Tag Archives: thruhiking

You Know You’re a Thru Hiker When…

I’ve been recently recalling many of the little things that occur on a thru hike that you don’t get to experience back here in the “normal” world. The small daily trail life things make me chuckle in hindsight. Here are some “you know you’re a thru hiker when…”

You wash your shirt and end up with some sort of salty human flavored tea… Extra strong.

But you were proud of your salt lines!!!

All abandon structures are fair game as home for the night.

You’re not the only one at the top of the food chain.

And feet always come out looking like this!

And hell, you eat with these hands all day. My grandma would faint if she knew I ate without washing my hands out there.

When sitting on an old couch next to a dumpster full of delicious food is something to celebrate! Another sentence grandma won’t understand.

Bath time was certainly more scenic.


Bridges are… Different…


Hitch hiking is a common practice and you get to meet all sorts of interesting people… nurses, doctors, firefighters, tourists, semi drivers, Sketchy McSketcherton, trail angels, and lots of other outdoor enthusiast!

Every meal is a picnic!

You’ve witnessed or experienced catastrophic toe/foot damage. And then kept on hiking hundreds of miles anyway.




Your shoes and socks freeze solid over night and you have to put them back on and melt them with your feet.

One of the things about towns that excites you is being able to shit while sitting down. Yes, excited to use a port-a-potty.

Anywhere it’s flat for 6′ x 3′ is fair game for camping.

You become ravenous…




And the trail magic… Thanks so much to all you trail angels out there!!!




There are so many other things but this post is getting huge! 😄


Yesterday I went out and bought the bulk of the food I’ll eat along the trail. This time around I just bought whatever I thought I’d like to eat for a somewhat extended period of time. Last year I was much more scientific about my purchases and even made an excel spreadsheet comparing calories per dollar because well, I don’t have much money, I’m a poor smelly thru hiker! This info if you’re interested is back near the beginning of this blog around April 2014!
So people often ask me, “don’t you just crave nutritious food? Like when you’re out there is fruit and veggies all you want?” Well… If by fruit you mean peach rings, jelly beans and sour patch kids then yes! And by veggies you mean Pringles then also yes!

I mean just look at all the different fruits in there. Orange, juicy pear, tutti fruity, etc.

Once hiker hunger sets in all I want is meat and candy and fat. I’ll eat veggies and fruit when I’m in town but they’re too heavy to carry around and I really don’t crave them. This is not really a common sentiment with thru hikers however. I know some of my buddies like Guthrie loved him some blueberries and carrot was always down for a salad.
I craved protein and pure energy. I needed to grow those disproportionate calf muscles all thru hikers cultivate and then give the them raw energy to run those bad boys for months on end. So that’s the kind of food I bought. High calorie, high fat and some high protein in the mix. Oh and lots of salty stuff. Pretty much everything that is bad for you in civilization is what I want while hiking.

Snickers are a well know food source for wild hikers.

I guess the staple food of mine however is the usual bars, granola bars, powerbars and cereal. I hate trail mix with a passion so that is not on the menu. I like straight up Cheerios and Special K in place of it. I’ll also carry along some multivitamins and electrolyte pills since salt lost is rampant in the desert environment.

Rice krispes treats are cereal right?!

Also for the first time I got some crystal light flavoring packets because I was very jealous of Twinkle’s squirrel blood juice and other powdered drinks. Some even have caffeine just in case I need a real boost.

AZT Gear List

So this hike is a little bit different from my other two thru hikes because it is vastly shorter and there is no time constraint. I need to go 800 miles from March 7th to anytime before April 23rd or so. That’s only 17 miles a day if I used my full time allotment. This means I am going to be “ultra light” but I’m also bringing some luxury items such as my 2 lbs camera and my go pro with harnesses to capture and share the experience in pictures and video. Something I wish I did more on the PCT but my iPhone’s memory got full so fast. I also have a lot more time to stop and take pictures of the little things so I’m hoping this trip results in some spectacular macros of all critters Arizona.

I’ll be using another pair of tried and true Brooks Cascadia 8 trail running shoes.


Got these bad boys for Christmas and fully expect them to last the 800 mile trail considering my first pair took me over 1700 miles and my second pair took me the next 1000 on the PCT and I still use them frequently for day hikes and weekend trips. Check out the tread on my first pair compared to my second pair after I got them in Ashland, Oregon!


I’ll also be using the trekking poles I used on my Appalachian Trail 2012 since they are still useable, unlike my tortured pair from the PCT. If I have extra money before the trip I may buy I new pair but I’m broke at the moment.

There is some amount of clothes that I’ll always be wearing and so I won’t include that in the base weight. Typically my light shirt, zip off pants, cotton boxers and a pair of socks and a hat.

So here’s the rundown:

Backpack and Water Treatment and Storage:
Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Backpack 28 oz (793 grams)
Sawyer squeeze mini 1.7 oz (49 grams)
4 1 liter smart water bottles 6 oz (170 grams)
Subtotal 35.7 oz( 1012 grams)

Sleep system
Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis tarp tent with insect netting 13 oz (400 grams)
6 Aluminum tent stakes 3 oz (87 grams)
Z Lite sleeping pad 10 oz (290 grams)
REI Radiant 19 degree down sleeping bag 39.9 oz (1130 grams)
Subtotal 65.9 oz (1907 grams)

Clothing in Backpack
Undershirt 7.2 oz (206 grams)
Long johns 6.9 oz (196 grams)
Go lite down jacket 7.5 oz (214 grams)
Wind Jacket 18 oz (510 grams)
Subtotal 39.6 oz (1126 grams)

Miscellaneous Items
Head light with batteries 2.8 oz (81 grams)
Sunglasses .7 oz (20 grams)
Small bic lighter .4 oz (11 grams)
Mosquito head net .7 oz (20 grams)
Toothbrush and toothpaste 1 oz (29 grams)
Subtotal 5.6 oz (160 grams)


Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Camera, 2 batteries, lens cleaning cloth, mini tripod, Raynox DCR 250 Macro lens 32 oz (906 grams)
GoPro Hero 3 White 4.8 oz (136 grams)
Chargers 3.1 oz (88 grams)
Anker battery 15000 mwh 11 oz (315 grams)
Subtotal 50.9 oz (1517 grams)

Total Base Weight
201.84 oz or 12.61 lbs (5772 grams)

I weighed all the smaller gear with a gram scale to get the most accurate weight and the larger gear I used the company’s given weight so there is a tiny discrepancy in the in grams vs oz on some items which were only given in one unit or the other so bear with me that the math isn’t exact.

12.6 lbs is a pretty acceptable number for me considering I’m carrying 3.2 lbs of non essential camera gear and extra batteries. If I were on one if the big trails my base weight would be under 10 lbs!
Edit: I forgot a few pairs of extra socks so add a few ounces on this. I don’t feel like recalculating everything 🙂