12 Long Walks – AT Gear List



  • 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.



Base Layer

  • 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.

Insulation Layers

  • 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

Outer Layer

    • 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.


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
  • Sunscreen
  • Ibprofun (10)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sewing needle
  • Dental floss
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush


  • 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



12 Long Walks – AT Gear List — 4 Comments

  1. Come on swami, you’re sandbagging. You don’t have the dozen or so plastic bags listed that I saw you pulling out of your pack. You also forgot the air pump to blow up your airmat. 🙂

    • Man, I’ll own up to the plastic bags, but the air pump???!!!! The only way I ever carried that “namby pamby” item during our hike was is if you surreptitiously slipped it into my pack whilst I was answering nature’s call! Next you’ll be saying I carried one of those Thermarest chair thingys………..although I must admit they do look pretty comfy………how much do they weigh?………wonder if I could find one on special at Sierra Trading Post?

  2. Hi Swami – a huge congratulations to you!! I only just discovered you and your 12 Long Walks – Holy Crap. Now that’s a solo adventure – hard to wrap the brain around, really. I missed you by a day at the Northern Terminus of the PCT – I started my southbound solo journey on August 1st from Hart’s Pass. Tagged the border that night and turned around the next day to begin the adventure. I had heard from the lovely Rockin’ that you were on some epic cross the country super-mega-hike, but until now I hadn’t realized just how many trails and trail miles you connected. What a great way to see the country. I also saw that you got a taste of my backyard – Kananaskis, Assiniboine, Jasper and Banff – my home. I will have a pizza and beer at the Bison in your honor. 🙂 Congrats and an open invite to Banff – we’re the unofficial drop-in center for people who like traveling and long, silly adventures.

    • Hey Leslie,
      Thank you for your kind words. I remember reading about your trip on Rockin’s website. Congratulations! Hiking through the Canadian Rockies was definitely one of the scenic highlights of the entire 12 Long Walks……….amazing place to have as your backyard!

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