Thru-hiking gear list

Struggling with what to bring for your next thru-hiking trail? It can be hard to find the right gear list. No worries, we’ve got you! Here you’ll find a complete thru-hiking gear list with all the gear you need for your upcoming thru. Whether you’re hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the Te Araroa, or the Via Alpina, go ultralight! This page focuses on the necessary items to complete your thru-hiking trail safely. Always add more specific items that are important for the trail you choose and circumstances you expect during your thru-hike.

items needed for campingTo make your next thru-hike a bit more comfy, bring some items that are not essential but make hiking more enjoyable for you (and maybe other thru-hikers). Consider items that you won’t just use during the hike but also for the evenings in the tent or while taking a ZERO (rest day). You can think of an e-reader, journal, card game,  book with unsolvable crossword puzzles, or something else. It’s all about having fun out there!

You’ll find the full gear list if you scroll down a bit more. We’ve outlined a few items that are the most important for your thru-hiking trail. If you click on the links you’ll be redirected to the brands we recommend and the most trusted outdoor gear shops where you can buy the gear.

camping tent on grassy surface
man inflating sleeping pad


Most important items

These are the essentials for your next thru-hiking trail. Always choose to invest in the right quality gear when you have the possibility. It’s more sustainable and keeps you safe on your trails, especially hiking day after day covering long distances.


  • Hiking shoes – trail runners or light hiking shoes
  • Backpack – 40-65 liters
  • Lightweight tent with footprint
  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Lightweight sleeping pad
  • Cooking gear – stove, pan, spork, lighter
  • Water filter or purification tablets
  • Rainwear – preferably hardshell
  • Clothing – layers & socks
  • Water bottle and bag
  • First aid kit – for emergencies
  • Hiking poles – to support your knees
  • Power bank – when there are no outlets available for long stretches
  • Trash bag – Leave No Trace
  • Sun protection – sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Safety device – for example, a Garmin inReach

Top brands for your gear

Lightweight tent

Your shelter night after night during all kinds of weather conditions. Go lightweight or ultralight.

MSR Durston Gear

Sleeping bag

Choose something that will keep you warm in colder conditions but is still breathable.

Therm-a-Rest Rab equipment

Sleeping pad

Gives you comfort and keeping you warm while you’re cowboy camping or in your lightweight tent.

Therm-a-Rest Rab equipment

Hiking shoes

Hiking shoes provide comfort, grip, and protection against rugged terrains, ensuring safety during your long-distance trail.



Essential for all the gear you bring, good backpacks are designed to distribute weight evenly, making it easier to transport water, food, and gear.

Gregory backpacks Hyperlite

Hiking poles

Assist you in keeping pace mile after mile and reducing knee strain on descents. An essential item for thru-hikers.

LEKI Black Diamond


A shield against the elements because even when the weather looks good, you can always end up in a rainstorm.

Rab equipment Columbia


Layers protect you against the weather conditions. Take at least three layers with you, a  base-, mid-, and outer layer.

Rab equipment Columbia

Water bottle or bag

Vital for staying hydrated and maintaining energy levels. Bring at least 1.5 liters of water with you.

SIGG Nalgene


More than just for comfort, the right socks prevent blisters, wick moisture, and provide cushioning.

Injinji Darn Tough

First aid kit

A compact lifesaver, it is equipped to ensure minor setbacks don’t become major emergencies.

Ortovox First Aid Kits

Safety device

For absolute emergency situations, this could be your lifeline. Never go on a thru-hike without this device.

Garmin Garmin InReach mini

Dried food

This is great for staying lightweight and still getting your calories in each day.

Real Turmat Patagonia Provisions


Bring one to keep navigation and communication lines open at all times. Carrying it is a small effort for big advantages.

Xtorm Xtorm solar

Water filter

You’ll need to filter water each day to stay healthy and hydrated, so it’s important to have a filter you trust.

Platypus Katadyn


Complete thru-hiking gear list


  • Hiking shoes
  • Backpack with rain cover
  • Lightweight tent with footprint (groundsheet)
  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Lightweight sleeping pad
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Cooking gear (stove, pan, spork, lighter)
  • Freeze-dried meals
  • Water filter or purification tablets
  • Sitting pad
  • Clothing: T-shirt, fleece jacket, down jacket, shorts, long pants, base layers (an underlayer, for example, of merino wool), underwear, and hiking socks
  • Rainwear: (hardshell) jacket and pants
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Hiking poles
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder
  • Cap, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Power bank
  • Water bottle and bag
  • Food: energy-rich food (nuts, chocolate, energy bars, muesli balls, wraps)
  • First aid kit with an emergency blanket
  • Roll of small garbage bags
  • Headlamp
  • Gloves & hat (for colder conditions & high elevations)
  • Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo etc.)
  • Personal items (mobile, passport, cash etc.)
  • Pocket knife
  • Gaiters

For navigation & safety

  • GPS watch
  • Map of the area
  • Navigation app on your mobile (FarOut, Alltrails, Komoot, Hiiker, Outdooractive, GAIA)
  • Safety device – for example, a Garmin inReach

As for every gear list, add specific items that are important for the trail you choose and circumstances you’re hiking in. Think of insect repellent spray, crampons, ice axe, micro spikes and other specific hiking gear to ensure your safety.

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