On a backpacking trip we like to be just as comfortable hiking as we are in camp. Lightening our pack weight has been key. Carrying less weight means less physical strain, more energy to focus on the beautiful subtleties of nature, and ultimately more fun. At the same time, we also like to sleep comfortably and cook a hearty meal. When choosing gear, we aim for the sweet spot which perfectly balances comfort on the trail and in camp.
We had a great setup on the PCT, but we are always refining our gear, learning what items aren’t necessary, researching new products, and finding things which serve multiple purposes. Simple durable items are a favorite of ours. In addition we make changes based upon the terrain and weather in the area where we’re hiking.
We recently updated our Appalachian Trail gear list to reflect the changes we made while hiking the AT:
Hope you find it helpful.
We also wanted to let everyone know that North Star is continuing to recover. Her shingles rash is gone. The pain only flares up occasionally. The remaining issue is her energy level. She gets very tired after walking a few blocks. The discussion forums we’ve read concur that it usually takes between 1-3 months to return to full health after a shingles outbreak. We’ll continue to be patient.
We’ve finalized our Appalachian Trail thru hike gear! It’s similar to our PCT gear but even lighter. Check out our full AT gear list at:
Here are some of the new items we’ll be carrying on the Appalachian Trail:
Northstar twirls in her new rain jacket and kilt.
Northstar will wear a Marmot Crystalline women’s rain jacket on the AT. This minimalist jacket weighs just 6.2 ounces. It’s durable and protective, yet small enough to pack into its own pocket.
She’ll trade rain pants for a well-ventilated ULA rain kilt (2.9 oz). In addition to providing rain protection, this will allow some modesty when washing all our clothing in town.
Shutterbug will be sporting a 7.1 oz Rab Pulse rain jacket. Rab has managed to keep this jacket light while integrating a very functional and adjustable hood.
Montbell’s Dynamo wind pants will provide Shutterbug with basic wind and rain protection. They’re very breathable, and at 2.6 oz, they’re lighter than his shorts!
Every evening on the Pacific Crest Trail we were on the lookout for a campsite. Sometimes the search was easy and in a few minutes we found a flat pre-established site with a view. Other times, after walking an extra hour and a half, with daylight almost gone, we had to settle for a tiny spot between bushes. We photographed all our campsites along the PCT and created this short fun video with the assistance of Joe Sofranko. Enjoy!
The Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 tent performed well during our PCT thru hike. It’s very light. Out of the box this two-person tent weighs 2.6 pounds. We left the stuff sack at home and brought only 6 Vargo titanium tent stakes, bringing the weight down to 2.3 pounds. The Fly Creek UL2 was cozy for the two of us with only a few inches to spare on either side of our sleeping pads, but its small size allowed us to pitch the tent in itty bitty spots when necessary. Read more