Gear for the Arizona Trail is not much different than what I use on other three-season hikes.
The Arizona Trail is a trail of extremes. The trail traverses diverse eco-systems, traveling between “Sky Islands.” Hikers can travel from the desert floor to high alpine altitudes in the same day – desert heat to knee-deep snow.
This means I carry cold-weather gear when I hike the Arizona Trail in the Spring and Fall.
Water can also be scarce on the Arizona Trail, and often you are sharing water with both domestic and wild animals. You may need to carry additional water and treatment methods.
Table of contents
Arizona Trail Gear – Post Thoughts
I finished my most recent thru-hike of the Arizona Trail about two weeks ago. I’ve put together a post with thoughts on my gear. Hopefully, it helps with your decisions. I’m also always happy to answer any questions. It was a great hike and trail.
Gear List – Big Three
Katabatic Sawatch – I don’t usually use quilts when temps drop below 30 degrees, but I’ve decided to take my Katabatic Sawatch Quilt. I added two ounces of Down to it and it worked well in cold temperatures on the Northville Placid Trail.
Zpacks Hexamid – I used my old Hexamid for years and decided to purchase a new floorless Hexamid @ 10 ounces. It does have fully enclosed netting since I hate sleeping with bugs (I’ve been a bit a few times by spiders). I’m using a piece of Polycro from Gossamer Gear for the floor. Once I cut it down to size it weighs about 2 ounces. It is amazingly durable. I also use a 1/8 Thinlight Pad that weighs about 1.5 ounces once I cut it in half. It mainly serves as my sit pad, and to stop my sleeping pad from sliding around on my footprint or tent floor. It also makes a good cozy for my pot.
ULA Ohm 2.0 – My 36 oz. Ohm can’t be beaten for quality, durability, and comfort. I’ve worn these backpacks for years and have a review of the most recent Ohm 2.0. I’ve tried many brands – Hyperlite, Gossamer Gear, Osprey, Zpacks, etc., but for comfort over long distances, I always come back to ULA.
- Katabatic Sawatch Quilt – see the mention above.
- Neoair XLite Pad – there is a lot of debate about whether or not to use this pad in the desert due to punctures. I’ve used mine in the desert and have been successful in my last couple of hikes. Carefully selecting a campsite is important – no pointy things! I also have a comparison review between the X-Lite and Nemo Tensor if you are still making a decision.
- Thermarest Aeros Premium – I switched to an actual inflatable pillow this year. This is hands down the most comfortable one I found, and it really improved my quality of sleep for
- Gossamer Gear Thin light Pad – I mentioned the Thinlight above and also have this review. I really can’t say enough good things about how useful it is for me.
- Pocket Rocket 2 – I have tried wood burning, canister, alcohol, etc., and the Pocket Rocket 2 is still part of my Cooking Kit. It is fast, easy to use, and safer in arid conditions when I’m in the backcountry.
- Vargo Titanium BOT – This is a new pot for me. I love that the lid screws onto the pot. It was expensive pot, but the last titanium pot lasted me 15 years, so hopefully this one does also.
- Trailrunners – I’m going to make a change this year. I love my HOKAs but I don’t have the balance I like in some of my other trailrunners. My heel also drops a little more than I like. I’ve narrowed it down to either my Salomon Sense Ride 4’s or Saucony Peregrines. I’m leaning towards the Salomons with a great balance between comfort, stability and traction. You can check out my Sense Ride Review. There are not big differences between teh 3’s and 4’s, but I’ll be updating the review.
- Dirty Girl Gaiters – These lightweight gaiters should work out well in the desert, and I have a review that provides more insight.
- Smart Wool Socks – In warmer climates I used Smart Wool. The weave is not as tight as Darn Tough and my feet stay cooler. They also dry faster. In colder hiking I use Darn Tough for mid and heavy weight socks. My feet generally stay warmer. I’ll be taking Smart Wool for Arizona. I usually look for a sale and at the time of this post Moosejaw had good price reductions on Smartwool.
- Montbell Versalite – I’ve used the Marmot Precip in the past, but decided to try the Montbell Versalite this year. So far, this has been a great jacket. It is lighter than the Precip and has the pit zips I want on a rain jacket.
- Montbell Versalite Rain Pants – I had my last 3 ounce pair for 10 years, and just purchased new ones.
- Voormi Women’s River Run Hoodie – Two years later and I keep coming back to this ultra-light, wool blend hoodie. It is my sleeping and town shirt and after everything I’ve tried it is still my favorite. You can also see this Hoodie Review.
- Running Shorts – The lightest pair I can find for sleeping.
- Feathered Friends EOS Jacket – nothing warmer @ 11 ounces, and I HATE being cold in camp. You can see my review on this jacket.
- Patagonia Sun Stretch – Patagonia is not inexpensive, but they make clothing that lasts. I have literally owned and used their shirts for decades and they are still going strong. I use long sleeve shirts in the desert because they keep me cooler.
- Kora Beanie 230 Esker Hat – I have their old style. They have since switched to the Yushu beanie.
- Generic hiking shorts with pockets – these are women’s shorts with pockets. I always keep my “finances” in my pockets.
- Old Sun Hat – This is also my pot holder and is pretty ratty, but I’m emotionally attached to it. I also cannot find another one this light with a mesh top.
- Iphone 12 Pro – I was given this for christmas. It takes good pictures, but I still think the Androids take better pictures. I may switch.
- Anker 20,000 Battery Charger – I mostly use the 20,000 so I don’t have to worry about recharging so often, or running out of juice. So far, Anker holds the longest charge for me.
- InReach Mini – The Mini was new on the AZT and has since hiked the CT and NET with me. It has not always been dependable when texting, but having a consistent signal has not been an issue.
- Fenix HM50R Rechargeable Headlamp – This is one of my favorite new pieces of gear. I really do love this headlamp and have a review here.
Arizona Trail Gear – Miscellaneous Items
- Sunglasses – Mine are prescription. I always carry them.
- First Aid Kit – Tinactin, Neosporin, Imodium, band-aids, mole skin, 3 larger bandages, needle, Ibuprofen. I can’t say enough good things about Tinactin. It is awesome for those “heat rashes” so common when hiking. I’m always suprised I don’t hear about it more from other hikers.
- Bandana – I always carry one to soak up rain, tie back hair, as a sling, hot pot holder. They have many uses.
- Kula Cloth – I reviewed what equates to a “Pee Cloth, ” and still rave about it. It is so much cleaner than a bandanna.
- Black Diamond Carbon Cork Hiking Poles – These are new for 2019, and you can check out that review also. They are tough as nails and will last for years to come.
- Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella – My Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella is described in this review. I have used umbrellas for years, and they are awesome for many reasons, which are included in the review.
Arizona Trail Gear List – Final Thoughts
I test a lot of gear throughout the year and usually take what works best on my longer hikes. There are some items I take new though if I trust the brands.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. I always enjoy discussing hiking and gear.