Monday, August 4, 2014

Gearing up for the Appalachian Trail

Yesterday's REI date resulted in much backpacking gear!

Between our REI shopping spree for wedding gifts and yesterday's REI date for thru-hike gear, we will be getting quite the hefty dividend this year!  I'm betting we will spend it along the course of the thru-hike too!

First, we had the good fortune of unintentionally planning our REI date on Virginia's Back to School Tax-Free Weekend!  We renamed it Back to Nature Tax Free Weekend and took full advantage of it!  What a perfect weekend to not have a wedding on my schedule!

Jeff's stack of boot possibilities
I am sure the gear heads who follow us are dying to know what we got, so I won't delay! 

Clothing & Footwear:

  • 2x REI Sahara Convertible pants
  • Columbia Omnishade shirt
  • Exofficio Gill shirt
  • 2x Injinji running socks (for liners)
  • 3x REI wool hiking crew socks (2 pair for alternating while hiking and one for camp)
  • 2x Patagonia hipster undies
  • ISIS Acqua rain shell
  • REI Windbreak Jacket
  • ISIS Down Jacket (Already owned and LOVE)
  • Asolo FSN 95 GTX Boot (Already own and LOVE)
Ironjen's clothes

  • 2x REI Sahara Convertible pants
  • REI Sahara Shirt
  • Royal Robbins Island Cool Mesh shirt
  • 3x REI wool hiking crew socks
  • Silk liners to be purchased, because Muskrat HATED the Inijis!
  • 2x REI silk boxers
  • Mountain Hardwear Plasmic rain shell
  • REI Windbreak Fleece (already owned)
  • Asolo Reston WP Boots

Muskrat's clothes


This was the tough stuff!  We had to make some calls about what existing gear we were going to upgrade and what new gear we needed to get.  Tents have gotten A LOT lighter in the last 10 years, but our Sierra Designs Gamma is in such perfect condition that we decided to at least take it on the test hike before making the call to replace it, though there are some very tempting options out there that are HALF the weight!

Our other big question was sleeping bags.  We went into this gear purchase wanting to either get a double bag or get two single bags that can zip together in spite of the fact that we own perfectly awesome sleeping bags that are just as light as most bags on the market.  After a long discussion of the pros (snuggling!) and cons (can't be split up if needed in a shelter or hostel) of the Big Agnes double bags (which look so so so awesome), we decided to go with two zipper compatible REI bags, which weren't in stock.  Good thing too, because once we got home, we discovered that the liners we bought to help keep our bags clean and to add warmth would pretty much negate any cuddling inside of a double or zipped together sleep system.  So, I will be sleeping in my Moonstone 3D Minima and Muskrat will be sleeping in his Sierra Designs Wild Bill with our new liners!

Here's everything else we got:
More gear

And even more gear
Cooking & Eating, & Drinking:
Packs & Packing:

Feeling Ready:

Muskrat and our haul from REI

We had the help of our friend, CW, on the pre planning for the big gear purchase, and we had the help of a great trail-hardened sales associate, Eric during our shopping experience!

Once we get the out of stock gear ordered tonight, we will be ready to rock and roll on our test hike in a few weeks!  I'm really excited to get out there and try everything out for 70 miles, especially in light of the very difficult 6 weeks we had with Muskrat getting sick and having surgery, and having to miss our honeymoon at RAGBRAI.  This trip will at least start to make up of that!

In other news, Zach "The Good Badger" Davis has invited me to blog for Appalachian Trials!  Check out my first post!

©2014 Jennifer Magnuson, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Have you thought about trying hiking in a skirt? I've read good things, a long hiking skirt can be tied up into shorts, for instance, and it's apparently quite handy for peeing. :)

    1. I haven't considered that! I didn't even know there was such a thing as a hiking skirt! I think I would be nervous about increased bug bites in sensitive areas, and too much airflow in the colder times!

  2. I can't find the original article I read ages ago, but the comments on this page have some stuff. Most of the links go to shorter skirts, but I was thinking of long ones. Just something I thought I'd point out!