This spring I will be thru-hiking the 800-mile Arizona Trail in the USA. What’s in my pack? This is my Arizona Trail gear list.
About the Arizona Trail
In the spring of 2022, I hope to thru-hike the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile (1300 kilometers) hike across the US state of Arizona. It is a varied landscape, one day you’ll hike in the snow high up the mountains in the snow, the next day you’ll hike in the desert between the cacti.
If you plan a thru-hike, it’ll probably take about 6 to 8 weeks to complete the trail. So you want to keep your pack as light as possible. So it’s a matter of figuring out what you do and don’t bring with you. Ultralight backpacking is big in the United States, but not so much in Europe. That’s why it’s pretty difficult to get that ultralight gear. I mostly opted for lightweight gear and I’m really happy with my choices. In this Arizona Trail gear list, I’ll show you what’s in my pack during this thru-hike.
Arizona Trail Gear List
Here it is; my packing list for the Arizona Trail.
I start with the heaviest gear; a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Together, these items are known as the big four (or big three, if you don’t add the sleeping pad, which is the lightest).
Backpack – Osprey Eja 58 VER
Although I am very satisfied with the Osprey Aura AG 65 that I wore on the Pacific Crest Trail and the Pieterpad, it has one major drawback, it is quite a heavy backpack. Now there are (especially in America) very lightweight backpacks on the market, but since I often have problems with my back (because of the gymnastics I did in the past), for me it is very important to try on a backpack first.
During my search for a new backpack, I discovered the Osprey Eja 58. This bag is light (1230 grams) and sturdy. There was only one store in the Netherlands that had this backpack in stock and I tried it on there. And it is very comfortable. In the meantime, I have already tested it out during my hike on the Frisian Woudenpad and I think it will do well on the Arizona Trail.
To save some weight, I will probably remove the hood (I hardly use it anyway).
I have a rain cover for my backpack, but it is quite heavy and only protects the outside of the bag. So I bought a pack liner (nylofume) instead. This is a very strong plastic bag that I can put in the backpack to keep all my gear clean and dry. This is where I put my sleeping bag, electronics, and extra clothes.
Tent – Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2
After 2.5 years of backpacking with my Naturhike Cloud Up 2 tent, I wanted something different for this hike. And especially a lighter one. Lightweight tents come in many shapes and sizes (and prices) and I ended up buying the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2.
This tent is very spacious, easy to set up and it weighs less than a kilo. So I’m super happy with it!
I also have a groundsheet to protect my tent (and sleeping mat). There are quite a lot of cacti in the desert, so an extra layer can’t hurt. I got some soft Tyvek and cut out a suitable groundsheet myself. The advantage of this is that it is very light and I can also use it to sit or lie on during a walking break.
Sleeping bag – Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt
In recent years I have used my lightweight mummy sleeping bag from the Decathlon, but it is just not warm enough for the cold nights in the desert. In addition, I also tend to turn a lot in my sleep, and then you get entangled in such a mummy sleeping bag rather quickly, so this time I opted for a quilt. You lock this around your sleeping mat and is, therefore, more of a very warm blanket.
This brand is not for sale much in Europe, but I managed to get an Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt through Outdooronline.sk. It has a nice bright orange color, is very warm (limit temperature of -12 degrees Celsius or 10 degrees Fahrenheit) and I don’t get caught up in it.
Sleeping pad – Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite R
I have been using the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite R as a sleeping mat for two years now and it really is a winner. Lightweight, small to store (the size of a water bottle), very comfortable, and with an R rating of 3.2 also nice and warm.
You don’t exactly pass through a village every day on the Arizona Trail, so you have to bring your entire kitchen with you. What’s in my camp kitchen?
- Water filter: Saywer Squeeze.
- Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket.
- Pot: Toaks 650 with lid.
- Spork: Sea to Summit.
- Pocket knife: Opinel.
- Water: Cnoc Vecto 2l (can also be used in combination with the water filter) and three separate water bottles of 1 liter (Smart water bottles are awesome).
When it comes to clothing, I make a distinction between the clothing that I wear while hiking (not part of the base weight) and the clothing that is in my backpack.
Clothing – worn
What do I wear while hiking?
- Trailrunners: Hoka one speedgoat – Since I first started walking on Hoka’s last year, I don’t want anything else. They are so comfy! I’ve walked hundreds of miles wearing them and haven’t had a single blister.
- Leggings: I prefer hiking in leggings. Special hiking tights are great, but I actually prefer running tights because I think they last longer. I am very happy with my Reebok leggings. Sturdy and with a large pocket that fits my phone.
- Shirt: blouse from Columbia – I also like to wear a blouse when I’m hiking. These are light, block out the sun, and dry in no time when wet. I have a nice red one from Columbia, but also a pink one from Craghoppers (which also keeps mosquitoes away). I’m still a bit unsure which of the two I’ll take with me.
- Tank top: Which I like to wear underneath the blouse.
- Hiking socks: Bridgedale. Nice sturdy hiking socks made of merino wool (so they don’t smell so quickly).
