Once again, I have altered the format of this list to make for (what I think is) easier readability. ORANGE denotes a new item and
strikethroughs indicate things that I have dropped from the previous list.
Below the initial list you will find detailed descriptions of each item, including weights, prices, and where to find each.
As always, what’s in my backpack is constantly changing and I welcome feedback or suggestions. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
THE BIG STUFF
- BACKPACK | Osprey Exos 58 (Review)
- SHELTER | Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2* (Review)
- SLEEPING BAG | Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15** (Review)
- SLEEPING PAD | Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Mat
- LINER | Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite Liner
- HEADWEAR | Fitted Baseball Cap
- HEADWEAR | Icebreaker Apex Hat
- SUNGLASSES | RayBan RB2140 Wayfarer (54mm)
- RAIN JACKET | Columbia Outdry EX Tech Shell Jacket
- DOWN JACKET | Columbia Decompression Jacket
- SHIRT | Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve
- SHORTS | Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Midweight Active Short
- SHOES | Merrell Moab Ventilators
- INSOLES | Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles
- SOCKS | Darn Tough 1/4 Hiking Socks x 2 (Review)
- UNDERWEAR | Ibex Woolies 1 Boxer Brief
- BUG PROTECTION | Sea to Summit Head Net
THE SMALLER STUFF
- HEADLAMP | Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
- WATER TREATMENT | Sawyer Squeeze MINI (Review)
- WATER BOTTLE | 2L Smart Water bottle (x2)
- KNIFE | Petzl Spatha Knife
- RAINCOVER | Osprey UltraLight Raincover
- SLEEPING BAG STUFF SACK | Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack (13L)
- STUFF SACKS | Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks (2.5L, 9L, 15L)
- PHONE | Nexus 6P
- POWER | AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank (10,000 mAh)
- HEADPHONES | Sony XBA H1
- CAMERA | Canon 60D
- LENS | Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
- TRIPOD | Joby Gorillapod
- ACCESSORY | Peak Design Capture Clip (Full Review)
- STRAP | Peak Design Leash
- CORDS | Micro USB Cord
- CHARGER | USB Wall Adapter
- TOILET PAPER | Make it soft
- TOOTHBRUSH | Chop the handle
- TOOTHPASTE | Travel size
- HAND SANITIZER | Travel size
- CARDS | Credit/Debit
- CASH MONEY | Benjamins = ultralight
- RUBBER BANDS | Quite useful
- DUCT TAPE | Basically first aid
- NOTEBOOK | Write stuff down!
- PEN | Pilot G2 0.7
WHY? I had a malfunction with my NeoAir XLite whereby it basically transformed itself into a giant balloon. While I wait for it to be replaced under the manufacturer’s warranty, I decided to give the Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Mat a try. It has a much lower R-value than the NeoAir (.7 vs 3.2), but it makes up for it by being a whole 0.18 oz (5 g) lighter!
WHY? I have used Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles for a while, but I wasn’t able to get a new pair after all but destroying the ones in my previous shoes (because Japan). Now that I’ve had a special delivery from overseas, I have these things back in my shoes.
WHY? I’ve owned my Under Armour Compression Shorts for almost four years now, and given my recent desire to accept more wool into my life, I’ve decided to give Ibex Woolies 1 Boxer Brief a shot at protecting my genitals from the elements (and, more importantly preventing chafe).
WHY? I’m still trying to figure out which water treatment system I like best. I have relied on UV filters a lot, but I am really looking to cut some weight and the Sawyer Squeeze MINI is one way to do this. On a thru-hike I would probably prefer to use the original Sawyer Squeeze, but for shorter hikes the MINI should do just fine.
ADDED | Petzl Spatha Knife
WHY? I dropped my multitool from my previous gear list, but now I’ve realized that I need something capable of cutting my cheese on long and stoveless nights in the mountains. The Petzl Spatha Knife is lightweight, sharp, and (most importantly) excellent at cutting cheese (and probably also fighting off angry bears).
WHY? After nearly three years, my Nexus 5 decided to die. As a replacement, I made for Huawei’s Nexus 6P – arguably the best smartphone on the market. It is a very large phone, that could easily be your on-trail camera replacement and comes with a healthy battery life, a beautiful screen, and, best of all, USB Type-C.
