Gear Advice for Beginner Backpackers

Consider this an excerpt for future, more feature-length, discussion on gear. I was a part of a group of hikers who gave advice over on and wanted to share it here, too:

Choose your gear carefully, but it’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t work

Don’t be stubborn or brand myopic—ditch the gear that’s not helping and use the gear that works for you. You will have time to see how you react to the trail (physically and mentally) so you can make tweaks. You can research, compare gear, and ask prolific hikers what they use, but you don’t have the same body and you won’t have the same experiences. If you have comfort items you can’t live without, don’t ditch them just to go ultralight. If you are a small-framed person and hate hiking unless your base weight is ultralight, then sure, ditch some stuff. It’s all good if you’re positioning your body and mind to give you a safe, meaningful trip. –Josh (Pace Car), AT 2018

Gear advice for hiking the Appalachian Trail
Photo courtesy of

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