Gear Talk – The Trek

Oh boy, gear! I’ve spent hours and hours looking at gear, comparing specs, and reading other hikers’ lists, and now the time has finally come to share my own gear picks for the trail ride ahead. Hope you’re ready for some great gear talk and information overload, because here we go!

The big three

This tent was one of the first great gear choices I was pretty set on after hearing about it for the first time. It has a ton of internal space, is very easy to set up, can stand alone, and is quite light at 32 oz. It’s not the lightest tent (by far), and I have to admit I had a moment of doubt where I tried another ultralight tent that definitely wasn’t for me, so I came back to this first choice which turned out to be the right one. May I introduce… The Tarptent Rainbow!

Tartente rainbow!

Coming from a big Kelty Coyote pack, I was excited to enter the world of more minimalist packs. I opted for a bag that was light but also had the capacity to hold heavy loads, a bag with good durability and with some nice features that my Kelty didn’t have (oooweeee belt pockets!). That ended up being the 68-liter ULA circuit.

The fully charged circuit.

The choice of duvet was one of the most difficult for me. Prior to this, I had only used a 32 degree synthetic sleeping bag, so the idea of ​​a versatile down comforter was intriguing but also a little concerning. Comparing weight savings, freedom of movement, warmth, drafts, fabric, fill power, fill weight, waterproofness, draft collar and other features seemed impossible. Direction of the deflector? Does it even matter? What is a differential cut? ! A lot of research has gone into this choice. Even after deciding to buy a quilt, there were so many great brands to choose from! In the end, I went with the Katabatic Flex 22 with 3 oz overflow (so I’m hoping for a Katabatic Flex 16-ish).

My Katabatic Flex 22 with the storage bag and the pad attachment cords.

my sleep system

There are a few other things in my sleep system besides my duvet. I chose the fairly typical Thermarest neoair x-lite cushion for sleeping, although I opted for the women’s version with the higher r-value of 5.4. I will also bring a Sea-to-Summit Thermolite Reactor bag liner, which will add a few extra degrees of warmth at night and keep my duvet clean. After too many trips where I used my clothes in a ball as a pillow and subsequently had no pillow at all on cold nights, I chose to add a Big Sky International Dream Sleeper pillow . Yes, a pillow might be considered a luxury item by some, but at only 1.5 oz. I think it will be worth bringing and being able to sleep more comfortably.

Finally, I will have a dedicated set of sleepwear that will always be dry and warm at the end of the day. These include a long-sleeved merino wool shirt and leggings, plus a pair of lightweight booties that will keep my feet toasty warm.

The rest of the sleep system: cushion, liner, pillow and warm clothes.

The kitchen

For my cooking system, I have the MSR Pocket Rocket 2. It comes with a stove kit that I decided to use, which includes a pot, a lid, and a plastic cup. I will also bring a mini BIC lighter, a fuel canister, a small knife and a Toaks titanium long-handled spoon. I will also have a food bag, paracord, and a small rock bag that I will use to hang my food up at night to keep critters out.

My water filtration is nothing new, the Sawyer Squeeze and two Smart water bottles will be enough to keep me hydrated.

The kitchen: fuel, pot, lid, cup, stove, lighter, knife, paracord/carabiner, spoon and bag of food.


Choosing which clothes to bring was surprisingly difficult for me. Packing up your fears is something all hikers do, but I really struggled between the fear of getting cold and wet and bringing too many clothes. Also, the possible range of temperatures I could encounter in the first month (from 10 to 60) makes it difficult to prepare for all scenarios without bringing a lot of options.

easy tricks

To start with the simplest choices, I’ll bring a buff, two pairs of office underwear, a sports bra, camp shoes, and three pairs of socks (two Darn Tough socks and an Injinji from average weight). . I was given a pair of REI Co-op Traverse trekking poles and what can I say they work well so they are coming.

Choosing the right pair of trail runners was a daunting process, my feet blistered incredibly easily so I wanted to find a shoe that worked really well for my feet. I thought this process would take tons of research and multiple pairs of shoe purchases and returns until I found what was right, but the first pair I tried on turned out to be the one there (although I did tons of research). Learning about trail runners, I decided I wanted a pair with a rock slab, large toe box, and a low (but NOT zero) toe box. These requirements led me to Topoathletic Terraventures, which was great. I will never go back to narrow toe shoes! I wore a pair from Terraventure 2 just as they came out with the third iteration of this model, so I’ll be hitting the trail in a fun green pair from Terraventure 3 with colored Dirty Girl gaiters attached to keep the dirt out of my shoes.

base layer

My base layer hiking shirt will be a Smartwool Merino 150 base layer top, which will hopefully dry quickly and be generally odor free throughout the hike. I’ll alternate between a pair of running shorts and fleece-lined leggings depending on the temperature.


