Thru-hike Gear List

1313902.large Camping and the Outdoors

My 2014 Appalachian Trail Gear List.  This is also a good way for all of you 2016’ers to double check that you have everything!  I have successfully hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 152 days!!!  I won’t say I know everything there is to know about gear, but I can say this.  What I had, worked for me, and I finished.  That, in itself, should say a lot.

EDIT – Pack Base weight – 20.2 lbs.  This will change by the end of the week.

Base weight packed bag (no food,water) 20.2 lbs

Unpacked bag (no food)

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight - 20.2 lbs.

Packed bag (no food,water) base weight – 20.2 lbs.

Tent/pack/sleep

Backpack + Raincover
-I used the ULA Circuit 2.2 lbs, however I ended up switching to this

Osprey Exos 58 at 2.7 pounds, it’s still lightweight, and can fit A LOT more in it.

Raincover  Osprey Ultralight Raincover
3.7 oz (seriously ultralight)

Tent and groundclothMSR HUBBA 1P Tent2 lb 7 oz, down to 1 lb. 10 oz.  This lasted me the entire trip, I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS TENT!

MSR Hubba Footprint (for under tent)7 oz.

Sleeping bag (winter)Western Mountaineering Sycamore$480 – expensive is worth is when you are camping in the cold!  I hiked in 2.5 ft of snow, and the temps hit downwards of 13 degrees.  (25*) Regular – 2 lbs w/ stuff sack

Sleeping bag linerSea To Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus  $65.  (adds 20* warmth) 9.3 oz

 Sleeping PadThermarest NeoAir Xlite (Large) 12 0z.  (Lightest for long trips, mine lasted the entire AT).  One of the most important items for a good night sleep outside of your tent and sleeping bag.  If you can save a pound with some new technology, it’s worth the extra money in my book.  At $160, this is a little more expensive than most sleep pads, but weighing in at 12 oz, it gets my vote.  *Note – Had a small leak in pad by Massachusetts (1500 miles into the hike), returned to REI for brand new one, no questions asked.

What I’m wearing

Shoes + InsolesSaloman Xa 3d Pro Ultra II Trail Running Shoes  /Insoles –Superfeet Green 1.76 lbs (both trail runners and insoles)  Now that is light.  Superfeet saved my life, and I believe I hiked the entire trail because of them.  They are worth checking out.  They have a couple options, but Green are the toughest.

Socks – Darn Tough  3 0z.   Best socks with life time warranty.  Get them.

UnderwearExofficio give and go mesh briefsPrevent the chafe.  You will thank me later.  Exofficio are THE BEST underwear to hike in.  I started off with regular briefs and barely survived.  I switched to these and they were a life changer.

SS Shirt – Patagonia Mens Merino Silkweight T-shirt 4.8 oz.

LS Shirt – Smartwool Midweight Zip Top 8 oz.

ShortsNylon running shorts 3.8 oz.

Trekking poles – Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork 1 lb 2 oz. I cannot stress this enough, trekking poles will save your knees and joints on long distance hikes.  This specific type of trekking poles were the MOST popular on the trail, as they left no blisters on your hands.  The price is worth it.  Black diamond is a great company.

Wallet – small ziploc bag will hold wallet/phone/headphones – will replace as needed

Watch – High Gear Alti-Xt (records temp/altitude among other things I don’t need)  🙂 Overall just looks awesome.

Bandana – 1 oz.

Clothing

Stuff sack8 L Sea to Summit stuff sack 2 0z.

Cold weather jacket/pillowPatagonia New Nano Puff Hooded Jacket12.6 oz.  Yes, this doubled as my pillow during the night while inside a stuff sack.  All you need.

Underwear – extra pair (1)

Long UnderwearIcebreaker Mens Long Underwear7 0z.  Necessary if traveling in cold.  (It hit 13 at night on the Appalachian Trail, and some days were below freezing as well)

Short Sleeve Shirt – polyester T shirt for camp – 4 oz.

GlovesSmartwool Liner Gloves2.3 oz.

Socks – 2 pairs Darn Tough 6 oz.

Rain JacketPatagonia Mens Torrentshell Jacket14 oz.  Used for an entire 5 months on trail, kept me dry 🙂

Eating and Drinking

Water containers – 1 L water bottle and Osprey Hydraulics 2Liter Resevoir11.2 oz.

Water TreatmentAquamira drops 1 oz.

StoveJetboil Minimo14.6 oz – comes with it’s own pot.

Pot – I recently switched over to the Jetboil Minimo It has not disappointed!  It cooks meals quicker than the snowpeak, and comes with it’s own pot.

