I always see hikers list their gear online but I felt it would be far more fun to show my gear progression over time and this would show how a typical backpack builds over time and is frequently not a single big purchase.
I have continued to buy, test, and pass or fail my gear each year while trying to optimize for comfort but also weight and cost. As a father and husband, I can’t just decide to bust the bank-wide open on a whim and have to be able to justify the purchase before I make it.
This makes me need to research a lot more than many others may, this leads me to skip some purchases and also to note expected upgrades I plan to make once I can free up the funds, with my upgrade focus on the big three for the most weight benefit.
Sleeping Quilt – UGQ Bandit – This is a purchase to align more with a trip on a Georgia AT section I planned for this upcoming March 2022 where the temperatures are cold and having a 950 down quilt with a 0-degree rating can make a huge difference in comfort.
Tent – Dan Durston X-Mid DCF (Due Out in Spring 2022)
Tent – Dan Durston X-Mid 1P which features amazing interior space with gigantic vestibules on both sides to make it feel like a 2P.
Hydration – I carry either a Sawyer Squeeze system with a CNOC 2L dirty water bag Smartwater bottles, or I use my Katadyn BeFree system with a 2L bag for dirty water with 2 Smartwater bottles for carries.
Cookware – I cold soak nearly all the time, so I bring a CNOC cold soak bag and a titanium spork. The bag is simple to clean with a little additional water and a shake.
First Aid – Leukotape (perfect for so many odds and ends); ibuprofen; Gold Bond Powder (chafing is real); Pepto Bismol Tablets; Carmex; chewable melatonin.
Hygiene – Dr. Bronners, Picaridin, toothbrush, toothpaste, man wipes, toilet paper, and a Deuce of Spades trowel
I always bring at a minimum of 2 pairs of darn tough socks and 2 pairs of Injinji liner socks which allow me to adjust to blisters easily dual layering as needed to cut chafing-based blisters and hot spot build-up.
Rain Gear – Six Moon Designs Umbrella, Frogg Toggs.
Tech – iPhone 12 Max in a boring plastic shockproof case, Anker Nano, and cord for charging in town. I also carry a 10,000mAh Anker battery on the trail for recharging.
Pack – 3F UL Gear 60L Backpack
Sleeping Quilt – OneTigris Featherlite Synthetic Quilt
Sleeping Pad – Paria Recharge XL