The Ultimate Durability Test: This Gear Lasted 8,500 Miles in One Year
Thru-hiker Carl "Professor" Stanfield had a big goal: Break the record for most miles ever walked in a single year. Here's what he packed.
Written by Jeff Garmire
In 2022, Carl Stanfield set out go farther than any other thru-hiker had ever gone in a year. Not only was he shooting for the Calendar Year Triple Crown—completing the AT, PCT, and CDT in under 12 months—but also to set the world record for the most miles hiked in a year. And while he finished the season with 8,451.7-miles under his belt, well short of his 11,000-mile goal, Stanfield’s extended Triple Crown quest demanded not one, but two solid kits to keep up with the changing environments and seasons.
As a seasoned thru-hiker, Stanfield (trail name “The Professor”) decided to start at the southern tip of the Florida Trail in January, connect it to the Appalachian Trail with the Pinhoti Trail, and then hike all the way to the Canadian border before jumping over to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail northbound and the Continental Divide Trail southbound. With such a long trip planned, it was impossible to know what sort of seasonal conditions he might face. He put together a gear pile and a master spreadsheet with multiple options for each of the most important items, and set off knowing he would need to adjust on-the-fly
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.