Bear line50 ft paracord 4 oz.

Spork – .64 oz.

Miscellaneous

Bag liner – Compactor trash bag 2 oz.

Duct Tape + lighters – 2 oz.

HeadlampBlack Diamond Storm Headlamp3.9 oz.  (I night hiked A LOT)

Camera + chargerNikon Coolpix AW120Waterproof, shockproof, Appalachian Trail proof – 9 oz.

Cell phone/charger/case/battery – Iphone 5s / New Trent (USB capable, charges 2-3 times they say)

Anker Dual USB Charger – Can charge 2 items simultaneously with 1 wall plug in.  (Handy for the phone/kindle, as well as when other people need to share the same outlet)

Glasses + case – Glasses/case/contacts/solution 6 oz.  I will be bringing contacts as well as glasses.

Hygiene – (toothbrush/paste/floss/nail clippers/soap (Dr Bronners peppermint)/germ-x)

Towel – bandana 1 0z.

First aid – (alcohol swabs/ibuprophen (lots)/benadryl/duct tape/bandaids/gauze/tweezers/safety pins) *Thanks Redditors!

Trail Guide/JournalAWOL 2014 NOBO Guide 8 oz.

Kindle– 10.5 oz.(I read countless books on the Appalachian Trail, I use the kindle on every trip.  Worth the less than a lb. of weight in my opinion)

KnifeSmith & Wesson extreme ops knife   3.2 oz.

Body Glide Anti Chafe – 1.5 oz.

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Post Appalachian Trail life – Never go home

Once you finish a trip like the Appalachian Trail, you are not going to want to go home, or anywhere that resembles normality.  I feel pity for the people that had to finish on a specific date and go right back to the real world, albeit they must have been doing something important, and so good for them.  I had no inclination to go back home.  In fact, it took me over 1 and a half months to go home.  I spent most of my time up in Maine, relaxing on the coast with my parents and my trail friend Fresh.

IMG_3949 The house in Maine is DOPE IMG_3950 IMG_3952  A little Ocean Kayaking IMG_3954 IMG_3968  Sunsets and dogs IMG_3971 IMG_3972 Lobstah! IMG_3975 IMG_3976 Oyster hunting IMG_3978

I returned once in a while to New Hampshire, where I had started seeing a girl who lived on the beach.  She had a dog and the beach was dog friendly after 7pm and before 9 am.  Swazey loved it!

IMG_3986 Rye beach IMG_3988 IMG_3990Dogs and best friends from HS IMG_4003 IMG_4017DOG BEACH! IMG_4018

A month and half of this, no worries, and you can see why I might not have ever made it back 😉  Now, you might think to yourself, what about MONEY?!  You are right… I only spent 2500 on my 5 month Appalachian Trail trip (not counting gear), and had some cash leftover.  I was usually a guest and was not paying to stay anywhere, just a drifter.  I had lots of friends to see and catch up with, I was in no hurry.  Plus… Look at the above pictures, would you leave?  But I knew, Winter is coming.  So my next post will be about the 6500 mile road trip home.  Until next time!

Appalachian Trail – Afterward

7 months ago I finished one of my dreams come true, thru hiking the entire Appalachian Trail!  I hiked with friends, I hiked alone, I took breaks, I canoed, mountain biked, binge drank, ate pop tarts for 5 months straight, I… walked a lot.  After the trip, I had no straight plans to head for home.  I just knew I wanted to explore the country.

I wrote about meeting up with Gandalf and fellow thru hikers Goat Fresh Kamikaze and Figgy, people I had spent a lot of time on the trail with, and it really hit home that I was able to summit with them.  We were invited back to Moosehead Lake by Bob and Jackie who were my ultimate trail angels throughout the hike and partied with them for a couple days.  Afterwards, Fresh and I decided not to go home.  My parents had bought a house on the ocean in Maine, near Cushing and Rockport (way off the map), and we stayed there for a couple weeks.  I invited people up to party, we played tennis, we lounged, we partied with friends close by!  Like hard.  Like my parents got mad at how much we were binge drinking.  THRU HIKERS CAN DRINK!  we played video games (we talked about video games for months) and we cooked and ate so much food, we went ocean kayaking, I found a summer girl friend, it was a beautiful ending.  I want to thank my parents for making this all possible, they were willing to put homeless hikers up in their brand new house.

