Things I Actually ADDED to my Pack Once I Started LASHing the AT
Beware! This is the opposite of a post about how to shed pack weight. Trust me, for every item I’m about to list, I have an item that I’ve gotten rid of or found a way to lighten my load, and I’m still working on it. When I put my gear together to head for the AT for the first time in April 2019, I was so focused on shedding pack weight, and there seemed to be an endless supply of information out there to read and watch on the importance of this. I thought I’d have a little fun writing about some of the things I actually tried not to bring so that my pack would be lighter, and then realized were valuable for me to have. Take these items with a grain of salt – this list is based solely on my personal experience and preferences, but might not be fitting for everyone.
A Larger Water Filter
I switched from carrying a sawyer mini to a sawyer micro squeeze. The sawyer mini works great for shorter backpacking trips, but I realized that with extended backpacking, it needed to be flushed constantly and the flow quickly became very slow to try to drink from. This is one case where smaller wasn’t better for me, even though that is usually the goal with most things in my pack. A bigger filter with better drinking ease is worth it for something that I’m going to be using constantly.
While I still have room for improvement in getting my pack weight down and tend to analyze every item, I’ve also started to learn not to skimp on things that actually make a positive difference for me to have vs leaving items behind and finding myself realizing I really could have used them. If I make this list again a year from now, it might be totally different! Ultimately, the best answers come from trial and error.
Head here to check out Sarah Lesiecki's complete list.
May 7, 2022
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
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!
Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.
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).