Ultralight Gear Is a Double-edged Sword. (Gear List)

Failure to Ultralight

Ultralight gear is a beautiful consequence. There’s nothing like hiking with nothing. Your knees don’t hurt, you become a trail ninja, and the simple efficiency is a joy. On the other hand, the compromises can include a sub-par sleep system, lack of warm food, and minimal entertainment options (books, games, drinks, etc.)

Then there’s the temptation of any ultralight backpacker. Temptation to add things. Here’s one of my mistakes:

  1. I have a rain jacket (12 oz)
  2. Replace it with a lighter rain jacket (7.5 oz)
  3. Add a lantern (5 oz) to my overall kit

This is what I call a failure to ultralight. Substitution of gear for the sake of adding gear more can quickly become an expensive error.

My Ultralight Kit

Here’s most of the major gear I will take on my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail.

Hyperlight Mountain Gear Windrider 3400

I did not want to get this pack at first as the lack of load lifters scares me. So far I haven’t missed the load lifters on my test hikes, but I wonder if my opinion will change over the 100 days.

Zpacks Duplex Tent

I love the Zpacks Duplex. Not so much for the fabric, but in the general design. I feel that a more inexpensive silnylon version would sell well. Don’t get me wrong I love Dyneema fabric, but the cost is prohibitive for most people.

Thermarest Ridgerest

You cannot beat a foam pad for its versatility and durability. I already sleep on a foam pad at home so I’m used to the give of the pad I’ve chosen.

The North Face One Bag

As a sleeping bag TNF One Bag is heavy. However, if you modify the zip-in liners into quilts the whole system becomes a lot better. I added snaps to the orange down layer to make a 25ish degree quilt when attached to my foam pad. Doing so shaves the weight of the bag from 2 lb 12 oz to 1 lb 9 oz. Yay!

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter

I have yet to fully test this filter but so far the specs and filtration method make sense. Think Sawyer Squeeze but a little easier to squeeze.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

While neither the lightest or brightest this headlamp is a dependable asset to any hiker and backpacker.

Black Diamond Fineline Rain Jacket

What’s better than a light rain jacket? A stretchy light rain jacket.

Arc’teryx Cerium SL Jacket

A super-light down jacket that is a dependable friend when the chill sets in.

Leatherman Sidekick

Does it count as pack weight if it’s in my shorts pocket at all time? Either way this Leatherman is an amazing multi-tool and is with me on all my trips.


I have chosen not to include clothing, shoes, and miscellaneous items like stuff sacks and chargers in this list because those are subject to change. Besides the full gear listing and weight are on my gear list within The Trek.Currently a wicking REI shirt, some stretchy shorts from Target, and the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Mids are my preferred options. However, I will most likely change these out as the thru hike goes. I will also be going stoveless to cut weight and therefore don’t need cooking items.



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