The road trip will be another post, I wanted to take time and reflect on what I learned from this trip, what I took away, what I could change, and the roller coaster of emotions I went through.  Immediately after finishing, I felt a wave of relief, but also I felt depressed.  This depression would not go away soon.  I ignored it by the fact I had done something so immense and was proud, but that thing I worked so hard for was done… And I no longer had Katahdin in my distance, it was behind me.  After returning to Phoenix (a 3 week, 6000 mile car camping trip done with my dog Shwayze and I, which I will post about soon) I was exhausted.  I was in no hurry to find a job, I still had some money leftover.  I hung out with friends but I found that feeling of being alone amongst people.  They would all ask how the trip was but I feel they wouldn’t grasp what I was talking about, or wouldn’t care.  That feeling will only forever be shared with the people I was on the trip with.  I felt isolated for a very long time, months even.  I had the post trail blues.  I refused to exercise, my diet was still horrible, but I had to move on.

Coming back to the city I was FULL of anxiety.  The way of life, going to bed at 8 and having no responsibility was over.  I am back in my house that I own, things are broken down, I need to fix them, their are 1000s of thoughts flying through my head at full speed.  I got a job serving tables at Hard Rock Cafe, they loved the fact I was a thru hiker.  I had a huge beard when I applied and kept it for quite some time.  Once I was back in the swing of things with work, I started going to the gym again, and eating better.  It took about 6 months for me to see a Dr. about the way I was feeling, and I have been put on some anti-depressants/anxiety medicine.   This has all helped immensly, and I believe time was the greatest cure.  It is, to put it mildly, straining on the body and mind to be having the time of your life with people who mean the world to you, and then to summit and be ripped from everyone you care about, and taken from that life, and put back into what you were escaping from in the first place.  I have read up a lot about post trail depression and I was ready for it, but it hit me hard.  I talked for hours with fellow thru hikers and they helped out a lot.  I did what anyone else would do, I planned my next adventure.

Other than the post trail depression, I took away a lot from this trip.

-Travel alone anywhere with confidence

-New sense of adventure (there are seriously so many adventures out there)

-A new mindset on my future and how to attack my goals (I spent lots of time thinking.. LOTS)  I am going back to school for physical therapy assistant ASAP.

-The ability to trust people again.  This is huge, living in the city can turn you indifferent, you will turn a blind eye to people, it makes you not trust each other, it makes you ignore.  I was helped by complete strangers that at first I didnt trust.  Jimmy (a trail angel that had taken my back pack down the road for me and also helped us in New Found Gap was the first instance of this).  I feel more human now!  I help out whenever I can, I will not turn a blind eye.  People matter to me again.  This was one of the greatest side effects of hiking the trail.

-The feeling that I can do anything I put my mind to.  (Seriously, I just hiked 2200 miles, prove me wrong)

-A deeper understanding between the relationship of humankind and nature.  This is more of a Native American approach to our Mother Earth, but it took me this trip to understand it.  I no longer throw away things on a hike, put trash in a fire pit, etc.  This is what we have, leave it more beautiful than how you found it, because you never know who this location will inspire next!

On a side note… This July, I will be hiking the Lost Coast Trail (Humboldt California) a 56 mile completely on the beach hike, that goes through some red woods!  Gandalf, Goat and Bob the trail magic guru are coming with me.  This trip coming up means the world to me, I get to hike with my fellow hiker family and see a new part of this beautiful beautiful country.  I would love to share it all with you and will do so, and I hope you enjoy it!

COMING SOON – LOST COAST TRAIL 🙂

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Day 128 – NH

Ethan Pond shelter to Lake of the Clouds Hut – 14.2 miles
1851.2 / 334.1

I am currently about to sleep on the floor of the ‘dining room’ that I call a living room at lake of the clouds hut. It is 10 pm and quiet time and There are teeNagers all around us, playing monopoly and gossiping. This is going to be a long night. However, it’s freezing out, it rained all day, and there is a roof over our head! As through hikers, we get to do a work for stay (a stay at one of the guts is around $125) so we stay free. We also get to eat leftovers of dinner AND breakfast! So awesome! For the work we did the dishes and then we recoiled the catchers under the grill and then spent about an hour scrubbing the burner plates. Not bad.

As far as the hike, I was up around 6 am and realized it was still pouring out from the night before. I quickly slept in. I finally got up, put wet clothes and shoes on and me and Dinosaur left around 7:45 am. And it was still raining. We quickly hiked the 3 miles down to Crawford notch. But then spent over 2 hours climbing up Webster cliffs and Webster mountain. Or as I like to call it, Sudden Slippery Death trail. We were basically rock climbing with packs on in pouring rain, above treeline. So sketchy!

