As I said earlier do your homework, even us seasoned hikers can make mistakes or forget things
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, 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 what i had planned to take .!! how did it all fair ?
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
- Sleeping bag liner | didn’t bother
- Dry bags | mainly Exped
- 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)
- Under wear | Isobaa – Mens Merino 180 Boxers
- Tights |Mountain Warehouse Extreme (new)
- Shirt | Columbia Bahama PFG Shirt (new)
- Shirt | Under armour heat gear compression shirt
- Socks x 4 | Darn Tough / Smart wool (new)
- Shoes | Solomon’s XA Pro 3D (new)
- Gaiters | Dirty Girl (new)
- Gloves | cheap gloves*
- Sun Gloves | Sealskinz (new)
- 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 Platypus 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 | Spray 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 Bug net
- Phone | Samsung S10+ (new)
- Battery pack + Cable | Anker Power core 21000
- Solar Charger | Solar Monkey Expedition (Did not take )
- Adapter plug | USB 2 way USA plug
- Music| Sansa Mp3 Player (new)
- Wallet |
- Knife | Gerber Paraframe 2
- Head torch | TIKKA PLUS2 headlamp
- Repair tape | Spinnaker Tape
- Blister care | hypafix Tape
- Dry bag | Exped Selection
- Umbrella | EuroSchirm Light Trek Umbrella(new)
- Poles | Lekki Khumbo (new)
- Bear Bag kit
- Duct Tape
- Watch | Garmin Instinct (new)
- Micro Spikes | Kahtoola (new)
- Snow Shoes| Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, 36 DIDNT TAKE !!
- Thermal top | Isobaa – Merino 320 Long Sleeve shirt
Backpack: Osprey Atmos 65
I started the AT with my Osprey Aether 70 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 feels 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’m 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.
Post Hike:- This bag preformed well, no issues no damage no faults and an awful lot of miles, okay its now a bit rough around the edges but never let me down .9/10
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 Schnozzle Pump bag for rapid, effortless and moisture free inflation which I love. It has anti-slip Grip Skin coating means you don’t slide off in the night even if your flat spot isn’t that flat !
Packed height: 27 cm, Packed diameter: 12 cm, Thickness: 9 cm, Length: 197 cm
Shoulder Width: 65 cm, Foot Width: 65 cm
Post Hike:- I loved this matt, It did the whole trail with out a puncture of delamination, I was never cold and I slept well, which is what i want 9/10
Feathered friends Hummingbird 900 FILL
My bag of choice is the Feathered friends Hummingbird, brought this for the PCT in 2014
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
Cost: £283 (2014)
Post Hike:- Actually I was a little unsure if this bag was past its sell by date . It proved to be ,so I swapped it for a Rab neutrino Pro 500 $500. and was never cold again even when camping in snow.-9C 15F
weight 2lb 3oz 10/10 (bottom Picture)
TENT: Big Agnes Fly creek 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 . It’s very palatial which is very useful in wet weather You can have all your gear inside and still have room to move and keep dry. weight 2lb 15oz
I also used the footprint. Protects the tent so you’re not packing a dirty tent
Post Hike:-Performed as expected no issues, no faults, Really pleased, 10/10,
sadly it appears that Big Agnes have now discontinued this tent sob sob..
PEGS: 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.
Preformed well and as expected
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 on the AT 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
Post Hike:- Performed better than expected, used far more on the CDT and didn’t let me down 9/10
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
Post Hike:- I was really pleased with these , I hiked with them about a dozen times in snowy conditions, laundry days and if cold at camp, I loved them 10/10
Puffy: Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket
When I hiked the PCT I brought a Rab ultralight jacket that I absolutely loved so packed it again for the AT. Technology has moved on and so after a little research, I purchased the 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
Post Hike:- Great jacket didn’t let me down and kept we warm in awful conditions 10/10
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
Post Hike:– I just loved this top, either on its own or as layer, As I said earlier keeps you warm when cold or cool when warm did wear quite quickly 8/10
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
Post Hike: Didn’t take these brought some cheapos for £5.00 and they lasted the whole of the trail with no physical damage 9/10
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
Post Hike:– Great shirt, preformed great in the desert, one in cooler temperatures I left in Hiker box 9/10
Sun Gloves : Sealskinz
I don’t normally wear gloves but noticed several hikers in videos 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.
