Essential(and non) Equipment List For My Appalachian Trail Hike

hiking equipment for appalachian trail

My backpack weighs in at 24lbs 11 ounces without food or water. Fully loaded it will weigh between 40 and 45lbs. That is on the heavy end of packs for the Appalachian Trail. Some ultra-light hikers are able to bring their packs down below 10lbs. I chose convenience and comfort over weight. We’ll see whether that decision changes on the trail and my pack is weighed down with an extra 7lbs of camera equipment.


Here’s my packing list


  • Osprey 65L Atmos pack – Really comfortable pack. Huge upgrade over my Army rucksack. I really like the hip-belt system – it allows the weight of the pack to sit firmly on my hips and not pull on my shoulders. It weighs in under 3lbs and Osprey offers an incredible lifetime warranty. If anything on your pack breaks they will repair it for you for free. If they can’t repair it they will send you a new pack. If your pack is no longer produced they will send you the latest equivalent version
  • Black Diamond Z Trekking Poles – Must have for a thru-hike. Trekking poles will help you maintain balance while navigating precarious paths and reduce the overall impact your feet and knees receive.
  • Bear Mountain Hammock – It surprised me to learn that many people use hammocks on the AT in lieu of tents. I decided to go the hammock route. They’re more comfortable, easier to find a camp site, and faster to set-up. Hammock forums is a great resource to learn about hammock camping.
  • Jacks R Better top quilt and underquilt – The most expensive gear purchase I had to make. Insulation is necessary for hammock camping. Without insulation you will lose body heat through the bottom of your hammock. The top quilt replaces a sleeping bag. You can think of an underquilt and a top quilt as two pieces of a complete sleeping bag.
  • Jacks R Better 10’x12′ tarp – I’ll encounter lots of rain on the AT so a tarp is a must.
  • 13L dry stuff sack for sleep system
  • 18L dry sack for food
  • Packa Rain Parka – Light-weight rain parka with a innovative design that lets you wear it over your entire pack.
  • Frogg trogg rain pants
  • Petzl head lamp
  • Jetboil Minimo – Boils water in 2 minutes with a 1L capacity. It’s on the heavy end of cook systems but the convenience of a quick boil and the fuel saved is worth it to me.
  • 2L Platypus bag – To carry my water.
  • 1L Platypus soft bottle
  • Sawyer squeeze water filter – small and light-weight. This is the ideal backpacking water filter.


  • 1 Khul long-sleeve shirt
  • 1 Patagonia capilene t-shirt. The shirt is lined with an anti-microbial material that will keep the shirt from becoming too smelly.
  • 1 pair Khul pants
  • 1 pair of running shorts
  • 1 Patagonia nano-air mid-weight jacket
  • 1 Patagonia puffy down jacket – I will have this mailed to me when I get closer into fall and the northern states.
  • Leg gaiters – great for keeping rocks and water out of your shoes.
  • 2 pairs of Fox River hiking socks & sock liners, 1 pair thicker for sleeping in. Fox River sent me a bunch of great socks and sock liners. The liners are similar to hose, a very thin material and lined with anti-microbial silver and copper. This will help reduce the odor causing bacteria and keep your socks from becoming overly disgusting. I’ll wear a liner with a pair of socks over the top – this helps reduce blisters. When you wear socks without a liner you’ll experience friction between your feet and your socks. When you wear a sock liner that friction occurs between the liner and the sock leading to fewer blisters.
  • Boonie hat
  • Salewa Ultra Trainer trail runners



  • Hygiene kit – toothbrush, nail clippers, hand soap, washcloth, wet-wipes
  • The deuce of spaces – 2oz poop shovel! A must.
  • Ear plugs
  • First aid: ibuprofen, antibiotics, alcohol wipes, liquid skin, neosporin, prednisone & oil cleansing wet wipes(for poison ivy)
  • Needle & thread
  • 50ft 550 cord – To hang up my bear bag and for other misc uses.
  • Duct tape
  • AWOL AT Paper guide
  • Pen & notebook
  • 2 carabiners
  • Lighter
  • Phone

Camera Equipment:

  • Canon 70D
  • 10-18mm lens
  • 50mm 1.8 prime lens
  • Trail Pix tripod – Great idea – it uses your trekking poles + 1 additional pole to set up a rock steady tripod. Even $600+ carbon fiber tripods weigh in at 2+ pounds. the Trail Pix system weighs in under 5ozs.
  • 16,800 MAH Anker portable charger
  • Dual USB charger for my 70D
  • 4 batteries for the 70D
  • Zoom H1 recorder

It’s a lot of weight and I imagine I’ll shed unnecessary gear as I progress. Feel free to ask questions in the comments – I’ll be checking them regularly.

Jack Jones

Jack Jones

Quadzilla at Couch to Trail
Jack is on a quest to explore the world and find adventure. He is passionate about using his adventures to inspire others to follow their heart and step out of their comfort zone. He has hiked ~13,000 miles and was the 19th person to complete a Calendar Year Triple Crown in 2022.
Jack Jones

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