This isn’t my first Rodeo ,But I can still be stubborn, some things I just can’t hike without such as my trusty chair.
Well if you have read my blogs of followed my video blogs on YouTube
You will know that I’m not an ultra-light hiker. But I am reasonably happy with what I carry
When I prepared for my first hike I acquired most of my gear very cheap from suppliers , Thanks again Keith Fosset for your tips https://www.keithfoskett.com/
The problem was that I hadn’t done my homework properly .
I acquired great kit but the wrong kit for a through hike
This really sucked meaning that I had to replace it early on using precious hiking funds.
Do your homework
Get the best gear your money can buy but do not get silly!
The Trail is long
Plenty of time to trial gear, swap it out , buy new
Don’t Over Think it
You can get brain overload with advice, you need these, why have you got those . Remember this is your hike
A week spent on one of these trails is the best backpacking education in the world – better than any amount of online research.
This is my draft gear list it will be checked a few times before i pack up
I acquired most of my kit in 2014 ,and took most of the same when i hiked the AT in 2018 ( with a few tweaks)
So I have not had to outlay £3000* plus
this page may help to get your kit
- Backpack | Osprey Atmos 65 with rain cover
- Sleeping pad | Expend Downmat Ul W M
- Sleeping bag | Feather friends Hummingbird
- Tent | Big Agnes Flycreek HV UL3
- Groundsheet | BA Footprint
- Tent stakes | MSR Mini Groundhog + needles
- Sleeping bag liner | didn’t bother
- Dry bags | mainly Exped and what I pick up
- Ground Sheet* | Tyvek
- Chair | Helinox Chair one **
- Rain jacket | OR Helium 2 (new)
- Waterproof trousers | none
- Puffy | Rab Microlight Alpine jacket (New)
- Thermal top | Isobaa – Merino 200 Long Sleeve shirt
- Shorts | Fjern – Men’s Klatring Softshell Shorts (new)
- Shorts | Under armour Mid Compression Shorts
- Under wear | Isobaa – Mens Merino 180 Boxers
- Tights |Mountain Warehouse Extreme
- Shirt | Columbia Bahama PFG Shirt (new)
- Shirt | Under armour heat gear compression shirt
- Socks x 4 | Darn Tough / Smart wool /
- Shoes | Solomon’s XA Pro 3D (new)
- Gaiters | Dirty Girl (new)
- Gloves | cheap gloves
- Sun Gloves | Sealskinz
- Hat | Beanie I brought on AT
- Cap | Cheap Cap
- Sunglasses | Julbo Bivouak Chameleon
- Pot | Optimus Terra Weekend HE Cook
- Cup |Sea to Summit collapsible plus cheap plastic Cup
- Spoon |Sea to Summit Titanium
- Water filter | Sawyer Squeeze Lrg
- Stove | MSR Pocket Rocket
- Wind Break |Decathlon windbreak
- Fuel | Gas (whatever I can get)
- Bladder Camelbak 3L (Spare Bite valve) (new)
- Water bottle x2 | Smart water bottle (will buy on arrival)
- Lighter | Mini Bic
- Rehydration | Emergen- C and Crystal light
- Sun cream | Nivea Factor 50
- Mini scissors |
- Tweezers |
- Lip Balm
- Anti-Chafe | Body glide
- Toothpaste |Travel sized
- Loo roll /Wet wipes
- Hand Sanitiser | didn’t bother
- Trowel | Sea to Summit Pocket trowel
- First aid | Kit
- Head net | Sea to Summit
- Phone | Samsung S10+
- Battery pack + Cable | Anker Power core 2100
- Solar Charger | Solar Monkey Expedition **
- Adapter plug | 4 USB way USA plug
- Music| Sansa Mp3 Player
- Wallet |
- Knife | Gerber Paraframe 2
- Pain relief |Ibuprofen
- Head torch | TIKKA PLUS2 headlamp
- Repair tape | Spinnaker Tape
- Blister care | hypafix Tape
- Dry bag | Exped Selection
- Umbrella | EuroSchirm Light Trek Umbrella
- Poles | Lekki Khumbo
- Bear Bag kit
- Duct Tape
- Watch | Garmin Instinct
- Micro Spikes | Kahtoola (new)
- Snow Shoes| Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, 36 (new) **
- Thermal top | Isobaa – Merino 320 Long Sleeve shirt
** may not take will decide closer to departure
Backpack: Osprey Atmos 65
On my first Hike PCT in 2014 (green hiker) I started with the Osprey Aether 70 but I as I was carrying far too much after a Big shake down, I swapped it for an Exos 48, which was great.
