My 300-Mile Tested Gear List
This article originally appeared on The Trek, which you can read here.
Ole Man from the AT lodge told us that we’ll learn everything we need to know for our thru-hike while in the 100-Mile Wilderness. I’m 300 miles into my thru-hike in Gorham, NH, and I still feel like I’m learning. Physically and mentally, I’m learning to listen to my body in ways that I never knew. For every resupply, I’m learning to shop quicker, healthier, and smarter. And the classic, I’m learning to hike my own hike.
When it comes to gear and what’s in my backpack, I’m pretty happy with my 15-pound base weight. But that wasn’t always the case. A few days into the 100-Mile Wilderness, I was already giving myself a gear shakedown and quickly learned that I overpacked.
By the time I got to Shaw’s in Monson, I was ready to send some things home: an extra pair of hiking pants, an extra pair of socks, extra underwear, an old rain pack cover, and a too-big bug net that I used only once. I also opted for Poet’s gear shakedown to see if he could shave off any excess. I know I’m not alone when I say his shakedowns are more than just a shakedown – imagine hiking school is in session and you never want class to end (note: he used to be an English teacher). I can’t say enough about his expertise and the easy-cool way he connects with every hiker. I’m so thankful for his time and advice. While we didn’t pull anything major weight-wise, he showed me a packing methodology and layering order that I still use today. He also helped make a pack adjustment to my ULA pack that now fits like a glove. I highly recommend every SOBO stop in for a visit. Thanks, Poet!
I may upgrade or change out a few items, but for now, this system works for me. Please know, I’m not a crazy ultralight enthusiast, but I believe if you love and use every item in your pack, you will hike happier. I also believe it’s important to reflect on genuine tested gear lists, so here’s a tried and true rundown of what’s in my pack, including gear and clothes, and my notes regarding current condition and overall performance.
ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack in Woodland Camo
I purchased this backpack secondhand from a women’s Facebook outdoor gear group. I wanted a lightweight pack under two pounds and less than $100. I scored this pack for $90 and I couldn’t be happier. The only thing I’m thinking of adding is an extra shoulder pocket for my phone, obviously in Multicam Camo to match. I sent home an old, worn rain pack cover and purchased a gray ULA pack cover at Poet’s Gear Emporium in Monson.
ENO Sub7 Hammock and Helios Straps
Originally, I planned to use my ENO DoubleNest hammock and Atlas straps since I’ve been a longtime happy hammock user. After a visit to REI SoHo, where I held both the DoubleNest and Sub7 options in my hands, the obvious lighter choice won me over and I caved. I ditched the bag for the Helios straps and now keep both straps inside with the Sub7 pouch.
ENO HouseFly Rain Tarp
I love, I mean, love this rain tarp. A typical thru-hike hammock tarp doesn’t offer a lot of privacy but this tarp feels like my own little studio apartment. Includes side-door flaps for ultimate wind and rain protection. If I have to pee in the middle of a rainy night, I don’t even have to leave my tarp apartment walls. My only complaint is some wear and tear along the cords and at the seams. I started with the yellow stakes from my Northface Talus2 Tent, but then purchased six MSR Ground Hog stakes to hold the fort down.
Shop: ENO Housefly Tarp
Marmot Phase 30 Down Sleeping Bag
By far, my favorite piece of gear. I ditched the lime-green bag pack in Monson and now pack the whole bag into a Sea to Summit stuff sack with my camp clothes. Somehow I scored this on sale for $299 on Backcountry Edge just before I left for Maine. I love everything Marmot and this bag does not disappoint. Combined with my Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow and Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner, I’m a happy warm sleeper. I keep both the liner in the sleeping bag and pillow folded in the inside pocket of the Marmot sleeping bag so everything stays together.
Therm-a-Rest Z-lite Closed-Foam Sleeping Pad (and Sun Nap Pad)
This is my sleeping pad and the only insulation I use for my hammock, and it works great. I cut a three-part section to use as a sitting pad/foot pad when the rest of the pad is in my hammock.
