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Gear List – Ozark Highlands Trail

The Ozark Highlands Trail is notoriously full of water. Creeks, streams, rivers, waterfalls, and the occasional pond frequently cross the trail. It is also in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas and rarely climbs much above 2,000’ in elevation. So, I figured that mild backpacking gear and layers would suffice for this thru-hike. The real trick was having gear that would work for both backpacking and then setting an FKT. My original plan was to thru-hike the trail in one direction and then take a shot at the record on the OHT on the way back. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible with both rain, snow, and flash flooding, so I scraped the FKT plan. But, I still needed to stay warm on my thru-hike and the gear I took ended up being just barely enough. Here is what I took.

Kumo Superlight

I have used the Kumo on a number of trips over the past three years and like the simplicity, lightness, and limitations on overpacking. With my ever-evolving adventure in the Ozarks, I do wish I had brought a 40-liter pack that was more waterproof instead of something more conducive to an FKT. But, when I left for the trip, I fully expected to go for an FKT.

The One by Gossamer Gear made it through the entire Great Western Loop with me and I set the Arizona Trail Record with the shelter. I like that it is fully enclosed, and a single wall tent that only requires six stakes. Mine is 3 years old but it still handled the insane storms of Arkansas. The weight is great and it is very packable and dries out quickly.

LT5 poles

The LT5 Trekking poles are simply the lightest out there. I have used them on a number of adventures and have had a lot fewer problems with them breaking than others. I hike with trekking poles about 50% of the time, so having something light and easy to store in my pack makes it nice to transition from using them to not.

Do I have a favorite piece of gear? I am not sure… but if I did this would be it. I love the versatility, functionality, and quality of Katabatic quilts and I recommend them to everyone. The down holds up. I have 12k miles on one of my Katabatic quilts. They are a great gear investment and are much lighter than traditional bags.

The Coros watch has the best battery life, great app, and perfect integration features. Because of multi-day efforts, FKTs, and thru-hikes I have the Vertix 2 which has about a million years of battery life, but I think the Apex is the best and most useful watch on the market for most.

Simple, lightweight, and reliable. I have been using a Sawyer filter for 11 years and it once again worked well in the field. During the heaviest of rainstorms, when the muddy water and sediment flowed into all the streams this filter worked to turn it into satisfying, clear, thirst-quenching liquid.

Tifosi sunglasses

These are new sunglasses and worked great. I have used a number of sunglasses over the last year and I would rank the value of these Tifosi near the top. Also, I like the wide array of styles. The affordability and value simply make them a great addition to a backpacking trip where a scratch or two isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

I made the stupid mistake of not taking a traditional sleeping pad with me. But, I had planned to FKT the trail and wanting to cut my weight led me to using this as both a back pad while hiking and a sleeping bag to add a little cushion to my shoulder and hip. Would recommend a more robust pad.

This rain jacket isn’t among the most popular for thru-hikers, but I have found it is one of the most reliable in the downpours, and this thru-hike certainly put it to the test. It held up well and I would recommend it.

This thing is awesome! It is lightweight, a simple strip of cloth and it wraps around my body and secures with velcro. It can double as added protection around camp too. I linked Ripstop by the Roll for all your fabric needs.

App Gear Co Hoodie

This is the best mid layer. I wore it nearly every second of the time I was in Arkansas. The best thing about my Appalachian Gear Company sweatshirt is that when it is wet or sweaty it still maintains its insulative properties. I would highly recommend adding one to your kit.

Not only are these socks comfortable, and I don’t seem to get blisters with them, BUT they also have a spectacular national parks-themed line. If you know anything about my fashion sense, you know it is loud, and these help me be loud!

I wear these for my of my hiking now, and they work great. The cushion is perfect for variable terrains and they are wide enough that I rarely have any foot discomfort or blisters. My favorite thing about the Hoka Speedgoat line is that I don’t have the same uncomfortable break-in period as other shoes.

Just look at this picture. Look at it really hard… these scream my name. That is the main reason I own them and continue to use tights with a tiger on them. These improve both my demeanor and my performance.

This was my first time taking the Arc’teryx down jacket on an adventure. I didn’t think I would use it much because the weather was supposed to be more temperate in Arkansas. BUT, it got into the teens a few nights and the few degrees Arkansas had to offer led me to hiking with this jacket on a lot.

This is simply the lightest, best, and most reliable headlamp. The Nitecore NU 20 is also a cheaper option but it does not have the red light functionality that is essential in group settings. This rechargeable headlamp is quickly becoming the most popular among hikers.

Iphone 11

I don’t love my phone. I wish I had an iPhone 12 with 5G capability. But, this phone works better than my last one and it takes some good low light photos.

To be an influencer, you must create content. A tripod makes content creation easier. There are a number of cheap options and they all work equally averagely.

Hiking Camera Gear
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