Two indispensable pieces of gear from my 2015 AT thru-hike were my headlamp and sit pad (a small piece of foam that had been torn from a larger sleeping pad). This year, the lighting and seating bases are covered in our 2016 gear package prize!
First, lighting. When I made it to NJ, where my family lives, I hopped off trail for a few days for some good food and rest. My first night back on trail, I realized–fortunately before and not after the sun had set–that I left my headlamp at home. The rest of the week I wasn’t able to journal or read at night, and had to be especially careful walking around camp in the dark. I’m just lucky I didn’t get caught in an emergency situation where I absolutely needed it.
What’s the point of that anecdote? A headlamp is a crucial piece of gear! While I didn’t have a Princeton Tec on the AT, I won their Remix Headlamp (Retail: $39.95) as part of last year’s prize package, which we’re excited to announce is included in this year’s as well. I love my Remix, and use it when I take out the trash and recycling and read in bed at night (pretending I’m on another epic hiking adventure). It’s a simple, functional and user-friendly piece of gear, and I’m excited to take mine with me on many future hikes.
A chair, a chair, my kingdom for a chair
Second, seating. My sit pad on the AT was a small square of foam. Better than nothing (trust me!), but nothing special. After the first week or two on the trail, I learned that rocks and logs–even smooth and flat ones–are not very comfortable to sit on. While foam cushions can be great on thru-hikes for weight purposes, there are much more comfortable seating options to consider after you finish a thru-hike, or as an option for day hikes. Enter a new piece of gear in this year’s prize package: the Byer of Maine TriLite Stool (Retail $24.95). This light and compact folding stool is easily storable, and quite strong–the regular version holding up to 200 pounds, the XL version up to 275. I wish all of the current Hikers for Mental Health comfortable makeshift sitting options until winning the TriLite.
We are grateful to both Princeton Tec and Byer of Maine for their contributions to our 2016 top hiker prize package. This collection of more than $1,200 worth of brand-new, top-quality gear will go to our top fundraising hiker in 2016.