Badger’s Gear List 1,900 Miles Later

I’ve received a few requests for an updated list of the gear that currently rides on Badger’s back.  This post is dedicated to you.  And whoever else may derive value out of it.

Instead of listing everything that I’m using, I will detail only the differences in gear from my original departure.

But first a quick explanation on why my gear may have changed…

I went into this trek assuming that what I started with, would also be what I ended with.  Most experienced backpackers know better.  Although it is possible to do the full 2,181 miles with the same exact gear, it is very unlikely, especially for inexperienced backpackers who still need to figure out what works best for their particular needs.  Add to this that you’re dealing with three seasons, vastly different terrain, the wear and tear that comes along with 150 days of constant use, and a sense of curiosity of how piece X would work for you, and the stage has been set for an equipment evolution.

What’s different:

Clothes:  I am currently on my 4th base layer shirt (the current version a Nike Dry Fit).  These tend to wear down the quickest since they are usually lighter material and the waist straps of my pack wear them away over time.  I have only paid for one shirt, however.  REI has a great return policy if you are a member.  I highly recommend you become a member : |

I ditched the sock liners.  The John Candy hat got sent home back in Virginia (it’s as heavy as it is awesome).  So too did the gloves.  I’m down to one bandana.  The gaiters went home a long time ago.  Instead of 2 pairs of medium and one heavy weight pair of socks, I now carry two light weight, and one medium weight (for camp use only).  Otherwise everything else is the same.

Outerwear: The GoLite Gortex jacket accidentally got thrown in the wash with carpet cleaner rather than detergent (this one was actually not my fault).  Not surprisingly it lost all function after that.  I tried an REI brand rainjacket after that, it was no good.  I am now using a Patagonia rain shell, which is super light, and works perfectly.  The High-Tec jacket went home very early on, due to being excessive.  WHOOP!!!! still uses his however.

Footwear:  The Hi-Tec Altitude Ultra WPI Wide Boot got me 450 miles (into Damascus, VA) while only getting only one blister.  After that point, since the risk of snow is all but gone, most hikers switch over to trail runners because they are lighter weight thus allowing you to cover more ground.  This is a problem for me since I have extremely wide, pregnant-lady feet.  None of the Hi-Tec shoes fit my alien feet.  Neither did any Solomon, Keen, Merrill, North Face, etc.  Apparently ultra-wide trail runners are impossible to come by.

So… since Virginia, I have been hiking in New Balances.  Seriously.  They’ve worked great for me.  I’m now on my third pair- as of yesterday- but plan to switch back to the Hi-Tec boots toward the end of the trip to prepare for the rocky terrain that is to come.  I have recently been told the rocks are worse in the White Mountain National Forrest (more commonly referred to as “The Whites”) which are now behind me, so may not need to switch.  Time will tell.

For camp shoes I have been using Crocs since they are light and handle well in water.

Sleeping System:  The Eureka! Casper 15 degree bag saved my life many times in the beginning of the trail when below 30 degree temperatures were fairly common at night.  After northern VA, however, a 15 degree bag was excessive.  I switched over to a Deuter 50 degree bag, saving me an extra 1 lb of weight (significant) from northern VA all the way to New Hampshire.  I’m back to the Casper 15 degree which is a tad heavy for the current weather, but a 50 degree bag is a risk at this point.  I still use the same liner and Eureka BackCountry one person tent (a tad on the heavy side, but super durable and a great size for one person).   I’m also still using the Eureka Sleeping pad.

Water Storage:  I ditched the Platypus 1L bladder and Nalgene before ever leaving for the trail due to a recommendation by our friends at The Dusty Camel.  Glad I did (they never steer me the wrong way).  Now I use a Gatorade bottle as a hard container and the 3L CamelBak for water.

Electronics:  Although it’s very cool, I ditched the GoPro early on.  It’s just too heavy.  I switched to a lighter version of the Princeton Tec headlamp as well.

Misc: Medical kit got cut down to bandaids and Neosporin.  The rest of my injuries are solved by being a man.  Sent home the harmonica (because I suck).   Sent the compass home too.  Of the Innate Storage gear, only the Mentor Storage Sacs remain (the other stuff was excessive).  They are really awesome and hard to find at outfitters (so buy yours online).  The trowel never made it to the trail (a rock digs excellent poop holes). For a guidebook, I use AWOLs 2011 NoBo guide.  Dear future thru-hikers, this is the best guide (get the current year’s version obviously).

Notes on existing gear:  I am on my 2nd Greogy Z65 pack.  The original pack was still in  good shape, especially if you consider it had journeyed 1,400 miles, but had a couple of small tears that could eventually have turned into a bigger issue.  The fine folks over at Gregory decided to send me a brand new pack instead of repairing the necessary spots and sending me a loner.  For the record, the Gregory pack and company receive my full endorsement.

I think that covers it.  If there is anything that I left off-, if you have any questions on anything, or want to tell me how stupid I am, leave your comments below.

Will be in Maine by the time you read this.


(One swear word per post)

  • Chuck L

    Holy crap! I’n first. Seriously Badger, Betsey and I have been vicariously feeling 20-something through your efforts. I intend to keep following you on your blog long after you end this walkabout of yours. I only hope you follow mine and the wife’s once we begin our trek here in the near future (here’s hoping).

  • kathy dalton

    Maine???? WOWOWOW!!!!  You go, good badger, you go! 

  • Jasonaellisd

    Go get ’em Badge.

  • Charlie

    Not normally a blog fanatic….but I’ve been glued to your posts since the beginning.  The AT has always been a goal of mine….but I’m too much of a wimp to see it becoming a reality.  Thus, I enjoy the trip vicariously through the Badger!  Keep the blog going……even after your return……the teacher side of me is interested in how you redefine your post-AT life.  Blessings and safe travel to the Badger!

  • Wendy

    Badger, it was so great to meet you at Lake of the Clouds hut near Mount Washington.  Best of luck on the final leg of your quest!