Gear in My Backpack for Thru-Hiking

I always see hikers list their gear online, but I felt it would be far more fun to show my backpack and overall 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 note expected upgrades I plan to make once I can free up the funds, with my upgrade focusing on the big three for the most weight benefit.

My backpack wall in my office is where I keep all my packs at arms reach

Planned Upgrades

Sleeping QuiltUGQ Bandit or maybe Enlightened Equipment Revelation – This is a purchase to align more with a trip on a Georgia AT section I planned for this upcoming March 2023 where the temperatures are cold, and having a 950 down quilt with a 0-degree rating can make a huge difference in comfort.

Rain GearVertice Rain Jacket – I need to move forward from the super cheap but very fallible Frogg Toggs.

2022 Unplanned Upgrade(s)

I broke my Cascade Mountain trekking poles on Eagle Rock Loop, for Fathers Day I was able to order a pair of Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles for $100 for Fathers Day (Thanks Wife and Daughter)

Current Gear


  • Zpacks NERO (10.9 oz, 308g) – I love the MILE, and I needed to find something that would work in between the MILE and bigger packs.
  • Waymark THRU (31.35 oz, 889g) – I found a deal from someone that couldn’t be passed up getting this for nearly 1/2 the new cost, and it pairs amazingly with my existing MILE.
  • Dan Durston DD40 (32.6 oz, 925 g) – Has uses and fits exceedingly comfortably but still adjusting to the no-mesh outer pocket, which means re-organizing my gear into stuff sacks or re-organizing what I like to keep outside.
  • Zpacks Air 50L (19.6 oz, 556 g) – I didn’t have a backpack with a frame I was comfortable with for 3-5 day range treks. I found a super deal on Zpacks Bargain Bin and pulled the trigger.
  • MatSix Custom 55L Backpack (22.75 oz, 645 g) – Ultra 200 Dyneema Weave, built by MatSix on Etsy, has the Dyneema weave mesh and an underneath joey pocket for storage or trash; amazingly crafted.
  • Daypack Trips



  • Dan Durston X-Mid 1P features fantastic interior space with huge vestibules on both sides to make it feel like a 2P.

Hammock Setup (1.92 lbs, 30.69oz, 870g)

Hammock Underquilt (1.35 lbs, 21.59oz, 612g)



I carry either a Sawyer Squeeze system with a CNOC 2L dirty water bag Smartwater bottles or my Katadyn BeFree system with a 2L Hydrapak bag for dirty water with 2 Smartwater bottles for long carries.


I cold soak nearly all the time, so I upgraded to a Vargo Bottle Pot and a titanium spork. This allows me to bring along my titanium wing and a few Esbit tablets if I really need something warm.

Zpacks Bear Bagging Kit – Super strong, simple, and effective.

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 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.

Appalachian Gear Company Hoodie

Tern Hoodie from Outdoor Vitals (5.4 oz)

Satu Adventure Shorts, Dragonwool Hoodie, Ventus Active Hoodie, Loftek Adventure Jacket, Altra Shoes, buff.

Rain Gear – Six Moon Designs Umbrella, Frogg Toggs. 

Tech – iPhone 12 Max in a boring plastic shockproof case, Anker 735 Charger, and cord for charging in town. I now carry two 10,000mAh Nitecore batteries on the trail for recharging.

Previous Gear


PackOutdoor Vitals ShadowLight 60L – Still own and love but need fewer external pockets, hence the move to a 40L pack and streamlining of gear to drop weight and space needs. Have a continual issue with the frame dropping out from the end cups that are supposed to hold it.


Pack – 3F UL Gear 60L Backpack

2P TentMeir (Lanshan 2P) Trekking Pole Tent

Sleeping QuiltOneTigris Featherlite Synthetic Quilt

Sleeping PadParia Recharge XL

Josh Koop

I turned 40 and realized I needed to change my life from being a desk-bound IT worker slowly dying in a cubicle. I have been working on ways to build my knowledge and skills, along with gear. I have plans to do a thru-hike on the Lone Star Hiking Trail, Ouachita Trail, and Pinhoti Trail in the next year.