- MLD Burn – My favourite backpack. The first one lasted me more than 8,000 miles and the second one, which I carried during all three of the calendar year Triple Crown hikes, is still going strong.
- Tarp: Zpacks Hexamid Solo Tarp – On the AT I used the Hexamid a total of eight times. With the lean-tos all but empty, it acted more as a backup rather than my daily “go-to” shelter. On six of the eight nights mentioned, there were varying degrees of wind and rain. On all occasions the tarp performed very well. The one caveat I would add for non “trekking pole” hikers, is do NOT use a carbon fiber tent pole to set up this shelter. If the weather is mellow, then no problem. However, when the elements are raging and the guylines need to be as taut as possible, these things will snap like a twig under strain. If you are going to use a Hexamid, my advice is to suck it up and carry a lightweight trekking pole…….think of it as part tent structure/part river fording aid/part canine deterrent/part pack decoration.
- Quilt: Katabatic Gear Sawatch 15 – As with the Palisade, this quilt is conservatively rated. I encountered temps down to the high single digits/low teens on both the Southwestern Horseshoe as well as the AT and never once had a cold night.
- Sleeping mat: Therm-a-rest Neo Air (small) – I sleep with my feet on my pack.
- Bivy: MLD Superlight Bivy
- Groundsheet: Cut-down-to-size Polycro Plastic
- Hiking Shirt: IceBreaker Bodyfit 200 Zip neck
- Shorts: Macpac Cross Terrain – My all-time favourite shorts.
- Socks: 3 pairs – 2 pairs REI Merino Wool Liner socks; 1 pair SmartWool thicker/warmer (can’t remember model)
- Bandana: 1; cotton
- Gloves: Polypro Liners
- Hat: Blaze Orange coloured cap……………Wearing blaze orange is a must for hikers during November/December on the AT. Some of those good ol’ boy hunters don’t have the best eyesight and after one too many Natty Ice’s I’d be surprised if they could tell the difference between a deer and a dinosaur. Just to be extra sure, I religiously did a 5 minute ‘dodging and weaving drill’ (I called it my ‘Dick Cheney’ routine) every night before going to sleep.
- Vest : Montbell Thermawrap Vest – I used the vest in combination with the Hoody for the first three weeks of the AT (and the SWH). OR
- Down Jacket: When the temps started to get consistently colder I exchanged the vest for a MontBell UL Down Jacket, courtesy of trail angel and 2013 CDT hiker, Mr. Bamboo Bob.
- Lightweight Fleece: Patagonia R1 Hoody – Love the flexibility of the hoody for all four seasons.
- Mittens: Smartwool Merino mittens
- Rain Jacket: Integral Designs eVent Thru Hiker Jacket
- Rain Pants: GoLite Reed Pants
- Mittens: MLD eVent Shell Mittens
- Gaiters: MLD eVent Snow Gaiters
- Montbell U.L. Trekking Umbrella…………loved it. Indeed, I would highly recommend taking an umbrella on the AT at any time of year.
- Alcohol stove (Pepsi Can model from AntiGravityGear)
- Windscreen (aluminium ovenpan liner cut to size)
- Hard plastic Spork
- 0.9 lt.- lightweight aluminium non-stick pot or alternatively a plastic container with lid when not cooking.
- Pot cozy
- Small lighter / Matches
- Fuel bottle (capacity 8 ounces / 0.24 litres)
- Cotton wool ball coated in Vaseline (2) – for emergency fire starting.
MEDICAL KIT / HYGIENE
In regards to consumable items, such as sunscreen and hand sanitizer, I will generally transfer contents into small dropper bottles, thereby saving on space and weight.
- Duct tape
- Antiseptic wipes (4)
- Paper medical tape
- Ibprofun (10)
- Hand sanitizer
- Sewing needle
- Dental floss
- 2 x 600ml plastic bottles (one for each side of the pack)……..Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water………all the same.
- Aqua Mira Drops (chlorine dioxide) for water purification………..I don’t tend to purify my water very often. If memory serves, I treated my water maybe three times on the AT.
- Brooks Cascadia or Montrail Sabino Trail – I switched back and forwards between these two models the entire eighteen months. Never had a blister. That being said my feet are so calloused that they have been described by one podiatrist as “the place where foot files go to die.”
- Rocky Goretex Socks
- Small utility tool: Swiss Army Classic – Scissors, a little knife and tweezers are all you really need.
- Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
- Compass: Suunto M-2 (adjustable for magnetic variation)
- Gaiters: Dirty Girl Gaiters
- Gloves: Polypro liner gloves.
- Journal: iPhone
- Camera: Canon Powershot SX 230 HS
- Storage Bags: I used 20×12.5 LOKSAK OPSaks for food storage purposes on all of the 12 hikes. In 18 months I never had a single issue with critters of any size. Can’t recommend these bags highly enough.
- Sunglasses (polarized)
- Money / credit card
- Passport / Driver’s license