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Gear for Trails

Just like most other hikers, gear is something that gets me very excited. I properly started researching gear when we were forced into lock-down mid 2020. It seemed like there were many things I didn't know.

A first thing I learned was the concept of 'ultralight' hiking. Ultralight hikers roll with a backpack less than 4,5 kilogram (excluding water, food and other fuel). They go with frameless backpacks, use only one pair of underwear and even cut the handle of their toothbrush to save weight :-). Although this all sounds very extreme, I was intrigued. Having a light backpack can impact the quality of your hike tremendously. It allows you to hike faster and reduces the risk of injury.

And so I slowly started replacing my gear. I looked for lightweight equivalents and experimented with leaving things behind. I finally came to this list. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration but I strongly encourage to experiment with different things to know what works for you. I am also aware that this will not be my final list and my equipment changes depending on conditions or personal needs.


Naturehike 60L and Trekmates 22L
Zpacks Duplex
Big Agnes Tiger wall
EE quilt Revelation 10 degrees
KT tape
Injinji toe socks
Osmopocket DJI
Garmin Instinct Solar 2S
Häglofs L.I.M. rain jacket
Ayacucho Bamboo hiking t-shirt

  The Big Three (backpack, tent and sleeping system)


The Atom+ EP 50L (675 g)

= My choice for the PCT: removable hip belt, strong, ultralight and just big enough to fit the bear canister in the Sierra's. The Atom +EP 50L is 300 gram lighter than the Mo 50L Atom Pack, which has additional compression straps.

= from the UK, popular European choice for ultralight backpackers

Trekmates 22L Drypack (460 g)

= cheap ultralight equivalent for frameless backpacks, available in Europe, waterproof, my choice for the GR10

= negative: too small for long food carries or colder hikes, no extra meshes at the exterior for quick storage

Naturehike 60L (1400 g)

= cheap semi-lightweight aluminium-frame backpack available in Europe, extra large meshes at the exterior for quick storage, not waterproof but it comes with a raincover

= negative: not ultralight

There are other great backpacks out there and it all depends on what you like. If you want more comfort and stability than these options might not be for you (look into Ospreys, Gregory or Fjällräven for more back stability). For my next longer hike I would like to try a Pa'lante or a Hyperlite. 


Zpacks Duplex (539 g)

= ultralight, roomy, well-ventilated tent. Very compact, pitches easily with trekking poles

= negative: crazy expensive, single walled (more condensation), only available in the US

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 (964g)

Great tent, more luxurious but still very light, double-walled, free-standing and available in Europe (but it is fabricated in the US). Probably more trustworthy than the Zpacks in stormy weather.

A cheaper option is the Foreclaz 2 person trekking tent from Quecha (2400 g). If you switch the tent stakes for lighter ones and cut out the labels and unnecessary fabrics, you'll manage to carry a decently light trekking tent for less than 300 euro.

Sleeping system:

Enlightened Equipment Quilt 10 Degrees (566 g)

When I first heard about quilts, I was a bit sceptic. I am very much a cold sleeper and the thought of not having something around me was not appealing. However, now I really enjoy the versatility of a quilt, you can move freely at night and it's lighter than a sleeping bag! Unfortunately the EE quilts are only available in America but you can find them on some European camping gear webshops. 

If you're looking for a European alternative for lightweight quilts and sleeping bags, please check out Cumulus. I heard really good things about them.

Thermarest NeoAir XTherm (430 g)

One of the most important things I learned about air mattresses is the R-value. The higher the number, the more warmth is reflected back on your body while sleeping. Any R-value above 3 is pretty good for normal to cold conditions but with the XTherm (R 6.1) I went a little bit overboard. If you're always warm and don't want to wake up in a pool of sweat then go for a lower R- value (Thermarest NeoAir Xlite is a popular choice). However, I think the slightly thicker material of the Xtherm made my mattress last while many of my trail friends had to switch theirs for a foam pad. 

Bonus: please buy the NeoAir pump with it, it will make your life so much easier and I promise you your hiker friends will be willing to trade their kidney for it.




ADIDAS Ultra Terrex Primeblue

Absolutely love these shoes. Super durable, comfortable and lightweight. The flexibility and breathability of trail runners is important on longer trails. Bonus: go for at least one size extra. 

Other popular choices on the PCT are the Altra Lone Peak (zero drop but don't last as long), Hoka Speed Goat, New Balance Hierro (don't buy the v7) and the Brooks Cascade (very durable as well!). 


Darn tough

There is only one winner on the topic of hiking socks and it is darn tough! Believe me, I spend so much money on socks and none of them were as durable and comfortable as the darn toughs. Most importantly, they have a lifetime guarantee, which means you can return them for free in return for a brand new other pair!





Petzl Bindi (35 g)

Rechargeable ultralight headlamp with micro USB. Three hours on 200 lumens or 50 hours on 6 lumens (red/white)! 


Garmin Instinct Solar 2S

Best price-value long-distance tracking watch on the market in my opinion. The Instinct Solar provides altimeter, barometer, and compass along with GPS functionality and has excellent battery life.


XTorm 20W Fuel Series 20000 mAh

Did the job. I would definitely go for a 20000 mAh again but preferably one that is not as heavy. 


DJI Osmo Pocket

Pocket-sized and portable tiny camera that lets you single-handedly record 4K shots. Equipped to stabilise movement and take sharp and smooth videos, it's the number one hiking camera! I bought mine second hand for under 100 euro. 



If there is something you can save money on, let it be your hiking clothes. Seriously, you can hike in whatever you want or like. Most outdoor wear you can find second hand on Vinted as well. I will list some clothes I very much enjoyed on the PCT and other hikes...


Rain/wind jacket:

Haglöfs L.I.M. Proof Jacket Women

Found this one on Vinted. Very lightweight rain and wind jacket. Love(d) this one! 


Marmot Novus 2.0 Jacket

I'm still so happy that I bought a synthetic jacket in stead of a down. It's just so convenient: you can wash it, you don't have to be worried for it getting wet and more importantly it still gives you enough warmth even when it's wet. It's also not that heavy! 


Ayacucho Bamboo long sleeve

Didn't know I would enjoy this t-shirt so much. It was just so comfortable. Very soft material, the bamboo provides SPF 50 and it also didn't get that dirty. I also still regret having to switch it out for a short sleeve t-shirt midway. Long-sleeves for the win (the sun on the PCT was scorching).

Not availabe
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