Sunday, January 15, 2017

Thru Hiking Gear

After hiking over 1100 miles on the PCT, the John Muir Trail and the Wonderland trail, I've learned a thing or two about what I like for long distance backpacking gear! You can find a video overview below along with links and detail on the gear.

1. Sleeping Bag

The Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt. Many options for size, color and fill. Much of this depends on your build and whether you sleep "cold". I found a 20 degree bag worked well for me. 

2. A Down Jacket

For weight and warmth, down is difficult to beat. There are many quality options. I don't believe Mountain Hardwear makes the Jacket I have anymore, but it's probably similar to this one.

3. A Wool Base Layer

Expensive but worth it!
Be careful, here. Many wool items are only 60-30% wool. We used Icebreaker and Darn tough

4. Sleeping Pad

ThisThremarest Neo-Air Xtherm has twice the insulating ability as other pads of similar weight! 

5. Rain Gear

Marmet Precip
The Mamet Precip is a durable and reasonably priced option
For the price and weight, Frogg Toggs are unmatched, but they are not as durable. They were suitable for many days of bad weather, but if you're facing weeks or months of rain, they will begin to show signs of wear.

6. Trekking Poles

Trekking Poles are amazingly helpful! Our Black Diamond trekking poles wore faster than anticipated, but worked well otherwise.

7. Bandannas

Cheap, light and useful as snot rags, washcloths, towels, etc. you can cut one of these handkerchiefs in half (they're pretty large) and pack it.

8. A Mosquito Net

While not always necessary, this mosquito net is worth the fraction of an ounce if there are mosquitoes on the trail / in the season. Use it with a hat to keep it off your face.
The 750ml cup we used

9. A Large Titanium Cup

We used this TOAKS cup as it was lightweight and cheaper than other titanium options. It has held up really well on our thru-hikes! Make sure to get this larger version

10. A Collapsible Cup

This silicone cup is another optional item, but it can double as a lid... allowing you to leave the lit on the TOAKS cup at home.

11. A Spoon or Spork

This long handled spoon is not what I took, but it's what I'd buy if I did it over again.

12. A Stove

We used the SOTO stove, though many other similar options exist. We knew a few people on the Pacific Crest Trail that went stove-less--and regretted it. At the end of a hard day, there's nothing so satisfying and uplifting as a hot meal. The main choice is between integrated systems like the Jetboil and stand alone stoves like ours and the popular Pocket Rocket. We decided on the stand alone option as it was more versatile.

13. Water Storage 

While not important on the Wonderland Trail, having flexible water carrying options was really important on the PCT. We sometimes carried 7 liters of water / person. We needed a large capacity that would fold down when not in use. These Platypus bladders were extremely durable and reliable.

14. Water Filtration

Emergency Beacon
The Sawyer Squeeze worked wonders. Don't waste time on the mini. A few fittings allow you to hook it up as a gravity fed system which is useful if the filter begins to clog and slow down.

15. Emergency Beacon 

Reliable, one time use beacons like the ACR are the best. You don't charge them, you don't change batteries. You also don't have panic with "spotty" reception of the Spot and other check in devices.

16. A Wool Buff

As with most clothing items, make sure you get something that is 70-100% wool, like this buff!

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