Packing List: Appalachian Trail

Spring – Summer – Fall; 2,189 miles

Here’s a list of the items I brought (and/or recommend) when I hiked the Appalachian Trail March 29 – September 8, 2016. I liked to stay light with my gear, but I took more than just the bare minimum; I kept a happy medium for me. Hike your own hike and take what you want – cut my list, add more, whatever works for you.

(Note: I’ll hyperlink the items in this list to my reviews as I write them; otherwise, the links are to product pages. Remember, you can probably find items less expensive than retail price – check the product site, but also outdoor retailers, Amazon, and thrift shops. Click here to see my breakdown of gear and other expenses for the A.T.)

Pack and poles:




Health and Hygiene:

  • Safety pins (for hanging laundry on pack)
  • Sawyer Permethrin Repellent (coated my backpack and sleep sack before I left)
  • Toiletries: (travel size as much as possible) sunscreen, Deet, tiger balm, chapstick, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, toothbrush, toilet paper, nail clippers, baby wipes (perfect for cleaning feet and a quick tent bath at night), personal items
  • First aid: band-aids, neosporin, ibuprofen, prescription meds, hydrocortizone, needle and thread (needle and thread are also handy for making repairs to clothing and gears, and a few times I mended other people’s clothes in exchange for food)
  • Anti-chafe product (baby powder, body glide, desitin, etc.)
  • UCO Survival Matches
  • Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap 2oz (laundry in creek, shampoo, dishes, can be used as toothpaste if needed)
  • Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (comes in packs of 10; I just carried one)
  • Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sack


Cooking and water:



  • Extra shoelace
  • Pen
  • Journal
  • Town dress (I bought in Marion, Virginia, and kept it in a ziploc bag with a dryer sheet. It was nice to have something to wear in town that didn’t smell, and to have something other than a raincoat and rain pants to wear when I did laundry.)

Things you don’t need (obviously, there are items above you don’t really need, but I wanted to include this, too):

  • Compass
  • Gloves (use the other pair of socks as mittens)
  • Bear spray, big knife, whistle, gun, any other weapon-type thing
  • Trowel
  • Heavy gaiters
  • Mirror (trust me, you don’t want to see how you look)
  • Makeup or deodorant (no one wears it)
  • Razor (no one – men or women – shaves)
  • Head net
  • Eye mask

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