Triple Crown Gear List (2017)

(Clockwise) Starting photos from PCT, CDT and AT (2012).

Some four and a half years after finishing the 12 Long Walks – of which the Calendar Triple Crown constituted the last three hikes – the PCT, CDT and AT continue to be the trails I am asked about the most. And many of those questions are gear related.

That being the case, I thought I’d put together comprehensive lists of what I’d take if I was to thru-hike those three trails again in 2017. Most of the items are similar to what I carried in 2012, with just a few tweaks (rather than seismic shifts) here and there.

First up is what I’d pack for a regular season hike of the Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails. Following that is a list of what I’d carry on an autumn southbound hike of the Appalachian Trail.

PCT & CDT Gear List (2017)

ITEM WT. (OZ) SUB (oz) SUB (kg) COMMENTS
         
BACKPACK        
MLD Burn 13     Frameless, simple design, slim profile | Coin flip between this or the Gossamer Gear Kumo (older, lighter version).
Pack Liner (Trash Compactor Bag) 2     Cheap & effective
    15  0.43  
SHELTER        
MLD Cuben Fiber Poncho  (includes guylines – change out for Kelty Triptease) 8     Shelter, Rain Gear, Pack Cover / 9′ x 5.2′ (front) x 4.6′ (rear) / Good UL option for not-so-wet PCT & CDT. 
Mini biners 0.8     Expedites Poncho/Shelter transition in rainy weather.
Stakes – Mix of sizes & styles (8) 2.4    
    11.2  0.32  
SLEEPING SYSTEM        
Pad – Thermarest NeoAir XLite (Sm) 8     Very comfy / Doubles as makeshift framesheet for pack / Put feet on backpack when sleeping.
Quilt – Katabatic Palisade 30 18.4     Conservatively rated 30°F / Best quilts/bags I have used.
Bivy – Katabatic Bristlecone Bivy 7     Adds 5 – 10° warmth / Like a windshirt for quilt / On PCT & CDT I cowboy camp 90-95% of the time – good for keeping bugs off, quilt clean and negates the need for ground sheet.
    33.4  0.95  
KITCHEN        
LokSak 20×12 (Food Bag) 1.2     Holds up to 6 days food / Seal usually start to go after about 6 weeks of regular use.
Gatorade Powder Container 1.8     Rehydrating vessel of choice for last decade when going stoveless.
Titanium Spork 0.3     Top end wrapped in orange tape so I won’t lose it.
Bic Lighter 0.2      
SmartWater Bottles (2) 2.6      
Platypus Hydration Bladder (2 LT) 1.2     Extra H20 capacity for long, dry stretches.
    7.3 0.21  
FIRST AID / HYGIENE        
Sunscreen (repackaged in tiny btle.)        
Hand Sanitizer (repackaged in dropper btle.)       I haven’t had a case of the backcountry trots since 1999. I think a big reason is diligent use of hand sanitizer.
Aquamira (repackaged in dropper btles.)       Purification method of choice for past decade.
Mini Toothbrush        
Toothpaste (mini tube)        
Dental Floss       Doubles as sewing thread
Antiseptic Wipes (2)       Clean cuts / wounds
Gauze        
Triple Antibiotic Cream (tiny tube)        
3M Micropore Medical Tape       Breathable, paper tape / Adheres well.
Ibuprofun (6)      
Sewing Needle       One armed blind people can sew better than I can.
Duct Tape, Mini Tube Super Glue (repairs)       To compensate for lack of sewing skills.
    5 0.14   
CLOTHES        
Wind Pants – Montbell Tachyon Anorak 1.9    
Wind Shirt – Montbell Tachyon Anorak 1.9     This is my third model / Each has lasted around 8 to 10,000 miles.
Insulation – Montbell Superior Down Jacket 7.3     Very warm for the weight / Prefer down to synthetic insulation for PCT & CDT.
Extra Socks – Smartwool or REI merino wool liners 1.6    
Dirty Girl Gaiters 1.3     Handy for keeping out trail dirt during desert sections.
Bandana  0.5     Towel, neck/face protection, condensation wipe, convenience store holdups.
Liner gloves 1     Use extra socks as mittens when temps dictate.
Warm Hat – Montbell Chameece Beanie 1     Great beanie / Stretchy, not too thick.
    16.5  0.47  
MISCELLANEOUS        
Phone – Samsung Galaxy S7 5.3     Photos, videos, journalling, backup light. 
Wall Charger (single port) / USB cord 1.2
Stuff sacks – HMG Cuben Fiber (2) 2.4      
Montbell Power Head Lamp 2     Four settings, pretty good battery life | 160 Lumens max.
Wallet/Credit Cards/Drivers License 0.7     Used thin plastic card holder as wallet
Swiss Army Classic 1.3     All you need for backpacking purposes.
Compass – Suunto M-2 1.2     Adjustable Declination | Compass of choice for many years (no longer made – will pick up a Suunto M-3 Global next).
Small pen 0.3      
Small LokSaks (2) 1     Protection for phone, charger, passport, credit cards.
Map Bag – Quart Size Ziploc 0.2 Keeps maps clean, dry & organized.
    15.6 0.44  
         