But the clouds kept flying by and giving us glimpses of beauty so between shivers I was happy. I eventually left dinosaur to hike fast and made or to Mizpah Hut around 1:30. I found Grasshopper zeroing there, and Thin mint was there! I haven’t seen him since March. We wanted to work for stay at Lake of the Clouds hut. to do so you want to show up between 4-6 pm or they send you away if you’re early, and you will more than likely have other thru hikers (your competition) take up the only 2-4 available spots if you’re late.

I hiked with Thin Mint the whole way to lake of the clouds. It finally stopped raining, and it was good to catch up with him. Almost the entire hike was above tree line after climbing Pierce. I got beautiful views and was once again super excited about this trip. These were the views that made me want to do this hike in the first place! I had climbed all these mountains with my dad as a kid and the memories came flooding back with each view.

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Day 95 – NY/CT

Pawling, NY to Bulls Bridge – 14.1 miles
1455.8 / 729.5

For some reason i didn’t sleep well again, weird! But we crossed over to Connecticut today!!

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We crossed paths with the biggest tree on the AT! 20 ft diameter.

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It was raining again and the trail was pretty muddy and slippayy. However immediately upon crossing into New England we were treated with a beautiful pine forest walk and a the ten mile river, very pretty scenery.

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We were able to sleep at a hikers parents house, Raven invited us. We went to the grocery store, cooked dinner, watched Thor 2 and had a slumber party in the living room. Amazing!

Day 93 – NY

Greymoore Spiritual Center to RPH shelter – 18.8 miles
1424.9 / 760.4

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I slept MAYBE 4 hours last night, so exhaustion set in hard today. Haven’t been sleeping well for a couple days now. We got up and out pretty early, around 7:45, with fully charged electronics. The church bells played songs for 5 minutes every hour until I fell asleep the first time.

We made pretty good timing for the first half of the day. The terrain has started to calm down a bit, no huge mountains to summit, no crazy ups or downs, but still a lot of ups and downs. It was about 75 today and cloudy, super humid though. It was misting and or feeling like it was about to rain all day. That, and the fact the ground was wet from last night, made it all kinds of buggy. I lost count after killing 10 Mosquitos, all of which bit me, and didn’t count the ones that got away. Seriously getting LIT UP out here.

We had lunch near a stream, for like 30 minutes til we couldn’t take the bugs anymore and set off. There was a cafe that we later found wasn’t open that we wanted to get to. It was at a beautiful lake, Canopus Lake beach.

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We got to the lake and unlike every water source in NJ and NY, it actually smelled like a decent lake! I don’t know why this excited me, but it did. Maybe signified I was getting close to NH/ME. Well the cafe was not open, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open. So I hooked up my phone in the restroom to charge, and fell asleep on a park bench.

Fresh was passed out in the grass near me and a guy in a tractor told us there was a campground up ahead. I politely declined and said I’m gonna stay here for another hour before moving on, which seemed to annoy the man. Well he went away like I hoped and I rested again.

We hit the finale of today’s trail after the lake, a pretty steep uphill section to Shanendoah mountain, which had a 911 memorial flag painted on top.

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The trail went 1000 ft down to our current shelter, which oddly enough, is in a neighborhood. I couldn’t imagine living on the same street as a hiker shelter haha. All that homeless looking hiker trash.. Well the good news is pizza delivers here, and I ate an entire one to myself. The caretaker showed up shortly after and hung out with us just shooting the breeze. I guess it would be cool to have a hiker shelter in your hood! Our mansion privy..

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Day 89 – NJ

Unionville, NY to St Thomas Church in Vernon, NJ – 11.8 miles
1352.9 / 832.4

And then sometimes you stop to talk to a stranger and they ask you if you’re going to a hostel you’ve never heard of, which happens to be an Episcopalian church in New Jersey, full of free church ziti, and the movie ‘the other guys’. Heck yes!

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So instead of 17 miles like planned, we did about 12. It was absolutely beautiful out today! In the 60s, cloudy, perfect hiking weather. We hiked over some pretty steep terrain after unionville, and made our way to the marshlands, complete with boardwalks and everything. The boardwalk was pretty, and lasted for about a mile.

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After we came to the road that lady told us about, and hitched a ride into town in a 2 door complete with a 2 year old crazy dog. We got to st Thomas and at first couldn’t figure out how to get in, and then saw it was downstairs. We looked around, and read signs like ‘food in fridge is for hikers’, raced to the fridge, opened it, and found heaven in the form of 5 lbs of cooked church ziti and cookies etc.

We are very well, watched movies all night, and overall might be my favorite hostel. No one was around except for hikers, and there’s a Dunkin donuts next door..

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Fresh even found a nice little bathrobe to use.

