I’m not ultralight, but I’m not a heavyweight, either. Like many women, I get cold easy. So, I usually carry an extra layer. Because I am *always* saving for a hike, I buy good quality gear which will last for multiple hikes. For example, my first Marmot DriClime Windshirt was worn on every hike from 2001 to 2012. I replaced the zipper once.
Long-sleeved poly/nylon shirt similar to the Mountain Hardwear Canyon. Light-colored shirts are cooler than dark-colored shirts. I like brighter colors rather than tan (looks better in pictures). I wear a Marmot Tee underneath to wick moisture.
Moisture-wicking running shorts with a liner. I look for shorts with a longer inseam (no booty shorts!).
Any brand of nylon pants like the REI Sahara.
Injinji, three pairs.
Floppy sun hat. I like the Outdoor Research Women’s Solar Roller Hat. I had a seamstress put a hole in the back for my ponytail.
Any wool-blend hat which will accommodate my ponytail.
Marmot Ether DriClime Windshirt. I’ve been wearing Marmot DriClime jackets since 2000. They are versatile, warm, and durable.
BASE LAYER OR SLEEPING CLOTHES:
Top: Icebreaker 200 zip neck. Bottom: Patagonia Capilene 2. SmartWool socks.
No. My running shorts have a liner.
Look for a sports bra without clasps which will rub under pack straps.
CTR Adrenaline Heater Glove. I add the CTR Headwall Versatile Glove in colder/snowy sections.
COLD WEATHER CHANGES:
Extra gloves, warmer long underwear bottoms, additional warm top (Marmot Stretch Fleece Jacket, Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket, or Montbell UL Jacket).
CLOTHING DRY BAG:
Any clothing which is not currently worn is stored in a Sea to Summit eVAC Dry Sack, even in the desert. Water bottles can leak anytime. Best to be safe and always have my clothing in a dry bag. The eVAC Dry Sack is best for sleeping bags and clothing because the eVAC fabric allows for air to escape, making it easier to compress the air out.
Top: Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket – I love the waterproof/breathable Pertex® fabric.
Bottom: Rain pants in cold weather. ULA Rain skirt everywhere else.
I always carry an umbrella.
Running shoes WITHOUT any waterproofing material. Shoe companies change their styles every season. I look for shoes with good lugs on the tread, which create more traction on snow and mud. Running shoes or trail runners last for a maximum of 500 miles. Even if they look good on the outside, the support inside breaks down after about 400-450 miles.
Occasionally I will carry flip flops, but usually, I do not carry camp shoes.
I wear Dirty Girl Gaiters in the desert. I do not wear gaiters in non-desert terrain. I really only need them to protect my socks from hostile desert plants.
I use Leki poles in the snow and in areas with sketchy creek crossings.
Western Mountaineering! My sleeping bag is ALWAYS packed in a Sea to Summit eVAC Dry Sack (13 litre), even in the desert. Water bottles can leak anytime. Best to be safe and always have my sleeping bag in a dry bag. The eVAC Dry Sack is best for sleeping bags and clothing because the eVAC fabric allows for air to escape, making it easier to compress the air out.
SLEEPING BAG LINER:
I always use a sleeping bag liner. Without a liner, the oils from your skin will cause the loft in your sleeping bag to compress, which results in less warmth. My go-to liner is either a Sea to Summit Silk Liner or a Western Mountaineering Tioga Liner. For colder hiking (Washington at the end of a nobo PCT, Colorado for a sobo CDT, Montana for a nobo CDT), I use a Sea to Summit Reactor. I’ve used both the Reactor Extreme and the Reactor Compact Plus.
NeoAir All Season. I’m a side sleeper; I need the extra cushion.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL. I use the one-person when I solo hike. Matt and I use the three-person when we hike together. I love the height created by the crossbar at the top; it allows me to sit up in the tent without the walls smashing against my head. The Copper Spur has a side door, which is MUCH easier to get out of a side door than a front door. With the side door, you just swing your legs out and stand up. No crawling.
Whenever a new single-wall or hybrid shelter hits the market, I always try them. I want them to work for me, but they never do. I’ve found that I am more comfortable in a real double-wall tent. Why? Many reasons:
- I like a bathtub floor, and it needs to be an ACTUAL bathtub floor, not just two inches of wall coming up from the ground. The bathtub floor needs to be taller than my face when I’m laying down. A tall bathtub floor prevents sand from blowing on my face in the wind, and water from splashing on my face when it rains.
- Single-wall and hybrid shelters take a LONG time to set up properly.
- Then when the temperature changes, you need to get out and tighten the guylines. I’d rather have a free-standing double wall tent which sets up in about a minute and needs no tightening later on.
- I need to be able to sit up and move around inside my shelter. I don’t want the shelter walls or ceiling to touch my head.
- Condensation collects inside single-wall and hybrid shelters causing my sleeping bag to get wet.
- I want to be able to sleep inside my shelter and still see the stars on clear nights. With a double-wall tent, I can do that (just not attach the fly). With single-wall or hybrid shelter, I cannot.
- The most important reason is that single-wall and hybrid shelters flap in the wind. Flap, flap, flap, flap, flap = NO SLEEP.
I always use the footprint specifically made by Big Agnes for my tent. Many hikers use Tyvek; I prefer the ease of setup provided by the BA footprint.
Three 2-liter Sawyer bags (used for filtering and occasionally for water storage). Anywhere from three to six 2-liter SmartWater bottles for storage.
I use the original MSR Pocket Rocket it has since been replaced by the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 paired with a Windscreen.
MSR Titan Kettle (bought new in 2000, still going strong!)
AntiGravityGear pot cozy. Keeps my food warm for a long time.
I like both the Vargo Titanium Long-Handle Spoon and the TOAKS Titanium Folding Spoon.
Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army Knife. I attach it to my food bag with paracord. Can’t lose it!
OVERNIGHT FOOD STORAGE:
BearVault 500 in canister-required areas.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sack or Granite Gear Air Bag in other areas.
Garmin eTrex 20x. It has not failed me yet! Heard too many stories of hikers leaving their GPS behind, so I attach it to my pack’s shoulder strap with paracord.
Tenacious Tape is a required part of any hiker’s gear! It can be used to repair tents, sleeping pads, clothing, insoles, everything!
Black Diamond Storm. Love this headlamp! It is insanely bright, lightweight, with white, green, red, and blue lights. Hikers always say red is good for night hiking (and it is!) but with a red light you cannot see the red trail line on a map. If you use a green light, you can see the trail line. If you want to save a bit of money, the Black Diamond Spot is equally as good as the Storm, but the Spot only has white and red lights.
I like both Black Diamond and CAMP axes. I use a leash.
STUFF SACKS AND DRY BAGS:
If your life depends on a piece of gear, keep it in a dry bag. If your life does not depend upon it, then the less expensive stuff sacks will do the job.