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. It’s too expensive to screw up.

I suggest thinking of your gear as a cohesive system, rather than a collection of individual camping tools. Use gear that works together, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. For example, you may choose to carry a light down sleeping bag and wear your puffy down jacket to bed on colder nights to boost warmth. Perfectly acceptable, but what happens if all your stuff gets soaked? You’d be set up for a miserable night. I carry a down sleeping quilt, but my insulated jacket uses synthetic insulation which retains warmth even when wet. Despite down being lighter, the prospect of all my insulation becoming useless when wet makes me uncomfortable so I divide my risk between the two technologies. Think about that kind of stuff and get creative! Slip your rain jacket over your sleeping bag for a half-length waterproof bivy. Use your umbrella as a door to keep the rain out of your tarp. Socks as gloves… gross.

The links below will take you to heavily opinionated reviews of the gear I used for my CDT thru-hike. Heed my advice if you want, but keep in mind that what worked for me might not be the best gear for you. Heck, it probably wasn’t even the best gear for me, and there are things I’ll change before future endeavors based on my experiences. If you have any questions about what I did or didn’t write, please feel free to contact me.

Here’s my evolving gear list for the CDT.  Click on a linked item to read my full review.  It was cold out there, and I tried out some new things.  Some lessons were harsher than others…

What? Description Weight (oz)
Insulated jacket Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX 7.3
Base layer top Columbia Omni-heat mid 5.7
Extra socks Darn Tough x 2 3.8
Sleep underwear rainbow booty shorts 1.8
Sleep shirt Stoic Wool T-shirt 5.3
Leggings Patagonia santa pants, women’s 4.5
Warm hat thrift shop beanie 2.5
Gloves Old pair of Seirus somethings 3.6
Rain jacket O2 Original rain jacket 5.5
Wind pants Dance warm-up pants 3.5
Rain skirt Rain Skirt/bag 2.0
The Big Three:
Shelter Zpacks custom tarp and Easton stakes 16.1
Groundsheet Polycro window insulation 0.1
Sleeping pad NeoAir X-lite, women’s 12.3
Stuff sack Sea to Summit roll-top and lines 1.5
Quilt Katabatic Gear Palisade 30 18.6
Liner Dreamsack silk liner 5.4
Backpack Granite Gear Crown2 60* 36.0
Camera Sony RX-100 MII 10.1
Camera extras Camera case + battery 3.9
Battery Yukuma 10,000mAh 11.0
Battery charger Yukuma charging cord 5.0
Plug + cord Anker plug + USB cord 1.4
Music Sansa Clip MP3 0.9
Headphones Yurbuds 0.7
Phone Moto G4 Plus w/ case 6.5
Flashlight Nitecore NU25 1.0
Batteries AAA Energizer Lithium x 4 1.2
Speaker Gronk Ball 11.5
Ice Axe Black Diamond Raven Pro 15.4
Traction Kahtoola microspikes 13.3
Bear Spray Counter Assault 11.0
Umbrella Euroschirm chrome 8.3
Knife Mini swiss army knife 0.7
Water filter Platypus Gravityworks 9.1
Water storage Random bottles x 2 0.4
Food bag Ursack Major XL 8.8
Bowl Peanut butter jar 1.1
Spoon Wooden spoon from East Glacier, MT 0.3
Headnet Sea to Summit head net 0.9
Fire Bic lighter 0.7
Compass Suunto A-10 1.1
Wallet Money and stuff 0.3
Maps Printed maps ?
Trowel Old orange one from PCT 1.3
Journal Small notebook 0.2
Pen Ballpoint pen 0.3
Pack liner Compactor bag 2.3
Cord 2mm nylon (50ft for food hanging) 3.0
Sit pad Nemo Switchback half 7.0
Guardian Ganesh 0.5
Toothbrush + Paste *insert dental hygiene brand here* 1.5
Teeth Retainer+case (nerd!) 0.8
Nail clippers generic 0.6
First Aid Custom first aid kit 1.8
Brace Ace bandage 1.8
Pills Vitmin I + naproxen 0.8
Sunscreen SPF 70 face stuff 2.5
Bug juice 3M DEET 2.0
total Is this my base weight?  Hmpf. 14lbs 8oz
Worn Clothing:
Shoes Altra Lone Peak 3.5 18.0
Socks Darn Toughs 1.9
Shorts Superfly paisley trunks 5.2
Shirt Columbia Trail Strike 7.4
Bandana Buff 1.5
Sunglasses Suncloud Stand 1.0
Hat Rainier Hat w/ string 3.8
Used Up:
Shoes Adidas Free Hiker, women’s* 27.0
Water filter Sawyer Micro 2.5
* 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.

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