What You Actually Need for a Thru-Hike

When it comes to gear, I must admit that I get very overwhelmed very easily. I wanted to make a short and concise list of what the heck you actually need in your pack. If it’s not on this list, you probably don’t need it. I’ll get into the specifics of these categories in another post, but consider this your check list.

  • Backpack (no bigger than 50 L, around 40 is better) and Rain Cover
  • Your New Bedroom
    • A tent or hammock
    • Footprint for tent, tarp for the hammock
    • A sleeping bag
    • A sleeping pad
  • Your New Kitchen
    • Backpacking stove
    • Fuel for said stove
    • A cooking pot with lid
    • A bowl
    • A long handled spoon
    • A small pocket knife
    • Stuff sack for food
  • Water Purification and Storage
    • Aquamira or Sawyer Squeeze are the best options
    • 1 L Smart Water bottle
    • 1 or 2 1 L Platypus Bladder for extra storage
  • Your New Wardrobe
    • Hiking Outfit
      • Pants / Shorts
      • Shirt
      • Underwear / Bra
      • Socks
      • Trail Runners or Boots
      • Rain Jacket
      • Buff (optional)
    • Camp Outfit
      • Pants / Shorts
      • Shirt
      • Warm Base Layer Long Sleeve Shirt
      • Warm Base Layer Tights
      • Underwear
      • “Puffy” (Down) Jacket
      • Wool Hat
      • Gloves
      • Socks
      • Camp Shoes (Crocs)
      • Stuff sack for clothing
  • Trekking Poles
  • Miscellaneous
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Dr. Bronner’s All Purpose Soap (2 oz)
    • Nail Clippers
    • Bandaids
    • Ibuprofen
    • Guidebook / Maps
    • Small Pack Towel
    • Headlamp
    • Small wallet
    • Pen / Small Notebook (optional)
    • Phone / Camera and Charger(s)

Be prepared to spend some serious cash. Backpacking gear is not cheap. For our AT thru-hike, we spent about $2000 each!! Not all expensive gear is good, but all quality gear is expensive. The more you can invest in gear, the better the quality will be and the lighter your pack will be. Don’t forget, pounds = frowns! The lighter you can get your pack, the happier you will be – I guarantee it. Happy Hiking!!


4 Comments on “What You Actually Need for a Thru-Hike

  1. Once again I’m referencing this….. I’m headed to the Philippines in Feb for 3 weeks and my travel partner, Gigi, says we are going to buy bottled water everywhere. I say false and came here to see what filters you are using.

    Thanks for being my go-to resource for gear advice!!!!!

  2. I never even opened my sawyer squeeze in the Philippines. Water was clear enough so I just used the tabs when I could…. they took up less space in my purse (we didn’t do nearly enough adventuring for my taste).

    Anywho….. I finally got a legit pack and my Kelty tent is coming next week…. I officially have everything on this list for a multi day trip. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!!!!! I’m hiking Greyrock trail solo Saturday night to test the hammock set up/pack weight out before the tent arrives next week. Baby steps!

    Thanks yet again for sharing and always adding to this resource of info/experience.

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