Got RAIN? – A Preliminary AT Gear List

As posted for Appalachian Trials.

I’m from Northern California. Where the weather is always perfect and the ground sometimes shakes. Pansy you might say. I thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2009 and 2013, where I experienced maybe a total of 25 rainy days. Then I started the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) in 2015, and it rained 15 of my first 35 days on trail. That’s known as a wakeup call. When I think of the Appalachian Trail (AT), I think of rain. Rain, rain and more rain. Plus that green tunnel and a whole bunch of rocks too. Am I going to be tough enough for all that? Did the PCT and CDT teach this girl all she needs to know in order to happily survive?

I’m six months out but I can’t help myself (NoBo late April). The gear list is brewing. The grains are mashing out their sugars to be fermented into the perfect AT gear list. Yep, I’m a beer geek who loves hiking and the gear that goes with it. I’ve learned a lot since I first set foot on the PCT and I’m always striving to reduce my base pack weight. But these are a few of the realities that I must face:
~I am a large-bodied woman which means that my clothes are larger and weigh more.
~I have wide, flat feet.
~I am a thyroid cancer survivor and I have to carry extra meds in order to put one foot in front of the other.
~I like a comfy bed and pillow.
~I like town clothes.
~I am lazy and do not cook.
~I get cold very, very, very easily.

So here’s my 12.7 lb. base weight start:

AT Gear List oz. lb.
zpacks 52L arc blast with hip belt pockets 18
zpacks 20F wide med bag 18.7
big agnes fly creek UL1 + gc 39
75.7 4.7
thermarest prolite small 11
msr pack towel half 0.7
toilet kit:
(snow stake, tp, hand sanitizer, wipes, powder) 3
sit pad 1
(ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea, anti-hist, vicodin, thyroid hormone) 2
ziplock wallet 1
trash compator bag/paint strainer stuff sacs 2
zpacks dry bag pillow 2
2 1L smart water bottles 2.8
1 2L foldable platypus 1.3
2 cup (16 oz) ziploc twist container 1.4
golite umbrella 8
first aid/sewing/repair kit:
(bandaids, needle, ray way thread, air mattress patch, toenail clippers) 1.5
sweet water purification drops 0.8
whistle/thermometer multi 1
swiss army manager knife 1
emergency fire kit 1
s2s pack cover 3.5
toothbrush/floss/paste 1
sunscreen/hibiclens/lotion/essential oils 3
s2s headnet 1
flip flop 7.1
guide book 3
spoon 0.5
60.6 3.8
jockey underwear 1.5
costco wool blend long john bottoms 6
mountain hardware long john top 7.4
injinji socks 1.6
zpacks possumdown socks (for sleeping) 2.5
zpacks rain kilt 1.9
mh hooded ghost whisper down jacket 8.5
outdoor research helium ii rain jacket 6.3
smartwool beanie 1
mountain hardware gloves 1.2
rei skirt (for town) ?? (might substitute for tyvek skirt @ 3 oz.) 7.5
patagonia tank top (for town) 3.2
48.6 3.0
droid turbo cell phone w/ case 7.6
anker 2nd gen astro 6700mHa 4.8
chargers/cords/headphones 3.5
ipod nano 1
petzl e-lite headlamp 1
17.9 1.1
total 202.8 12.7
clothing worn:
golite pants 11.6
rei sun shirt 8
jockey underwear 1.5
patagonia bra 3
kuhl shirt 4.8
injinji socks 1
dirty girl gaiters 1
leki trekking poles
diamond bling sunglasses
cold weather changes:
zpacks 0F wide long bag 27.1
buff 1
mouseworks hat 1.8
backcountry ninjas long sleeve performance shirt 6.6
goosefeet down booties 3.4
thermarest Xtherm long 16.5
That camp on the CDT where I cried because my Jetboil wouldn’t ignite.

