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.  Currently it is tailored to an early start on the Appalachian Trail, which means extra layers and microspikes.  My CDT gear list can be found here, and my SHR gear list is here.


What Description Weight (oz)
Insulated Jacket EE Torid jacket 7.25
Extra Socks Darn Tough x 2 3.8
Warm Hat Rainbow Beanie 4.1
Gloves Seirus Gloves 3.6
Rain Jacket Sitka Vapor SD* 5.3
Wind Jacket Houdini Come Along Jacket* 4
Mid-layer Under Armour Fleece 8.1
Wind Pants Dance Pants 3.5
Sleep Leggings Nike Leggings 7.8
Sleep Shirt Stoic T-shirt 5.3

The Big Three:

What Description Weight (oz)
Shelter Zpacks Plex Solo* 14
Stakes Various x 10 5
Sleeping Bag EE 20° Enigma Quilt* 28.5
Sleeping Pad NeoAir X-lite, women’s 12.3
Backpack Gossamer Gear G4-20* 25


What Description Weight (oz)
Camera Sony RX-100 MII 10.1
Camera Extras Camera case+battery 3.9
Battery Anker 10,000mAh 6.7
Plug+Cord Anker plug+USB cord 1.4
Music Sansa ClipZip MP3 0.9
Headphones Yurbuds 0.7
Phone iPhone SE 5.5
Typing Bluetooth keyboard 5
PLB Garmin InReach Mini 5
Headlamp Nitecore NU25 1


What Description Weight (oz)
Knife Mini Swiss Army knife 0.7
Water Filter Platypus Gravityworks 9.1
Water Storage Smartwater bottle 0.4
Water Storage 2L Platypus soft bottle 1.3
Fire Bic lighter 0.7
Compass Suunto A-10 1.1
Wallet Money and Stuff 0.3
Trowel Old plastic one 1.3
Bidet CuloClean* 0.5
Pack Liner Compactor bag 2.3
Headnet Sea to Summit 0.9
Traction Kahtoola microspikes 13.3
Sit Pad Chopped NEMO Switchback 7
Umbrella Euroschirm Chrome 8.3
Guardian Ganesh 0.5


What Description Weight (oz)
Bowl PB Jar 1.1
Spoon Wooden Spoon from CDT 0.3
Food Bag Ursack Major XL 8.8


What Description Weight (oz)
Tooth Hygiene paste+brush 1.5
Nerd Stuff Retainer+case 0.8
Nail Clippers generic 0.6
First Aid Custom kit 1.8
Brace ACE bandage 1.8
Pills Vitamin I + other 0.8
Sunscreen Sun Bum 2.5
Insect Repellent Insect Shield professional treatment 0


total base weight 14lb 8oz

That base weight is kind of a bummer.  I’d feel a lot better about it if I wasn’t carrying microspikes and so much extra clothing.  Early spring on the East Coast is a total unknown to me at this point so I am being cautious with these bonus items.

Worn while hiking:

What Description Weight (oz)
Shoes Altra Lone Peak 3.5 18
Socks Darn Tough lightcrew 2.1
Shorts Chubbies boardshorts 5.2
Leggings Thrift Store Nike 5
Shirt Patagonia Tropic Comfort 6.3
Hat Sunday Afternoons Vantage 3
Sunglasses Suncloud Stand 1.1
Watch Coros APEX 2
Mask REI mask 0.5
Trekking Poles GG LT5 Carbon Poles (pair)* 10.2
* 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.

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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