The Big Three

Okay, we are done with our Big Three for our upcoming trip on the Appalachian Trail. The "Big Three" are your backpack, your sleeping system, and your shelter. It is recommended to keep these three items as far below 9 lbs as possible. How'd we do? Here's what I have chosen for my gear, plus what Justin and I decided together for a shelter.


-Backpack- I am decided on using my Osprey Exos 48 (w/hip pockets) for my backpack. In 2016 I used an Osprey Atmos 70 and switched to an Aether 70. Too much space. Even if you don't need 70 liters of space, you will somehow find things to carry when you have unused space. I love the Exos 48. Just the right amount of space, easy access water bottle side pockets, and darn comfortable to wear. Weight: 37oz or about 2.3lbs.


-Sleeping System- For my sleeping bag, I am taking my REI Co-op Magma 30. I run hot, so I don't need it to be any lower-rated than 30 degrees. In addition to being super light, it's luscious to sleep in, if I may say so. It's 9oz more lightweight than the one I carried in 2016. Weight: 22oz or about 1.3lbs.

My sleeping pad is a Big Agnes Air Core Ultra, 20x78. It's about the same weight as the pad I carried in 2016. Weight: 22oz or about 1.3lbs.


-Shelter- Justin and I had a long conversation about whether we wanted separate tents or a joint tent. Truth is, at 6'4" and 200lbs, I take up a lot of space in a tent. We have tried a few 2-person tents together, and it is just too small for both of us. So, separate tents or a 3-person tent?

We decided that it wasn't worth the money for us to both invest in ultralight tents. So this meant needing to find a 3-person tent light enough for a long-distance backpacking trip. In the end, we chose a Zpacks Triplex. Made from Dyneema Composite Fiber, it is the most lightweight 3-person tent on the market, and it is enormous. There is enough space for both of us and our gear, and it's 6oz lighter than my 2016 tent. Weight: 22.5oz or 1.4lbs.


-So?- Total Weigh-in: 108.3 oz or about 6.75lbs. This includes the 2.8oz for the tent stakes. That's not bad, honestly. And we can take turns carrying the tent!