After over 5,000 miles and 2 different thru hikes, we feel like we are finally qualified to give some advice on gear.  Here is the gear list that we would consider our to be our most current.  This is what we used on the Colorado Trail.  Most of what we used on PCT made the cut, but there were some deletions and refinements that are reflected in this list.  This is the gear list we would use for pretty much any long hike with 3-season conditions and moderate resupply points (4-5 day average).  We try to buy from smaller cottage companies whenever possible, especially for the big three items (backpack, shelter, sleeping bag).  They generally have the lightest gear and outstanding customer care (which comes in real handy when you need a tent zipper fixed ASAP in northern California…)

Note: Since we bought some of this gear over three years ago, the older model may not be available anymore.  The link is to current model.

Another note: Price shown represents the current purchase price, because we don’t know exactly what we spent on each piece.  There are lots of ways to get gear cheaper.  We bought some of our gear used, on sale or clearance.  Christmas and birthday presents are nice too.

Alan's Packed Gear

ItemBrand and ModelWeight (oz)Cost $Comment
BackpackGossamer Gear Gorilla - 2013 Edition20.9$2452013 Edition w/o frame
Pack LinerGeneric Trash Compactor Bag2.3$1
Pack CoverRipstop by the Roll - DIY Kit1.6$10Yep, I sew
TentYama Mountain Gear - Cirriform DW37.7$3552013 Edition in sil-nylon
Ground SheetWindow Insulation Film (Half of Roll)2.8$6About 5'x8' piece
Stakes - LongMSR - Groundhog (5 each)3.0$15
Stakes - ShortMSR - Mini Groundhog (4 each)1.6$10
Stakes - SkewersVargo - Titanium Ultralite (6 each)1.2$20
QuiltJRB - Sierra Sniveller (Long)24.6$2802011 Edition - 900 fill
Sleeping PadGossamer Gear Nightlight (Torso)4.7$24Also pack frame
Sleeping PadGossamer Gear - Thinlight 1/8"2.9$18For legs
PillowGraham - Flexair 14.5"x10.5" (2 each)1.4$2Used to sell individually
Storage BagALOKSAK - 6.75" x 6"0.3$34 sizes in a package
ToothbrushGeneric Travel Size0.4$2
Soap/ToothpasteDr. Bronner's in 1/2 Ounce Dropper0.5$1Peppermint of course
SunscreenAny 1 Ounce Bottle1.5$1
Nail ClippersGeneric0.5$1So handy
Ear PlugsGeneric0.2$1There will be times…
Saline SprayGeneric Travel Size1.3$1
TrowelMontbell - Handy Scoop1.4$22
Clean WaterEmpty Gatorade Bottle (1 liter)1.7$2
Dirty WaterEmpty Smartwater Bottle (1 liter)1.3$2Sawyer Squeeze fits top
FilterSawyer Squeeze - Full Size3.5$30Mini is too slow for me
BackwasherSawyer Squeeze - Syringe1.2$0Comes with Squeeze
Lighting & Misc
Storage BagZiploc - Gallon Freezer0.4$0For maps and papers
Data BookCT - Colorado Trail Data Book3.4$15Cut out pages in town
PaperRite in the Rain - 3" x 5" (5 sheets)0.3$6For notes
PenFisher - Space Pen0.1$10For notes
FlashlightFenix - LD01 R4 (72 lumen)0.9$35Includes 1-AAA Lithium
Multi-ToolLeatherman - Style0.8$21Now the "Style CS" I guess
Money/Cards/IDALOKSAK - 5" x 4"1.0$3
Cell PhoneiPhone 5s (32 GB)4.0Also camera
Phone CaseLifeproof Nuud for iPhone 5s1.1$75Discontinued for 5s
MP3 w/BudsSanDisk - Sansa Clip1.3$30Mainly for FM radio
First Aid / Repair
Storage BagYama Mountain Gear - Cuben Sack0.2$13
First Aid KitBandaids, Dressing, Neosporin, Tape2.3$10In sandwich bag
MedicineIbuprofen, Antidiarrheal, Allergy0.4$6
Repair KitDuct Tape, Super Glue, Needle/Thread1.5$5In sandwich bag
Foot CareLeukotape, Alcohol Pads0.5$5In sandwich bag
Spare BatteriesAAA - Lithium (4 each)1.0$5Flashlight:1, Headlamp:3
Spare LightCheap Keychain Light0.2$2
Clothes (In Pack)
Storage BagSea To Summit - Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack3.2$45Also pillow case, daypack
Rain JacketMarmot - Essence Jacket6.9$200
Rain SkirtDIY - Sil-Nylon Fabric1.9$10Sewn
Wind ShirtStoic - Wraith2.3$45Discontinued
Wind PantsMontane - Featherlite Pant4.2$120
Fleece w/HoodMelanzana - Micro Grid Hoody11.0$69No need for hat
Puffy VestGoLite - Selkirk5.1$80Out of business
Baselayer PantsPatagonia - Capilene 44.7$59For sleeping only
SocksSmartwool - PHD UL Mini (2 pair)2.5$30
BandanaGeneric (Cut in Half)0.6$5
GlovesGolite - Liner Glove1.4$20Out of business
Bug/Rain MittsDIY - Momentum 90 Fabric0.4$5Sewn
Mosquito NetSea To Summit - Mosquito Head Net0.8$12Kept in windshirt pocket
Storage BagZpacks - Custom Cuben 12"x12"0.3$15A little too small
StoveSoto - Micro Regulator OD-1R2.6$70Janel carries the fuel can
WindscreenSoto - Micro Reg OD-1R Windscreen0.7$8
CookpotFour Dog Stove - 2 Liter (No Lid)4.5$46Part of 5-piece Sierra kit
Cookpot CozyDIY - Reflectix Windshield Shade0.8$5
Pot LifterFour Dog Stove - Pot Lifter1.3Part of 5-piece Sierra kit
ContainerEmpty Talenti Container (2 cup)1.9For pudding / oatmeal
MugGSI Outdoors - Infinity Stacking Cup1.8$3Also measuring cup
SpoonMSR - Folding Spoon (2 each)0.8$8
ScraperGSI Outdoors - Compact Scraper0.6$5
Small TowelMSR - Ultralight Packtowel (Cut in Half)0.3$5Not sure which one
Storage BagZpacks - Blast Rectangular0.9$39Drawstring version
Odor Proof BagLOKSAK - OPSAK 20" x 12"1.5$6Two pack
Total Base Weight201.5$2,204

