This may come as a shock, but this gear list is pretty much recycled from the same old boring collection of all my previous thru-hikes. Still, I wanted to show readers what items I tend to bring on shoulder-season/desert hikes. To me, the only notable items are a new puffy, new women’s Thermarest NeoAir XLite (but still the same basic pad I’ve been using for over a decade) and a new-ish HMG Windrider pack (which is actually a slightly-used pack I bought on Ebay in 2020 and has already been on another thru-hike, the MRT). But I am pretty excited about the first item, a Women’s Enlightened Equipment Torrid pullover synthetic hoodie! My old down puffy just wasn’t going to cut it for this cold of a hike. This new puffy is going to be so much warmer, plus I can also wash it in a regular washing machine. It’s a tad heavier and a lot bulkier but I definitely think I’m going to need it.
I know I said I’d never use my old Zpack’s SolPlex tent for another thru-hike, after I had a few too many wet-floor nights on the AT, but guess what? I lied. Perhaps not-so-wisely, I’m resurrecting this tent from the dead as part of my sacrificial tent strategy. From what I’ve read, the Utah desert despises tent zippers. I’ve already replaced the slider on my old tent once and am ready with a spare in case I need to do it again. I had to make some cuts to get to the zipper end, so it’s already ready for a second round. I have a feeling this will probably be the tent’s last hurrah, but here’s hoping it makes it to the end of the hike. I employed this sacrificial strategy with my old Purple Rain Adventure skirt on the MRT, only to have it explode on day 2! Thank goodness for a good thrift store just 2 days later in Sedona. The Hayduke will not afford such conveniences. If the rainy/snowy weather continues late into April and May, I could be in for some more wet-floor nights. If so, I’m prepared to put my polycro ground tarp inside my tent. I haven’t tested this before, so we’ll maybe see if it works!
This list is way on the heavier side of what I now prefer, but I’m going to need the extra layers, sun protection, and ability to carry some heavy loads of water. It’s been a VERY wet year, so at least we should have decent water sources. On the downside, wet and cold may make for some tough days. I hope this list cuts it!