When I first starting hiking my first experiences were pretty rough, but you have to start somewhere. Right? When I was first introduced to it, hammock camping was just making it’s first appearance into the hiking world and I got in the bus. For years I swore I would never switch to what us hangers would call “ground dwelling”. Well, I know change can be scary and all, but after I completed the Bartram Trail last Spring, I learned very quickly what kind of hiker I was/had become and decided to make a few changes (actually, pretty much everything) to my gear. Over the years, I started to see a lot of things I saw as flaws from using a hammock as a shelter. Don’t get me wrong; they are comfortable, semi-light weight and have their advantages over sleeping on the ground, but I knew it wasn’t for me anymore. I learned from hiking the BT, that I don’t like to waste any time once I get to camp after hiking big mile days. As soon as I get to camp I don’t want to spend time looking for the “perfect” trees to hang from, which can be a huge pain in the ass, especially if you’re hiking with others who are using hammocks too. I like getting to camp, being able to set my junk up, kick back and relax. That’s when I made the transition to ground dwelling, and honestly I have not looked back!
Currently this is everything that I will carry in early spring, with a base weight at 11 pounds. I will also ditch a few items, once the weather starts to get warmer as well.
Pack: ULA Ohm 2.o and rain cover.
Shelter: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo with a Tyvek Ground sheet and 6 MSR Groundhog stakes
Sleep system: Therm-a-Rest Neoair XLite and a Hammock Gear 20 degree, 900 fill down quilt.
Water storage/treatment: Aquamira drops and 2x 32 ounce Gatorade bottles. I usually one carry one liter at all times, unless water is scarce. I have never had a problem otherwise.
Toiletries: Toiler paper with biodegradable wipes, toothbrush/toothpaste and hand sanitizer.
Miscellaneous: Spiderco Dragonfly, headlamp, basic first aid (band-aids, ibuprofen, B-12s, etc) and Tenacious Tape for field repairs.
Clothing: REI Primaloft jacket, SmartWool base layers (for sleeping), one pair of extra socks (Darn Tough) to sleep in at night, REI rain jacket, light running gloves, basic beanie and a trucker hat for the day time. Not pictured: bandanna for multiple uses.
Worn clothing (not pictured): Running shorts, quarter cushion Darn Tough socks and a running shirt. This is what I find most comfortable hiking in, since I spend a lot of time running.
Shoes worn: Brooks Cascadia 9’s. I will switch to Altras once I wear these out.
Poles: Cascade Mountain Tech carbon fiber poles. I love these things, they are a steal of a deal on Amazon.
Cookware: Over my years of hiking, I decided that I no longer really need to carry a stove or any food that really needs to be cooked. This wasn’t really a decision I made to drop more weight, I just stopped caring about having a hot meal, especially in warmer weather. During the winter, sometimes I will bring my MSR Pocket Rocket and my IMUSA pot (sweet grocery store find) to have a hot meal.
This set up usually stays the same all year round. In the winter I will throw in some rain pants, with running tights on underneath and switch to my down jacket for extra warmth and boots if it is snowing.