Choosing the right overnight backpacking gear for yourself can be a struggle. Strive to find that balance of cost, weight, and comfort. Gear is a very personal thing and there is no magic gear list. I've had 4.5 years of backpacking to dial in my gear list and I still tweak it each year depending on the type of hiking I plan on doing. I've had a total of over 500 nights and 10,000 miles of thru hiking to test out gear, and I feel like I've found my comfortable 3 season gear list. Over the years, my base pack weight (BPW) has evolved from 16 to 13 pounds. I consider myself a lightweight backpacker that enjoys certain "luxury items" on the trail. I was content to have an average BPW when I started in 2011 (PCT). Then came the Continental Divide Trail in 2013. With more challenging terrain and longer food and water carries I knew I wanted to upgrade to lighter gear to enjoy the hike.


Last day of the Great Divide Trail hike ound I cut was just an ounce here or there by either paring down extraneous items, or buying lighter versions of what I was already using. It really is amazing how an ounce here or there adds up! Once I lowered my pack weight, I realized how much more enjoyable hiking was with less weight. Gossamer Gear's motto of "Take Less, Do More" rings true. I've repeatedly said that the Mariposa Pack is the one pack I've worn that fits so well that I sometimes feel like I'm not wearing a pack at all. Of course, it isn't the pack alone that changes everything. You need to have the right gear to put in the pack for it to work. Below is the gear I've dialed in as my 3 season gear list… and down from that I have some additional items I will sometimes bring on hikes depending on the conditions and terrain.

