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Section Hiking Gear List – Summer 2012

Baxter State Park, Maine
Baxter State Park, Maine

I’ve got a long 16 day section hike planned for later this summer in Maine and then New Hampshire, primarily on the Appalachian Trail, with a few scenic detours. I’ll be hiking through the 100 Mile Wilderness againclimbing Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park, and then driving back down to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to hike from Pinkham Notch to Franconia Notch along the AT, with detours to Mt Carrigan and the Bonds. Should be an epic trip!

I’ll also be playing host to my friend Martin Rye from England (author of the Summit and Valley Blog), who’s going to be hiking with me. This will be his first time in the United States and I’m looking forward to showing him the best part of it. Martin and I have never met in person, but despite that I’m sure we’ll get along. He helped me plan out my hike across Scotland in the TGO Challenge in 2010 and we’ve corresponded regularly ever since.

Expected Conditions

August on the New Hampshire and Maine Appalachian Trail is generally hot and humid, with frequent and sustained rain. High temperatures will be in the 90’s with evening lows in the 60 and 70’s, although slightly cooler temperatures are possible at higher elevations or if a cold front is passing through.

The trail in Maine will be wet and muddy and buggy. Despite the heat, I plan on wearing long sleeve shirts and pants which have been pre-treated with Permethrin (Insect Shield), in order to minimize the amount of DEET I have to put on. It’s easy to cool off in Maine by walking into a river or stream or lake, and often unavoidable, because there are so few bridges on the trail and fording is required.

We will probably spend a few nights in AT shelters if they’re not too crowded with thru-hikers. The thru-hiker wave seems a bit ahead of schedule this year, so the trail might be a little more crowded early in August than in previous years. Given the likelihood of sleeping in wooden lean-tos, it doesn’t make much sense to bring a heavy tent that we don’t plan on using, plus we both like sleeping under tarps, if it comes to that.

The trail in New Hampshire will be a lot drier and rockier than in Maine. Bugs will also be an issue in the woods, but above treeline the greatest hazard will be afternoon thunderstorms. The trails will be crowded on weekends, but less so on weekdays. Regardless, we’ll mainly be stealth camping deep in the woods to Leave No Trace. I don’t believe Martin has ever hiked in terrain like the White Mountains, so it will be fun to teach him these stealth skills, which are perfectly legal in the area we’ll be hiking.

For the first part of our trip, we expect to hike through the 100 mile Wilderness within 6 days, which should keep the weight of our food to about 10 or 11 pounds each. I’m planning to bring a slightly larger backpack than normal, the new Gossamer Gear Mariposa+, which has 69 liters of capacity with 47 liters of covered storage in the main compartment and 22 liters in external pockets. This should give me plenty of capacity to carry more food if we want to do some long wilderness detours later in our trip.

UL Tarp Camping, Maine Appalachian Trail
UL Tarp Camping, Maine Appalachian Trail

Backpacking Gear List

There’s a fair amount of change in my clothing and gear mix this year over last, because I’ve worn through a lot of my old backpacking clothes. I’ll also be trying a very low cost aluminum pot from Olicamp that has a built in heat exchanger (like a Jetboil) to save fuel, in addition to a canister based stove that I’ve been using for the past year.

In terms of water purification, I’m leaning toward using chlorine dioxide again because it requires shorter break times at streams. While filtering water using my Sawyer filter is fairly efficient, it still takes longer than I like if I’m trying to hike a fast pace.

Other than that, I’ve made the switch to a quilt from a sleeping bag for summer backpacking, which has actually added a bit more weight to my sleep system, but also added a few more degrees of comfort.

All in, I consider this gear list fairly luxurious, even though it’s still under 13 pounds. With 6 days of food and 2 liters of water this brings my load up to about 28 pounds total and 33-34 pounds skin out which is not bad as a maximum trip weight, especially since I’ll “eat down” the weight fairly rapidly.

If you have any questions about the items in this gear list, feel free to leave a comment.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa+ Backpack 25
Gossamer Gear Sitlight Pad1.5
Gossamer Gear Pack Liner1
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite (Regular)12
Plastic Whistle0.1
Victoronix Knife0.7
Inka Pen0.5
Sleep System
Jacks ‘R’ Better 8×8 Silnylon Tarp5.3
Mountain Laurel Designs Plastic Ground Cloth1.7
10 X tent stakes and stuff sack4
Extra Ties for Tent Platforms0.5
Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down 35 Quilt22
MLD Superlight Bivy Bag with head net6.9
Camp Clothes/Rain Gear
Golite Tumalo 2.5 Layer Rain Pants8.4
Patagonia Capilene 1 Bottom Long Underwear6
Gold Toe Synthetic Socks, 2 pr3
Icebreaker GT Run Ace Crewe Shirt LS7.7
EMS Helix Technical Shell18.2
Mountain Laurel Designs eVent Rain Mitts1.4
Black polypro glove liners1.4
Mountain Hardware polypro hat0.8
Monbell Tachyon Wind Shirt 2.6
1 x 3L Platypus Bladder1.5
90 x Katadyn Micropur Chlorine Dioxide Tablets5
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter minus plastic bags3.5
2 X Qt Recycled Soda Bottles2
Cut down Platypus Water Scoop0.5
Gear Repair and First Aid Bag7.2
Kitchen and Camp
MLD Spinnaker Bear Bag, Rope, Rock Sack2.7
OPSack Odor Proof Liner1.1
Olicamp XTS Aluminum Pot with Heat Exchanger6.7
SOTO OD-1R Canister Stove2.6
MSR Camp Towel0.8
BPL Long Titanium spoon0.3
Suunto A10 Baseplate compass0.9
Panasonic Lumix Lx3 digital camera9.3
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp7
Spot II GPS Satellite Messenger4.1
Android Phone4.1
2 extra Camera batteries, filter, brush7.2
Maps and AT Guide Pages1.5
Digital Tape Recorder2
Personal Items/Stuff Sack3.9
Dermatone tin – Sun tan lotion0.8
QiWiz Big Dig Ti Trowel0.5
Total gear weight in lbs12.87
RailRiders EcoMesh Long Pants (Insect Shield)13
RailRiders Madison River Shirt (Insect Shield)10
Pacer Poles (Aluminum)23
Inov8 Terroc 330 Trail Runners24.6
Gold Toe Synthetic Socks1.5
Under Armour Boxer Jocks3.5
Golite Team Hat1.8
Total weight worn, in lbs4.84


