Duuuude, I love gear.  This love is universal among hikers and outdoors folks in general.  If you want to hear my opinions about hiking gear, then you are in the right place. If not, then go do something that you actually want to do. Life’s too short to read gear reviews that you don’t care about! Go!

Alright, now that they’re gone, I will start by saying that Outdoor Gear Lab is a wonderful, free resource for finding gear information. I never buy outdoor gear without consulting that website first.  You can also click on any links below for a gear review written by me.  Heed the advice if you want, but keep in mind that what works for them or me might not be the best gear for you.  Heck, a lot of the gear I use probably isn’t even the best gear for me!  It changes all the time based on my experiences and expected conditions. If you have any questions for me about gear, please feel free to contact me.

Here’s my constantly evolving gear list. It is currently tailored to a winter hike from Georgia to Key West as Spice and I finish up the southern leg of the ECT. That means a few extra layers for warmth, but mostly it’s the same stuff that I used on the AT. That gear list can be found here. My CDT gear list can be found here, and my SHR gear list is here.


WhatDescriptionWeight (oz)
Insulated JacketEE Torrid APEX jacket (Review)7.25
Extra SocksDarn Tough x 23.8
Warm HatOrange beanie3.0
GlovesSeirus Gloves3.6
Rain JacketSitka Vapor SD (Review)*5.3
Wind JacketHoudini Come Along Jacket (Review)*4
Mid-layerUnder Armour Fleece8.1
Wind PantsDance Pants3.5
Sleep LeggingsNike Leggings7.8

The Big Three:

WhatDescriptionWeight (oz)
ShelterZpacks Free Duo (Review)*30
StakesVarious x 63
Sleeping QuiltEE 20° Enigma Quilt (Review)*28.5
Sleeping QuiltCedar Ridge Outdoors Custom Synthetic LeConte20
Sleeping PadTherm-a-rest Z Lite Sol (Review)*14.4
BackpackDurston Kakwa 40 (Review)*28


WhatDescriptionWeight (oz)
BatteryAnker 10,000mAh + 6,700mAh11
Plug+CordAnker plug+USB cord1.4
PhoneiPhone SE5.5
PLBGarmin InReach Mini5
HeadlampNitecore NU251


WhatDescriptionWeight (oz)
KnifeMini Swiss Army knife0.7
Water FilterPlatypus Gravityworks 2L9.1
Water StorageSmartwater bottle0.4
Water Storage2L Platypus soft bottle1.3
FireBic lighter0.7
WalletMoney and Stuff0.3
TrowelOld plastic one1.3
BidetCuloClean (Review)*0.5
Pack LinerCompactor bag2.3
HeadnetSea to Summit0.9
UmbrellaEuroschirm Chrome8.3


WhatDescriptionWeight (oz)
BowlPB Jar1.1
SpoonWooden Spoon from CDT0.3
Food BagReusable Plastic Grocery Bag1


WhatDescriptionWeight (oz)
Tooth Hygienepaste+brush1.5
Nerd StuffRetainer+case0.8
Nail Clippersgeneric0.6
First AidCustom kit1.8
BraceACE bandage1.8
PillsVitamin I + other0.8
SunscreenSun Bum2.5
Insect RepellentInsect Shield professional treatment0


totalbase weight12lb 7oz

Worn while hiking:

WhatDescriptionWeight (oz)
ShoesAltra Mont Blanc BOA (Review)*22.4
ShoesAltra Lone Peak 3.5 (Review)18
ShoesAltra Timp 322
ShoesAltra Olympus 5 (Review)*22
SocksDarn Tough lightcrew2.1
ShortsChubbies boardshorts5.2
LeggingsUnder Armour 3/45
ShirtPatagonia Tropic Comfort6.3
HatSunday Afternoons Vantage3
SunglassesSuncloud Respek1.1
WatchCoros APEX – 46mm2
Trekking PolesGG LT5 Carbon Poles (Review)*10.2 (pair)

Secret Weapon:

Hiker FuelBeansAs much as you can handle
Hiker FuelBeans for the less hungry3 pounds
* These items were provided to me free of charge in exchange for performance feedback.  It is both humbling and awesome to receive free gear, but my opinions are my own.  Bigly.
Affiliate Disclosure: In my on-going quest to avoid living comfortably and working in an office, I have incorporated affiliate links on this website where appropriate. If you make a purchase through these links, I might earn a few bucks at no additional cost to you. That's pretty cool, huh? You'll be like a modern-day Robin Hood, taking money from "The Man" and giving it to this hungry dirtbag. Burritos for all!

6 thoughts on “Gear

  1. Do you have a specific way of jamming everything into your pack? For example, sleeping bag and clothes on the bottom, food and stove in the middle, tent on the outside? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, definitely. Your comment has inspired me to perhaps make a short video showing how I do it. Until then, here’s the short of it:
      Quilt on the bottom, sleeping pad and ditty bag (electronics, first aid, etc.) jammed on top of that. Food bag stands on that platform with extra layers packed into the spaces around it, the least used at the bottom (sleep clothes, gloves). That leaves the top of the food bag easy to access during lunch, and my most used layers (wind jacket, rain jacket, extra socks) are easy to grab from around the sides. That’s pretty much the inside of my pack.

      On the outside, I carry my tent and filter in the outer mesh pocket. Water bottles and cold-soak jar go in the side pockets. Phone, camera, and snacks go in my various shoulder strap and hip belt pockets.

      Hope that helps!


      1. That helps very much, thanks! I actually pack a similar way. My kids are starting to take an interest in hiking/camping but they cant carry a whole lot and the last trip left me thinking that it would be nice if the stove stayed home. I notice that you carry no stove. I would like to learn more about your cold soak methods if you don’t mind. I’ve done some soaking which involved hot water and a cozy but never cold water. Keep on hiking!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh cool, starting them young. That’s great.

        My rule of thumb when it comes to cold soaking is that if a food prep instructions only suggest cooking/simmering for 5 minutes or less, then it is viable for soaking. My go-tos are dehydrated refried beans, couscous, instant mashed potatoes, and ramen. The first is easiest to find online, probably the most nutritious, and my favorite. I add some seasoning and baggie up 1-1.5cup portions at home. The other three options are easy to find pretty much anywhere. All of them will rehydrate given enough time, but just how much depends on the temperature of the water you use. Ramen takes the longest, up to one hour, but the others are quick enough to start soaking once I get to camp. Oatmeal also cold-soaks really well.

        I use a large plastic peanut butter jar with a screw lid, but others soak directly in ziplocks.

        Alternatively, you can forget soaking entirely and just eat “assembly only” foods like peanut butter burritos, cookies, and trail mix. Before I went vegan, I used to eat a lot of salami, cheese, mustard, and mayo tortilla wraps. No cooking or soaking required. The way I see it, almost no one busts out the stove for lunch, so why not just eat lunch food for dinner too?

        That’s the short of it, and I’m always finding new things in stores to try out, like lentil noodles and various dry soup mixes. Usually, these things, even if they work, are too rare to be counted on during a thru-hike, but for shorter trips they can be great options.


  2. Hi there – how are you enjoying the Plex Solo? I just purchased, and am taking it out for the first time this weekend.


  3. You’ve done a hell of a job blogging your Appalachians trip so far. I’ve enjoyed reading it.
    What Bluetooth keyboard are you using? How did you choose it? Do you recommend it?


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