger shoes because feet will apparently swell to an extra size. What’s your take on this? – P.

  • The foot swell is real. More of a foot flattening, really. Additionally, you want to ensure there’s enough space so your toe doesn’t hit against the box of your shoe/boot on the downhills (otherwise you’ll be attending your toenail’s funeral in no time).

  • The best kind of birth control is nuclear levels of swamp ass.