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The Best and Worst Gear from My 2021 AT Thru-Hike (Non-Ultralight and Petite-Friendly)

I am 5’1″, 100 pounds soaking wet, and definitely not an ultralighter.

I have nothing against ultralighters, but for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike this year, I was not among their ranks. The primary reasons were that I couldn’t afford the steep prices that typically accompany ultralight gear, and I was skeptical about the comfort/usability of ultralight options. So I spent months finding the gear that I thought would work best for me during my AT thru-hike.

My base weight was about 20 pounds, which was a very manageable weight for me, even on the hardest ascents of the Whites and Katahdin. And with only a few exceptions, I absolutely loved my gear.

In this post, I will cover the top pieces of non-ultralight gear I loved, the very few that I traded, and why. For my full gear list from my AT thru-hike, check me out on HikerLink.

Interested in checking out Ann Marie White's complete article? Find it here.


May 9, 2022

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The Trek

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My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick


Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz


The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
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