Comprehensive Post-AT Gear Review
When I was researching, I only trusted the gear reviews from hikers who had finished the trail. I completed my SOBO thru-hike of the AT on November 26, so here’s my comprehensive review of all the gear I brought along. For the most part, I had followed The Trek’s very own gear list, and it turned out pretty well. The only thing I did not really prepare for was how COLD it gets in the south, but I was so close to the end I just gritted my teeth and did not do anything too dramatic, gear-wise. My base weight was around ~17 lbs, which, if you spend too much time looking at gear lists on the internet, will seem heavy. I got very used to the weight over the course of the hike and did not want to toss any of my luxury items.
Since I was a SOBO, I would almost immediately traverse the White Mountains in New Hampshire so I geared up for cold weather even though it was summer. This turned out to be a good move. It got down to the low 40’s in the exposed alpine zones. Right after New Hampshire, the summer heat hit in full force, so I sent a lot of cold weather stuff home. Around mid-way through Virginia, the Fall nip started to settle in. By the time we hit the Roan Mountains in Tennessee, we started getting some freezing nights, so I had all my cold weather stuff back. I’m not certain what NOBOs do, but the lesson is that a lot of your kit can get shipped back and forth.
I also got very into making my own gear (MYOG), and you’ll notice some custom items in the photos made of DCF. This was a really fun challenge and allowed me to fully design my packing setup. If you are interested but have no experience in sewing, try getting a kit from Ripstopbytheroll.
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.