My previous post (Part I) on my gear for my 2018 thru-hike focused on the “Big Three.” [A couple of weeks ago I posted on the cold weather gear in a post referred to as “The Winter Supplement.” And a podcast episode also addressed the cold wether challenges (The Winter Supplement). This post describes most of my remaining, miscellaneous equipment, excluding what is often referred to as my “electronics.”
Unless you choose to eat only cold, dry food everyday, as thru-hiker you will need some form of stove – no, relying on a fire every night is not a good strategy. Long distance backpackers typically take one of two basic stoves – an alcohol stove or a canister stove.
I am taking a MSR Reactor (1.0 Liter). I will use this solely to boil water for oatmeal, hot beverages, some “cup-a-soup,” and evening dehydrated dinners. This stove relies on pressurized isobutane gas, which canister screws into the base of the stove. It is highly reliable and among the most efficient stoves available – able to boil a liter of water in three minutes.
Sadly, today on the Appalachian Trail hikers are well-advised (i.e., must) filter or purify the water they take from streams, creeks, springs, ponds, etc. Filtering removes the bacteria from the water. Purifying is a chemical method of killing the potentially harmful bacteria. Although somewhat heavier, I will use a Sawyer Squeeze filter to treat my water. I prefer that process over purification primarily due to the after taste resulting from the use of chemicals to treat the water.
My hiking experiences over the last three years, including the Camino, the Overland Track, the Milford Track, and various shakedown hikes have long-ago convinced me of the utility if not the necessity of using hiking or “trekking” poles. I have had and will use Black Diamond Alpine Cork trekking poles.
Part of my equipment is a large cup, knife, and a long spoon. Most “cooked” food can be heated and eaten out of the package, so I should be fine with just one cup – typically for a warm beverage with breakfast or dinner.
A knife, of course, has various uses including opening packages, slicing meat or cheese, and keeping bears at bay.
While some hikers suggest using a trekking pole or tent stake to dig a cat hole (for human waste), I’m committed to “Leave No Trace” principles and I am, therefore, willing to take a separate tool designed for the specific use despite the “weight penalty” to help make sure I take care of this need properly. My trowel is made by MSR.
Part clothing/part equipment, I decided to include my REI Lightweight Alpine Gaiters as an item of gear. Gaiters are useful in keeping mud, snow, sticks, twigs and small rocks out of your hiking shoes while making travel through low brush more comfortable.
Part III of this article will address the electronics I will be taking.
Last modified: February 16, 2018