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.  I went on my very first overnight hike in 2009 with a borrowed backpack and a companion with backcountry experience and gear.  Since then, I’ve slowly collected the items I need to be self sufficient.  My first carnation of gear was either bought used, gifted, or handed down.  I’ve since upgraded most of my stuff to shave off some pounds.  I try to stay open to new ideas and gear while maintaining that I can have a great time outside with heavy old things.

When I take those first few steps onto a trail and walk into the backcountry with everything I need on my back, I feel a unique sense of empowerment unlike any other. It is this strength, self-sufficiency and pure primal freedom that motivates me to carry a big backpack up and down thousands of feet of elevation.

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 of having a lighter backpack without sacrificing those 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 of 2017 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).  I forget how much it weighed exactlty but with 2 liters of water and 5 days of food, I think it was around 30 lbs:

  • 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