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.
Sleeping Quilt – UGQ 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 Gear – Vertice 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)
- 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 DCF (Arrived Just Recently)
- 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)
- Hummingbird Long Hammock
- Hummingbird Tree Straps
- Hummingbird Tree Strap Extensions
- Hummingbird Martin Bug Net
- Hummingbird Pelican SilPoly Rain Tarp
Hammock Underquilt (1.35 lbs, 21.59oz, 612g)
- Hammock Gear Incubator Underquilt (Full Length)
- Outdoor Vitals Insulated Mummy Pad
- Outdoor Vitals StormLoft – 15-Degree Quilt
- Hammock Gear 20 Degree Economy Burrow (To match with my Hammock Setup – Reg not wide)
- Zpacks Stuff Sack/Pillow Dual Purpose
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.
Pack – Outdoor 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 Tent – Meir (Lanshan 2P) Trekking Pole Tent
Sleeping Quilt – OneTigris Featherlite Synthetic Quilt
Sleeping Pad – Paria Recharge XL