BASE WEIGHT TOTAL 6.55 lb  2.97 kg  
         
         
ITEMS WORN        
Shorts – Patagonia Baggies 6.8     Thumbs up / Replaced long-time favourites, Macpac Cross Terrains, in 2016.
Base layer – REI Sahara Shirt 7.8     Dries quick, pockets, protection for neck and arms.
Hat – Adapt-a-cap 3.0      
Shoes – Brooks Cascadia 11 23.6    
Socks – REI Merino Wool liners 1.6
Dirty Girl Gaiters 1.2
Timex Ironman Watch 1.3     Cheap, durable, light, multiple alarms
Sunglasses 1.2     Polarized lenses, 100% UV protection, wrap around.
  46.5 1.32  
         
TOTAL WEIGHT   9.46 lb 4.29 kg  
EXTRA GEAR FOR SNOW
Ice Axe – CAMP Corsa 50  7.2
Traction – Kathoola Microspikes  13.1
Socks – Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew  2.6 Warmer pair for cool June temps in the Sierra.

 

(L to R) Mouse, Swami and the legendary, “Insane” Duane – Canadian border / Finish of the PCT, July, 2012.

Appalachian Trail Gear List (2017)

As mentioned in the introduction, the gear list below is for an autumn southbound hike. If I was to do the Appalachian Trail again, it would be at this time of year. There are two principal reasons behind this line of thinking: 1. Fall colors, and; 2. I’m not a fan of crowds. Estimated start date would be the final days of September.

ITEM WT. (OZ) SUB (oz) SUB (kg) COMMENTS
         
BACKPACK        
MLD Burn 13     Frameless, simple design, slim profile | Coin flip between this or the Gossamer Gear Kumo (older, lighter version).
Pack Liner (Trash Compactor Bag) 2     Cheap & effective
    15  0.43  
SHELTER        
HMG 6×8 Flat Tarp (includes guylines – change out for Kelty Triptease) 7.4     Simple and light. As the trail will be mostly empty come late October, I would do a combo of lean-tos and tarp. The former are a godsend when big storms come rumbling through.
Stakes – Mix of sizes & styles (8) 2.4    
    9.8  0.28  
SLEEPING SYSTEM        
Pad – Thermarest NeoAir XLite (Sm) 8     Very comfy / Doubles as makeshift framesheet for pack / Put feet on backpack when sleeping.
Pad – Gossamer Gear 1/8 Thinlite 2.4
Quilt – Katabatic Sawatch 15 24     Conservatively rated 15°F.
Bivy – Katabatic Bristlecone Bivy 7     Adds 5 – 10° warmth / I’ve found that the combo of the Sawatch quilt, bivy and clothing keeps me comfy down to 0°F.
    41.4  1.18  
KITCHEN        
LokSak 20×12 (Food Bag) 1.2     Holds up to 6 days food / Seal usually start to go after about 6 weeks of regular use.
Gatorade Powder Container 1.8     Rehydrating vessel of choice when going stoveless.
Titanium Spork 0.3     Top end wrapped in orange tape so I won’t lose it.
Bic Lighter 0.2      
SmartWater Bottles (2) 2.6      
    6.1 0.17  
FIRST AID / HYGIENE        
Sunscreen (repackaged in tiny btle.)        
Hand Sanitizer (repackaged in dropper btle.)       I haven’t had a case of the backcountry trots since 1999. I think a big reason is diligent use of hand sanitizer.
Aquamira (repackaged in dropper btles.)       Purification method of choice for past decade.
Mini Toothbrush        
Toothpaste (mini tube)        
Dental Floss       Doubles as sewing thread
Antiseptic Wipes (2)       Clean cuts / wounds
Gauze        
Triple Antibiotic Cream (tiny tube)        
3M Micropore Medical Tape       Breathable, paper tape / Adheres well.
Ibuprofun (6)      
Sewing Needle       One armed blind people can sew better than I can.
Duct Tape, Mini Tube Super Glue (repairs)       To compensate for lack of sewing skills.
    5 0.14   
CLOTHES        
Rain Pants – Montbell Versalite Pants 3.6     Light, quick drying, reasonably water-resistant and offer a little more warmth than the Tachyon Anoraks.
Insulation – Montbell Superior Down Jacket 7.3     For October/November weather on the AT, I like the combo of down & fleece (see below) for its versatility over a wide range of conditions.
Insulation – Patagonia R1 Hoody 10.9 Long time favourite / Key item on trips like this when freezing rain and temps in the mid 30’s F are common.
Base Layer – Montbell Merino Wool L.W. Tights  4.8 Thumbs up / Replaced old Patagonia Capilene 2’s.
Extra Socks – Smartwool or REI merino wool liners 1.6    
Extra Socks – Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew  2.6 Warmer pair for colder night time temps.
Bandana  0.5    
Mittens – Outdoor Research PL Sensor 400 Mittens  2.9 300-weight fleece & 100-weight fleece liner. Coupled with liner gloves, keeps hands comfortable down to low single digits (F).
MLD eVent Rain Mittens  1.4     Outer layer for hands / Combine with liners gloves in freezing rain.
Warm Hat – Montbell Chameece Beanie 1     Favourite beanie / Not too thick / Combined with R1 hood at nights to keep noggin warm.
     36.6 1.04  
MISCELLANEOUS        
Phone – Samsung Galaxy S7 5.3     Photos, videos, journalling, backup light. 
Wall Charger (single port) / USB cord 1.2
Umbrella – Montbell Trekking Umbrella  5.3 With its forested corridor (i.e. natural wind break) and often rainy weather, it has long struck me that the AT is the ideal long distance trail for umbrellas. Worth the extra 5.3 oz to keep core warm during extended periods of freezing rain.
Stuff sacks – HMG Cuben Fiber (2) 2.4      
Montbell Power Head Lamp 2     Four settings, pretty good battery life | 160 Lumens max.
Wallet/Credit Cards/Drivers License 0.7     Used thin plastic card holder as Wallet
Swiss Army Classic 1.3     All you need for backpacking purposes.
Compass – Suunto M-2 1.2     Adjustable Declination | Compass of choice for many years (no longer made – will pick up a Suunto M-3 Global next).
Small pen 0.3      
Small LokSaks (2) 1     Protection for phone, charger, passport, credit cards.
    20.7 0.59  
         