- Sports bra & underpants .
Clothes – in pack
I also have some extra clothes in my backpack.
- Thermal leggings: for sleeping
- Merino wool shirt: for sleeping
- Smartwool socks: for sleeping.
- Extra hiking socks: a pair of Injini toe socks (perfect for preventing blisters between your toes) and a pair of Falke.
- Hiking shorts: I like to alternate between leggings and shorts. I tend to suffer from painful chafing quite quickly, which I prevent by changing regularly.
- Two extra pairs of underwear.
- A puffy from Mountain Hardwear: this is a light, but warm, down jacket that you can fold very small.
- A raincoat: I got a cheap one from Decathlon. It is lightweight, yet sturdy. And I don’t expect to need it very much.
- A warm vest: I’ve been using my Decathlon vest for a few years now and it goes with me every trip. Not too heavy and nice and warm.
- A beany: I received a beautiful hat from Sailingship the Eendracht (I went on a trip with them recently) and it fits perfectly!
- A Buff: multifunctional, can be used as a headband, sleeping mask, and scarf.
If I hadn’t been a travel blogger, I could have saved quite a bit of weight, because bringing all those electronics is quite heavy. Anyway, I’ll take it with me anyway, because I want to be able to share beautiful photos and my stories with you. This is what’s in my bag in terms of electronics:
- Phone: Samsung S21 with case
- Power bank: Anker 20000
- Camera: Sony A6000 (with case and extra battery)
- Garmin Inreach Mini: I didn’t bring this with me on the PCT, but for the AZT I like to have a PLB (Person Locator Beacon) with me because you have hardly any cell service on this trail. Friends and family can follow my hike thanks to this device and in an emergency, you can also ask for help in places without reach.
- E-reader Kobo Clara: a luxury item, but I can’t go a day without reading a book.
- Headphones: JLab Go Air POP – for some much-needed upbeat music when I’m having a bad day.
- Charger, travel adaptor, and cables.
First aid & hygiene
I also bring some first aid items and some stuff for my personal hygiene. Because this is often used while hiking, most of it does not count towards the base weight. What does count:
- Brush with mirror – small and foldable.
- Deuce of Spades – this is a very small shovel that you use to dig a hole when you need to use the bathroom.
- Earplugs – in case I can’t get to sleep because of noisy prairie dogs.
- First aid kit including tweezers and small nail scissors.
- Organicup – at the PCT I brought tampons, but an Organicup is a lot more environmentally friendly and you only need one.
- Small toothbrush.
Things I use during my thru-hike are ibuprofen, toothpaste, sunscreen, multivitamins, toilet paper, and baby wipes. If possible, all in travel size.
In addition, I have several articles that do not fit one of the previous categories. These are:
- Trekking poles – I have a great set from Black Diamond.
- Bandanas – can be used as a handkerchief, hair band, towel, etc.
- Dry bags– in different sizes. One for food, one for clothes, and one for electronics.
- Small compass .
- Pen and notebook – I like to write a lot.
- Wallet (ultralight) with a debit card, some cash, driver’s license, and credit card.
- Last but not least: my passport .
Arizona Trail Base Weight
If you add all these items together, you arrive at a basis weight of 7.76 kilos or 17.1 lbs. What do you think?
Extra (the maybe pile)
In addition, there are a number of items that I am not sure about. I think I’ll take these items with me initially and decide later on whether or not I’ll use them. These are:
- Sandals (Teva) . I like to of my trail runners after a long day of hiking. I can also walk for miles on these Teva sandals if something happens with my shoes.
- Lightweight mug. I like to drink a cup of tea during lunch and dinner. This can also be done in my cooking pot, but I prefer to bring a separate mug with me.
- Extra sports bra. This is not really necessary, but just like with hiking pants, I really like to alternate different bras.
- Lightweight pillow . On the PCT I used a drybag with clothes as a pillow, but I also have a very lightweight pillow from Exped. Not sure if I want to bring it.
What items would you/wouldn’t you bring?
Overview Arizona Trail Gear List
How do you keep track of what you have and how much it weighs? You can put everything in Excel, but there is also a very handy website that can keep track of this for you, this is Lighterpack. Here you can create packing lists with categories and make your best packing list.
Is this the perfect gear list?
You can prepare very well for a long-distance hike, but often things go (slightly) differently than planned. Looking back at my hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, I did make some adjustments to my packing list along the way. And that’s fine. This Arizona Trail gear list is a good guideline to start with.
I will update this page after my hike so you can learn from my mistakes. Or maybe I’ll get it right the first time, who knows!
Over the last few years, I’ve hiked quite a lot of fun trails. Did you like this article and do you want to read similar articles? These are some recommendations:
- Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: from Mexico to Canada
- Pieterpad: the most famous long-distance trail in The Netherlands
- PCT resupply, food & water | Pacific Crest Trail tips
Would you also like to hike a long-distance trail and are you looking for inspiration? Here are some great books you can browse for hours:
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