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The Via-Hiker’s Gear Record | The Mountaineering Life

An follow-up / expanded model of this text, The Via Hikers Gear Record Vol.2, appeared in April, 2018. It contains gear suggestions from 9 extra of the world’s most completed lengthy distance hikers together with Andrew Skurka, Justin “Trauma” Lichter, Heather “Anish” Anderson and Ryan “Dirtmonger” Sylva.

There are plenty of thru-hiking gear lists on the web. Nevertheless, as a result of particular person hikers range a lot when it comes to targets, health, fashion, age and expertise, plenty of these compilations don’t have a lot in the way in which of wide-ranging relevance. Gear that works for one hiker, could not essentially be proper for a lot of or most others.

Photograph from Christy “Rockin” Rosander (

Due to this fact, I believed it could be a good suggestion to place collectively a useful resource that documented the gear decisions of a various, but very skilled group of thru-hikers. And after I say “very skilled”, I’m understating. The six folks that have contributed to this submit are amongst essentially the most completed and knowledgable lengthy distance hikers in the USA.

The group consists of three males and three ladies ranging in age from 29 to 78. Although the chronological spectrum could also be sizeable, all six backpack in a light-weight style, are as powerful as nails, and never coincidentally, share a contagious sense of enthusiasm and surprise for the outside. That’s really why I requested them to be concerned; I’ve all the time admired people that regardless of how a lot expertise they’ve, by no means lose their childlike spark. It’s a surefire signal of a wilderness lifer.

Be aware: For extra info on the contributing hikers, click on on the names and take a look at their web sites. Within the case of Billy Goat, you’ll have to both do the google factor, or alternatively head out to the Pacific Crest or Florida Trails and meet the person in individual. In the event you keep in a single place lengthy sufficient, he’s positive to return alongside finally.

The Six Hikers

  • Kristin “Misplaced” Gates – The primary girl to traverse Alaska’s Brooks Vary. She has additionally kayaked the Yukon River, trekked by Lapland, accomplished the Triple Crown by the age of 23 and spends her winters performing backcountry operations by canine workforce in Denali Nationwide Park. Just lately voted the feminine hiker more than likely to have her personal motion determine.

Kristin “Misplaced” Gates (

  • Renee “She-Ra” Patrick – Talking of motion figures, the “Princess of Energy” is a Triple crowner, cross-country skier, packrafter nonpareil, ambassador for the Continental Divide Path and Coordinator for the Oregon Desert Path.
  • Christ “Rockin” Rosander –  For the previous three a long time, this grandma extraordinaire has coated just about each inch of California’s Excessive Sierra vary. When not climbing, climbing, snowboarding or biking, she runs an incredible programme known as, “Assume Outdoors“, which teaches younger children in regards to the Pacific Crest Path.

Christy “Rockin” Rosander (

  • Paul “Mags” Magnanti –  I haven’t met too many individuals extra passionate or knowledgable in regards to the outside than Paul Magnanti. Regardless of the space, season or setting, Mags merely loves exploring the wilds on foot or by skis. Beneath the curmudgeon-like exterior beats the center of a softie, who volunteers a lot of his free time in help of path organisations such because the Continental Divide Path Coalition.
  • Clint “Lint” Bunting – Since 2003, Lint has hiked round 30,000 miles on America’s lengthy distance trails. This contains finishing the Triple Crown of climbing 3 times over. One of many climbing world’s most vibrant characters, when he’s not out on the path, he has a thriving profession as a Chippendale dancer.
  • George “Billy Goat” Woodard: At 78 years younger, this wonderful gentleman doesn’t really want an introduction. Over the previous three a long time he has spent roughly 150 days a yr strolling America’s lengthy distance trails. He’s the Treebeard of the climbing world – in appears, mannerisms, longevity, favorite expressions (“don’t be hasty” – click on on video under) and connection to the pure world.

Billy Goat waxing lyrical on the Pacific Crest Path (youtube)

Okay. Sufficient with the intros. Listed here are the thru-hiking gear solutions of all six hikers, together with some ideas and proposals from yours actually:


Heavy backpacks are designed to hold heavy hundreds. Until you’re in coaching for a post-thru hike profession as a porter in Nepal, go together with a pack that weighs lower than three kilos (1.36 kg) and has a carrying capability of not more than 65 liters. That ought to be adequate to get each you and your gear from Mexico to Canada or Georgia to Maine.

  • Kristin – GoLite jam 2 (not made).

She-Ra on a really snowy Continental Divide Path, 2016 | Six Moon Designs Fusion 50 (


Three issues to search for when selecting your thru-hiking abode: 1. Light-weight (not more than 3 lbs / 1.36 kg); 2. Stormworthy, and; 3. Meets your particular person wants with reference to consolation – 4 to 6 months is a very long time to go backpacking, and a couple of third of that point shall be spent in or underneath your shelter. 

  • She-Ra:  Six Moons Designs Deschutes Cuben Fiber

Kristin throughout her traverse of Alaska’s Brooks Vary | Tarptent Second DW (

ZPacks Soloplex | Wind River Excessive Route, WY (ladyonarock)

Sleeping Bag / Quilt

High quality, light-weight sleeping baggage (and quilts) aren’t discovered on the backside of the REI Discount Bin. Due to this fact, if you will splash out huge bikkies for one merchandise in your backpacking equipment, sleeping baggage are a good selection. Belief me on this one. If you find yourself are freezing your you-know-what’s off at 10,000 ft within the Rockies or Excessive Sierra throughout a June snow storm, you’ll be very glad you spent the additional $100-$200 on a high quality bag.