BASE WEIGHT TOTAL  8.4 lb  3.8 kg  
         
         
ITEMS WORN        
Shorts – Patagonia Baggies 6.8     Thumbs up / Replaced long-time favourites, Macpac Cross Terrains, in 2016.
Base layer – Montbell Merino Long Sleeve Zip Neck 5.9     Great baselayer / Not too thin, not too thick / Spot on for shoulder season conditions.
Rain Jacket – Montbell Peak Shell 9.1 Nice balance of weight, durability, and breathability. Good DWR. Favourite rain jacket for the past few years.
Liner Gloves 1
Hat – Baseball cap 2.0      
Shoes – Brooks Cascadia 11 23.6    
Socks – REI Merino Wool liners 1.6
Timex Ironman Watch 1.3     Cheap, durable, light, multiple alarms
Sunglasses 1.2     Polarized lenses / 100% UV Protection / Wrap around
  52.5 1.49  
         
TOTAL WEIGHT   11.2 lb 5.1 kg  

 

Springer Mountain – Finish of the AT, December, 2012.

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Comments

Triple Crown Gear List (2017) — 15 Comments

  1. Thanks, this is a great list. I’m curious about the Patagonia Baggies – do you go with the 5″ or 7″ inseam?

  2. Hi Cam, why don’t you use sandals for exemple Teva Terra ones, as you are becoming a fairly true minimalist. And then what about dryducks instead of the good montbell stuff ?

    • I periodically use sports sandals on day hikes, but never on longer trips, due to some foot issues I’ve had over the years.

      As for the DriDucks jackets, I have worn them occasionally. And, yes, they are definitely a solid option for trails like the AT, PCT and CDT where bushwhacking isn’t a concern. That said, I prefer the Montbell Peak shell for its fit, durability, pit zips and I’ve found that it’s a little more waterproof than the DriDucks.

    • No specific sleep clothes for three season conditions, though I do usually carry long underwear during extended hikes in cold conditions. I normally wash and dry my quilts once or twice a year.

  3. Hi cam! Great post thanks so much! I’m wondering what you use as a pillow substitute while your out on the trail. I’ve used my pack at times and the old down jacket stuff sack at others, neither to much effect.
    I know Justin Lichter has written about using the lok Sak with the food in it but that has also stuck me as a little to unnerving to try. What’s your move!?

    • Hi Erick,

      I normally just stuff the clothes I’m not wearing into a jacket or stuff sack. Occasionally I’ve also used an inflated Platypus bladder. As for my food, I always place that in a loksak in my pack, which goes under my feet.

      Cheers,

      Cam

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