WHY? I may have officially converted away from solar chargers (until someone can recommend something truly awesome to me), and I’ve recently changed my battery to the AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank (10,000 mAh). This pack is a bit lighter than the Anker I was using, but it’s also nearly half the capacity. However, for shorter hikes I am not going to be charging my phone six or seven times between stops so I can’t justify any extra capacity (or weight).
Osprey Exos 58
Although the Exos 58 isn’t super ultralight (just regular ultralight), it’s incredibly comfortable and comes with a frame that maintains airflow across your back. It’s wide enough for a bear canister or four-season bag, and I’ve used it to comfortably carry loads of 40 lbs (18 kg).
42 oz (1.19 kg) – $220 US
Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 2
34 oz (980 g) – $450 US
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15
I’ve been using this sleeping bag for a few years now, and although it’s been replaced by the Flame 15 (which is basically the same bag in a different color and 800 instead of 850 fill), I am still happy with this bag. Read my full Phantom 15 review here.
33 oz (935 g) – $500 US
Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Mat
As far as I know, the Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Mat is the lightest inflatable sleeping pad on the market. It’s R-Value is low at 0.7, but it’s summer and I only need something to insulate me a bit and to keep me comfortable during the night. To be honest, it’s a shame the R-Value isn’t a bit higher because I really like the “air sprung cells” this mat has.
13.9 oz (395 g) – $100 US
Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolite Liner
A sleeping bag liner isn’t entirely necessary, but I love having a Thermolite Liner along to keep my bag clean and to use as a substitute when it’s too warm outside to crawl all the way into my bag. Plus, I have a soft spot for the stretchy material its made out of.
8.7 oz (248 g) – $50 US
Icebreaker Apex Hat
The Apex Hat is a one-size-fits-all beanie capable of fitting over my 7 5/8 head. It’s lightweight, warm, stretchy, and best of all, merino.
2.33 oz (66 g) – $20 US
Columbia Outdry EX Tech Shell Jacket
Columbia’s Outdry EX Tech Shell Jacket is undoubtedly 100% waterproof, and although I don’t like the pocket positions (they’re a bit high/awkward, that’s not an important consideration when choosing a shell.
12.1 oz (343 g) – $175 US
Columbia Decompression Down Jacket
This ultralight down jacket has been discontinued, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to throw it out just yet. It’s convinced me that I want a down jacket with a hood, and that lightweight and warm are not mutually exclusive.
9 oz (255 g) – $200 US
Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve
Although I fear for my arms when it comes time to invade mosquito territory, I would still be hiking in my Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve shirt. It’s comfortable, quick-drying, odor-resistant, breathable, and never chafes my nipples.
4.48 oz (127 g) – $100 US
Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Midweight Active Short
Although I’m not 100% committed to these shorts (mostly because they don’t have back pockets), the Chockstone Midweight Active Shorts are comfortable, stretchy, quick-drying, and have zipper pockets (which I didn’t like at first, but now I’m happy with).
9.9 oz (280 g) – $75 US
Merrell Moab Ventilators
The Moab Ventilators from Merrell is my favorite shoe for trekking. They’re wide enough for my fat-ass foot, water-resistant (but still breathable), and have awesome tread/laces. There’s a Goretex version available, but I would stick with the standard shoes since they’re far cheaper and probably breathe a bit better.
13 oz (369 g) – $100 US
Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles
I started using the Superfeet Wide Green Premium Insoles early in my first thru-hike when I was having foot, toe, and blister problems – and I’ve been using them ever since. I can’t say 100% whether or not they’re responsible for increasing my comfort, but I’m happy to have them along.
1.6 oz (45 g) – $50
Darn Tough 1/4 Hiking Socks
By the end of the PCT nearly everyone was wearing Darn Tough socks. They’re comfortable, made with merino wool, have a lifetime guarantee, and offer great cushion. You will never want to buy another brand of sock. Read my full review here.
7.2 oz (204 g) – $20 US
Ibex Woolies 1 Boxer Brief
Continuing my wardrobe’s transition from synthetic to wool, Ibex’s Woolies 1 Boxer Brief is the current champion of chafe prevention. They are comfortable, quick-drying, and have yet to become too revolting after days of extended use.
2.8 oz (79 g) – $50 US
Sea to Summit Head Net
Basically a must, the Sea to Summit Head Net is a small, lightweight, and basic piece of equipment with a very important job – to keep insects off your head and out of your face holes. I’ve had the same one for years and usually just keep it stuffed into my pocket and ready to deploy.
