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Wired’s Gear List for a Thru-Hike

Choosing the right overnight backpacking gear for yourself can be a struggle. Strive to find that balance of cost, weight, and comfort. Gear is a very personal thing and there is no magic gear list. I’ve had 4.5 years of backpacking to dial in my gear list and I still tweak it each year depending on the type of hiking I plan on doing. I’ve had a total of over 500 nights and 10,000 miles of thru hiking to test out gear, and I feel like I’ve found my comfortable 3 season gear list. Over the years, my base pack weight (BPW) has evolved from 16 to 13 pounds. I consider myself a lightweight backpacker that enjoys certain “luxury items” on the trail. I was content to have an average BPW when I started in 2011 (PCT). Then came the Continental Divide Trail in 2013. With more challenging terrain and longer food and water carries I knew I wanted to upgrade to lighter gear to enjoy the hike.
 

Backpacking

Last day of the Great Divide Trail hike


 
The transformation was not difficult to figure out. I mainly needed to change my big three items and that immediately dropped almost 2 lbs off my BPW. The next pound I cut was just an ounce here or there by either paring down extraneous items, or buying lighter versions of what I was already using. It really is amazing how an ounce here or there adds up! Once I lowered my pack weight, I realized how much more enjoyable hiking was with less weight. Gossamer Gear’s motto of “Take Less, Do More” rings true. I’ve repeatedly said that the Mariposa Pack is the one pack I’ve worn that fits so well that I sometimes feel like I’m not wearing a pack at all. Of course, it isn’t the pack alone that changes everything. You need to have the right gear to put in the pack for it to work. Below is the gear I’ve dialed in as my 3 season gear list…and down from that I have some additional items I will sometimes bring on hikes depending on the conditions and terrain.

 

CategoryGearWeight(oz)Details
PackingGossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack27.50Size small pack and hipbelt.
Trash Compactor Bag1Used as an inner pack lining during rain.
Pack Shoulder Strap Pocket2.9
ZPacks Roll Top Blast Food Bag1.4
Therm-a-Rest Stuff Sack0.5
Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Dry Sack 6.5L0.6Packed clothing Sack
Sea to Summit Ultra Sil XS Stuff Sack0.4Electronics Sack
Sea to Summit Ultra Sil XS Stuff Sack0.4Toiletries Stuff Sack
SleepingZPacks 10 Degree Sleeping Bag19.8
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Women's11
ShelterZPacks Soloplex with 8 Titanium V Stakes16.2I used hiking poles for the tent poles. Most nights I only needed 6 stakes as the others were used in inclimate weather.
Packed ClothingLotion Infused sleep socks1.5
ExOfficio Underwear1
Teva Mush II Flip Flops5.3Camp shoes
Walgreens Ankle Support/Brace1.5I have weak ankles and use this when needed.
Columbia Beanie2.2
Random Cheap Polarized Sunglasses0.6I lose and break them so often, it isn't worth buying a nice pair.
Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket5.8Works best when paired with an umbrella.
Sierra Designs Hurricane HP Pants6.2Also used for insulation pants when cold.
Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Coat6
Nitrile Gloves0.4To be worn over gloves in rain or taking down a cold wet tent.
Sea to Summit Insect Shield Head Net1.3
Balega Running Socks1.2I rotate two pairs of socks so this is the extra pair.
SmartWool Microweight Long Sleeve PJs4.6
SmartWool Microweight Long Under PJs4.7
Seirus Hyperlite All-Weather Gloves1.8
Buff Original Buff1.3
HydrationSawyer Squeeze Water Water Filter3I think the extra ounce is worth the speedier filtering
Platypus SoftBottle 34oz1.2Used as a dirty bag for the Sawyer Squeeze
Mini Dropper Bottles.2My preferred water purification is 2 drops of bleach if water doesn't need filtering.
Smart Water Plastic Disposable Bottle 1L1.7
Playtypus Platy Bottle 70oz1.3
CookingCaldera Cone Set Alcohol Stove3.75
Evernew Titanium .9L Cook Pot4.1
Small EssentialsCharging USBs for Camera, MP3, and External Battery6.5
iFlash 4 USB Quad Port Plug In Wall Charger4.5A very handy plug that allows me to charge four USB items at once.
SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive (64GB)1.1External drive for storing backup trip info, maps, music, photos, and videos.
Lifeproof Protective iPhone Case1
Liteflex Hiking (Chrome) Umbrella8Added for the AT and may now be a permanent part of my gear on any hike. Great for both rain and sun protection.
Adventure Medical Kit (customized)3I have a handful of bandaids, sports tape, and larger gauze
Back Pad on Pack Doubles as Sit Pad
Pocket Knife.80
NewTrent PowerPak Extern. Battery13,500mAh10.4There are other batteries by NewTrent that are lighter, but I like the bonus charging I get on this one. I used a solar charger for years and found this to be much more reliable and convenient.
Dynaglide Bear Hanging Line 50' 1.2I'd carry a thicker rope that is less painful on the hands if it was a trip to hang nightly
Deuce Backpacking Trowel0.60I'm usually able to use my hiking pole to dig holes, but now my tent requires both poles for setup and I often need to dig a hole when my tent is in use.
DeLorme in Reach Explorer6.70I think that going on a trip without this is like driving without a seat belt
Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS25 Camera7
Petzel e+Lite (Ultralight) Headlamp1
StickPic0.4
SanDisk Sansa Clip MP3 Player1
Apple Earbuds0.4
iPhone 54
iPhone Plug-in charger & USB cord1.4
Toiletry Dry Sack12Toothbrush, Toothpaste, toilet paper, wet wipes, Diva Cup, Body Glide, mini sewing kit, sunscreen, bug spray-12oz
Total base weight (oz)(not including worn items or consumables)207.7 ounces
Total base weight (lb)(not including worn items or consumables)15.7 pounds

 

Hayduke

Hiking on the Hayduke Trail

 

I would consider the above list to be my general gear list. There are a few changes I make if conditions or terrain warrants them. I will take more water bladders if I know there will be long water carries. In situations where I might experience colder rain or snow, I exchange my OR Helium rain jacket with the heavier duty Montbell Torrent Flier rain jacket. In bear country, I will either take a BearVault food canister or Loksak OPSAKs. If I will be in areas where snow still lingers, I will bring Katoola Microspikes and a Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe. Finally, if I will need to do a lot of navigation, I will bring my Garmin eTrex 20.

