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.
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?.
- 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.)
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.
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.
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.
- GoPro camera – so you guys have video evidence of how dumb we are
- 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.
- 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.