But I preferred how the Aether sat on my back, so I swapped it back. Saying that the Exos was a popular bag in 2014
I started the AT with this bag but as I began to loose body fat it became sloppy. Osprey offered me a great deal on a new bag and so I swapped it for an Atmos 65. I just like how the Osprey bags feel on my back and when I broke my hip belt buckle. I was impressed at the speed Osprey were able to get me a replacement
Why do I like this bag? It’s certainly not the lightest and I am not anal to chop bits off to make it lighter
But I like the way it feels on my back and how it carries. I also I like that I can fill from top and bottom.
PAD: Exped DownMat UL Winter LW Sleeping Mat
I had the Exped SIM Lite UL for my first hike and I loved it except I wanted something that packed smaller, The Exped DownMat UL Winter LW was perfect. It has Ultra-high R-Value of 7.00 ,weighs in at 865gm .
This Mat also ships with a Schnozzel Pump bag for rapid, effortless and moisture free inflation which I love.
It has anti-slip GripSkin coating means you don’t slide off in the night even if your flat spot isn’t that flat !
I must admit people drove me crazy on the AT with their cheap crinkly mats , I really wanted to get up and stab them, that, their mats not them although there was one hiker !
Packed height: 27 cm, Packed diameter: 12 cm, Thickness: 9 cm,Length: 197 cm
Shoulder Width: 65 cm, Foot Width: 65 cm
Feathered friends Hummingbird 900 FILL
My bag of choice is the Feathered friends Hummingbird, brought this for te PCT in 2014 and is still perfect !
Its lightweight and down so packs small. I have never been cold ,
several times on the AT I was roasting so slept on the top this is a 20-degree bag and weighs 20ozs
TENT: Big Agnes Flycreek 3 HV UL
My Tent – I used the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 3 on the PCT and loved it and I have to say there was a lot of tent envy as this is a 3 man tent but I love it.
I was even happier when Big Agnes said that I could have a Fly Creek HV UL3 at a heavily discounted price
It’s a great, lightweight tent and free standing which is fairly useful on the AT. Even though I am a solo Hiker this is a three-man tent. It’s very palatial which is important, especially in the wet like I encountered on the Appalachian Trail. So, you can have all your gear inside and still have room to room and dry stuff Trail weight 2lb 15oz
I also used the footprint. Protects the tent so you’re not packing a dirty tent
PEGS: MSR Needle Tent Stakes
These MRS Needle tent stakes haven’t let me down, they hold firm although they are designed for rocky ground. They’re strong yet lightweight .They’re a nifty bright red colour so your less likely to lose them in poor conditions
These are 9.6g each and they are 17.5 cm long
Cost: £11.99 (6pk)
MSR Mini Groundhog
Yes I’m mad but carry 2 types of pegs, as
The MSR Mini Groundhog stakes are lightweight, compact and all-purpose pegs for securing your tent in firm soil. Supplied with pull loops for easy removable.
RAIN Jacket : Helium II Jacket
many hikers had this jacket on the AT and i have to say i was a bit envious .The Helium II Jacket is a super lightweight, extremely breathable and fully waterproof jacket that will keep you protected in wet and windy conditions. and its incredibly light 6.4 ounces. An ultra-compressible piece you’ll never leave behind, it’s so light and packs down so small.
