The only thing more exciting than deciding to hike is realizing that it gives you an excuse to upgrade your gear. Before I start covering the gear I take, I want to give some basic information. I have been hiking for about 10 years. Over the years, my gear choices and overall quality have changed dramatically. I put together my first backpack setup in high school and on a budget of probably ~$150. I had a $20 Walmart tent, a cheap synthetic sleeping bag, a $5 foam mat, a borrowed backpack, no stove, no water filter, well… you get the picture. .
Fast forward a few years, experience and a summer job. Now that I had some money, I upgraded my tent, sleeping bag and backpack. I was able to afford a stove and a water filter. The gaps in my gear list have finally been filled. How could I need other equipment? But, as I started to put on more miles and do more research, I quickly realized that my setup was nowhere near where it could be. Once I graduated from college and started working as an engineer, I started replacing a lot of the gear in my bag. I went with the “buy once, cry once” mentality for critical pieces of gear. Below I will outline the key items on my gear list. You can find my full gear list on my Trek profile here.
My only remaining equipment:
As I mentioned before, I completely overhauled my gear a few times. The only gear that has stood the test of time is my Jetboil Zip. I’ve had this system for about 8 years and it still works great. It’s heavier than many other cooking solutions, yet it’s fuel efficient and sturdy. Since it lasted so long, I thought I’d have to see if it could last a hike.
My Big 3 +1 (tent, sleeping bag, backpack and sleeping pad):
The tent I chose is the Zpacks Duplex. This is a single wall ultralight Dyneema trekking pole tent. I’ve taken it on a few backpacking trips so far and it’s been nothing but great. The trekking poles I use are the BD Trail Ergo Cork. I bought a Western Mountaineering Ultralight Long sleeping bag. This is by far one of my favorite pieces of equipment. It’s incredibly hot for its weight! For my backpack, I bought a Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Junction. Although it’s a 55 liter pack, I’ve taken it on almost every hike and trip over the past few months due to its weight and versatility. Finally, I chose the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite for my sleeping pad. The comfort and warmth of this pad is excellent, but I probably should have opted for the large version as my feet stick at the end.
I’ll be rocking the fashionable La Sportiva Wildcats with Powerstep inserts. The shoes are completely personal. I found these and they work for me. That being said, I had a slight foot injury when I started wearing them. I had inserts and this did the trick. My suggestion is to find a store with a good return policy and try on several shoes.
My clothes :
I found this to be the hardest part of my gear list and everything I list here is tentative. For my base layers, I’ll take a pair of New Balance running tights and a Terramar quarter-zip top. These are both lightweight and quick-drying that can be used for sleeping or hiking in cold weather. My daily hiking outfit will consist of heavy-duty quarter-length socks, Patagonia Nine Trails shorts, an alpine-patterned button-up shirt, and a baseball cap. For colder temperatures, I have a Patagonia down sweater. I will probably add more to my cold weather gear later in my trip. My rain gear is a Mountain Hardware Exponent 2 jacket paired with cheap waterproof pants from Bass Pro. I also plan to bring an extra pair or two of socks, a pair of underwear, and an extra camp shirt.
Water filtration and electronics:
My water filter is the Sawyer Squeeze paired with a squeeze bag and some smart water bottles. Soft bags pop frequently, but I plan to keep one and replace as needed. For electronics, I’ll take an iPhone 11, 10,000 mAh battery, BD Spot headlamp, and Garmin InReach Mini 2. Finally, my Sony a6000 camera with an 18-200mm lens will also come with me.
I hope you enjoyed checking out some of the gear I plan to bring. If you have any comments or equipment suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us! As I mentioned before, that’s not all my gear. I left out a lot of small and less important gear items that are on my gear list. Thanks for reading and remember to keep wandering in your own direction.
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