Thru-Hike Gear List – What I used for 400
Miles In The High Sierra
This is a down and dirty thru-hike gear list, covering everything used on my 2019 adventure in the High Sierra.
The gear I used on my Sierra trip is similar to what I used on the Appalachian Trail & the Continental Divide Trail. Gear on this list could be used on a thru-hike on any of the big three trails, or in areas with similar conditions.
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A Little Background Info
Starting August 17th 2019, myself and two friends linked together four high routes in the High Sierra. The Kings Canyon High Basin Route (KCHBR), The High Sierra Trail, the Southern Sierra High Route (SSHR) and the Sierra High Route. For trip reports on each route / trail, click here.
We tackled these routes thru-hike style over the course of five weeks, covering over 400 miles.
I’m listing EVERY single item I carried on the trip. So to keep this article concise I’m listing each item with a short explanation. I’ve written extensively on a lot of the gear in this thru-hike gear list and will link to relevant articles as appropriate throughout the post.
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through these links it helps keep me fed on Ramen Noodles and doesn’t cost you anything extra.
Bear Canister – Not necessary to carry on most thru-hikes but a requirement in some parts of the Sierra. Adds weight and bulk to the backpack.
Ice Axe and Micro Spikes – Not found on your average thru-hike gear list. These traction devices were nice to have for a couple of passes in the Sierra.
Camera Gear – I carry WAY more camera gear than I reccomend most people do.
Thru-Hike Gear List For the Sierra
Thermarest Hyperion 20 Sleeping Bag
This 20 f/-6C sleeping bag was one of my favorite pieces of gear from this trip. We dealt with many below-freezing nights and this mummy-style bag kept me warm enough to sleep on the coldest nights.
Total Weight of Sleep System – 2.49 lb / 1.1 kg
A combination of MSR Mini Groundhog Stakes and Titanium Shepherd Hook Stakes to hold top my tarp in the strongest of winds.
Total Weight of Shelter System – 1.05 lb / .5 kg
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Backpack
The 40L Gorilla from Gossamer Gear was comfortable and perfectly sized to carry my gear and enough food for 6+ days. The water bottle pockets developed holes quickly due to the large amount of scrambling over abrasive granite and I would carry the sturdier Silverback from GG if I was to do this trip again.
Trash Compactor Bag Pack Liner
I’ve tried and tested all the kinds of waterproof pack liners and organisation on the market and I still think a trash compactor bag works the best. They’re also much cheaper than other options.
Total Weight of Packing System – 5.3 lb / 2.4 kg
Cooking and Water
MSR Titan Kettle with Coozie & Lid
This .85 liter pot from MSR is the perfect balance between volume and weight. I ditch the included lid and make one from stiff aluminium foil to save a few extra grams.
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
I started the trip with Sawyers’ “Micro Squeeze” but wasn’t impressed with its flow. I switched back to the original Sawyer Squeeze and never looked back. Fast flow for a reasonable weight.
Platypus 2 Liter Water Bag
The Sierra has plenty of water sources and it wasn’t necessary to carry more than a liter whilst hiking. But, at camp in the evening I like to fill up my water bag once and not have to do it again.
Bic Mini Lighter
Despite having a stove that has a built-in igniter I always still carry a backup. Also necessary for making a fire should the need arise.
Smart Water 1 Litre Bottle
A Smart Water bottle belongs on every thru-hike gear list. Sawyer filters screw directly onto them and they are lightweight and durable.
Gatorade 500ml Bottle
A little sturdier than the Smart Water bottles and they have a larger opening. I like the 500ml version for cold trail coffee (shaken not stirred) and electrolyte drinks.
Total weight of Cooking and Water gear 0.87 lb / .4kg
Anker 10000mAh External Battery
Anker 4-Port USB Wall Charger
Cables – One Apple Lightning, Two micro USB
COAST FL75R Headlamp
Spot Gen 3 Emergency Beacon
Headphones x 2
Total Weight of Electronics 1.5 lbs / 0.7kg
I don’t recommend most of this gear for the average thru-hiker not interested in photo and video.
Check this article and video for a full breakdown of my recommended cameras for hiking and to see why I carry such a heavy setup.
Sony A7Rii Camera with Sony 24-105 F4 Lens
Extra Sony Batteries x3
(1.6oz/ 45g each) 4.8oz / 135g Total
Shooting video on my camera drains batteries fast. I recommend Sony original batteries, more expensive but they last much longer in my testing.
B&W ND Filter
Zoom H1N Audio Recorder
MeFoto Backpacker Tripod
Sennheiser ME 2 Lavalier Microphone
Total Weight of Camera Gear 5.8 lbs/ 2.6kg
Sea to Summit Nano Mosquito Headnet
Camp Corsa Ice Axe with Black Diamond Leash
Kahtoola Micro Spikes
Black Diamond Trekking Poles
Deuce of Spades Trowel
Tooth Brush and Paste
Mini Medkit/Repair Kit – Home Made (is best)
Total Weight of Miscellaneous Items 2.8lbs / 1.3kg
Thru-Hike Gear List Clothing
Total base weight for this trip was about 25lbs / 11kg. This includes clothing carried in my pack but not clothing worn or my trekking poles as they are not inside my pack.
It was the heaviest my pack has been in a long time. The bear can had a huge effect. The camera equipment was also quite excessive but necessary for what I wanted to achieve. I hope this thru-hike gear list has helped you gear up for your next hike.
Now I’d like to turn it over to you:
Did I miss something important? Or did I not explain something properly?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.
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