I jumped on the hype bandwagon for my fleece midlayer and got a Melanzana microgrid hoodie. So far this fleece has been almost too warm for lounging around the house, but that means it should do a good job of keeping me warm at night. My puffy outer jacket is the Patagonia Nano puff, which has also done a good job of keeping me warm for the past two years. I will also have a nice beanie to wear at night to keep my head warm


I went with the cheap hiker classic: the Frog Toggs rain suit. These looked surprisingly like wax paper when I first took them out of the bag, but after a test spray with the garden hose, I’m confident they’ll keep me dry.

All the clothes I will bring: 2 underwear, 3 socks, sports bra, shirt, shorts, leggings, buff, sunglasses, hat, fleece, bouffant, raincoat, gaiters, running shoes and camp shoes.


I will keep it simple in this category. My morning and evening routines will involve a travel toothbrush, dried and repackaged toothpaste, a small hairbrush, and a camping towel. A few ounces of Dr. Bronner for washing my hands should be enough since the product is so concentrated, lip balm and a pair of earplugs for whenever the need arises completes this group.

My toiletries: towel, hairbrush, lip balm, Dr. Bronners soap, earplugs, toothbrush and 3 months of dried toothpaste tablets.

When I need to use the facili-trees (lol) I’ll try a Kula Cloth (a reusable anti-microbial pee cloth, not sure if I’ll like it but we’ll see how it goes), and I have a Deuce #2 Backcountry trowel and toilet paper for forest poop.

First aid/repair

In the first aid kit there are a few bandages of various sizes, a few alcohol wipes, moleskin, a fair amount of leukotape, scissors and a variety of pills (mainly for muscle aches, fevers, and so I do not do it). shit me bad water).

The repair kit contains a few sleeping pad patches, some extra Sawyer Squeeze O-rings, dental floss and a sewing needle, and of course a generous helping of duct tape wrapped around one of my trekking poles.

The small emergency kit contains a fire starter and iodine pills just in case the Bic lighter filter fails.

First aid kit, repair kit, scissors and fire starters/emergency iodine pills


Even when you’re hiking in the woods for 6 months, you can’t completely escape technology. For a headlamp I’ll bring the Nitecore nu25 which is lightweight, rechargeable and has a number of brightness settings for the main and red lights (including an emergency super bright setting which I’ve used before to momentarily blind my brother). In case of emergencies and areas of trails without service, I will have a Zoleo satellite communicator. Although it has a bit of a learning curve, I think this device will work well when I need it. I will also have my phone and a pair of headphones to talk to people and listen to music/podcasts/books on the trail.

I will be bringing a nitecore nb 10000 charging pad to keep the above three batteries charged. This power bank is crazy light (5.3oz!), can charge two devices at the same time, and supports pass-through charging (so you can charge the pad while using the pad to charge something else) ). Luckily, the Zoleo and the headlamp use the same type of charging cord, so I’ll only bring a phone cord, a combination Zoleo/headlamp charging cord, and the cord for the power bank itself.

I will also be storing a few guide pages and my “wallet” (i.e. this little ziplock bag), along with the tech.

The technology group: nitecore nb 10000 charger, headlamp, zoleo, cords, wall charger, wallet and guide pages.


Pepper Spray: Prevention is better than cure, although I would be very sorry if this accidentally goes off in my bag.

Kahtoola Microspikes: Another one just in case. If it’s freezing, I’ll be very happy to have them, and they’ll be sent home after the first month or so.

Sunglasses: You may not need these, especially once the spring leaves create the classic green tunnel, but I’ll take them for starters.

Here is my bathroom kit, water filter, pepper spray and microspikes.

In total

The whole shebang!

All my gear weighs about 17.8 pounds. It’s honestly a bit heavier than I was aiming for, but considering my start date of Feb 26, I think I’ll need all the warm clothes. Once the spring is in the air, I’m pretty sure it will drop to around 15 pounds, which was my original goal. The only thing I miss here is another smart water bottle. All in all not too shabby in my opinion, but we’ll see what the total weight of the bag will be with food and water at the Amicalola visitor center. T-6 days, see you soon!

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