Arizona Trail for Fibromyalgia

800 miles across Arizona to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia

Arizona Trail Gear List and Review

Aah…the hours and hours I pored over gear reviews and stalked gear at Summit Hut. When I started planning, I did not own any backpacking equipment. I had rented or borrowed gear on my two previous backpacking trips. 

Backpack: Osprey Ariel 75- 4lb 9oz- At first, I was concerned that I should have gotten the smaller 65, but I liked having enough room to keep all things inside of my pack. Brushy and thorny trail conditions conspired to rip anything hanging off the outside of the pack. The suspension system was great and kept the straps floating about an inch above my shoulders. My shoulders are my weakest point, so I liked being able to shift the load onto my hips. I frequently had to carry large loads of water and this backpack performed really well and had the space to carry 6-8 liters of water. The only drawback is that lately it has been making a horribly irritating squeaking noise. List $270- donated by Summit Hut.


Tent: Hubba with groundsheet- 3lb 12oz- I really liked this tent. I didn’t have to use the fly very often, and liked the airy feeling of the inner tent. Plenty of space for me and my things. I don’t generally spend a lot of time inside my tent, so the small space was not a problem. Mostly I just used the inner tent but if there were no bugs and the weather was favorable, I sometimes used just the groundsheet under my mat and sleeping bag. I am happy with its performance in the rain, although I didn’t have any sustained periods of it. The Hubba had several combinations that made me feel prepared for any kind of weather. The only configuration I didn’t use is the option of using just the groundsheet and the fly together. A freestanding tent, the pole is in one big piece with two Y parts at the end. Takes only 4 tent stakes to set up- I was thankful for that because the ground was usually hard and rocky. Lists for $250 but I got mine on sale for $135.


Mattress: Exped Downmat 7 Short- 22oz- I absolutely recommend this mattress, it was so warm and comfortable! I am a side-sleeper and this mattress is 2.75 inches thick and filled with 700-fill down. I could sleep anywhere that rocky Arizona threw at me, including bare rock in the cold. The extra insulation made it possible to take my 35 degree bag down to much lower temps. List price is expensive (120$) but keep an eye out for sales. I originally had one of the old-style ones with the external pump/stuff sack. I had a leak the very first night that was patched, but about 700 miles in, the baffles started delaminating and it developed a leak that I could not find for the life of me. I took it to Summit Hut and they gave me one of the newer downmats with the integrated pump in exchange and sent the old one back to the manufacturer. The integrated pump is a great invention. Super-easy to inflate. At night, I put my empty backpack by my feet in the tent to lengthen my sleeping pad.


Sleeping Bag: Donated to me. North Face 35 degree bag. Great bag, and the price was right too.


Boots: Montrail Torre GTX- 2lb 14oz- I tried trail runners when I was training for the Arizona Trail and did not like them, so I went with this Gore-tex boot, which I have worn before. I got a new pair a month before I started and they went over 600 miles before I had to get them resoled. They barely lasted the rest of the hike. The inside of the shoes started coming apart with about 50 miles left to go. I was able to do a temporary fix, but those shoes have since been retired. I was happy enough with them to get another pair to replace the ones I used on the Arizona Trail. The trail is often rocky and uneven and I enjoyed having the support of a hiking boot. They did make my feet hot, so when I took breaks, I would air out my feet and socks. List price $165- donated by Summit Hut.


Camp Shoes: Sandal-type Croc knockoffs- 7oz- I can’t imagine not having comfy shoes to change into after a day of hiking. I would often put them on when I was taking longer breaks during the day as well. $4 at Wal-mart


Hiking Poles: Leki Makalu Ultralite Titanium-17.4 oz- If you do not use hiking poles yet, please do your knees a favor and get some! I couldn’t live without my hiking poles. The Arizona Trail is a rocky place with often unstable footing. Poles made it manageable. An invaluable asset when hiking up and down steep slopes. I liked that they were light, once I borrowed a heavier pair from someone and couldn’t believe what a difference it made to have to swing the extra weight over and over. I could not find these when I searched on the internet, it looks like they have stopped making this particular model. Listed for $130, got on sale for $70.


