September 10

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).