Gear Haul! (Progress Update #17)

Hello all!

As promised, today I bring you my gear haul. This is a list of absolutely all the gear that I’ll start the Appalachian Trail with. I’ve done separate posts on food and clothing so I won’t be including them in this post. Also, as in my clothing haul, I will provide links to the products where I can, but that won’t be possible with everything.

Alright, let’s get started! I’m going to break this down into groups. First group:

The Big Three


Big Three

More about those three here.

Cook System


The ideal kitchen, ladies and gentlemen.

Hygiene/First Aid

  • Trowel from REI
  • Small first aid kit with:  band-aids, gauze, duct tape, mole skin, antiseptic wipes, a needle, and duct tape.
  • Toilet paper

Everything else. (I’ve lumped hygiene and first aid in with miscellaneous tools)

Miscellaneous Tools

That’s everything! A few of the things in the list didn’t make it into the pictures (namely the compression bags and silk sleeping bag liner; the one because it hadn’t come yet and the other because I accidentally left it in my sleeping bag sack) but other than that the photos are comprehensive.

Also, bonus photo of all my clothes, since I didn’t have them all together when I posted my clothing haul.


Alright, that’s all I have to say about gear. As for actually leaving for the trail, that will be sometime this week although I don’t want to say exactly when for security reasons.

Anyway, you’ll hear from tomorrow, when I announce something which will have pretty far reaching implications for this blog (you’ll want to catch that), and then you won’t hear from me again until I’m on trail! It’s exciting, huh? This is really coming true.

Until then,


Clothing Haul! (Progress Update #16)

Hello again!

One week until I hit the trail! It’s getting close.

Today I’m going to talk about the clothes I’m bringing on the trail and next week will be all about my gear. First, let’s go over my goals with selecting this clothing.

I wanted clothing that was:

  1. Insulating when wet. This is important because it’s going to be cool up there and if it rains I don’t want all my sopping wet clothing to freeze me to death. That’d be bad.
  2. Versatile. I want to keep many of these clothes through to the Spring, so flexibility, especially in warmth, is key.
  3. Durable. I’m trying to go higher quality in the hopes these items will last to Katahdin.


Alright, let’s get into it!

Darn tough socks

These are the exact Darn Tough socks I have.

Starting from my feet and going up I have one pair of Darn Tough* socks and one pair of thicker, Fits socks. Both wool. I want two, one to sleep in, one to hike in.  For shoes I’m bringing along Salomon Trail Runners. I love those shoes and I’ve been wearing them all the time, even when I’m not hiking. I also got gaiters for potential snow, and to protect my socks and shoes from getting wet and nasty. 

Pants now. I have a pair of yoga pants and one pair of synthetic joggers rated down to 30 degrees. The joggers are also super comfy and I’m looking forward to using them as pajama pants. I’m also bringing a hiking skirt. This might prove extraneous but if it is I’ll just send it home.

Oh, and on my hands I have lightweight men’s snow gloves by Isotoner.

puffy jacket

This is my jacket and it makes me happy. Okay? Okay.

For my torso I’m bringing, as my first layer, a generic synthetic sports T-shirt. It’s light blue and I like it. Then I have a black zip-up fleece. It’s a bit heavy, so I might have to switch it out, but it only cost me four bucks, so if that’s the case it’ll be okay. Plus it’s super warm. Then, over my fleece, I have a lightweight puffy jacket from REI.

Now, for my head. I’m bringing two buffs, which are probably my favorite thing on this list. I really like my buffs. I’ll also be bringing a bandanna, which may occasionally go on my head. All of those can cover my ears to keep in extra heat, if necessary. But I also have a generic wool cap, which will hopefully cover my ears too. I especially wanted a hat because none of my jackets have hoods and some protection from the elements would be nice.


This is me wearing a buff from last Spring. 

Other than that, there’s only my Frogg Toggs, which is essentially a rain poncho. It does have a hood, so that will provide whatever protection from the elements my hat and buffs don’t cover.

So that’s my wardrobe! It’s given me a lot of headache over the last few months but I think I’ve covered my bases with as little cost/weight as possible. It’s a fine line between freezing to death, going broke, and breaking your back with weight. I’ll find out in a week if my choices were wise or not.

Until next time,




*Where I can I have provided links to the precise product I am using. Some of the items,  for instance my joggers, I bought second hand and therefore cannot provide links for.

What I’ll Eat on the Trail + Backpacking in Ketosis (Progress Update #15)

(Quick Disclaimer: the ketogenic diet has been recommended specifically for me by my doctor, and I have worked with him to implement it. I am not experimenting on myself willy-nilly and I’d recommend doing a lot of research and possibly consulting your health care provider before starting any new diets.)

