My gear list has changed quite a lot over the years.  Now, I find I'm happier with less stuff, and I simply don't bring a lot of things like campshoes, a stove, or a chair.   Having a lighter pack allows me to hike further so I can see more, whether that involves flying up remote mountains or crouching down on my belly to get a good look at wildflowers without taking off my pack.
Crouched down in wildflower viewing mode -or- why I like a light pack.
This page included links to my gear lists for each season, my DIY gear projects, and reviews of gear I love.  Please let me know if you have any questions- especially about hammocks and DIY projects.  I've also linked to some of my blog posts about times I've gotten wet, cold and mildly hypothermic, in hopes that these can serve as learning examples. 

Gear Lists (links to my google doc gear spreadsheets)
     Summer 2013
     Fall/Spring 2013
     Winter 2013
     PCT Gear list- Sept. 2014 version (post-stress fracture)
     PCT 2014 Gear for the Sierra- on the Gossamer Gear blog 
     Arizona Trail Gear--2015 gear list, favorite gear and clothing system 

DIY Gear
     Karo Top Quilt -summer-weight quilt, my first adventure with down
     2nd Karo Top Quilt- new improved winter-weight quilt
     Hiking Skirt -the original version
     2nd Generation Hiking Skirt -new, improved design, and now featuring camo print
     Next Generation Hiking Skirt- including a (rough) pattern
     Arm gaiters- also called sleeves, for easier thermoregulation
     Leg gaiters -leg protection for bushwacking and overgrown trails

Posts about gear 
     No New Gear - an experiment in buying no gear for one year

     Clothes review for the PCT: SoCal and the Sierra
     Hammock Gear on the PCT: SoCal and the Sierra -review of my hammock gear
     Gear review for the PCT: pack, hydration, kitchen, electronics, etc.
     Apps for long distance backpacking -managing finances, files, photos, social media
     Umbrella rigging -hands-free umbrella attachment method
     Why I love hammocks
     Bartram Trail Map
     Dripping Water Collecting Device

Times I've been really cold and wet
     Hypothermia in Georgia in May -in soaking, endless rain
     Getting my sleeping bag wet during a thunderstorm
     Another time I got my sleeping bag wet during a storm
     Backpacking at 18 degrees
     Falling into a stream in winter and getting very wet


  1. Hey, Joan, for your DIY tall gaiters, did you just have an elastic at the top, or a cord/cordlock arrangement? Anything you'd do differently?

    1. At the top of the gators is shockcord and cord locks-- glad i did this so is adjustable to accommidate leggings underneith.

      Only wish Id have made a few extra pairs.

  2. Thanks for sharing so much great information, trials on the trail, and all around wisdom!
    And you've really got me curious to try a hammock...sadly though where I live and do most of my hiking is treeless!
    Anyway, love your blog!

    1. Thanks so much for the comment! Glad to hear from you and know this info is helpful. I've been venturing more into treeless areas myself, but still haven't gotten used to sleeping on the ground. But it's worth it sometimes for the views and getting to see new environments.

  3. Let's talk girl stuff, I am about to go on a small thru hike, not during the best time of the month if you know what I mean. Any advice?

    1. Lots of good techniques in this article by Trinity Ludwig. Read the comments section too because each woman has a different experience so see what's best for you:

      I use tampons and pack them out. I also carry a pee rag, stay hydrated, wear a skirt to improve air flow, and rinse my underwear if possible.

      Don't let having your period stop you from getting out!