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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

My Gear Evolution

My Gear Evolution

(this article was inspired by this one)

Every thru-hiker knows that your gear changes a lot during your thru-hike. Practice makes perfect right? You’ll destroy some gear, learn that some pieces aren’t working for you, lose things, replace things, etc.

For new and aspiring thru-hikers, gear can be so overwhelming. I know it was for me. Below you’ll find an overview of my favorite, ride or die gear. Then, check out the lists to find out what gear I had in my pack at the beginning, middle, and end of my hike. How much my gear items cost. And how much each item weighs (approximately).

Favorite Gear

  • Osprey Eja 58

  • Cocoon Ultra Light Travel Pillow

  • La Sportiva Ultra Raptors

  • MSR Pocket Rocket (original)

  • AegisMax 40º UL Sleeping Bag

  • Patagonia W’s Baggies Shorts

What I actually carried

From Amicalola, GA to Damascus, VA

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Sleep

Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 $300.00 48oz

Footprint: Big Agness Copper Spur UL1 Footprint $35.00 5oz

Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Revelation $270.00 18.5oz

Stuff Sack: Granite Gear 16L Compression Stuff Sack $0.00 2.47oz

Sleeping Pad: Klymit Static V $39.99 18oz

Pillow: Fire Light UL Inflatable Pillow $9.99 3.1oz

Butt Pad: Arich Outdoor Foam Pad $2.38 1.3oz

Clothing: EMS Techwick Midweight Baselayer Bottoms $25.00 15oz

Semi-Synthetic T-Shirt $0 5oz

EMS Techwick Lightweight Baselayer Top $0 10oz

Socks: Heavy Weight Wool 'Lifestyle' Socks (unsure of brand) $0.00 3oz

Eat

Stove: Pocket Rocket (used) $30 3oz

Lighter: Bic Mini $1.00 0.4oz

Fuel: 4-8fl/oz. IsoPro $4.95 7oz

Pot: Olicamp LT $19 8oz

Cup: Sea to Summit X Cup $10.95 1.6oz

Utensils: Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long Handle Spork $8.95 0.4oz

Pot Scraper Pampered Chef$0 0.4oz

Rope: 50 Ft Reflective Chord $10.00 10oz

Food Bag: Ursack AllWhite$60.00 7.8

Knife: Spyderco Tenacious $0 4oz

Water: CNOC Vecto 2L Dirty Water Bag $19.99 2.6oz

Sawyer Squeeze $39.95 3oz

Pack: Gregory Maven 55 $229 54oz

Poles: REI Co-Op Traverse Power Lock Cork Women's Trekking Poles $99.95

Clothing

Top: Nike Miler $20

Sports Bra: Nike Indy Bra $14

Bottoms: EMS Women's Compass Slim Pants $27

Nike Pro Women's 8" Compression Short $30 5oz

Underwear x3EMS Women's Techwick Hipkini $14

Jacket: EMS Women's Feather Pack DownTek Jacket $90 (switched out for Montbell W’s U.L. Thermawrap Jacket at Neel Gap paid $130 7oz)

Rain Gear: Mountain Hardwear Ozonic Stretch Jacket $0 4oz

EMS Women's Thunderhead Full Zip Rain Pants $45 12oz (ditched at Neels Gap)

Umbrella: Gossamer Gear Liteflex Hiking (Chrome) Umbrella $39 8oz (ditched at Fontana Dam… still regret it a little…)

Long Underwear: Smartwool NTS 150 Merino Hooded Top $49.99 (lost on the approach trail, replaced with a Nike Miler long sleeve shirt)

Smartwool NTS 150 Merino Bottoms $39.99

Dress: Prana Nari Dress $0 10oz (I LOVED this dress and kept it all the way until Harper’s Ferry)

Warm Accessories: Synthetic hat with DriFit liner (made by my mom) $0

EMS Liner Gloves $10 4oz (no longer manufactured)Buff

Footwear

Camp Shoes: Crocs Karen $18 6oz

Gaiters: Dirty Girl Gaiters $23

Shoes: Altra Women's Timp $130 (switched to Oboz Luna at Neels Gap, GA (AWFUL) and then to La Sportiva Ultra Raptors at Franklin, NC)

Socks: x2Smartwool Women's Light Mid Crew Socks $11.25

Sock Liner: x2Fox River Wick Dry Alturas Ultra-Lightweight Liner Socks $5.99 (I ditched these at Neels Gap and switched them out for Injinji Socks, which gave me awful in between toe blisters, I ditched all liner socks in Franklin, NC and never used them again after)

