So you’re thinking about going on a thru-hike. It’s the first step (if only metaphorical) toward becoming “hiker trash,” the term we thru-hikers affectionately call ourselves. But before you walk off into the woods, you need to gear up. And when you’re considering what you need to survive, how little one person can reasonably carry, and just how many brands and products are vying for your wallet, every choice counts.
Nobody can tell you exactly what gear will work best for you (although that won’t stop people from trying). Explaining my pack setup, however, will help you get started by introducing you to the basics you’ll need. Here’s what I carried on the Pacific Crest Trail last year, what I wish I had known, and what I’d do differently next time.