Thru hiker season is just around the corner and most folks in the market for new gear are counting their ounces with hopes of carrying the product to Maine. But what about the rest of us?! There are all sorts of cool pieces of gear out there that are not exactly lightweight or may not be the best thing for a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, and those of us who are weekend warriors, section hikers, car campers and the sort can still indulge ourselves in these plush, luxury items. Check out these neat products on our list of 6 Things Thru Hikers Can’t Have.
It’s not exactly your typical thru hiker drinking vessel. Carrying any sort of coffee mug on the AT is often times reserved for the most hardcore coffee fanatics. When you do see one, it is made a lightweight material and is small in size. Sorry thru hikers! The coffee lovers among you will learn to really appreciate a full size mug once you get to use one on a regular basis again!
Although wool is a great material for on trail, a wool blanket isn’t quite what you are looking for. It would keep you toasty if you got your burrito rolling skills to an expert level, but sadly thru hikers have to leave behind the security of their blankets when they hike. Thankfully the rest of us can snuggle up with this Wool Rich AT blanket and a cup of hot chocolate as we read their blogs and keep up with their adventures!
Every thru hiker wants this but no one is crazy enough to carry one, at least, not for long! When thru hiking, if you’re lucky enough to get a log or a rock for a seat after a long day of hiking, chances are you’re not so lucky as to get a comfortable seat. That is the glory of a short trip! You can afford to bring a camp chair, a few potatoes to bake and a deck of cards! There is a lot to be said for a little trip where you can live it up!
If there is anything on this list-of-things-that-don’t-serve-thru-hikers-as-well-as-they-serve-the-rest-of-us that would actually turn out to work pretty well for a thru hiker, it is this wind jacket. Throw this guy on over a long sleeve or a light fleece and you’ve got a great set up for a chilly late spring/early summer day of hiking. Problem is, for a thru hiker, you might as well be as multi purpose as possible and use your rain jacket as a wind layer. Sure, you’re going to be sweating to two minutes. Then you’ll take it off and freeze because you’re soaked, while you look at the toasty and dry day hiker who is wearing this jacket, but, hey, that’s a thru hike for you sometimes. You get to eat as many Snickers as you want and still be one of the fittest people alive, so you can’t complain too much.
So this definitely isn’t the kind of coat you can wear on the Appalachian Trail, but it is a heavy weight, warm, fleece coat that allows you to get away with just a light layer underneath. Down jackets can be bulky and cumbersome and must be handled with great care in order to keep them functional and looking nice. This jacket by Patagonia brings the style back into being warm! Not to say that Hiker Trash style isn’t on point (trash bag rain coats can be en vogue!) but thru hikers definitely forego some fashion for some function!
This is the mack daddy of all sleeping bags. A winter outdoorsmen’s dream! Winter and early Spring backpacking in some seriously beautiful stuff. You see the mountains is such an intimate and quiet time of the year and if you’ve got the right gear and a little bit of coffee, hot tea or whiskey, sitting and enjoying the beauty of Winter is a joy!! But if you’re a thru hiker, sadly you don’t have nearly as much time to sit and stare at nature as much as you thought you would. You will be immersed in it for months and come to know it like the back of your hand, no need to stare deeply into Mother Nature’s eyes hoping she will love you back. Also, like the chair, if you’re carrying the weight of the hefty cozy log cabin of a sleeping bag, good luck with the day in and day out grind. You’ll want a much more reasonable weighted and degree sleeping bag in no time. A 15° bag is substantial enough and will take you further into Spring than this 0°.