Electronics

Charger: Anker Astro E1 $17.99 4.2oz

Headlamp: Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp $17.38 3.2oz (Accidentally left this at Boots Off Hostel in Hampton, TN. Got a new Petzl Tikka in Damascus)

Cell Phone: iPhone 6s $0 6oz

eReader: Kindle $0 3oz (sent home at Franklin, NC)

GPS: Spot $300 4oz

Headphones: Yurbuds Inspire Sport (women's) $19.99 0.5oz

Phone Case: Life Proof Case $29.61 1.3oz

Toiletries

Tooth Brush: Travel Brush from Target $1 0.5oz

Tooth Paste: Free Sample from Dentist $0 0.5oz

Toilet Paper: Charmin $1 0.5oz

Sanitary Pad/Tampon: Always Radiant Infinity / Playtex Sport $5.94 1oz

Snot/Sweat Rag; Old Nike T-Shirt cut up $0.00 2oz

Pee Rag: Bandana $1.00 1oz

Hair Ties: $0.00

Q-Tips: $0.00 (I honestly loved having Q-tips, but I didn’t always carry them)

Towel: PackTowl Nano $0.00 0.9oz

Watch: Timex Women’s Ironman Sport $12.95

Powder: Gold Bond Ultimate Travel Size (left at Neels Gap, never used it)

Comb: Old Haircut Kit Comb $0 0.8oz

Trowel: Deuce of Spades (in case of snow) $0 0.6oz

Soap: Dr. Bronner's $2 3oz (ditched at Damascus after being refilled once. Only ended up using in town. Switched for Soap Sheets from Sea to Summit, also ditched in Virginia… just bring hand sanitzer!)

Chafe Protection: BodyGlide $5 0.5oz (ditched in Damascus)

Bag: Granite Gear Air Pocket L $0 1oz

First Aid Kit

Fire Kit: Straw, matches, cotton ball, striker, sealed (unnecessary, ditched at Neels)

Duct Tape: Duck Tape (carry Leuko or Duct, not both)

Nail Clippers: $0 3oz

Tiny Tweezers: $0 0.5oz

Mole Skin $5 0.5oz (never used, ditched at Franklin, NC)

Band Aids: Assorted Sizes & Brands $5 1oz (ditched at Neels, a bandaid will never stay on, nor is it necessary)

Sticky: Benzoin Tincture $7 0.5oz (ditched at Franklin, NC, never used)

Meds: Assorted (Benedryl, Tylenol, Alieve, etc.) $0 1oz (ditched everything at Franklin, NC except Ibuprophen. BRING IMMODIUM CAPSULES/TABLETS you will regret it if you don’t I promise you)

Blister Tape: LeukoTape$7 6oz

Electrolytes: Electrolyte Supplement Pills $10 2oz (honestly you can use cheaper/easier stuff like Nuun, Walmart brand electrolyte tabs, Emergen-C (my personal favorite), or Salt Stick)

At Harper’s Ferry

Sleep

Tent: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo $225.00 23oz

Footprint: Six Moon Designs Small Tyvek Footprint $9.00 4.5oz (I only used this 3 times, once to put my wet clothes on in my vestibule in a rain storm… didn’t ditch it until Maine though…)

Stakes: Six Moon Designs Single Stake Set $11.00 2.5oz

Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Revelation $270.00 18.5oz

Sleeping Bag Liner: Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Sleeping Bag LIner $67.95 14oz (I hated this liner. Picked it up at NOC, it wasn’t very warm at all)

Sleeping Pad: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm $140.00 15oz

Pillow: Cocoon Ultralight Air-Core Pillow $30.00 3.1oz (BEST THING I’VE EVER BOUGHT)

Butt Pad: Therm-A-Rest Z Seat $0.00 1.6oz

Eat

Stove: Pocket Rocket (used) $30 3oz

Lighter: Bic Mini $1.00 0.4oz

Fuel: 4-8fl/oz. IsoPro $4.95 7oz

Pot: Toaks 700 $39 4oz

Utensils: Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long Handle Spork $8.95 0.4oz

Food Bag: Sea To Summit 20L Lightweight Dry Sack $23.95 4.7oz

Knife: Spyderco Tenacious $0 0.36oz

Water: CNOC Vecto 2L Dirty Water Bag $19.99 2.6oz

Sawyer Squeeze $39.95

Pack: Osprey Eja$176 26oz

Pack Cover: Osprey Ultralight Pack Cover $35 3oz

Poles: REI Co-Op Traverse Power Lock Cork Women's Trekking Poles $99.95

Clothing

Top: Patagonia Lightweight Crew Short Sleeve $39 (this shirt gave me AWFUL rashes, I DO NOT recommend it for people with sensitive skin)