Hello there, all!

So today I’m going to talk about my diet on trail. I’m doing my best to follow the ketogenic diet at the moment and I hope to continue that on trail.  I’m not the best person to explain the mechanics of ketosis (this link should be helpful if you want an in-depth explanation) but essentially it means that my main fuel while hiking will come from fat, a bit will come from protein, and very little will come from carbohydrates. This means I will 1) carry less weight per calorie, 2) have more energy, and 3) not become a spiraling, food-manic mess if I’m deprived of a meal for a few hours, which is a common reaction among backpackers.

So anyway today I’m going to break down, item by item and calorie by calorie, what I’ll be eating on trail for November. When I return from my hike hopefully I’ll be able to let you know what I actually ended up eating, and how I’ll be modifying it for my hike in the Spring.

Alright, so this is a list of the foods I’m taking on trail with me:

  • Home-dehydrated ground beef
  • Ground Beef from
  • Sausage Crumbles from
  • Aldi Olive Oil
  • Peanut Butter Packets
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Tuna Packets
  • Assorted vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Dried apples

The break down of macro nutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates in this instance) from these foods is roughly this:

Second Pie Chart per calorie

Yes, I did indeed make a pie chart and I’m very proud of it thankyouverymuch.

So, again, that’s a pretty significant portion of calories coming from fat.

Really quick, before I go any farther, I want to note something: all the following calculations rest on the assumption that I will eat off my groceries for twenty seven days out of the month and eat at restaurants for three. I’ve allotted $70 to myself for those three days.

Alright, now let’s go to my handy-dandy spreadsheet:

second spreadsheet yea


There’s a lot going on here, I know. But let’s look at one thing at a time:

  1. The bottom right cell gives the total money I will spend on groceries every month. This comes out to about $14 per day on trail. Also remember this is plus the $70 I’ll spend on restaurant food.
  2. The bottom cell, second from the left, gives the average calories I will consume per day. This looks like too few but I’ve actually calculated the most pessimistic possibility here. In reality I will have more than one tuna and peanut butter packet per day, my home dehydrated ground beef will probably have more than 360 calories in it, I can easily buy more food if I’m hungry along the way, and I probably will not stay on the trail for a full thirty days. I like to calculate for the worst possible scenario and be pleasantly surprised when things turn out a bit better.
  3. The third column from the right shows how many days per month I will eat each food. Notice I am not eating every food every day, but swapping them out, especially my meats.
  4. I calculated the price per calorie (the third column from the left) by multiplying calories per serving by servings in a unit to find the total calories in a unit, and then dividing that by the total price.

There’s more to the spreadsheet but that’s the highlights.

Oh, and the good thing is that these calculations not only help me with my upcoming hike, but provide an outline for the whole thing. When November is over and I’m back home I will refine this model, with changes as appropriate, and it will become the model for my food consumption per month, which will certainly help with calculations for when I hit the trail again in the Spring.

That’s about all I have for today.

Take care, everyone.

Until next time,




Starting in Three Weeks! (Progress Update #14)

Hello again!

Lots to say this time. For one thing I’ve moved my start date forward! Because of unforeseen circumstances I’ll need to be home for about a month in the Spring, right in the middle of my thru hike. So I’m leaving at the end of this month instead. I’ll hike all of November, come home for the winter, and leave again in the Spring as planned, coming home for a month in the middle of the Spring hike. It’s a little more complicated this way but it works out to be the same amount of trail time, which is all I need.


Dehydrating ground beef

To summarize: I’m leaving around October 30th and hiking the A.T. all November. And… that’s in about three weeks.

So I’ve been cooking like mad to dehydrated all my food. I have pretty specific dietary needs so that’s turned out to be somewhat labor intensive. But it’s a little cheaper this way and I know it’ll be better for me.

I’ve also been buying up the last straggling bits of gear and clothing that I need. I’ll do a gear haul right before I leave and you’ll get to see all the bits and pieces I’m accumulating.

One more thing: I’m still working at the Nature Center, but only weekends now. And my last day is October 21st. After that I’ll be able to devote all my time to preparing for this hike.

I’m getting excited. I’ve waited and prepared for many, many years for this hike and watching it come together is both nerve wracking and exhilarating.

Until next time,



I’ll be going back to my weekly schedule of updates now. You can expect a new post every Tuesday morning.




P.P.S. Oh yeah, and Butters says hey.