I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016 and 2017, and even did a 10-day hike in 2018 to complete some missed mileage, but I think it’s best to compare my current gear list with the one I had in 2017. This list gives a better idea of what I hiked with the longest, versus the totally clueless, novice one from the year prior.
My Big Three:
We’re still using our Z-Packs Triplex. Large? Yes. Lightweight? You betcha! Although we considered downsizing, at 22.5 ounces and still in sturdy condition, we didn’t think change was necessary in this department just yet.
I think there’s still a lot of life left in my Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Windrider, so I’m using it until it starts to fall apart. So far, it’s remained durable, and the only thing I dislike about it is the teeny-tiny waist belt pockets that are tricky to get in and out of, but I can tolerate them in the meantime. In case you’re on the hunt for a new and sturdy UL pack, I highly recommend it, and I’ve heard that they’ve fixed the pocket problem since I got mine.
My sleep system has totally revamped! Although I love my Western Mountaineering Caribou that I switched to in 2016, and used during my 2017 and 2018 hikes, 35 degrees isn’t going to be enough for the hikes that follows the Florida Trail (TBA). So I ordered myself an Enlightened Equipment Conundrum Custom, which I made to order at 10 degrees.
I also swapped my NEMO Equipment Astro Air Lite 20 R for a Therm-a-Rest NEOAir XLite R which is about 3 oz. lighter.
Most of my trail clothes are the same as my 2017 AT Gear List, with a few exceptions. Aside from the items I’m leaving behind or changing, I’m adding a Columbia Diamond Peak Omni Shade Long Sleeve as a sun shirt to keep me from frying during those long road walks.
Things I’m Ditching:
I’m only bringing one synthetic tee and one sports bra instead of two of each.
During my 2017 hike, I ditched my Patagonia Strider Skirt (which the company has since discontinued making), and I’m taking a second pair of Patagonia Strider Shorts instead. I’m short and will be wading through a lot of water in Florida, so having an extra pair of shorts that are dry will be nice to have.
I no longer need my insoles; see ‘Things I’m Swapping” below.
I ditched my Gore-Tex socks. They’re great in sleet, but I haven’t used them since 2016. They’re a little too heavy to be carrying around when I’m not likely going to be using them.
Things I’m Swapping:
I swapped my Patagonia thermal pants for my much warmer UnderArmour leggings. I’m also packing only one pair of thermal bottoms instead of two.
Near the end of my 2017 hike, I swapped my Solomon X-Missions 3’s after falling in love with my Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3’s. They’re like walking on clouds so insoles aren’t even necessary. I always recommend the brand to anyone who will listen, hiker or not! I’ve never met a person that tried on a pair of Hoka’s and didn’t absolutely love them too! Added bonus: Even when the tread starts to wear down and they start to fall apart, they’re still crazy comfortable so there’s plenty of time to purchase new ones.
I ditched my little water filtration kit which included an extra water bottle lid, syringe to flush my water filter, and an extra Sawyer mouthpiece and washer. I’m still stoveless, and not a thing has changed with my “kitchen” otherwise!
Although it was super light, I swapped the Eagle Creek Pack It Toiletry kit for a plastic bag.
Even though I usually end up using a stick or a rock anyway, I bought a UL trowel. I figured I have it just in case. Leave no trace, ya’ll!
Miscellaneous and Luxury Items:
Things I’m Ditching:
For obvious reasons, I won’t be taking the AT Passport to Florida with me. I actually wound up ditching it back in 2017 because I hardly bothered getting it stamped.
I also won’t be needing the paper AT AWOL guide, and decided against a paper guide altogether. Instead I’ll be using the Guthook App. I know it’s advised to carry a paper guide as well as a back up, but I’ll take the risk. My other half will also have it handy, and as before, I’ll be carrying my Goal Zero Flip 20 charger throughout the journey.
I minimized my patch kit to just one patch of Tenacious Tape. If I need more down the line, I can get some duct tape in town.
I used to have a stuff sack to keep my clothes in, but ditched it in 2017. Instead, I’ve been using my mosquito head net as a stuff sack.
Lastly, I no longer hike with my Black Diamond trekking poles. I loved them in 2016, but carried them on my pack most of the way in 2017, and have since become accustomed to hiking without them. This year, Frisbee and I will be splitting a pair of Gossamer Gear trekking poles, one for him and one for me. Having one handy is nice for balance when wading in water, and for traction in snow during future hikes. We also utilize them to help pitch our tent.
Things I’m Swapping:
Look out world! I decided to evolve a little bit. I broke down and got an iPhone! My iPod Touch was used mainly as a tablet for when there was free WiFi in town, and for taking pictures. I’ve been unhappy with the picture quality of my iPod for a long time now, and would also be using the iPhone as my guide with the Guthook app stored on it. Oh yeah, and I’ll also be using it occasionally as a phone. Imagine that!