5 thoughts on “Got RAIN? – A Preliminary AT Gear List

  1. What sleeping bag do you use? It will rain all the time, I suggest everything going into dry sacks and lining the inside of your pack with heavy duty trash bags. Poured every single day for a month on us in PA… lovely. We are headed out to do the PCT this year. I am looking forward to less rain 🙂

  2. Hey Lion Heart, what’s a paint strainer stuff sack? I’ll be following your commentary along the A.T. People wonder why I talk about the A.T. more so than the P.C.T. I don’t know why other than it was my first time hiking and camping. Ignorance is bliss. What was your “M.O.” for getting off the CDT? Weather??? I hope to do it in a couple of years after I float down the Mississippi this year. T-coZee
    PS. Just now discovering the Internet.

    1. Hi T-coZee! Been following your Susquehanna float! Awesome! The weather was certainly a challenging factor on the CDT but I got off because I needed to be at home to help my parents.

  3. As a 2015 nobo hiker, let me humbly offer a few suggestions from my experience. Everyone is different, what worked for me may not for you, but just the same, I’d love to help a fellow hiker.

    first off, I like your list overall. Its obviously well honed with experience. my suggestions are few (though verbose, my apologies)

    Flip flops seem like a great town and camp shoe, maybe youre even thinking of doing your riving crossing in them. I thought the same, but had replaced mine withing 100 miles with a pair of vastly-superior-in-every-way crocs. That being said, the knock off crocs sold at dollar general type stores are significantly lighter (as in the same weight as your flip flops). I stood by my choice of camp/town footwear when:
    1.In the grayson highlands, I discovered the the seemingly unbelievable quantity of pony poop, and the prospect of having to pee in the night while attempting to negotiate this muddy minefield of horseapples. closed toe, very yes.
    2. repeatedly seeing logbook notes about flip flops lost in water crossings. admittedly I only wore my crocs for the first few, and after that I just didn’t care about my constantly wet shoes
    3. dry socks and crocs will make you irrationally comfortable and happy more often than you expect.

    Also, down pants. if you hate being cold that much (like I do), consider down pants. I got some montbell ones from mountain crossings in my first week, and have not once regretted my purchase. yes, listed at 7 ounces. seven. amazing. ounces. There was an unusually cold snap coming in (6 degrees plus lots of wind and east coast humidity), and I too had a zpacks 20 degree bag (loved!). These pants made me very happy, particularly when all my other clothing was in the wash and it was cold. I started march 1, so you may not be in for the cold temps I was, but its still worth mentioning.

    I carried a big agnes copper spur ul1, which I loved (though a few ounces more than yours). I cut myself a tyvek groundsheet for it though for both weight and cost, and used it far more than the tent. The AT is covered up in shelters, and the shelters are covered up in rodent leavings and dirt, no matter how well swept. putting your sleep system down on your tyvek/groundsheet will keep everything much cleaner, as well as giving you an easy way to claim your space when you arrive exhausted and need to go get water before you loose the ability to keep moving.
    I also replaced my BA stakes with titanium ones from lawson equipment to shed some weight, definitely worth it, they are just better stakes, and will shed a couple ounces for minimal investment. .

    charging cord.. as I understand it, there are far more hostels on the AT than where you have hiked. hostels have fewer outlets than hikers. I got a 10 foot, bright colored usb cord and a multi-head anker charger (each socket being independent and load sensing instead of splitting the same power between two socks, good stuff) so I could share an outlet that otherwise would have been occupied. 10ft cord = sitting pretty on a comfy place while all the other stinky hikers are huddled around the one convenient outlet

    I had a zpacks pillow bag, which was my clothing bag (the only soft thing to stuff in it, right?). The fleece on it smelled so bad I didn’t want to put my face against it all night (or bother emptying and turning it inside out each night). I cut the fleece off after a while just to save weight. I didn’t care what my head was on pretty quickly.

    shouldn’t miss hostels:
    mountain harbor
    green mountain house
    three springs hostel
    mountain crossings (though the free camping out back and up the hill is much quieter than the bunk room)

    hope you have an awesome hike!

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