hyperlitemtngear Member, Administrator Posts: 77
edited July 2023 in THE GEAR LAB

Words and Photos by Will Peterson

Thru hiking the New England 4,000 Footers in May means that I'm in for the entire range of New England trail conditions. I will contend with high levels of mud and water at lower elevations and lingering ice and snow up high. The weather will also be a challenge, as it could be sunny and warm one day and snow the next. Given the conditions, it will be necessary to carry some extra gear. My overall base weight is 15 pounds, 12.4 oz. It is not the lightest setup, but I think it contains all the essentials for the time of year and the uncertainty of the weather. Once I'm out on trail, I will reevaluate as I go and make changes as I'm able.


Backpack – Hyperlite Mountain Gear Junction 55 Black – 4 oz - The Windrider has been my go-to pack ever since I discovered it in 2018. This time around, I opted for the Junction because this route contains optional bushwhacks, and I want to go in with full confidence to charge off trail! I generally take the removable frame out of my pack because that's what seems to be most comfortable for me.

Tent – Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 w/ Half Insert33.1 oz - I will be using the HMG tent-pole straps and my trekking poles to pitch. This will be my first long-distance hike with the Ultamid 2, and I'm stoked to try it out and see how it performs!

Quilt – Hammock Gear Economy 20° Down Quilt (w/ drybag) – 24 oz

Sleeping Pad – Nemo Tensor Insulated – 15 oz - I have a Thermarest Neoair Uberlite, but I worry that it may not be warm enough, depending on the temps at night. I may swap to it at some point if the weather allows.

Trekking Poles – Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork – 18 oz


Zpacks food bag (w/line and rock bag) – 3.4 oz

Two one-liter smart water bottles – 1.4 oz - Two liters is pretty overkill for this time of year, but frequently stopping to filter is annoying, and I like having a lot of water.

Sawyer Squeeze Filter – 2.5 oz - There are smaller and lighter versions of this filter, but I have always found the Squeeze to have the best flow rate. Depending on the night, I may have to put the filter in my sleeping bag so it doesn't freeze.

CNOC Outdoors Vecto 2L Water Bag – 2.6 oz - I highly recommend this bag for its durability and ease of use. It's compatible with the Sawyer filter, and the back of the bag opens up so you can scoop directly from stagnant water sources.

One very small camp towel – <1 oz 

MSR Pocket Rocket Stove – 2.6 oz

Snowpeak Titanium Mug w/ Homemade Coozy & tin foil lid – 3.5 oz

SeaToSummit Titanium Spork – 0.4 oz


iPhone 11 Mini (Follow my progress on Instagram here ) – 4.7 oz

Almost all of the Vermont section of this hike is on the Long Trail or Appalachian Trail, and I will be using the Guthook Long Trail map to navigate.

Garmin Forerunner 945 GPS Watch (Data may be delayed, but follow my progress on Strava here) – 1.7 oz

Apple EarPods – negligible oz

Anker PowerCore 15000 Redux – 9.5 oz

Charging cords for phone, watch, and battery – 0.6 oz

Zpacks Electronics Bag – 0.3 oz

Energizer Headlamp – 2 oz

Extra AAA Batteries for Headlamp – 1.2 oz

RODE Video Microphone and Joby Mini Phone Tripod – 2.1 oz - For audio and video recording as well as taking photos with my phone


The clothing section is the source of most of my extra weight. There are going to be days where it is 70 and sunny, and there are going to be days where it is 38 and raining. I need to be prepared for these varied conditions, which is reflected in my clothing setup.

Columbia Silver Ridge Hiking Shirt – 4.7 oz

Running Shorts – 3.1 oz

Two pair ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh 9" – 5.2 oz total - I cut the internal mesh out of my running shorts and use these instead because it's what is most comfortable for me.

One light long sleeve shirt – 4.5 oz

L.L.Bean Midweight Base Layer (Pants) – 6.0 oz

Three pairs of Darn Tough mid-cushion socks – 6.6 oz total - I generally carry two pairs, but I feel like a third dry pair could be nice to have, given how wet the trails will be.

Two pairs of Injinji sock liners – 3.8 oz total - Discovering these sock liners was a game-changer. They all but eliminate my toe blisters.

L.L. Bean Trail Model Rain Jacket – 10 oz - Heavier than my OR Helium, but because of the certainty of cold rain, I want extra protection from the elements.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer hooded down jacket – 8.4 oz

Buff – 1.3 oz

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ol' Reliable Hat – 2.9 oz

Dirty Girl Gaiters – 0.9 oz

Altra Olympus 4 Trail Runners – 23.2 oz for pair - The Olympus has been my go-to for four years now. In my experience, the support, toe space, and rugged Vibram sole are unmatched.

Xero Shoes Cloud Sandals – 9.2 oz for the pair - A luxury for sure, but there are going to be lots of wet nights at camp and unavoidable fjords during the day.

Timberland Hat – 1.2 oz

Thin fleece gloves – 2.1 oz

Warmer Dakine mittens – 3.7 oz - I am still debating on these. I know that the only way I am going to want these is if I don't bring them, so I'll probably bring them.

Extra pullover layer – 5.1 oz - Long sleeve layer for hiking because, if it's raining, I won't want to wear my down jacket.

Hillsound Trail Crampons – 15.7 oz - For the inevitable ice and snow at higher elevations. These things are overkill for this time of year, but I don't own smaller spikes.

FIRST AID – 4.2 oz total

My first aid kit is pretty minimal, but these are the only things that I have ever felt like I need while on trail.

Needle/thread - Useful for lots of stuff. Sewing up ripped gear, popping blisters, you name it!

LeukoTape - This stuff is incredible for blister prevention. LeukoTape truly sticks


Alcohol pads

3-in-1 antibiotic ointment



TOILETRIES – 4 oz total



Toilet paper

Hand sanitizer


EarpPlugs - I don't anticipate sharing shelters with people very often, but I cannot sleep well if there's snoring when I do.


Various Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sacks for Organization – 3.2 oz total

Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow – 2.4 oz

Snowpeak UL Umbrella – 4.7 oz - I have never carried an umbrella while backpacking, but cold rain makes me upset, so I'm pulling out all the stops to stay relatively dry.

Duct tape – negligible oz

Zpacks trail wallet – negligible oz

Pocket knife – 1.7 oz

AWOL AT Guide – 8.0 oz - A sizeable chunk of this route is on the Appalachian Trail, and I love the information in this book for town information, water sources, finding shelters, etc.

Rawlogy Cork ball – negligible oz - For rolling and recovery

Bug Net – 1.3 oz

Therm-a-Rest Sit Pad – 2.0 oz

Bug Spray


Will Peterson is a thru hiker, trail runner, alpine skier, peak bagger, and a Behavioral Neuroscience student at Northeastern University. He hopes to continually push himself to new limits on the trail and in the mountains. Follow him on Instagram @_will.peterson