One of the advantages of hiking the Appalachian Trail over several years in sections is that I have been able to evolve my gear choices over time as I try different things and learn what works best for me and what does not work well. Every hiker has likes and dislikes, and what is perfect for one may not be well suited for someone else. That said, I am very pleased with the gear that I now use. Here are the items that work for me . . .
“The Big Three”
Folks refer to the backpack, shelter and sleep system as the “big three.” This refers to the fact that these items are traditionally the largest and heaviest parts of the system that backpackers carry (excluding food and water). I have had a lot of changes in my “big three” over the past 15 years. As best I can recall, I have used seven different backpacks, two different tents, four different hammocks, two sleeping bags, three underquilts, three top quilts, and three different tarps.
Here are my current top choice “big three” items . . .
Backpack, Gossamer Gear Mariposa
Hammock, Warbonnet Outdoors Blackbird Double 1.0
Tarp, Hyperlite Mountain Gear Hammock Tarp
Quilts, Underquilt & Top Quilt (combination varies based on expected temperatures)
JRB No Sniveler
JRB Greylock Polar
* Also Speer Top Quilt http://www.tttrailgear.com/
Other gear items that I use . . .
“The A.T. Guide” by David Miller
Trekking Poles, Pacer Poles, carbon
Because the weight penalty is
minimal (under 3 oz) and water is vital, I carry two water purification systems.
AquaMira water treatment drops
I almost exclusively utilize the freezer bag cooking
method. For information see
http://www.freezerbagcooking.com and the book, “Freezer Bag Cooking: Trail
Food Made Simple” by Sarah Kirkconnell
Black Diamond Spot headlamp
Golite Chrome Dome Umbrella
Dri Ducks Rainsuit
Brawny Gear Ultralight Gaiters
DIY Rain Wrap
Homemade version similar to the rain wrap by Etowah Outfitters available at