To be Honest I seldom wore this rain jacket as I preferred to hike wet and get dry once at camp, however when I got cold this jacket was fantastic.
Cost: £104 – worth the price
Tights/Leggings : Men’s Base Layer Pants
I don’t carry long trousers but if I’m cold I will slip these on. They are Isotherm and so have good heat retention to ensures you stay warm, even in the coldest climates
They are High wicking and so keeping you dry and comfortable. They dry quickly too
Lightweight – no added bulk, great when used as part of a layering system
Puffy: Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket
When I hiked the PCT I brought a Rab ultralight jacket .I absolutely love this jacket and took it again for the AT.
Technology has moved on and so after a little research, i have purchased a newer model .
The Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket . weight 15.7 oz 445g jacket with 750 fill down.
It’s super warm, I love it, plus it squashes down to nothing
Thermals : Isobaa – Merino 200 Long Sleeve shirt
I used the same top for PCT & AT, So have treated myself to a new one
Merino keeps you warm when it’s cold and breathes well when it’s warm, keeping you comfortable whatever the weather. It’s also quick drying, naturally odour resistant 200g
Shorts: Fjern Klatring Softshell Shorts
These are a lightweight & packable stretch hiking short,
Lightweight Polyester 4 way Stretch single weave fabric weight 250gms 8.8 oz
NB I normally start with this type of shorts then switch to Under armour Gym shorts
Shirt: Columbia Silver Ridge II Long Sleeve
I liked this colour makes a change from olive green Hopefully will protect me from the sun early on
100% nylon basket weave
Sun Gloves : Sealskin
I was quite happy with my cheap gloves (mainly for cold mornings ,
but then while looking at another users video i noticed that he was taking Sun gloves !
Never heard of these , but they are lightweight breathable gloves to wear to stop your hands getting burnt
I have since, heard great things about them so in my pack they will go.
Totally waterproof, breathable and windproof
Soft, durable synthetic palm with gel padding for increased grip and comfort
Socks: / Smart wool / Darn Tough / Others
Merino, smell proof, cushioned, seamless, durable, fast action wicking,
I carry four pairs and swap regularly ,this works for me but maybe overkill for you !
Shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D
When I started the PCT. in 2014 I was a very green hiker .I arrived in the US with three pairs of Berghaus boots which I has obtained heavily discounted from Berghaus. I ended swapping them for trail runners after a friend came to see me and gave me a huge Bollocking for wearing boots.
My first Choice were Altras snow Peaks 2 they fitted like a glove,but they fell apart before I had completed a 100 miles
I quickly phoned REI, and they suggested Solomon’s. I was nervous about trying a new shoe and possibly blisters.
But wow straight out of the box and they were perfect, and no issues.
Shoes are the most subjective of all things on my gear list. Comfort and fit are paramount, especially for beginners. Durability (Relative to cost) comes next, and everything else is just noise.
I used 3 pairs on the PCT and 5 pairs on the Appalachian trail , The AT destroys shoes .
I tend to buy off season or in the sales
Gaiters : Dirty Girls
Virtually every hiker wears these they cost around £20 and come in thousands of crazy colours
They attach with Velcro and a clip. Remember to keep the extra Velcro as they can get torn off
You can get in the Uk but cheaper in the USA
Hat: Appalachian Trail BEANIE
Lost mine so picked this up from one of the Huts in the Whites .
Acrylic hat, it’s warm….
It’s a hat !
Sunglasses : JULBO – Explorer 2.0 Chameleon
Love these sunglasses especially great when hiking through the snow
Cost: £150.26 (mine were Free from sponsor)
Pot: Optimus Terra Weekend HE Cook
I used this cook set on the PCT & the AT and loved it so of course it’s coming again
It has Heat exchanger system cuts boil time by 20% it’s easy to clean. Fry pan lid with handle, when I use to make more tea as my food steams .
