Home Hiking boots Trekking poles, Jet Boil, Bear Spray… Oh my!

Trekking poles, Jet Boil, Bear Spray… Oh my!


If you’re like me, you like a good gear list. I love reading what other people are planning to bring to the runway and hearing others debate the weight of their items. In fact, besides getting on the trail, the thing I was most excited about was laying out all my gear for the quintessential hiker gear image. Here I am, ready to go, the day before my first hike.

There’s no one right way to prepare for your first backpacking trip, but hours of in-depth research into each gear seemed like a good place to start. In preparation for our hike through the Foothills in South Carolina, my fiancé, Keanan, and I dove into the gear hunt. In some ways, it probably did us more harm than good, because we were researching, and researching, and researching…and researching. Everything from our tent to our spork has been researched. After buying a piece of equipment, we wondered if it was the best option or not.

In addition to the quality of a product, other factors come into play in the purchase of equipment, namely the budget. We had to talk about which items we were willing to spend money on and which items we could be a little more frugal with. That being said, here’s what we packed for our 77-mile hike in the Foothills.

The big three

From the start, we knew that the majority of our money would be spent on the Big Three. We were able to save some money by sharing a tent, but more than made up for it by getting sleeping bags that should last us for the next decade (more or less).

  • Tent: Gossamer Gear’s The Two. The Two might not feel like a palace when two people are crammed inside, but there’s more than enough room to sleep side-by-side. The lightweight nature allows condensation to seep through, but since I’m not the one wearing it, I can’t really complain.
  • Package: Mariposa from Gossamer Gear.
  • Sleep system: Feathered Friends Flicker UL quilted sleeping bag and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad.

While we’re not ultralight by any means, we wanted our big three to be equal parts functional, lightweight, and durable, so spending a little extra money on something UL was worth it for us.

Safety/ First Aid

Aside from the Big Three, there’s a ton of important gear that goes into a successful backpacking trip. Arguably the most important is safety and first aid equipment. Aside from our satellite communicator, the goal is to carry just enough to meet basic medical needs.

  • Satellite Communicator: Garmin inReach Mini
  • Knee pad
  • KT Tape for shin splints
  • Solar cream
  • insect repellent
  • advil
  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • medical tape
  • Neosporin
  • Sting Relief
  • Benadryl


If you’ve ever been to South Carolina in June, you’ll know that we won’t need to account for weather variations. The two types of weather we consider are warm and warmer. Other than a little rain, that’s all we’ll face.

  • hiking boots
  • Crocodile
  • hiking sticks
  • 2 hiking shirts
  • 2 hiking shorts
  • Camp Short Sleeve Shirt
  • camping shorts
  • sports bra
  • 2 pairs of Darn Tough socks
  • 1 UL Frog Toggs rain jacket
  • rain poncho
  • Chamois
  • Sun glasses


  • Bear and rope bag
  • Water Filter: Sawyer Squeeze
  • Bottles of water
  • Stove: Jet Boil Reserve
  • Fuel canister
  • Lighter
  • Cup
  • Coffee filter
  • spork
  • Sponge
  • Breakfast:
    • Coffee
    • Go-Go Pressed Applesauce
    • Cliff Protein Bar
  • Lunch: tuna wraps
  • Dinner: pre-prepared hiking meals
  • Snacks: Banana Chips, Oreos, Cool Ranch Doritos
  • Drinks :
    • Gatorade powder
    • Green juice sachets


  • Portable Charger: Goal Zero Venture 75 Power Bank
  • Headlamp: Black Diamond Cosmo 350 headlamp
  • Listeners
  • Call


  • Toilet paper
  • Excavator Cathole
  • Hydroalcoholic gel
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

luxury items

  • Pillow: Sea to Summit Eros Down Pillow
  • Chain Bracelet
  • Hair brush
  • Tinkle-Bell (if you know, you know)
  • Wipes

Somehow, after packing everything, I feel like I packed everything and nothing at the same time. Feeling the weight of my bag lets me know I’m going to curse every item I brought, but at the same time, I know I’ll probably always wish I had packed “just one more thing…”

If you’ve been on a hike, what’s the best item you’ve brought? Something you regret wearing? Hopefully this trip will be the perfect way to get our gear list ready for longer rides in the future…maybe even the AT.

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