Item Specific Item Cost Weight Weight (oz)
Backpack Gossamer Gear Mariposa $235 1 lbs 14.7 oz 30.7
Waterproof Liner Trash Compactor Bag 1 oz 1.00
Tent ZPacks Solplex w/8 Titanium V Stakes $535 1 lbs 0.2 oz 16.20
Tent Stakes Tite-Lite Titanium V Stakes (8) $24
Stake Bag Gossamer Gear Q Stake Bag $15 0.1 oz 0.06
Sleeping Bag ZPacks 10 Degree $390 1 lbs 3.8 oz 19.80
Sleeping Pad Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Women's $160 11 oz 11.00
Sleeping Pad Stuff Sack Therm-a-Rest $15 0.5 oz 0.50
Alcohol Stove Toaks Titanium Siphon $40 .7 oz .7
Cooking setup/windscreen Caldera Cone Set $35 3.2 oz 3.2
Pot Evernew Titanium .9L $41 4.1 oz 4.10
Spoon Gossamer Gear Long-Handle Bamboo Spoon $10 0.6 oz 0.55
Food Bag ZPacks Roll Top Blast Food Bag $30 1.4 oz 1.40
Water Filter Sawyer Squeeze $40 3 oz 3.00
Mini Dropper for Bleach Gossamer Gear Mini Dropper w/bleach $4 0.4 oz 0.40
Water Bag Platypus SoftBottle 34oz $9 1.2 oz 1.20
Water Bag Platypus Platy Bottle 70oz $13 1.3 oz 1.30
Water Bottle Smart Water Plastic Disposable 1.7 oz 1.70
First Aid Band-aids, cloth tape, mini lighter $36 3 oz 3.00
Knife Gossamer Gear Pocket Knife $20 0.8 oz 0.80
Toiletries Chapstick, toothbrush/paste, floss, bodyglide, wet wipes, razor 4 oz 4.00
Stuff Sack Gossamer Gear-Sm/3L $10 0.3 oz 0.3
Brush ALAZCO Folding Brush (customized w/out mirror) $4 0.5 oz 0.50
Sunscreen Sawyer Sunscreen $3 1.2 oz 1.20
Menstrual Cup Diva Cup $20 0.7 oz 0.70
Potty Bag Toilet paper, ziplocs, hand sanitizer 2 oz 2.00
Trowel Deuce Backpacking Trowel $20 0.6 oz 0.6
Stuff Sack Gossamer Gear-Sm/3L $10 0.3 oz 0.3
Camera iPhone SE 64GB
Headlamp Petzel e+Lite (Ultralight) Headlamp $17 1 oz 1.00
MP3 Player SanDisk Sansa Clip $50 1 oz 1.00
Headphones Apple Earbuds 0.4 oz 0.40
Phone iPhone SE 64GB $500 4 oz 4.00
Phone Charger Cord Apple 5W USB Power Adapter 1.4 oz 1.40
Flash Drive SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive(64GB) $100 1.1 oz 1.10
USB Travel Charger Adapt. NooQee 27W 5.4A 4-port wall charger $11 3 oz 3.00
External Portable Battery Anker PowerCore 20100mAh $42 12.6 oz 12.6
USB Cords in Reach, MP3, & Extern Charg. USBs 2 oz 2.00
Personal Locator Device DeLorme inReach SE $300 6.7 oz 6.7
Watch w/alarm Head of a generic watch with alarm in tent
Selfie Stick Camera Mounter StickPic $9 0.8oz 0.80
Selfie Phone Adapter StickPic Cell Phone Adapter $8 .9oz .90
Sewing Kit Mini Travel Sewing Kit $7 0.1 oz 0.10
Field Repair Tape Tenacious Tape (clear) $5 0.2 oz 0.20
Umbrella Liteflex Hiking (Chrome) Umbrella $39 8 oz 8.00
Hanging Rope Dynaglide Bear Hanging Line 50' $16 1.3 oz 1.3
Compass Suunto A-10 Compass $20 1.1 oz 1.1
Wallet Gossamer Gear Cuben Q-Storage Sack $5 0.1 oz 0.05
Tripod Pedco UltraPod Mini Tripod $15 1.6oz 1.6
Sit Pad Back Pad on Pack Doubles as Sit Pad 0 oz
Mosquito Head Net Sea to Summit Insect Shield $11 1.3 oz 1.3
GPS Phone App GAIA GPS $10/yr
Extra Clothing (in pack)
Stuff Sack Gossamer Gear-Lg/10.5L $14 0.5 oz 0.5
Heavier Rain Jacket (heavier) Montbell Torrent Rain Jacket $225 8 oz 8.00
Rain Pants Sierra Designs Hurricane HP Pants $50 6.2 oz 6.2
Insulating Jacket Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer $350 7.2 oz 7.2
Waterproof Rain Gloves Disposable Nitrile Medical Gloves $0.40 0.4
2nd Pair of Socks Balega Enduro VTech Quarter $10 1.2 oz 1.20
Pajama Top Smartwool Microweight Crew Long Sleeve $65 5 oz 5.00
Pajama Bottom Smartwool Microweight Long Underwear Bottoms $75 5 oz 5.00
Gloves Seirus Hyperlite All-Weather Gloves $30 1.8 oz 1.80
Warm Hat Outdoor Research Flurry Beanie $20 2.2 oz 2.20
Buff Buff Original Buff $20 1.3 oz 1.30
Sleep Socks Lotion Infused soft socks $10 1.5 oz 1.50
2nd Pair of Underwear ExOfficio $12 1 oz 1.00
Ankle Brace Walgreens Ankle Support $9 1 oz 1.00
Camp Shoes Teva Mush II Flip Flops $12 5.3 oz 5.30
Sub Total $3,746 12lbs 12.8 oz 200.71
Worn Clothing (not in pack)
Sunglasses Road Runner Sports Sunglasses $30 0.6 oz 0.60
Shoes La Sportiva Bushido (men's) $120 11.3 oz 11.30
Hiking Poles Fizan Compact Trekking Poles $60 11 oz 11.00
Sports Bra Nike Pro Core $28 3.7 oz 3.70
Underwear ExOfficio $12 1 oz 1.00
Top Mizuno Short Sleeved Tech Shirt $39 3.7 oz 3.70
Top Adidas Long Sleeved Tech Shirt $40 4.6 oz 4.60
Pants White Sierra Teton Trail Convertible $35 10.6 oz 10.60
Socks Balega Enduro VTech Quarter $10 1.2 oz 1.20
Skins (under pants) Andiamo skins (unpadded) $15 1.9 oz 1.90
Hat Nike Feather Light Hat $20 1.9 oz 1.90
Gaiters Dirty Girl Gaiters $17 1 oz 1.00
Sub Total $426
Other Gear Used on Various Trips When Needed (not in total BPW below)
Rain Jacket (lighter) Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket $150 5.8 oz 5.8
Bear Canister BearVault BV500 or BV450 $80 2 lbs 9 oz 41.00
Odor Proof Food Bags Loksak OPSAK $13 1.7 oz 1.70
Bear Bag Ursack Major S29.3 AllWhite $90 8.7 oz 8.70
GPS Garmin eTrex 30 $300 5 oz 5.00
Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS25 $300 6.5oz 6.50
Wi-Fi SD Camera Card Toshiba 32G FlashAir III $40
Shoulder Strap Pocket Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket $16 1.5oz 1.5
Ice Axe Black Diamond Raven $80 15.9oz
Microspikes Kahtoola MICROspikes $70 11oz 11.0
Bug Spray Sawyer Insect Repellent $3 1 oz 1.00
Sub Total $1,132
Combined Total $5,304

Hiking on the Hayduke Trail

I would consider the above list to be my general gear list. There are a few changes I make if conditions or terrain warrants them. I will take more water bladders if I know there will be long water carries. In situations where I might experience colder rain or snow, I exchange my OR Helium rain jacket with the heavier duty Montbell Torrent Flier rain jacket. In bear country, I will either take a BearVault food canister or Loksak OPSAKs. If I will be in areas where snow still lingers, I will bring Katoola Microspikes and a Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe. Finally, if I will need to do a lot of navigation, I will bring my Garmin eTrex 20.

This thru-hiking gear list was contributed by Brand Ambassador Erin "Wired" Saver. She has hiked over 10,000mi, including hiking's Triple Crown (AT, PCT, CDT). This past summer, she thru hiked the Hayduke Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, and Great Divide Trail. For more detail on her gear and comprehensive gear reviews, see her Walking With Wired blog (link in her profile above).

September 10, 2014 — Brian Fryer