I carry hot sauce olive oil, scrapper and lighter inside as well as powdered milk and tea bags (I’m a Brit)
Lowdown: Volume: 0.95 L, Size: 165 × Ø 124 mm | 6.49 x Ø 4.8″, Weight: 10 oz | 284 g
Cost: £31 (acquired Free from Sponsor)
Windbreak : Decathlon windbreak
This is probably a nice to have but I’m bringing it after several food accident while protecting my cooking from the wind. Its 190gm light and durable, it folds flat and can help reduce fuel
Cup : Sea to Summit & Basic
I Carry TWO ,I carry a folding sea to summit and a cheap basic one
The basic one I find useful when I have to bail water when the source is low or slow
Cost: £5 and 99p
Spoon: Sea To Summit Titanium Spoon
Titanium, lightweight, and strong. This spoon has been in my life for a while and does the trick! 12gms
Knife : Gerber Paraframe 2
I came by this knife by accident, I picked it up on trail until I found its owner, I was so impressed I had to buy my own
This knife comes in several sizes I use the 3 inch bladed version
Water Filter: Sawer Squeeze
This is the filter of choice for most Hikers. It weighs a mere 85g . Very efficient water treatment system, inexpensive and both easy and versatile. You can fill up your hydration bladder or water bottle, screw this filter on the top, and drink straight from it. Alternatively, fill a bottle or bladder and filter water through the filter into another container for use later. It comes with two additional water pouches, and a syringe to backwash the filter to keep it clean and particle free
Remember to sleep with it on cold nights as if it freezes its no longer safe
Stove : MSR Pocket Rocket II
I’ve had this Pocket Rocket for years. It’s reliable, lightweight and fast. It seems silly to replace it,
Smart Water Bottle 1L X 2
These are the more popular water bottles to carry on any long distance trail at 37.5g (empty obviously) they slip into the pocket of your pack so easily
I’ll carry 2 of these most of the time, and with the 3L bladder this gives a max capacity of 5L. I also carry a 1l roll up bag just in case
Cost: Who cares
Headnet : Sea to Summit
It’s a head net !! But bugs are annoying
Phone Samsung S10+
Its a phone, camera !
Camera : Olympus Tough T5
I am taking this camera , Cameras are personal choice, some hikers carry them other rely on their smart phone.
I like to use a camera and have my smart phone as back up , On the PCT I used a Olympus Tough TG-830, which I loved as it was bullet proof and it never let me down. This camera is its replacement
I also carry a spare battery and of course memory cards
Thanks to the nice people at Olympus RRP: £349
Music : Sansa 8 GB MP3 Player
Again personnel choice, I really like this little chap , its small ,has an external memory card (I Use a 8gb card ) It also has a built in radio, It clips to your pack .I like to use this, thus keeping my phone safe and saving precious juice
Battery: Anker Power Core 20100
I like this power pack. It’s a beast ,normally can last me a week charging my stuff
Does what is says on the tin .
Electricals : 3 / usb Oulet
I couldn’t find a picture of mine , Mine is a 4-way cube , it means when outlets are tight you can charge more than 1 device at a time
Solar: Power-traveller EXTREME SOLAR
Weight 289 gms
Price: £65.00 I grovelled and got mine for under £30
Wallet: Aquapac Travel case
A waterproof case that keeps all your valuables and essentials safe from the elements.
