For better or worse, the following is a summary of the gear I currently use for long-distance hiking trips. These things are what I found to work best for me after testing them on my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, and more info about the pros and cons can be found in my gear update blog post. For the complete list with weight, check out my LighterPack page here.
Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 ~ This is a lighter pack than the Osprey Aura I have used before, with fewer bells and whistles. I love the pockets and the removable hip belt. Plus, their customer service has been great.
2020 Update – I have been coveting a Waymark pack, but can’t justify the purchase since I have two Mariposas that I need to destroy first before I’m allowed to buy anything else. The Waymark packs are customizable and made in the USA, and will probably be my next choice when the time comes.
ZPacks Duplex Tent ~ If you are looking for a bomber tent that can withstand all kinds of weather, this isn’t it. But it is lightweight and that’s what I’ve come to value most on a long trip.
My Sleep System
Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt (in Mardi Gras colors!) ~ This is my favorite piece of gear so far, mostly because I got to pick the colors. It is a 0 degree quilt because I hate being cold.
Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad ~ It is kind of a pain in the butt to blow up a mattress at the end of a day of hiking, but laying down on an insulating cushion of air makes that worth it.
Evernew Titanium UL 0.9 Pot ~ For weight saving, this pot replaced the GSI Soloist that I use for weekend trips. It is easily bent, however, and I do not recommend using it to bang tent stakes back into the ground during a snowstorm.
GSI Infinity Mug ~ I love this mug. It let me have my backcountry mochas (Starbucks Via and a Carnation Instant Breakfast) in the morning and my double hot chocolates at night without burning the sh*t out of my lips.
MSR PocketRocket ~ the BF and I have debated the attributes of the PocketRocket versus the JetBoil. I do love how fast the JetBoil can boil water, but it is loud and bulky. My PocketRocket is small and efficient, and frankly I’m emotionally attached.
ZPacks Roll Top Blast Food Bag ~ Apparently this is now just called the ‘Food Dry Bag’, which doesn’t sound nearly as cool. This is basically a cuben fiber dry bag with a velcro enclosure, roll top, and a carabiner for hanging, which I don’t do.
Here’s what I wear: A polyester running shirt and shorts, REI 1/4 Zip Tech pullover, sports bra, Injinji NuWool socks, La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Mountain Running shoe, Outdoor Research gaiters and the Mt. St. Helens trucker hat that I won from the Mt. St. Helens Institute for knowing the most random long-distance trail trivia (it pays to be an obsessive researcher sometimes).
2020 Update – I love the REI pullover and have added several to my collection, but I’ve traded it out for a Nue fleece pullover which feels nicer and is a little lighter. I found it at a thrift store that supports a crisis shelter, which makes me feel good on the inside too.
My Mt. St. Helens Institute hat was looking worse for the wear after the PCT, so I’ve traded that out for my new favorite hat from my buddy Thunderfluff. It’s awesome and I love it.
Here’s what I carry: Montbell Superior Down Parka, Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket, Icebreaker 200 base layer top, Smartwool midweight base layer bottoms, a Buff, glove liners, extra socks, a pair of undies, and Teva Mush flip-flops.
2020 Update – When my current rain jacket bites the dust, I will opt for the longer version so it completely covers my puffy jacket and protects it from the rain.
iPhone 11 Pro with a Speck case, charger and earbuds ~ I have dropped my phone in puddles and toilets, and accidentally set one on fire in an ill-advised oven incident. The Speck isn’t foolproof, but it works for now.
Anker 2nd Gen Astro E5 ~ this external battery pack is heavy, but my phone is my camera, GPS, map database, iPod, tv, Kindle…everything. My giant battery keeps me charged.
Montbell Sunblock Umbrella ~ I use this sporadically in hot areas with no shade. For snow travel, I use a Petzl Ice Axe, Hillsound Trail Crampons or Kahtoola crampons, alpine gaiters, and heavier base layers.