Long Trail Gear Changes
Sunday, July 9, 2017 10:45 pm

Since the gear I took with me on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike last year worked out quite well, I’m using most of the same equipment on this year’s Long Trail thru-hike. There are, however, a few changes I’m making to my gear selection to make it a little more lightweight. Combined, my gear changes reduce my base pack weight by around two pounds and free up quite a fair bit of space, so it’s not nearly overflowing when filled with food.

Sleeping Bag

Last year, I carried a REI Igneo 19 mummy bag sleeping bag. That sleeping bag worked out quite well, however, as the temperature got warmer, a bag rated for 19 °F (-7 °C) turned out to be overkill. As I got further north, there were many days where I fully unzipped it and used it as a blanket, and even then, it turned out to be too much.

For the Long Trail, I’m taking a Sea to Summit Spark SP II Sleeping Bag. Rated for 35 degrees, it should be more comfortable. At nearly 13 ounces lighter, it’s a huge reduction in weight.

The Sea to Summit bag comes with its own tiny compression sack, which is also a little bit lighter (and much smaller) than the compression sack I used for the REI bag. This gives me a tiny bit more weight savings, as well as a lot of extra space in my pack.

Clothing

For my AT thru-hike, I brought a puffy down jacket, which came in quite handy during the first month or so of the trail when it occasionally got cold. While it conveniently folded into its pocket and doubled as a pillow, it’s entirely unnecessary for a summer hike, dropping over a pound of weight. Instead, my clothes bag will serve double-duty as my pillow.

One of my shirts (the Smartwool NTS Micro 150 shirt), developed some tears that made me doubt its longevity, so I replaced it with another similar shirt.

On the AT, I had a pair of Marmot PreCip Rain Pants. Unfortunately, they turned out to be a size too large, which made them nearly unusable: they constantly slid off my waist, and there was no way to make them fit any tighter. They were my only equipment purchase to go back to REI after I returned from the trail. I still want a pair of rain pants, though, just in case, so I picked up a pair of Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants, which fit better; have a drawstring, allowing them to be tightened; and also weigh less than half as much.

Technology

My technology situation remains much the same as last year: iPhone 6s, Apple Watch, and a RAVPower 20100 mAh portable charger and power adapter. However, I’m also adding an Apple Magic Keyboard. I spent a lot of time typing blog posts last year on my iPhone’s screen, so I’m expecting a real keyboard to help speed the process.

Miscellaneous

Although it worked well the few times I needed to use it, I’m replacing my GSI Cathole Trowel for the considerably more lightweight Deuce of Spades.

I’m also dropping some small items I brought last year. Rather than carrying four sticks of chap stick, I’m only bringing one. I’m not bringing a pocket-sized pack of kleenex. My hair bands wound up lasting far longer than I expected, so I’m bringing fewer replacements.

My first aid kit got soaked at some point, and everything inside suffered water damage, so I had to throw it out and replace it.

I also replaced a couple of the tent stakes that came with my tent with MSR Mini Ground Hog Tent Stakes. Besides being slightly lighter, they have a convenient string attached, and they are bright red, rather than silver, which should help them stand out in the dirt.

Full Gear List

To see the full list of gear I’m taking on the Long Trail (and also the gear I used on the Appalachian Trail), follow either of these links: