Chattanooga Now Backpacker Chris Pickering shares his essential gear list

Chattanooga Now Backpacker Chris Pickering shares his essential gear list

March 1st, 2019 by Sunny Montgomery in Get Out - Bestmonth

Trail name: Tarzan

Passion: Backpacking

Age: 26

Hometown: Hendersonville, Tenn.

Trail Accomplishments:

Thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (2,200 miles) in 2012

Hiked the California section of the Pacific Crest Trail (1,600 miles) in 2015

Thru-hiked the Cumberland Trail (300 miles) in 2016

Adventure Goal:

To achieve a "calendar triple crown" in 2019 — a thru-hike of the AT (2,200 miles), PCT (2,650 miles) and Continental Divide (3,100 miles) all in one calendar year.

Since 1994, only four backpackers have been known to achieve this coveted feat, according to the American Long Distance Hiking Association. But Pickering has an advantage — and a strategy.

"My background is in running. I did cross-country, I played soccer. I average about 25 miles a day on the trail, but I think I could push it to 35," he says. His plan is to start in February, allotting 70 days to hike the AT, 70 days to hike the PCT, followed by 85 days to hike the Continental Divide.

What will Pickering carry with him as he cover those miles?

Chris Pickering poses with items from his hiking bag.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

Here is a look at the essentials Pickering keeps in his pack.

a. ULA CDT backpack, 40L

b. Cellphone

c. Basic pocket knife

d. CAMP Corsa ice axe

e. Enlightened Equipment lightweight down quilt rated to 20F temperatures

f. KAVU strap visor

g. Sawyer mini water filter with a reusable plastic water bottle

h. Lighter

i. Petzl headlamp

j. Watch (generic)

k. Platypus hydration pack

l. Six Moon Designs' Deschutes tent

m. Granite Gear drysack, 25L, to store food

n. Spoon (the sturdier the better, Pickering says)

>>When it come to sustenance, Pickering is into cold-soaking, a backpacking culinary method that forgoes use of a stove. All it requires is a "bowl" — Pickering uses an empty, pint-sized plastic Talenti gelato container with screw-on lid — in which foods such as oatmeal, couscous or ramen can be re-hydrated with cold water.

o. Bandana, to clean out that plastic container

p. Rope, 20 ft, to hang food bag out of reach of bears

q. Therm-a-Rest air mattress stuff stack repurposed as a dry bag for clothing

>>For his months on the trail, the only clothing Pickering packs is a wind jacket, an insulated polyester vest, a polyester long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirt, two pairs of socks in which to hike, one pair of socks in which to sleep, and fleece running gloves.

r. Ziploc bag with three extra AAA batteries (backups for headlamp), toothpaste, phone charger and Pickering's first-aid kit, which consists of climbing tape and a sewing needle

s. Craghoppers rain jacket

t. Therm-a-Rest Z Lite sleeping pad

u. Leki trekking poles with cork handles