Alan's Worn Gear

ItemBrand and ModelWeight (oz)Cost $Comment
Clothes (Worn)
WatchCasio - SGW-3001.6$36Has altimeter
Longsleeve ShirtStoic - Breathe 904.0$35
UnderwearExOfficio - Give-n-Go BB3.2$20
Running ShortsNike - Dri-Fit4.0$30Liner cut out
Mini GaitersDirty Girl - Ticked Off1.1$20
SocksSmartwool - PHD UL Mini1.3$15
ShoesSaucony - Peregrine (Pair)20.8$110
VisorREI - Fitness Visor1.8$22
Sun GlovesOutdoor Research - Chroma1.2$30Prefer the "Spectrum"
Trekking PolesBlack Diamond - Distance Z-Poles12.6$100Airline lost one!
Total Worn Weight52.8$423

Janel's Packed Gear

ItemBrand and ModelWeight (oz)Cost $Comment
BackpackULA - Ohm 2.027.0$2102013 Edition
Pack LinerGeneric Trash Compactor Bag2.3$1
Pack CoverRipstop by the Roll - DIY1.6$10
QuiltEnlightened Equipment - Rev 2023.3$2752013 Edition
Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest - Prolite X-Small8.8$56
Sleeping PadGossamer Gear - Thinlight 1/8"2.9$18For legs
PillowGraham - Flexair 14.5"x10.5" (2 each)1.4$2
Storage BagEagle Creek - Spector Medium0.5$103 sizes in a package
ToothbrushGeneric Travel Size0.4$2
ToothpasteGeneric Travel Size1.1$1
FlossGeneric Travel Size0.2$1Doubles as string
SoapDr. Bronner's in 1/2 Ounce Dropper0.5$1
SunscreenAny 1 Ounce Bottle1.5$1
Ear PlugsGeneric0.2$1
Wet OnesWet Ones (3 each in Freezer Ziploc)0.9$2
Clean WaterEmpty Gatorade Bottle1.7$2
Dirty WaterEmpty Smartwater Bottle1.3$2Sawyer Squeeze fits top
Water BagsSawyer Squeeze - 2 Liter (2 each)2.8$10Mainly for hauling water
FilterSawyer Squeeze - Mini1.4$20
Lighting & Misc
HeadlampPetzl - Tikka2 XP (60 Lumen)2.5$30Link to new model (3-AAA)
Money/Cards/IDIn Ziplok1.0$3
Storage BagALOKSAK - 9" x 6"0.4$3
Cell PhoneiPhone 5s (32 GB)4.0Also camera
Phone CaseGeneric0.5$10
Battery BankAnker - 2nd Gen Astro E3 (10,000 mA)8.4$26Dual Output
USB ChargerAnker - Dual USB (2.1 Amp)1.8$10Link to similar charger
Charging CablesiPhone (2 each), Mini USB, Micro USB1.2$10
MP3 w/BudsSanDisk - Sansa Clip Zip1.3$30Mainly for FM radio
Clothes (In Pack)
Storage BagTherm-a-Rest - Trekker Pillow Case2.0$15Stuff sack and pillow
Rain JacketOutdoor Research - Helium II5.4$160
Rain SkirtDIY - Sil-Nylon Fabric1.8$10Sewn
Wind ShirtPatagonia - Houdini Jacket3.3$100Wind and mosquitos
Wind PantsPatagonia - Houdini Pant3.0$130
Fleece w/HoodMelanzana - Micro Grid Hoody8.8$69
Puffy JacketMountain Hardwear - Ghost Wisperer6.5$270w/ hood
UnderwearPatagonia - Active Hipster1.2$24
Baselayer PantsPatagonia - Capilene 44.0$59For sleeping only
SocksSmart Wool - PHD UL Mini (2 each)2.5$30
Down SocksGooseFeet Gear - Std Fill1.9$50For sleeping only
BeanieSmartwool - NTS Mid 250 Beanie1.8$20May not exist anymore
BandanaGeneric (Cut in Half)0.6$5
GlovesReebok - Generic1.5$20
Bug/Rain MittsDIY - Momentum 90 Fabric0.5$5Sewn
Mosquito NetSea To Summit - Mosquito Head Net1.0$12In stuff sack
Fuel CanisterAny 4 oz IsoButane Canister3.1$5Container only. No fuel.
Storage BagSea To Summit - Ultra-Sil (Large)1.0$17
Odor Proof BagLOKSAK - OPSAK 21" x 12"1.5$6Two pack
Total Base Weight154.5$1,763