1.2 oz (34 g) – $10 US
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
The Black Diamond Spot is a decent headlamp with two modes and three brightness settings for each. It doesn’t have a red light which is something I will need to have in the future, but for now, the Spot does the job.
2.9 oz (83 g) – $30 US
Sawyer Squeeze MINI
The Sawyer Squeeze MINI is an incredibly lightweight filter that works great for shorter backpacking trips. I don’t know that I would use it on a thru-hike, but for an everyday filter, it’s hard to beat this thing. Read my full Sawyer Squeeze MINI review here.
2 oz (56.7 g) – $25
Petzl Spatha Knife
Some people may like bringing multi-tools, but the only thing I ever used on mine was my knife. I have since converted to carrying a Petzl Spatha Knife and I have been very happy with its cheese-cutting performance (and price). It might not be completely necessary, but it’s definitely useful and I enjoy having a knife with me on the trail (bear fights etc.).
1.4 oz (40 g) – $40 US
Osprey UltraLight Raincover
Although I could probably get away putting all my gear inside a trash compactor bag inside of my pack, I like this raincover because it also protects everything in my mesh and pockets (and boy do I love using meshy pockets).
2.8 oz (79.4 g) – $30 US
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack (13L)
For keeping your sleeping bag compact and dry, there are few options better than the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack. I’m not a huge believer in cuben fiber as it basically disintegrates over the course of thru-hikes so I will stick with the nylon stuff sacks.
1 oz (28g) – $22 US
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks (2.5, 9L, 15L)
I am a fan or organization, and the lightweight Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks are what I use to carry my clothing, food, and miscellaneous items. They are water-resistant (not waterproof like the one I use for my sleeping bag), and durable (so long as you keep sharp/pointy objects away from them).
.4 oz (11g) – $15 US / .7 oz (20g) – $18 / 1 oz (28 g) – $19 US
Snow Peak Titanium Spork
Sure, you could get a plastic spoon from McDonalds, but if you want a utensil that’s going to last forever (so long as you don’t lose it), then get a Snow Peak Titanium Spork. It won’t melt, it’s easy to clean, and it’s mother fucking titanium. Eat your trail meal like the champion you are.
0.3 oz (8.5 g) – $10 US
Most of you probably have your phone situation sorted, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still plug my current (and favorite) phone, the Nexus 6P. This phone takes spectacular photos (it could easily be your camera replacement on the trail), has a decent battery life (especially on airplane mode), and allows me to do all the Halfway Anywhere updating I need to do (when I get service/wifi). The only thing is that it’s huge.
6.31 oz (179 g) – $500 US
AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank (10,000 mAh)
I used to use a solar panel to charge my things (this one), but I’ve converted to using a power bank that I charge up in town and then use while on the trail. This one will charge a phone nearly six times before needing to be recharged. If you for some reason need more power than that, then there is a 16,100 mAh version available as well.
7.6 oz (215 g) – $25 US
It’s true, I would prefer a mirrorless camera for all the backpacking I do, but until I come into a large sum of money, I am satisfied using the Canon 60D. For what I need, this camera performs fantastically in both the photo and video departments.
27.2 oz (771.1 g) – $800 US
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
Although there are lenses out there I would prefer, I don’t have thousands to spend on a lens. The Canon EF-S 10-22mm is awesome for landscape and walkaround photography (and it isn’t too heavy).
13.6 oz (385.6 g) – $650 US
Yes, it’s heavy, and yes, it could easily be replaced with a stack of rocks, but for me, having a portable tripod is worth the extra weight. The Joby Gorillapod allows me to quickly set up both boring and unique shots and to stabilize my camera for nighttime photography as well.
7.4 oz (209.8 g) – $50 US
Peak Design Capture Clip
I love Peak Design’s Capture Clip. It lets me attach my camera to my shoulder strap and easily access it at any time. It’s a far cry from having to put down my pack and take out my camera or carrying it on a strap around my neck. Read my full Capture Clip review here.
3.5 oz (100 g) – $60 US
Peak Design Leash
Although I don’t necessarily use it all the time (since my camera is attached to my Capture Clip), I like having the Peak Design Leash in the case I need to do some tricky climbing or I want to get some awesome perspective.
2 oz (56.7 g) – $35 US
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to use any of these links to make a purchase. I personally use this gear, and I recommend it based on experience – not because a third-party has asked me to.