 

This thru-hiking gear list was contributed by Brand Ambassador Erin “Wired” Saver. She has hiked over 10,000mi, including hiking’s Triple Crown (AT, PCT, CDT). This past summer, she thru hiked the Hayduke Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, and Great Divide Trail. For more detail on her gear and comprehensive gear reviews, see her Walking With Wired blog (link in her profile above).

12 Responses to Wired’s Gear List for a Thru-Hike

  1. Daryn Hubbard September 10, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Nice gear list. I like the mixture of luxury and essential items. I am just getting into the ultra light scene and am inspired by what I have seen here. Haven’t done any really long stuff, but the Chilkoot Trail up in Alaska with a 60 lb pack was enough to make me move this direction. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Erin "Wired" Saver September 15, 2014 at 12:06 am #

      You’re welcome Daryn:)

  2. Jarrett Morgan September 10, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Its nice to know my list isn’t to far off from a Triple Crowner. I must be on the right track to a light pack. Thanks for the share.

    • Erin "Wired" Saver September 15, 2014 at 12:05 am #

      Great to hear Jarrett!

  3. Richfax September 12, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    Hey Wired,
    Thanks for posting your list. What are your thoughts on the Soloplex? I’m considering buying one and use a FlyCreek UL1 now.

  4. JohnH September 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    I was wondering about the Soloplex too. Most of the AP is is in sheltered woodland, do you have experience of the shelter in strong wind? How does it compare with the Hexamid apart from being a little larger?

    • Erin "Wired" Saver September 15, 2014 at 12:04 am #

      Richfax and JohnH, I would say that the Soloplex is very similar to the Hexamid (which I used on the gusty CDT), but that it has even more protection. It is quite meshy, so expect it to still be drafty and I personally found that in horizontal rain, mist found its way into the tent in a downpour. Also, if the ground you camp on is hard and there is a downpour, the splashing raindrops come up on the mesh. It wasn’t enough to soak me, but a few times in extreme conditions I had to setup things in the tent along the mesh (umbrella, pack, rain jacket, pack liner) for added protection where it splashed. Most rains and downpours, it worked perfectly. I think all tents/tarps have a bit of this element to them and you just need to pitch them lower to the ground in hard rain. Overall, it has been my favorite tent with a ton of space and nice big doorway that I can leave open mesh or covered. Of course it won’t give you the full protection of a free standing tent that is double the weight. It’s a matter of what you’re able to tolerate for saving the weight. It is stable in the wind though, but a big part of that, along with the rain, is setting up in sheltered spots.

  5. JerryW September 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    Isn’t there quite a lot of stuff missing, Erin? No toothbrush, or paste? No sun stuff, insect stuff, toiletries, alcohol for stove, things to light it with? Spork, knife, pen, sewing kit, earplugs, maps/guides, Are they all “consumables?” In that case most of the stuff in my backpack is consumable! A fuller list would be interesting.
    btw, I have a Hexamid Duo tent I am deeply in love with. I’m 6’5″ and it’s the first one I’ve had that’s big enough as well as the lightest

    • Erin "Wired" Saver September 20, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      Oh, good catch Jerry. I actually transferred this over from my gear list on my site and that got lost in the transfer. Here is the one on my site. http://www.walkingwithwired.com/p/gear-list_03.html I didn’t do the totals for this one and I didn’t notice something was missing. I’ll see if it can be added. On my gear list I have my toiletry bag as 12oz. and that includes the earplugs, toilet paper, and sewing kit. My spork is already included in the cook set and my knife is on there as it is part of my multitool. I usually carry very little weight in paper as I tend to get more at each resupply and have copies on my phone. I tend to consider sunscreen, toothpaste, and alcohol to be consumables since they are something I refill in town and then consume as I go. I’ll see if they can add that on there now that I see the total. My BPW is usually around 13lbs.

      • JerryW September 22, 2014 at 1:55 am #

        Ah, that’s better.. I will compare it with mine. Very brave of you to write down the cost as well (on the other list) – I daren’t do that, for fear of what the total might come to!

  6. Ken October 16, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    If you are “not including worn items and consumables”, then shouldn’t the weight be listed as Base Pack Weight….as Total Base Weight includes items worn and carried?

    • erinsaver October 16, 2015 at 9:50 am #

      Ken, the key word in there is “base.” I think the chart (uniform for all GG Ambassadors on this site) intentionally notes that it doesn’t include worn or consumables because much of the general public will be seeing this and many may not know what BPW means. They are basically reiterating that BPW doesn’t include those items so people don’t ask that question, “Hey, what about food, water, etc??” The word total is there to indicate it’s the “total” of the base weight. If the word “base” wasn’t there, it would be referring to total pack weight. Even my personal BPW chart on my website calls it “Total Base Pack Weight.” That is what it’s called.

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