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Hi, I’m Rachel.

I’m a freelance writer, advocate, and podcast host! I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2018 and it changed my life. Check out my Podcast, hire me, or read about my adventures!

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This is Trail Name Here.

This is a space where I share life stories, educate, and connect people. I’m glad you’re here to join me by listening to Podcast Here, reading my blog, or looking back at my journey on the AT.

Instagram: @TrailNameHere

Gear: The Complete Collection

Gear: The Complete Collection

This post is HUGE (emotionally and physically). This is everything I am departing with and some quick (you know me they’re not really quick) thoughts on all of my gear. This is, by no means, what everyone carries, nor will it work for everyone. This is what works for me and I hope it gives you all a glimpse into what thru-hikers carry. For some people this may be inspiration for what you want to carry for your thru-hike! For a lot of you this will show you what it takes to survive (quite comfortably) for about five days in the woods on a continuous cycle for five to six months. If you want a more simplified version of this list with hyperlinks and photos, check out my gear page. Without further ado, let me dive right in:

Pack: Gregory Maven 55

This is my pack, dubbed Maeve. She is 55 liters of greatness including the brain which is removable but I will be keeping it attached. My two favorite features about Maeve are the built in rain cover and her ‘side kick’ (removable ultralight day pack for slackpacking and town trips!). Plus, the ventilation on this is prime! The only drawback I have discovered thus far is that the sleeping bag compartment is not completely separated from the rest of the backpack...

Poles: REI Co-Op Traverse Power Lock Cork Women’s Trekking Poles

Now, I don’t usually use trekking poles so this is kind of new to me. Being someone who doesn’t know anything about the subject, I did a lot of research. I picked these poles for five reasons:

  1. They are women specific so the grips are actually the right size for me and the poles themselves aren’t too long.
  2. The cork handles are more comfortable and less ‘gross’ feeling to me than traditional foam or plastic handles.
  3. They have less parts than folding poles so there are less parts for me to break (klutz over here)
  4. REI has fantastic customer service and they are less costly than the Leki poles I had originally wanted.
  5. The wrist straps are so comfortable!

9d431a67-b230-48f4-98c8-75ba224c4415Sleep System

    Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1

The Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 (UL = Ultralight; 1 = 1 Person) is a bit smaller than I wish but for the price I got it at, I’m not complaining. The Copper Spur has a side door, is super light, has a great ventilation system, only 1 pole, and can be set up in less than two minutes if you are really speedy. The effective ventilation is a life saver for someone with a down sleeping bag. The size is really enough for me, although I would have liked more for rainy days and spreading out gear. This tent can be modified with the mntnglo system from Big Agnes, which I am considering adding later down the line upon recommendation from a 2,000 miler (2,000 miler = someone who has completed the AT). The way this tent sets up is also really great for rainy days, you can keep the interior almost completely dry by setting it up from the outside in! I highly recommend it!

    Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20

I cannot say enough how much I really love my quilt. I had originally bought a mummy bag and I just could not get comfortable in it. At first, I thought I just needed to learn how to sleep differently. Someone recommended I try a quilt and I am NEVER turning back now. Top 5 reasons why I switched:

  1. I can sleep however I want and it is comfortable!
  2. I don’t feel claustrophobic.  
  3. The ventilation is awesome if you’re always hot, but you can also make it so that there isn't any ventilation.
  4. It’s light. So light.
  5. I can use it as a regular old blanket if I really want (around a campfire, in a hostel, etc.).

If you don’t sleep on your back like a mummy (very few people do), if you are usually hot in every sleeping bag you try (they make different temperature ratings too, though), if you like versatility, if you just plain don’t like the sleeping bag you have, try one of these!! They are pricey, but my quilt was only $20 more than my mummy bag and I like it about 20 times better so I feel like the investment was worth it! (my bag is actually green ((see the third picture)) and orange but the same as the blue quilt below. I store it in my Granite Gear 16L Waterproof Compression Stuff Sack)

    Sleeping Pad: Klymit Static V Original

This pad is shockingly cheap compared to the alternative options of comparable weight...I looked into it because a friend advised me to. It’s perfect for side sleepers because the ridges keep your body in place. With the Therm-a-Rest I had originally bought I was constantly sliding off the pad onto the ground (ugh), but I do not have that problem with the Static V AND it was a third of the price!!

klymit-static-v

Food System

        Stove: Pocket Rocket

Love my pocket rocket! This stove is compact, efficient, and can be used with so many different pots, pans, and setups. It can boil water in about 3 minutes, even in the wind. It is efficient on fuel and space! Just buy one, okay? I, of course, use a Bic Mini to light my stove.