Umbrella: Totes Micro-mini- 5 oz- Much of the Arizona Trail, especially in Southern AZ, is exposed and usually very sunny. A wide-brimmed hat can help, but it doesn’t allow for air circulation. An umbrella provides shade while letting breezes cool the head. Put on a wet bandanna, and you’ve got your own evaporative cooling. I usually strapped it to my pack by putting the handle in my shirt pocket and tying the pole to my shoulder strap. In high winds or areas with a lot of switchbacks, I held it in one hand while I walked. $5 at Wal-mart


Stove: Snow Peak Giga Power with igniter- 3.75oz- Worked well, even in windy conditions (which was often). The igniter worked about 75% of the time. I used 7oz isobutane fuel canisters. I don’t really cook on the trail, because I use dehydrated meals, so the stove is used mainly for boiling water. A small canister was enough for up to 5 days. List is $50. Donated by Summit Hut.


Pot: MSR Titan Kettle- 4.2oz- Tiny handles, but a good pot, and light. List $50, paid $40


Cup: aluminum coffee cup


Spork: Light My Fire Spork, went through two, tines on the forks broke, now I’ve gone with a Snow Peak titanium spork.

Food: After trying to choke down several expensive freeze-dried meals on my first couple of trips, I bought a Nesco Snackmaster dehydrator for $50 and made my own dinners and snacks.


Ursack- 7oz: This was a fantastic piece of gear. There are a couple of problems with using conventional bear-bagging techniques in most of Arizona. The first being that sometimes, the tallest tree around might not even be as tall as you. The Ursack, made from Spectra cloth, was also good at keeping rodents out of my food bag. List $65, bought a used one for $20.


Down Jacket: Ground Neve- 15oz- Worked well, price was fantastic. List $160, paid $45


Rain Gear: Marmot Precip jacket- 11oz and pants- 6oz- Worked well, but most of the time they stayed in their little stuff sack with my Sea to Summit backpack cover- 4oz. Jacket list $100, paid $40. Pants list $75, paid $55. Cover was $40.


Hiking Shirt/Pants: Columbia Silver Ridge Long Sleeved shirt- This shirt was comfortable and lasted through the wear and tear of the entire hike. I always wear long sleeves and pants when hiking. They shield me from the sun, spines, and thorns. Started out with REI brand pants, but the zipper broke halfway through my hike so I replaced them with Mountain Hardware Mesa pants- 10 oz. I liked these pants so much that when I ripped the butt out of them on my descent of Baboquivari that I bought another pair. Shirt $40, pants $70.


Warm Clothes: As you can tell, I was on a budget and trying to squeeze the most out of every last dollar. When I looked at the prices of oudoor clothing- fifty dollars for a thermal shirt, a hundred for a fleece hoody, I was appalled. These are things that are very simple to sew, so I did some research and found that I could buy the performance fabrics straight from the manufacturer at I bought Power Dry (a wicking fabric) in two different weights and made two thermal tops and two bottoms. I used Powerstretch Fleece to make a hoody and fleece pants, as well as a scarf. I had tons of fabric left over and the supplies cost me less than one store-bought hoody. This is a great option for saving money, but only if you or someone you know knows how to sew. Light thermals- 8 oz, heavy thermals- 12 oz, Fleece hoody- 13oz, Fleece pants- 12 oz. Fleece rarely carried, only in really cold conditions.


Hats- Sun hat- Columbia- 4 oz- I liked this lightweight hat, but it became a floppy bonnet when it got wet. Warm hat- acrylic knit cap


Gaiters/Light Crampons- Outdoor Research Cascadia Gaiters- 6 oz

Kahtoola Microspikes- 7 oz- I only used these several times, but I was really happy to have the microspikes on the icy north slopes of the Huachucas.


GPS: Garmin Etrex Vista- 4.5 oz- Even though this unit is several years old, it worked really well and I was very pleased with the amount of time it ran on lithium batteries. Li Brannfors gave me a gps program that had the whole line of the trail on the background, so it saved memory. The trail was a little out of date in places, but was a great resource.


Maps: I printed out my own TOPO maps, and used the Pocket Maps. Li Brannfors has a TOPO map set of the whole trail that was very helpful. I carried the overview maps from the guidebook, but they were not very helpful.


Bandannas: Usually two, sometimes three in hot weather. I tie a wet one around my neck at all times in the heat and one on my head when using my umbrella to keep cool. Plus one that I try to keep relatively clean.


First aid kit: 7 oz- Plenty of moleskin, some band-aids, Neosporin, sewing kit,etc.