Down vs. Synthetic, Light vs. ULTRA-light,  Boots vs. Sneakers, Tents vs. Tarps, Water Filters vs. Water Treatment Tablets, Poles or No Poles and the choices go on.  There is some formula to these decision based on one’s hiking style, budget, geography and season but ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

Gathering the items needed to go overnight hiking in the wilderness has been a process that I began soon after going on my very first overnight hike in 2009 where I borrowed a backpack and went into the mountains with a close friend who showed me how to pack my backpack and how to evenly distribute the weight.  We split the items that we would be sharing such as the tent, stove, cook-set and water filter.  I was enamored by some of the things my friend carried in his pack like a tiny spatula and the smallest dice I’ve ever scene!

That initial feeling of walking into the backcountry with everything I need on my back was an unforgettable thrill that I continue to experience every time I take those first few steps onto the trail.  What motivates me to carry a 25+ pound backpack up and down thousands of feet worth of rugged terrain is a unique sense of empowerment, strength, self-sufficiency and pure primal freedom.

I am always weighing my options before a hike and I try to be open and curious to ultralight choices while trying to find that personal balance between having a lighter backpack without sacrificing the items that I really like to have with me in the backcountry despite the extra weight.

Below is my gear list from my Long Trail Hike and it was all packed down as small as possible (in various sized stuff sacks) into a 60-70 Liter Backpack (minus what I wore):

  • Sneakers & Gators
  • Wool/synthetic socks (3)
  • Merino wool boxers (2)
  • Short sleeve wicking synthetic shirt
  • Long sleeve wicking synthetic shirt
  • Light wicking fleece sweater
  • Light Synthetic beanie Hat & Fleece Gloves
  • Long underwear synthetic bottoms
  • Lightweight breathable Raincoat
  • Rain pants that have full zip on both sides for easy on/off
  • Bandana
  • Lightweight shoes (for forging rivers and wearing around camp)
  • Brim Hat
  • 2 person tent
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Synthetic sleeping bag
  • Stove
  • Fule Canister
  • CookPot with Nesting Bowl and Mug
  • lighter
  • bamboo kids cutlery
  • Platapus Bag
  • Aquamira
  • Water bottle
  • Food bag with about a weeks worth of food at a time
  • Map and Guidebook
  • Hiking Poles
  • Headlamp
  • Tiny knife
  • Parachute Chord
  • Compass
  • First Aid Kit (ace bandage, Moleskin, IBProfen)
  • Emergency Blanket
  • TrashBag (to keep stuff dry in my pack)
  • Toothbrush & Paste
  • Dentil Floss and Sewing Needle
  • Chapstick
  • Sunblock
  • Bugspray
  • Sunglasses
  • Pack Cover (it’s like a rain coat for my backpack)
  • arnica
Luxury Items:
  • Tiny Tarot Cards
  • Iphone & charger
  • Journal and Pen