        Pot: Olicamp LT

I stumbled upon this pot by accident, to be honest. I needed a pot for a weekend camping trip and I couldn’t find one anywhere in the valley, until I walked into IME. They had this or an MSR pot that was a bit out of my price range, so I got this. I actually really like it though! The top is silicone so you can’t use it on an open fire, but I have yet to burn myself so I’m happy. I really like the handles, they keep your hands away from the heat of the stove. My mom finagled a pot cozie from Gossamer Gear to work with the handles on my pot so I’m not too upset that I didn’t spend the extra money on getting a pot with the ‘efficiency coil’ built in. This pot is 1L, which is really all you need, and it has measurements on the inside of the pot so you always have the perfect amount of water for your meal!

        Food Bag: Ursack S29.3 AllWhite

I’ve heard mixed reviews about having a bear bag on the trail. Some people say if you double bag your food in Ziploc baggies before you put it in a dry bag and you hang it every night you’ll have no problems. Other say they lost all of their food because of that method and switched to bear bagging. A few claim that if you have a bear bag (like an Ursack) you can get away with just tying your food to a tree without hanging it. Still others claim a bear bag is necessary nowadays because bears have become more pervasive on the trail. Here’s my thinking: Better safe than sorry! I’m bringing my Ursack and I decorated it because they all look the same and I’ve heard of a few people having theirs accidentally stolen by someone else who thought it was theirs. If I find that it’s unnecessary weight once I get out there I can always send it home!

        Water: Sawyer Squeeze

For water I use a Sawyer Squeeze but, like many people, really don’t like the bags this filter comes with. I attach it to a CNOC water bladder and fill my Smart Water bottles directly. I’ll be composing a post soon about how I filter my water with more details!

Misc:

Clothing:

As you will see in a post later about this subject, clothing is mostly about personal preference! I feel very comfortable in all of these items and that's what really matters!

Footwear

    Camp: Crocs Karen Clog

Crocs are super light weight and easy to slip on so I will be starting out with these in my pack. I’m strongly contemplating mailing myself my Chacos later and sending these home. Chacos are much heavier but I can hike in them (which is especially nice on warm, rainy days), and they double as camp shoes. TBD

crocs

    Hike: Altra Women’s Timp

I am IN LOVE with these shoes, I cannot tell you enough times that you NEED to buy a pair of Altras! Top 5 Features:

  1. The Gaiter Trap and durable loop to hook them onto (instead of your laces). Game changer!!
  2. So comfortable, really great tread, super wide toe box, cushy, lovely amazingness!
  3. The shoe laces are offset. This is one of my favorite features of ANY shoe. I specifically bought soccer cleats and running shoes with offset laces after spending an entire soccer season with bruises on the tops of my feet. Never experiencing that again.
  4. They weigh the same amount as my Chacos, so if I do end up sending those to myself the weight of my pack won’t change depending on the shoes I wear. (1lb 4.2oz)
  5. They are super reflective so if you are hitching around dusk or end up walking on the road, you’re pretty visible.

The zero drop and huge toe box are incredible. Once you get used to the these you won’t want to wear ‘traditional’ running shoes again. Try them!!

Gear_ The Complete Collection(4).jpg

Electronics

  • Amazon Kindle E-Reader: who could say no to (nearly) unlimited books?!
  • iPhone 6s: This is the phone I’ve had for over a year, I plan on it lasting me the duration of the trail with the help of my case!
  • LifeProof Case
  • Yurbuds Inspire Sport for Women: I love these headphones for working out and hiking! They’re super light and very comfortable. They always stay in place, too!
  • Anker Astro E1: This is a backup battery for both my phone and kindle. It has up to 5 Kindle full charges or 3 iPhone full charges! In real life, it is about the same size as a candy bar!
  • Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp: I got last year’s version for half of...couldn’t say no to a deal! Seriously, check out the REI Garage!
  • Spot GPS: More to come on this one soon!

I pack most of my electronics in an Eagle Creek PackIt! Tech Cube (s), the others go in Maeve's Brain directly.

Toiletries

I store my toiletries in a Granite Gear Air Pocket (L) inside my Sidekick. I also have a Pee Rag that I hang from my pack.

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First Aid

  • AfterBite
  • Benzoin Tinctures
  • Gauze
  • Tweezers
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Diphenhydramine, Asprin, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen
  • Fire Kits
  • Moleskin
  • Butterfly Strips
  • Ace Bandage
  • Bandaids
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Duct Tape
  • Leukotape
  • Electrolyte Supplement Capsules
  • Bic Mini Lighter (extra)
  • Hair Ties
  • Mini Compass
  • Nitrile Gloves

I essentially just modified an Adventure Medical Kit that I had on hand and continued to store it all in the dry bag it came in! For some this kit may be too much, but I'd rather be safe than sorry to start out! I can always send it home or toss it if I don't need it.

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Gear: Clothing

Gear: Clothing

Pre-Trail: Appalachian Trials

Pre-Trail: Appalachian Trials