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The Cult of Gear

Written by Tim Bennett

I’m Really Not a Gear Geek

I’m really excited about my upcoming hike of the Long Trail and blogging about it here on The Trek. Although I’ve done a fair amount of technical/medical writing, I’m kinda new to this blogging thing. So I’ve been carefully consulting the Trek Bloggers Manual to get started. The manual suggests compiling a gear list as a topic idea because “people can’t get enough gear talk”.  I already had a long list of potential topics to write about. But a gear list? Yeah, no, probably not doing that. I’m just not much of a gear geek. Gear is just gear; the tools we use while backpacking, a means to an end. It’s certainly not something to overthink or obsess about.

Stickers? Did Somebody Say Stickers?

Towards the end of the manual was mention of a cool gear list tool for bloggers. And with it, the promise of some Trek stickers. Stickers? Really? Does Zach know I’m a sucker for stickers? I have stickers all over my beer coolers and homebrew kegs. I also put them on my bear vault, my dyneema food bag and my hiking water bottles. That got my attention!

Lured by the prospect of some new stickers, I took a close look at the gear list widget. I had to admit, it was pretty cool, just as advertised. You simply plug your gear items into separate fields, and it compiles a detailed list, and then calculates a base weight along with a price list. How cool is that? Next thing I know, I’m addicted to the widget and ready to add every item I can think of! As the list started to take shape, I began to think that maybe I did have something to say on the subject of gear. So here goes…


June 18, 2022

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While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure


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
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere


SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team