Leki Makalu Ultralight Thermolite Trekking Poles
Full disclosure: I found these poles (free) in a dumpster at work about a month before I decided to thru-hike. I was shocked to discover them in the trash, but even more so that they were in perfectly good shape and fully functional. One of the poles even has a screw/camera mount installed to transition into a tripod. I still don’t know who threw them out but I took it as another sign to hike, right?
Petzel REACTIK Headlamp
300 lumens and includes a locking feature and red light. Rechargeable, no batteries required.
Coghlan’s Mosquito Head Net – Deluxe version
I’ve used this head net a few times in the 100MW and when I sleep if it’s buggy. I don’t have a bug net for my hammock so this is my head protection to ward off night buzzing. It twists and compacts down nicely.
Sawyer Squeeze, Pouch, and Two One-Liter Water Bottles
Anker Battery Bank and Wall Charger
I also use the phone holster from this tripod on my trekking pole as well. This was a gift from my coworker to encourage vlogging – thanks, Enrique.
Victorinox Evolution s14 Multitool
Cotopaxi Dopp Kit – Del Día Bag with:
–Backup Contacts and rewetting drops
–Creative Classic hairbrush (my favorite hairbrush of all time)
First Aid Kit with:
–Triple antibiotic ointment
–Meds: Benadryl, ibuprofen, bromelain, turmeric curcumin
I love every piece of clothing I brought on this hike and I wouldn’t change a single piece. The only item that changed from the beginning was my rain jacket and that’s only because I lost the first one. Yes, I lost my favorite black Marmot rain jacket the day after I left Monson. It’s a long and sad story but the short version involves backtracking and a slight panic leading to somehow the jacket leaving my outer backpack pocket. Maybe I’ll get into that story in another post. So if anyone finds a black jacket between Caratunk and Monson, please let me know. Thankfully, I had an older Marmot rain jacket at home and my parents shipped it to me by the time I reached Stratton. Thanks, mom and dad.
Cotopaxi Crux Active Shorts and Cotopaxi Quito Active Tank
I’ll be honest, I had a stressful time finding the right hiking outfit for this thru-hike and I’m pretty picky. I’ve been a longtime fan of Cotopaxi products and their mission to alleviate poverty, so when I discovered their clothing line also nails it with moisture-wicking fabrics and beautiful design, I was thrilled.
Finally, women’s gear that focuses on utility and design, with a mission-driven purpose. I’ve been sliding across rocks in Mahoosuc Notch and hiking in the rain, and both times the Crux jogger-style shorts held up great against harsh wear and dried quickly after a long day of rain. So far, so amazing.
Nike Dry-fit long-sleeve and Patagonia Capilene pants and Teva Universal Slide camp shoes
Strictly for camp, I keep this outfit with my sleeping bag so I always have something dry and warm to sleep in. There have been a few rainy, cold days and it’s nice to change into something after a long day of hiking.
For shoes, I basically live in my Tevas, so there’s no question that I’d bring a pair with me, no matter the weight. Luckily, the Universal Slide is pretty lightweight and works wonders for fording all the Maine rivers.
Cold-Weather Clothes and Accessories
Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Neoshell Low
I could write a whole other post on my mixed feelings for Altras, but for now they are doing a decent job. I was surprised to see so much wear after 300 miles, but I’ve also never experienced trail runners on a thru-hike let alone wearing only one pair of shoes for so many miles. For the longest time, they hurt my feet with the Maine roots but I’m getting better at foot placement as well as overall foot toughness. I’m still considering insoles, so feel free to leave suggestions.
Prana Meme Hiking Pants
Patagonia Capilene Half-zip
The Northface Puffy Vest
Marmot Precip Rain Jacket (now teal)
Buff and Bandana
Three pairs of socks: two hiking, one camp
Two pairs of underwear
Sports bra (the label wore off this bra so I have no idea who it’s by, only that it gets the job done)
I hope this gives you a good idea of what I’m carrying and wearing on this trek. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below if I missed anything. Now I’m off to hit the Whites and embark on some beautiful New Hampshire trails.
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