Gear for a Thru Hike?

Your website is awesome! Thanks for the great info! Question- I want to hike the AT next year and am in the beginning stages of planning. I don’t want to buy new gear if I already have something that could work. I have a Gregory Deva 60 pack and a North Face Cats Meow sleeping bag. I’d love not to have to invest in a new pack & bag for the hike. But they aren’t “light”. The Deva 60 is known for shorter hikes. Do you think I could use it for the AT? Also is there any point in bringing a hammock? I love it for shorter trips! THANK YOU!

Great questions, Jessica! Let me tackle each of them:

  • Q. Should you take a Gregory Deva 60 backpack on a thru hike? A. YES! This bag is awesome, and even though it is a bit heavier than other options on the market, for a long hike you’ll want your backpack and boots to be extremely comfortable. A good friend took the men’s version (Gregory Baltoro) on a thru hike of the John Muir Trail recently, and loved it. If you do decide to step up to a new backpack, you risk being less comfortable. Here’s one that is decently comfortable and under 2 pounds: Gossamer Gear’s Mariposa Lightweight Backpack.
  • A Gregory Deva for a thru hike?
    A Gregory Deva for a thru hike?

  • Q. Is the North Face Cats Meow sleeping bag (20 degree) good for a thru hike? A. No. It is pretty heavy, 2 pounds 11 ounces. I would shave off at least 12 ounces and get the 1 pound 14.2 ounce Marmot Plasma bag. It is water resistant down and is warmer than your Cats Meow sleeping bag. If that is out of your budget (admittedly it is VERY pricey) take a look at a small manufacturer called ZPacks. I haven’t had a chance to personally try their sleeping bags yet but I hear they are decent.

  • A hammock for an AT thru hike?
    A hammock for an AT thru hike?

  • Q. Should you take a hammock? A. It depends! Do you plan on always sleeping in the hammock? Then, yes, you most definitely should take it. However, if you are also planning on taking a sleeping pad then the hammock will be redundant, and the extra weight and volume that it takes up won’t be missed if you leave it at home. If you are okay looking for trees each night (and it is possible since other AT thru hikers have only used a hammock!) then go ahead and take it!

Appalachian Trail map
Appalachian Trail map

Good luck with your planning for the ultimate adventure!

Happy trails 🙂

Thanks for

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