  1. Your gear for living in the backwoods for a couple weeks is LUXURY! Enjoy your trip!

  2. I’ve been using the Sawyer Squeeze filter also w/o the plastic bags…have you found a good soda/water bottle which doesn’t distort badly from squeezing it over time?
    I’ve found the Smart Water bottle is horrible, and a Coke 1-Ltr. isn’t much better…suggestions?

    • I use a 3L Platypus as my dirty water bag with it. I also wrap the threads with a little plumbers tape to ensure a snug fit so that dirty water doesn’t leak from the dirty side of the filter into the clean target coke bottle. Make sense?

    • I’ve found that if I’m drinking directly from the Sawyer Squeeze (rather than pouring throough it) that there is no need to squeeze the bottle at all. Just tilt the bottle to get water into the filter and suck it through. I started doing this when I accidentally started a trip with cheap quality plastic bottles that leaked through the nozzle threads. Sucking water through avoided this. The bottles that worked better and that I forgot to take were Aquafina 1 liter bottles.

  3. Have fun!
    Can’t wait until one day when I am experienced enough to do a trip like this.

  4. The hard part is not the experience, although that does help. The hard part is getting “permission” from your partner to go away for such a long trip and to get the time off from work. I am very lucky on both those scores.

  5. Jolly Green Giant

    Sounds like an awesome trip! Looking forward to the post report. I hadn’t sen that cup before….enabler. That Soto is sweet.

    • Should be great. We have enough resupplies that using canisters shouldn’t present a problem, but I’m eager to see how far the heat exchanger on the Olicamp pot stretches my fuel. They claim a 40% fuel savings, so could be good.

  6. I know it is a whole 21 grams (just weighed mine), but take a Storm Whistle. This is not a place for compromise.

    Oh, and switch to grams. Fractional ounces will drive you nuts.

  7. Micropur tablets — at some point, Aqua Mira is a lot cheaper and it is exactly the same chemically.

    For “screw ties” you mean “screw eyes”, right?

    What is a “cut-down Platypus Water Scoop”? If that is for getting water out of streams, I carry a one liter Calistoga bottle, which works for getting water out of streams and also carries water. The sparkling water bottles are a lot stronger than the still water bottles.

    • I like the micropur tablets better.Less fuss, and the tin foil makes the dosing fast and easy.

      Screw eyes, yes.

      To make a platy water scoop, take an old bladder and cut it in half with a slight diagonal. Jason Klass showed me this trick, What you get is a great water scoop, which folds flat. I’ve also laid it over rocks on the trail that had rain water streaming across them to collect water on a particularly dry stretch of trail. Never could have done that with a hard sided bottle.

  8. How are the 2.5 layer rain pants working out for you?
    I’m thinking of getting a pair for an upcoming hike in scotland. I’m actually always going for a quick-drying, non-waterproof solution for the pants, but I feel at 22 days of rain/month it just won’t do. I’m thinking 2.5 layer, because they’re far easier to slip on while on the go, and 3 layer is too expensive.
    I worry, however, that breathability will not be good enough and I’ll feel uncomfortable anyway.

    • I just bought those golite 2.5 layer pants after finally destroying a pair of Golite Reed rain pant that are no longer made. The chief criteria to purchase the new ones was price. $50. I’m pretty sure they’ll be fine. Breathabilty claims are worthless when it’s pissing down rain all day. I’m going to be wet inside: I just want to be reasonable warm.

  9. The 3L Platybladder and a Sawyer in-line filter on hose with chlorine dioxide drops for good measure has given me drinkable water on the go for a few years without a problem.Thanks for the tip on plumbers tape for threads.Mine has never leaked but I’m always thinking about it.If anybody has seen or used the the Evernew bottles/bladder give some feedback.I’m thinking of trying in the future.I’ve been keeping an eye on your website for about a year and would like to thank everyone for their exchange of good info.

  10. 1. Soto now makes a windscreen for your stove. Weight = 19 g. It may also have some heat reflection properties.
    2. For not sure what kind of bugs you’re battling, but I’ve found Repel Lemon Eucalyptus spray to be almost as effective on mosquitoes as DEET, but a lot more pleasant to wear. You’ve probably heard about a lot of herbal preparations that turn out to be ineffective but this really works

  11. I’ve got the windscreens – it’s just a small ring of metal that helps cut the wind. I suppose I should bring it…don’t expect to be using the stove in much wind.

  12. I recently looked to purchase some Evernew bottles and it seems that they may no longer be available. I only found 1/2 litre bottles on clearance in a couple of places but could not find the 1 or 2 litre bottles. Supposedly their threads match those on the Sawyer Squeeze filter. If the are still available, I sure would like to know where.

  13. this is a nice packing list. When I go backpacking I don’t seem to be nearly as organized as you are. I prefer to use a water filter like a Katadyn Mini Ceramic Microfilter because the water tastes better. The katadyn filter is extremely light. It weighs only 8 oz.

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