What should you bring on your thru-hike? The gear list.
Once you know which thru-hike you want to walk, it’s time to think about the gear list. What do you need to bring? Or maybe a better question: what not to bring? Since you will be covering large distances, your life will be easier with a lighter backpack. However, there is more than only weight to consider. It is also important to think about the proper gear for your hike. Keep in mind that the right gear is not necessarily the lightest gear. For your own safety and pleasure on the trail you need to have gear you feel comfortable with.
The ideal gear list considers the following factors:
– Sleeping: will you be camping, sleeping in mountain huts, or hostels?
– Season and weather conditions: how hot or cold will it be on the trail?
– Terrain: this can be anything ranging from rocks to snow or rivers and desserts.
– Length of the trail
– Other specific factors of the trail: will you be walking through areas that are known for diseases (like malaria) or will there be bears on the way?
The gear list needs to consider all these factors and will determine what to take. However, there is always a basic gear list independent of the type of trail.
Basic gear list for thru-hiking
• Hiking poles
• Hiking shoes
Clothes and sleeping
• Rain pants
• Base layer
• Long sleeve shirt
• Fleece and/or down jacket
• Hiking trousers
• Hat and/or buff
• Sleeping bag and/or liner
Food and water
• Water bottle and/or water bladder
• Optional: water filter and/or filtration tablets
Care and safety
• Toothbrush and toothpaste
• Toilet paper and other toiletries
• First-aid kit with a rescue blanket
• Emergency sleeping bag (bivy sack)
• Whistle (most backpacks have one incorporated)
• Pocket knife
• Head torch
• Map and compass
• Optional: GPS
• Insurance papers
• ID or passport
• Membership card of NKBV when staying in mountain huts
• List of essential phone numbers
• Mobile phone
• Debit or creditcard
• Sleeping bag
• Sleeping pad
• Gas stove
• Gas canister
• Cooking pot
• Lighter or matches
• (Dried) food
Seasons and terrain
• Hiking shoes
• Via Ferata Kit
• Crampons or spikes
• Umbrella (sun protection)
• Extra warm clothes and sleeping bag
• Extra pair of shoes (send to a specific point on the trail)
• Extra pair of socks (send to a specific point on the trail)
• Spare set of laces
• Not really part of the gear list, but important to consider and arrange: resupplies.
The right gear list is something you need to establish yourself taking the trail and its specific factors and season(s) into account. Before departing, make sure you have all the essentials, that you are comfortable in your hiking shoes and that you have enough food and water. In most places it is possible to buy things if you discover you miss something or leave something for fellow hikers that you are not using.