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.
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.