Blister Care: Hypafix
Came across this by accident Used on chaffing areas ie when your pack is settling in, blister or hot spots on feet
amazing stuff. I cut into lengths an carry in my first aid kit. Also in bounce box
Repair Tape : Spinnaker tape
Another hiker recommended this too me so why not give it a go
Cost £6.48 for 4.5m
Watch : Garmin
I saw another hiker with this and liked it, nice clear face to read plus many other features
Drybags: Exped Fold Dry 4 Pack Drybag/ Sea To Summit
I was given these bags as part as a sponsorship deal back in 2014 and they are still good to go although I have added a couple of others including a sea to summit
The to sea to summit I use for my food bag and is often hung
1 for my clothes
1 for my sleeping bag
1 for electricals
1 for my daily food /snacks
Chair: Helinox Chair one (TBD)
The Chair One from Helionx is a lightweight, packable camp chair, that packs up small and light. If you want it, you will carry it as it’s a worthy companion. I saw several hikers carrying theses. So I said to myself if I see one more then I will buy one. It may be a luxury item considering the extra food and water that I need to carry…We will see !Weighs: 960g
Shade : Trekking Umbrella
I have to say i have never taken one of these on either of my last two thru hikes , But I have been following Astrid’s 2019 hike of the CDT. Astrid had great things to say about it so have brought one yousonder.wordpress.com CDT 2019 Thru-hike
Water : Platypus 3L
This is my bladder of choice – It’ weighs 91gms . I have used the same model on PCT and AT Its coming again.
I use this as my main hiking drinking water ,It just sits on top of my pack for easy access and I let the hose dangle.
I am how ever taking a spare valve as I accidentally ripped one off whilst hiking
Poles: LEKI Khumbu SPEED LOCK + baskets
I used Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork on both the PCT and AT and I loved them , On the AT I would say it was about 50/50 Leki v Black diamond
But I thought I would try some Leki’s they are similar cork handles , speed lock ,I’ll let you know how I get on with them 270g each.
Anti Chafe: Body Glide
It is not a thing that I suffer from, but when it does begin you need to sort it quickly
Re-hydration : Emengen-c / Crystal Light
I have used Emengen-c for my electrolytes, and they have looked after me .
Crystal light is just for flavouring my water that I got addicted too on the PCT
Both come in different flavours
First Aid : Lifesystems Trek
lengths of Hypafix
Ibuprofen night-time (knocks me out)
Antibiotics 2 x courses (from Dr before I travel)
band aids /plasters
POOP Scoop: Sea To Summit Pocket Trowel
A super strong, lightweight and cleverly compact pocket trowel. Designed to support the Leave No Trace ethic of minimising back country impact by humans.
The Pocket Trowel is collapsible, Stores lighter/toilet tissues in handle,
I have used others, But for me this is far superior, I mean you want a nice hole to poop in right 100g weight
Food bag Hanging kit* (bear hang)
I use a small ditty bag , which contains a length of paracord, a carabiner and a large tent stake.
What you do is remove all parts from the bag ,hook carabiner to the bag, find a largish stone, Put this in the bag, Now attempt throw the bag over a suitable tree branch.
When successful (several hours later ), take off the ditty bag, Hook on your food bag, make sure you pass the other end through your carabiner. Hoist it up towards the branch . Now tie clove-hitch around your tent stake, this will then it will lock in place. Most hikers will look for a stick, but I found that the tent stake slides off much easier
If your now lost google bear bag hanging PCT method
SOS: McMurdo Fast Find 220 Personnel Locator Beacon (PLB)
I didn’t carry anything on the PCT , as I had used up my Budget, but thought I should on the AT although there weren’t so many scary moments compared to the PCT
I choose the McMurdo Fast Find 220 PLB. This is the bit of kit that you hope that you never have to use.
It only has one way communication, If in trouble you set it off and hope, there is no way of knowing if the signal is received but let’s hope so
A lot of people use the spot, as it has two-way communication, but from my experience they are all a bit hit and miss , and have led to a few false alarms.
Micro Spikes | Kahtoola (new)
I haven’t used before but these are what most hikers use
Snow Shoes| Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, 36 (new)
Again haven’t ever used before. maybe they are over kill? I will tell you laters
Thermal top | Isobaa – Merino 320 Long Sleeve shirt
I really like Isobaa, and this is the same thermal shirt i always take/ wear
This one is a lot heavier and hopefully warmer for the snow 320GM