Post Hike:– Wow these were absolutely brilliant they performed great , protected my hands and wrists from the intense sun. Used 3 pairs 10/10
Totally waterproof, breathable and windproof
Soft, durable synthetic palm with gel padding for increased grip and comfort
Post Hike:– These were rubbish, they did not perform well at all. So ended up buying some waterproof seal skinz ones £50 9/10
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 !
Post Hike:– Used mainly darn tough as they have a lifetime warranty, wear them out swap them for new 10/10
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 4 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
Post Hike:– I love these shoes and once again they helped look after my feet. I used 5 pairs on the CDT 9/10
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
Post Hike:- they preformed as expected , These had completed the AT and so died just before halfway, I meant to replace but .
I love them
Hat: Appalachian Trail BEANIE
Lost mine so picked this up from one of the Huts in the Whites .
Acrylic hat, it’s warm….
Post Hike:– Well sadly the post office lost this, so i brought a replacement, I mainly worn it in bed and early morning, carried until I got to Yellowstone where I brought a Yellowstone one (tourist ) both performed as expected 9\10
It’s a hat ! Carried and wore this the whole way Bit hot in the desert great otherwise
Sunglasses : JULBO – Explorer 2.0 Chameleon
Love these sunglasses especially great when hiking through the snow
Cost: £150.26 (mine were Free from sponsor)
Post Hike:– Performed brilliantly until I broke them, so I brought a second pair 9/10
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)
Post Hike:– PCT, AT and CDT, performed as expected with no issues, yes there are lighter pots available but this set is bullet proof . 10/10
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
Post Hike:– I think this cheap bit of kit is brilliant, cuts down on gas usage and folds flat. 10/10
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
Post Hike:– Its a cup !!
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
Post Hike:– a essential bit of kit, although i noticed several hikers whose version was polished (nice) 10/10
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
Post Hike:-I used this so many times so for me it is an essential piece of kit 10/10
Water Filter: Sawyer 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
Post Hike:– Does what it does 9/10
but i was hiking with two American guys who used a Steripen , I was impressed so brought one $130
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,
Post Hike:-I used this all the time ,breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes more ,never let me down but legs were loose and I had lost the diffuser on entry to Canada well done MSR 10/10
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
Post Hike:– After a week in the desert I decided that I didn’t need and sent it home 6/10
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
Post Hike:– This just would not work so ditched 1/10
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 .
Post Hike:– My main power , had to buy a second as i ran out a few times 10/10
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
Post Hike:-I didn’t take but to be fair it may have been useful
Wallet: Aquapac Travel case
A waterproof case that keeps all your valuables and essentials safe from the elements.
Post Hike:-It just works 10/10
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
Post Hike:-I didn’t take, and luckily didn’t need
Watch : Garmin
I saw another hiker with this and liked it, nice clear face to read plus many other features
Post Hike:-Performed very well, I need use it now and then to track mileage. Charged about monthly 10/10
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
Post Hike:-They just work 10/10
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
Post Hike:-I didn’t take, but it would have been useful
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
Post Hike:-I loved this sun & rain , sadly got destroyed in the Bootle, should have brought another 10/10
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
Post Hike:-I prefer to use this as my water storage, Worked extremely well, swapped out about halfway to a 2 litre Both pereformed as expected 10/10
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.
Post Hike:– Performed well, great poles , had to buy a second pair as I left them at the side of a road 10/10
Anti Chafe: Body Glide
It is not a thing that I suffer from, but when it does begin you need to sort it quickly
Post Hike:-I used a little at the start then ditched as didn’t need but worked well when needed..8/10
Re-hydration : Emengen-c / Crystal Light
I have used Emergen-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
Post Hike:-I love this stuff although many flavours available this is my preferred flavour 10/10
also carried some Nuun Sport: Electrolyte tablets. These seemed to be most hikers choice in 2022
First Aid : Life systems 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
Post Hike:-My trowel of choice, yup there are probably lighter ones out there, but this works for me
I also used it to trench around my tent when storms were due 10/10
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.
Post Hike:-Never had to use yet but I know that it will hopefully save my life when needed..10/10
Micro Spikes | Kahtoola (new)
I haven’t used before but these are what most hikers use
Post Hike:– These were perfect for me and I would say probably saved my life a few times, Several days I didn’t even take them off 10/10
Snow Shoes| Chinook Trekker Snowshoes, 36
Again haven’t ever used before. maybe they are over kill!
Post Hike:-I didn’t take ,decided that they were over kill and too much to carry
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
Post Hike:-I loved this its thicker than my blue one and I used it so much it outlasted my blue one too .I was never cold when I wore this 10/10
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