Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced today that she’s taking a leave of absence from the Supreme Court to hike the Appalachian Trail. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do and what I want, I usually get,” said Ginsburg recently in an interview with CNN. Ginsburg has been training for this hike for several years now, working out during the week in the gym and taking long hikes along the Maryland and Virginia sections of the AT during the weekends. She’ll be taking 4 months off and hopes to finish a big chunk of the trail by walking 11-12 miles a day. “I have a lot of confidence in her ability to hike the AT,” says her trainer Bryant Johnson, a former Army reservist attached to the Special Forces, and author of The RGB Workout: How She Stays Strong…and You can Too!
At 85, Ginsburg will be one of the older hikers on the trail, which she sees as more of a benefit rather than a weakness. “I think I’m a pretty good judge of my limits,” says the justice. “If Grandma Gatewood could do it, I can too.” Nearly, 2,200 miles in length, hiking the Appalachian Trial isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but the trail links together many small towns as it winds its way through National Parks and Forests from Georgia to Maine. RBG plans to keep the weight of her backpack as low as possible by stopping into towns frequently to resupply and clean up.
Standing 5′ 1″, RBG is petite and says that finding backpacking gear that fit her was an unexpected challenge. “I hope my hike will make the lack of female-specific backpacking gear more visible. It’s scandalous in this day and age.” It took some research, but she found several American gear companies that make the women’s backpacking gear that she plans to carry, including:
- Osprey Tempest 40 women’s backpack
- Feathered Friends Grouse UL 30 women’s sleeping bag
- Therm-a-Rest women’s NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad
- Lightheart Gear women’s Hiking Skirt with Pockets
On any thru-hike, your most important piece of backpacking gear is a well-fitting backpack and “I had to search a long time to find one that fit my short 14″ torso”, says Ginsburg. “But my favorite piece of gear is the Lightheart Gear hiking skirt I’ll be wearing, which has pockets! You have to be a woman to understand how important that is.”
Given the tumultuous political climate in our Nation’s Capitol, we had to ask RBG if this was really a good time to skip town? “It’s the best time, actually. The Supreme court is in recess from the end of June until October 1, which gives me four months to hike. I’ll get as far north as I can and come back to finish next year if I need to.”
Hike on RBG! Hike On.SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.