Sports Bra: Under Armour Strappy Bra $22

Bottoms: Nike Pro Women's 8" Compression Short $30 (These saved me from chafe when I was stilla t a heavier weight. Eventually they wouldn’t stay up and I started to get a rash from them slipping. Ditched soon after this)

Jacket: Mont Bell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket for Women $139 7oz

Rain Gear: Mountain Hardwear Ozonic Stretch Jacket $0 4oz

Long Underwear: Patagonia Lightweight Crew Long Sleeve $39.99 4oz (again, rashes, don’t recommend)

Paradox Wool Blend Baselayer Pants $0 6oz (best, most affordable wool blend clothing I’ve bought yet)

Sleep Shirt: Semi-Synthetic T-Shirt $0 5oz (still bring this on every trip)

Socks: Darn Tough 1/4 Endurance Socks $0 3oz

Warm Accessories: Synthetic hat with DriFit liner (made by my mom) $0Buff

Footwear

Camp Shoes: Crocs Karen $18 6oz

Gaiters: Dirty Girl Gaiters $23

Shoes La Sportiva Ultra Raptor - Women's $78 (partial sponsorship)

Socks: x2Darn Tough Vertex Ultra-Light 1/4 Sock $0.00 3oz

Electronics

Charger: Anker Astro E1 $17.99 4.2oz

Headlamp: Petzl Tikka $29.95 3oz

Cell Phone: iPhone 6s $0 6oz

GPS: SPOT Spot $300 4oz

Headphones: Yurbuds Inspire Sport (women's) $19.99 1oz

Phone Case: Life Proof Nuud $35.00 1.3oz

Toiletries

Tooth Brush: Travel Brush from Target $1

Tooth Paste: Dollar Store

Toilet PaperFree where you can find it

Sanitary Pad/Tampon: Always Radiant Infinity / Playtext Sport

Snot/Sweat Rag: Old Nike T-Shirt cut up

Pee Rag: Bandana (also picked up a GoGirl in Pennsylvania, highly recommend that or a PStyle)

Hair Ties (still kept hair ties around even after I cut off my hair in Massachusetts, useful)

Towel: PackTowl Nano

Watch: Timex Women’s Ironman Sport $12.95

Powder: Gold Bond Ultimate Spray $4 8oz (carried only when I was getting heat rash or salt chafe, Shenandoahs mostly)

Comb: Old Haircut Kit Comb

Trowel: Deuce of Spades

Healing Ointment: Bag Balm $0 6oz

Bag: Granite Gear Air Pocket L $0 1oz

First Aid Kit

Nail Clippers: $0 3oz

Tweezers:$0 0.5

Blister Tape: Leuko Tape LeukoTape$7 5oz

Electrolytes: Emergen-C$4 2oz

From Grafton Notch, ME to Katahdin:

Sleep

Tent: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo $225 23oz

Stakes: Six Moon Designs Single Stake Set $11.00 2.5oz

Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Revelation $270.00 18.5oz

Sleeping Pad: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm $140.00 15oz (I got this on sale on Amazon, the rectangular version is usually cheaper...)

Pillow: Cocoon Ultralight Air-Core Hood Pillow $30.00 3.1oz (My original Cocoon pillow from Hot Springs was accidentally ruined in the dryer...)

Eat

Stove: Pocket Rocket (used) $30 3oz

Lighter: Bic Mini $1.00 0.4oz

Fuel: 4-8fl/oz. IsoPro $4.95 7oz

Pot: Toaks 700 $39 4oz

Utensils: Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long Handle Spork $8.95 0.4oz

Food Bag: Sea To Summit 20L Lightweight Dry Sack $23.95 4.7oz

Knife: Spyderco Tenacious $0 3.6oz

Water: Platypus Platy Water Bottle (2L) $12.00 1.1oz

Filter: Sawyer Squeeze: $39.95 3oz


Pack: Osprey Eja $176 26oz

Pack Cover: REI Duck's Back Pack Cover (Used) $10 5.5oz

Poles: Black Diamond Trail Shock Pro (Women's) $99.95 17oz (Check Amazon for better pricing)