Day 87 – NJ

Rattlesnake campsite to Gren Anderson Shelter – 17.9 miles
1321.0 / 864.3

Finally got some sleep! I love my tent. I was out by 10 and woke up by 6. It was a beautiful morning and not too cold! Had some breakfast and enjoyed the moment. All morning we had a cool breeze. Such a nice change if weather.

We left at 7:10 and the birds were chirping, the breeze was nice and cool, the terrain was alright. It was a good day. Around 9:30 am I was walking and minding my own business, turned a corner and just see this.

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A bear on the middle of the trail, head lowered, staring intently at me. The other bear I saw didn’t bother me, this one did. Luckily the trail went left, we got on it, not realizing it paralleled the road 15 ft left. We looked up and it was still on the same spot, staring at us. We laughed, albeit nervously. It started walking up the road so we waited a minute and continued. We were walking slowly listening for noises knowing there’s a bear to our right and up ahead, and suddenly it crossed our paths on the trail. I shouted ‘Ohh’ and I think stretch peed himself. That fucker walked up the trail up the mountain so we had to follow it!

We waited 5 min this time and got to the top, saw some turkey vultures just getting all vulture-like.

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We saw a 2nd bear and were now afraid. We kept going cuz that one ran from us and we got maybe 10 more minutes when we heard crashing and grunting. 2 bears! One chasing the other up the hill. And then they were suddenly coming at us. Fresh literally turned around and ran. And I said fuck this and started hiking south on the trail. I turned around to look Again and They turned 100 ft from us down another hill never to be seen again. Too many bears!

We made it to the shelter by 12:30 and sat for 1.5 hours chilling. The best part about going to fast recently is that we have to start slowing down. 18 mile days are what I call easy days. I’m getting into it!

Eventually we left the shelter around 2. We made 3.5 miles to blancheville New Jersey and found a restaurant on the lake. We chilled there for 2 hours playing horseshoes and listening to locals. We met one that had his shirt off within 1 minute of hitting the patio. It was that type of crowd.

Weave the shelter we are staying at around 7:15. There are 4 other section hikers here, all armed with beer. We had a safety meeting, due to the amount of bears, and life is good.

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Day 85 – PA

Wind Gap to Delaware Water Gap – 15.6 miles
1289.6 / 895.7

Waking up after sleeping behind a bar on a busy street was… Interesting. The sun was blaring at 6:15 and already heated up my tent! I did not know it could get that hot that early! We got out around 7:45 and were on the trail by 8. The trail was once again, very rocky. It took us an hour to do the first 2 miles.

It got really hot and we made ok time after that. We made it to the shelter 9 miles in around noon. Took a 45 minute break and moved on. We made the trek pretty harmlessly and moved on to Delaware water gap. It’s a cool small town and we are staying at the church on the mountain. We got to meet two new thru hikers, the fox sisters, or big and little fox. We all went to the diner and I ate a pizza burger and also ordered an egg and bacon sandwich.

Afterwards I stopped by the bakery and bought a cheesecake. So good! We came back to the hostel and have just been listening to music and reading. A nice relaxing short day! And I finally made it to my destination before 8 pm.

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Day 82 – PA

Eagles Nest Shelter to Eckville Shelter – 23.8 miles
1228.5 / 956.8

81.1 miles in 3 days, in northern Pennsylvania, my feet are sore! Arrived today at 8:30 pm, but Good news, caught up to Fresh again, glad to hear he’s been having a good time in my absence. At the shelter tonight there is a full bunk room plus another 15 tents, more people than I’ve seen in 3 weeks combined. Good to see guy on a buffalo again, and meet many new faces.

Today started off pretty miserably, I was too cold and tired to get up, it was still raining, so I slept in and finally got out of bed at 6:30. I put my wet rainfly away in my pack separately so not to get everything else wet. Started on the trail at 7:15 and soon enough I had to take an emergency crap. I left my pack on the trail and when I finished I got lost for over half an hour. It was real dense bushes and trees so you couldn’t see 10 ft on front of you. It was raining and I couldn’t tell which way the sun was coming from etc. I must have gone 100 ft in the wrong direction at one point, getting frantic. It ends well, after yelling for help and not staying in one place like I should. I found the trail. Being lost without a pack is WAY different. I had nothing except tp.

So I moved on and eventually ran into seymore and coco again, this time with their parents. It was 2 miles from port Clinton, and I had to resupply. I asked for a hitch to walmart and got treated to Chinese buffet by her parents! What a treat! Then they took us to Walmart and I got food and new batteries for my headlamp. I hiked with them some, and eventually was on my own. But thank you so much guys!

There were some extreme Ricky sections and great views today, all in all, another great day on the trail!

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