Janel's Worn Gear

ItemBrand and ModelWeight (oz)Cost $Comment
Clothes (Worn)
Longsleeve ShirtSmartwool - NTS Microweight 1504.4$55
Sports BraIcebreaker - Sprite2.3$48
UnderwearPatagonia - Active Hipster1.2$24
Running ShortsUnderarmor - Perfect Pace1.9$20Liner cut out
Mini GaitersDirty Girl - Hyponeutreno0.9$20
SocksSmart Wool - PHD UL Mini1.2$15
ShoesBrooks - Cascadia19.0$90
HatMarmot - Baseball Cap2.0$20May not exist anymore
Sun GlovesOutdoor Research - Spectrum0.7$24
Trekking PolesKomperdell - Pure Carbon17.0$100Not sure if exists still
Total Worn Weight51.6$426

So, what’s all this mean?  Basically our base weights are about 12.5 pounds and 10 pounds.  This is the weight of our packs without any consumables (food, water, and fuel).  This is the lightest our backs will ever be on our backs.  Our typical haul leaving town on the Colorado Trail was one liter of water (2.2 pounds), 5 days of food (5 days x 2 lb/day = 10 pounds), and a full fuel can (.25 pounds).  This means our heaviest on the CT was about 25 pounds for Alan and about 22.5 for Janel.  With some big water carries (7+ liters), long food hauls (8 days) and extra gear, there were times on the PCT where we were hauling 40 and 35 pound packs, respectively.

In addition to the pack weight, we both had about 3.5 pounds on us that wasn’t in our packs.  This doesn’t add into the base weight total.

There have been times where we hauled extra gear for different situations we encountered.  Below are additional items carried when needed:

Seasonal / If Needed Gear

ItemBrand and ModelWeight (oz)Cost $Comment
UmbrellaGolite - Chrome Dome (2 each)15.8$96Used in desert
Janel Camp ShoeVivo Barefoot - Ultra Pure7.0$45Desert and Sierra
Alan Camp ShoeVivo Barefoot - Ultra Pure9.0$45Desert and Sierra
J - Bear CanisterBearvault - BV500 (700 cu in)41.0$70Sierra
A - Bear CanisterBearikade - Expedition (900 cu in)36.0$101Rental for Sierra
J - TractionKahtoola - Microspikes (Medium)13.0$68Never needed
A - TractionKahtoola - Microspikes (Large)15.0$68Never needed
J- Wide Brim HatFrom Idyllwild3.0$25Desert and Sierra
Bug SprayBen's 100% Deet1.9$7Sierra only
MapsPCT - Halfmile Maps D-S (5 sheets avg.)1.0$60Cost is for printing
PermitsThru-Hike Permit, Fire Permit (2 sheets)0.4$0PCT only
Total Weight143.1$585

In the next couple of weeks/months we will dig deeper with some reviews on our system, so stay tuned.


Please note, the links above are affiliate links.  All of the gear above has been tested and used by us on the trail and we recommend it.  If you purchase any gear through our affiliate links, we make a commission that will go towards funding our next adventure.  Thank you for your support.

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