Clothing

Top: Prana Tank Top (clearance) $123

Sports Bra: Under Armour Strappy Bra $22 2oz

Bottoms: Patagonia Baggies $22 4oz

Adidas ClimaCool Boxers $10 3oz

Underwear: EMS Women's Techwick Hipkini $14 2oz

Jacket: Mont Bell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket for Women $139 7oz

Rain Gear: Frogg Toggs XTreme Lite $8 4oz

Long Underwear: Nike Women's Element Half Zip $30 4oz

Paradox Wool Blend Baselayer Pants$0 4oz

Sleep Shirt: Semi-Synthetic T-Shirt: $0 5oz

Socks: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks $0.00 3oz

Warm Accessories: Synthetic hat with DriFit liner (made by my mom)$0 4oz

BuffFootwear

Camp Shoes: Crocs Karen $18 6oz

Gaiters: Dirty Girl Gaiters $23 1.1oz

Shoes La Sportiva Ultra Raptor - Women's $78 (Partial Sponsorship)

Socks: x2Darn Tough Vertex Ultra-Light 1/4 Sock $0.00 22oz

Electronics

Charger: Anker Astro E1 $17.99 4.2oz

Headlamp: Petzl Tikka $29.95 3oz

Cell Phone: iPhone 6s $0 5oz

GPS: Spot $300 4oz

Headphones: Yurbuds Inspire Sport (women's) $19.99 0.5oz

Phone Case:Life Proof Nuud $35.00 1.3oz (Amazon usually has this for half price)

Toiletries

Tooth Brush: Travel Brush from Target $1 0.5oz

Tooth Paste: Free Sample from Dentist $0 0.5oz

Toilet Paper: Free where you can find it $0 0.5

Sanitary Pad/Tampon: Always Radiant Infinity / Playtext Sport $5.94 0.5oz

Snot/Sweat Rag: Old Nike T-Shirt cut up $0.00 0.2

Pee Rag: Bandana $1.00 0.5

Hair Ties: $0.00

Q-Tips $0.00

Towel: PackTowl Nano $0.00 0.9oz

Watch: Timex Women’s Ironman Sport $12.95 6oz

Trowel: Deuce of Spades $0 0.6oz

Soap: Dr. Bronner's $2 3oz

Chafe Protection: BodyGlide $5 0.5

Healing Ointment: Bag Balm $0 4oz (THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE)

Bag: Granite Gear Air Pocket L $0 1oz

First Aid Kit

Nail Clippers $0 2.5oz

Tweezers $0 0.5oz

Meds: Ibuprofen + Vitamins $0 0.5oz

Blister Tape: LeukoTape$7 6oz

Electrolytes: Emergen-C $4 3oz

Read more about my gear evolution, posts from the trail:

  • Gear: The Complete Collection

    • Photos, links, weights, prices, of all of the gear I started with. Written two weeks before I started.

  • Gear: The Complete Collection (Revised)

    • Compiled between Hampton, TN and Damascus, VA, this is all of the gear I swapped or ditched before Damascus.

  • Gear: Current Issues

    • Issues that arose between NOC and Erwin, TN

  • Gear: New Shoes (Again)

    • How I came to find my all time favorite shoes, the La Sportive Ultra Raptors. Also includes tips on picking out your thru-hiking shoes from a former podiatrist and expert shoe fitter at Outdoor 76.

    • Here’s the post I wrote when I got those Oboz Lunas at Mountain Crossings (Neels Gap) I HIGHLY recommend waiting until Franklin, NC to swap your shoes if you’re having trouble. I really wish I had, my injuries would not have been as bad if I’d just stuck with those Altras a little bit longer. 70 miles seems really long when you’re first starting out and it seems like a long time to endure pain, but - trust me - in the grand scheme of things you’ll be glad you waited. Pay my friends at Outdoor 76 a visit and you will not be disappointed! Also, forewarning, Mountain Crossings does not accept returns of any kind!!!!! No one there, as far as I know, is specifically trained to fit for shoes.

  • Gear: How to get the deals

    • How I got a lot of my gear for less than MSRP

  • Gear: I got my pack

    • The first pack I got for the AT was a Deuter… yeah read about the pack that was far too big for me!

    • The second pack I tried, which I started the trail with, was a Gregory. (p.s. this post also contains the Angelfire sleeping bag, I should have never returned it and I still regret it to this day…)

  • All of my trail journals

    • Daily Journals

    • Pre-trail Posts

    • Post-trail Posts

    • Personal Posts


9/28/2018: The Last 100 Miles Part 3 [KATAHDIN]