Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Gear List

Are you thinking of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail? Congratulations! You’re in for the adventure of a lifetime, so get your Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Gear List.

The first thing you need to do is start planning and gathering your gear. This can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help. This article will give you a comprehensive gear list for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.

We’ll start with the basics: what you need to carry on the trail. Then we’ll move on to clothing, footwear, and shelter. After that, we’ll cover some optional but highly recommended items to make your hike more comfortable and enjoyable.

So let’s get started!

Basics in Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Gear List

These are the items that you need to carry with you on the trail. Without them, you won’t be able to hike for very long.

Backpack: You’ll need a bag that’s big enough to carry all your gear but not so big that it’s cumbersome. A good rule of thumb is to get a backpack about 50-60 liters in size.

Sleeping bag: A warm sleeping bag is essential for a comfortable night’s sleep. Down sleeping bags are the lightest, most compressible, and most expensive. Synthetic sleeping bags are cheaper and still perform well in cold weather.

Tent: A tent will protect you from the elements and give you a place to sleep away from the ground. If you’re hiking with a partner, you can save weight by sharing a tent.

Cooking gear: You’ll need a stove and pots or pans to cook your food. Many different stove options are available, from ultralight backpacking stoves to more robust camp stoves. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Food: Of course, you’ll need food to fuel your hike. How much food you need will depend on how much you weigh, how active you are, and how many calories you burn each day. A good rule of thumb is to carry enough food for 3,000-4,000 calories daily.

Water: You should always carry at least 2 liters of water. More is better, especially in hot weather. If you’re hiking in an area with reliable water sources, you can carry a water filter or purifier to save weight.

Navigation: A map and compass are essential for navigation. If you have a smartphone, you can also download apps like GAIA GPS or AllTrails, allowing you to view maps offline.

First-aid kit: A basic first-aid kit should include bandages, gauze, tape, pain relievers, and antiseptic wipes. If you have any specific medical conditions, include medications and supplies for those.

Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Insect repellent: Insect repellent will help keep bugs like mosquitoes and ticks at bay.

Firestarter: A lighter, matches, or a fire starter kit will allow you to build a fire for cooking, warmth, or to signal for help.

Tools: A knife, multi-tool, or both will come in handy for various tasks, from preparing food to fixing gear.


The clothing you bring on your hike will depend on the time of year and the climate you’re hiking in. In general, you should pack light, breathable, quick-drying clothing that will protect you from the sun and keep you warm in cold weather.

You’ll need a few shirts, a sweater or fleece, and a rain jacket for your upper body—Pack long-sleeved shirts and pants for sun protection and to keep bugs away. In cold weather, you may also want to pack a down jacket.

You’ll need a few pairs of shorts and pants and a pair of rain pants for your lower body. You’ll want to pack a pair of thermal underwear and fleece pants in cold weather.


Your choice of footwear is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your thru-hike. You’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet, so choosing a comfortable, durable shoe with good traction is essential.

Many hiking shoes are available, from lightweight trail runners to heavy-duty backpacking boots. Choose the shoe that best suits your needs and the conditions you’ll be hiking in.

If you’re hiking in cold weather, you may also want to pack a pair of insulated boots or gaiters to keep your feet warm.


Your shelter will be your home on the trail, so choosing one that’s comfortable, spacious, and easy to set up and take down is essential.

Many different types of shelters are available, from ultralight tents to tarps and hammocks. Choose the best suits your needs and the conditions you’ll be hiking in.

You may also want to pack a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth in cold weather.

Optional but Highly Recommended Items

These items aren’t essential, but they’re highly recommended for a more comfortable and enjoyable hike.

Pack cover: A pack cover will protect your backpack from the elements and keep your gear dry.

Hiking poles: Hiking poles can help reduce stress on your knees and legs and can also be used for camping and self-defense.

Camera: A camera will allow you to capture your memories of the hike and share them with your friends and family.

Journal: A journal is a great way to document your thoughts and experiences on the trail.

Bear canister: A bear canister is a must if you’re hiking in an area with bears. It will protect your food from being eaten by a bear and keep you safe.

Final Thoughts Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Gear List

That’s it! You need to know everything about gear for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Just remember to start planning and gathering your kit before your hike, and you’ll be all set for a successful and enjoyable thru-hike.