What's in my Pack? - AT Prep
I get this question a lot. "Nolan what are you bringing?! Do you have this? Or what about this?! You should take two of these!"
Let me explain. With hiking longer distances pack weight becomes a key factor in deciding what to bring and what gets left at home. If you've taken physics or know anything about expending energy the heavier the weight you carry the harder it is and the slower you will travel. It's also a little bit of how much risk are you willing take on in the woods and how comfortable you are coming up with solutions from the things you have.
So no, I'm not bringing a large pot. I'm not bringing three thermal layers, and no, I'm not bringing a bowl or even a plate.
Here's what I'm carrying:
- Osprey Exos 58L
I've debated on using a frameless pack for sometime, however, I just like the feel of Ospreys and have decided to go with the Exos for the duration of my trek. I think the comfortability will outweigh any weight savings I would have had.
- Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket
- Marmot Raincoat/Shell
- Mountain Hardwear Chiller LS Shirt
- Mountain Hardwear Elmoro Shirt (2x)
- Patagonia Baggies Shorts (2x)
- Nike Running Shorts
- ExOfficio Boxer Briefs (2x)
- Underarmour Thermal Leggings
- Darn Tough Socks (2x)
- Melanzana Beanie
- Patagonia Duckbill Trucker
I have 3 shirts and 3 shorts so I can have one set to sleep in. This set will become my "Town" clothes when I'm washing my other clothes. I've decided not to take any pants. I really don't like zip off pants, and have never really had a use for rain pants. This may change in Oregon or Washington if it's a wet summer, but for now I'll stick with my leggings for those cold nights. Darn Tough Socks are the only socks I trust. I know my marmot rain coat isn't bombproof, but it's lightweight and will work. Pro Tip - 87% of hiking is looking the part, so make sure you've got some matching outfits so the pictures come out bomber.
- Merrell Capra Sport Low
- Dirty Girl Gaiters
I'm going with the Merrell Capra Sport Low for this adventure paired with some Dirty Girl Gaiters. I've broken these in quite well and am really happy with the traction as well as durability. They're not exactly the lightest shoes on the market, but the most important thing is to get shoes that fit well and feel comfortable. If you're feet break down you break down. Simple as that.
- Garmin GPSMAP64st
For this trip I have maps as well as a GPS I will be trying out. The GPS is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st. I've never hiked with a GPS before, but it proved helpful on the Colorado Trail so look for an update on how this turns out.
- Smart Water Bottles 1L (3x)
- Sawyer Mini - w/ flusher and bag.
- Aqua Mira Drops
I'll probably also carry a bladder in the desert section of the PCT but for the rest of the trail I'll only be carrying 2 or 3 liters at a time. I'm carrying two sources of filtration because sometimes the Aqua Mira is faster, and vise versa, so I carry both. It's also a good precaution if one fails.
- Snow Peak Trek 900 - (pot&lid)
- MSR Superfly - (Stove)
- MSR ISOPRO - (8oz)
- Pot holder
- Light My Fire Spork
- Camp Suds
- 1/4 Brillo Pad
This was my system in Colorado. Most of the meals I make can be eaten right out of the pot. This means no bowl/plate etc. Hot chocolate or Oatmeal is easily done in the lid of the pot. Only three items to clean means an earlier bed time, which when you're abusing your body as much as I do is fantastic.
- Western Mountaineering Alpinlite 20° Long - (sleeping bag)
- MSR Hubba NX - (tent)
- Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL
I've also spent many nights wrestling with the desisions here. Freestanding tent vs Non-Freestanding. Single Walled Shelter vs Double Walled Shelter. Super light air mattress vs non inflatable pad.
I think I finally have it dialed in though.
The one item I'm most happy about is my sleeping bag. If you want to sleep like you're in a Five Star hotel when you're on trail get a Western Mountaineering Sleeping bag. Expensive, but worth every penny. To save weight for my tent I'm only bringing the bare essentials, meaning, fly, actual tent, poles, and 6 tent stakes. I've finally done what some people never get the nerve to do; I cut up my sleeping pad. Yes, I actually cut parts of my pad off to be shorter, thus saving weight. I decided I really only need my back to be on a pad because I put my feet under my legs to elevate them at night, thus the cutting ensued.
- Tube of Sunscreen
- Sawed off Toothbrush
- Travel Toothpaste
- Pack Towel
- Hand Sanitizer
You're not a real thru-hiker until you saw off your toothbrush right?
- Olympus OMD-EM5
- 17mm Lens
- 40-150mm Lens
- Small Tripod
- Light My Fire FireSteel
- First Aid Kit - Moleskin, band-aids, gauze
- Buck Apex Knife
- Phone & Charger
- Black Diamond Headlamp
- Extra Batteries for Headlamp and GPS
- Black Diamond Carbon Z Trekking Poles
- Rain Cover
I really think the extra weight for good pictures is worth it. Maybe after a couple hundred miles I won't think so, but right now I do. FireSteel is always the only fire starting device I carry. The sparks are hot enough and if you know how to build a fire, you can light it every time rain or shine. I never thought I'd like carbon trekking poles. I honestly was afraid to use them for a while because I didn't want to break them. However, Black Diamond has made their poles practically bombproof and I never hike without these things anymore.
There you go! If you have questions or comments on my gear or would like advise/ just want to talk gear send me a message! I'm always down to talk gear.
Trip Updates: I'm heading south tomorrow to get dropped off at Carver's Gap in Tennessee to start my journey northward and couldn't be more excited!
I'll have a trip report following my adventure, wish me luck!