With regard to choices, when you select to go together with feather down, search for one thing that has at the very least 800 fill energy and doesn’t weigh greater than 2.5 lbs (1.13 kg). In the event you would quite go together with an artificial fill, wonderful light-weight quilt choices could be discovered at Mountain Laurel Designs and Enlightened Gear (see Bonus suggestions).

Mags decked out in his multi-use Sierra Sniveller Quilt | Pecos Wilderness, NM (

Sleeping Mat

In the case of selecting a sleeping mat, the secret’s to know what stage of consolation you require with a purpose to receive night time’s relaxation. In case you are a kind of individuals who can sleep on something, go together with a closed cell foam mat. In the event you occur to be on the different finish of the “sleeping consolation” spectrum, then likelihood is you’ll require an inflatable mannequin with a purpose to receive night time’s sleep.

With the introduction of the NeoAir and different light-weight inflatable fashions in recent times, the burden penalty previously related to taking a blow-up mattress (versus a foamie) isn’t what it was. In case you are apprehensive about getting a puncture, add a 2 oz piece of skinny foam such because the Gossamer Gear ThinLight 1/8 for insurance coverage.

  • Lint:  Gossamer Gear NightLite (Torso Size)

NeoAir bonus function – you should use it to paddle throughout lakes and gradual transferring watercourses | Southwest Tasmania Traverse, 2016.


Because of the discrepancy in particular person instances (i.e. foot varieties, pack and physique weights, medical histories, and so forth.) giving particular thru-hiking footwear suggestions is rarely a straightforward proposition. Listed here are 4 basic ideas:

1:  Purchase your footwear a measurement too huge. Your ft WILL swell.

2: Of all of the objects in your backpacking equipment, new footwear is the one that you just shouldn’t purchase sight unseen on-line. Irrespective of what number of hikers suggest you a sure shoe, till you attempt it on in individual, you gained’t know whether or not or not it fits you.

3:  Keep away from footwear with waterproof liners, which reduce down on a shoe’s breathability. This could trigger your ft to sweat excessively which might in flip result in blisters. 

4: In the event you select to hold camp footwear, pickup the lightest, thinnest flip flops you will discover. No sports activities sandals, which nearly weigh as a lot as Path Runners. Cheapo fashions that weigh lower than 3 oz are broadly out there on-line or in main malls for lower than $10.

  • Kristin:  Vasque Mindbender (Not made)

Brooks Cascadias on the Lowest to Highest Route | Demise Valley, CA, 2014.


Personally talking, when temps are recurrently under freezing I carry a range. In any other case I am going sans cooking. In case you are climbing the Pacific Crest Path, you’ll want to test on hearth restrictions earlier than departure (i.e. Throughout excessive hearth hazard durations alcohol stoves could also be banned). In case you are concerned about making an attempt stoveless backpacking, here’s a temporary overview of the hows, whys and wherefores.

  • Rockin:  Jetboil Sol Ti (not made)
  • Mags: Pepsi Can Range or Stoveless.
  • Swami:  Stoveless, Toaks Titanium Siphon Alcohol Range (Be aware: I attempted the Toaks range for the primary time early 2016 and have become an immediate convert. Important improve in gasoline effectivity – I estimate 25% – over the do-it-yourself/Pepsi Can variations I had beforehand used).

Mags getting ready a night meal within the Colorado Rockies again in 2001 (

Water Purification

All strategies of water remedy have execs and cons. Filters can clog, batteries can fail and chemical substances can take as much as 4 hours to be efficient towards cryptosporidium. That stated, every yr a number of through hikers have their journey both derailed or at the very least negatively affected by water borne illnesses. Whereas I personally consider that a lot of the sources on the triple crown trails are wonderful to drink as is, there are undoubtedly some that aren’t. In brief, carry some type of water remedy and if unsure, deal with.

Be aware: Good hygiene habits are of equal, or much more significance than water purification with regards to avoiding intestinal issues. Extra hikers get the trotskies from sharing meals or not cleansing their arms correctly, than they do from failing to purify their H2O. 

  • Billy Goat:  Forged iron intestine

Yep…….you’ll want to carry some type of water purification.

Insulation Layer

Common season hikes of the PCT and CDT are typically somewhat drier and colder than the AT. Due to this fact, I’d counsel carrying a light-weight down jacket for the previous two hikes, and an artificial insulation layer/s for the latter.

The Princess of Energy in her Montbell Alpine Gentle Down Parka (with accompanying sword) | Glacier Nationwide Park, MT (

Professional gear fashions exhibiting off the Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket and the Patagonia Nano Puff.

Outer Layer

No garment is totally waterproof given prolonged publicity to inclement circumstances. Engaged on the precept that damp is best than soaked and being snug quite than dry is the precedence, I typically search for rain jackets with the next options:

a. A superb DWR (sturdy water repellant) end
b. Comparatively light-weight (under 10 oz)
c. Fast-drying
d. Pit zips for air flow
e. Adjustable wrist cuffs
f. Adjustable hood with a stiff brim.

  • Bonus Suggestions: Think about taking an umbrella. For a weight penalty of between 5 and eight oz, they provide an incredible combo of shade, air flow and rain safety. Not so good when it’s blowy. I put an asterisk beside the hikers that recurrently carry an umbrella with them on lengthy hikes.

Yours actually sporting the Massive Chicken DriDucks Rain Jacket | Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru, 2014.

Billy Goat’s hand written gear decisions – love the ultimate line!

DisclosureThis submit incorporates some affiliate hyperlinks, which implies The Mountaineering Life receives a small fee if you are going to buy an merchandise after clicking on one of many hyperlinks. This comes at no further value to the reader, and helps to help the web site in its persevering with objective to create high quality content material for backpackers and hikers. Cheers.


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