12 Easily Forgotten Pieces of Gear for a Thru-Hike

With thru-hiking season just around the corner you're likely caught in a whirlwind of last minute gear purchases. In the storm of rushing around like a headless chicken there are some small items you might forget.

But don't worry, we've got you covered. Here's a little list of 12 easily forgotten pieces of gear to serve as a reminder.

1 : Sunscreen

Just like mama told you, always apply sunscreen when frolicking in the sun. We should all know by now that the same Vitamin-D rich sun rays also expose our skin to harmful UVA and UVB rays, both of which are highly correlated with increased risk of skin cancer.

Damn sun, make up your mind. Are we friends or are we foes?

When looking for a sunscreen you’ll want to go for one with an SPF of 15 or higher, applied every two hours or so and you’re good to go.

2 : Lip Balm / Chap Stick

Hiking can be painful enough on its own, so why make it more painful by allowing your beautiful soft lips to become cracked bleeding lumps of anguish?

Prevent that extra suffering (unless you’re into it, Hike your own hike right?) by throwing some lip balm into your kit. There are tons of options out there, ranging from medicated Carmex to more organic options like Burt’s Bees (doesn’t have SPF though).

The weight penalty of a little tube of chap-stick is well worth it unless of course you’re looking to pick up a new trail name disparaging your dry, bleeding lips.

3 : Headlamps

Flashlights are so 1973, headlamps or bust my dudes. It’s time to go hands-free and enjoy the perks of illuminating the night like a humanoid of the future.

You’ll want to pick one up that has enough lumens for some light night hiking, adjustable power modes for being in camp, an emergency strobe for signaling, and red light mode so you can preserve night vision without disturbing fellow hikers as you rummage around camp.

4 : Extra Socks

One of the simpler pleasures on trail: putting on a fresh pair of socks after a long day of hiking. We should all know the importance of taking care of your feet in the backcountry, so treat yourself with a pair of camp socks. While a little luxurious, carrying that extra pair of socks will also go a long way in preventing blisters.

Some merino-wool or possum fiber socks are a great choice. Only the best for your precious feet, ya know?

5 : Sit Pad

Just because we like to push ourselves and go after long miles, doesn’t mean we like to sit on the hard ground when taking a break. Having a lightweight foam sit pad can make all the difference in comfort when stopping to take a breather.

6 : Phone Charger / Backup Battery

Do it for the gram. How else will everyone know you’re an adventurous spirit if you don’t constantly inundate their social media feeds with photos of you living your best life?

Oh and I guess it’s a good idea to keep your phone charged for navigational purposes (Guthooks or bust), keeping in touch with loved ones when you have signal, and jamming to your favorite tunes.

We personally love our Anker power banks, and you’ll want to pick one up that is lightweight, yet has enough juice to keep your phone charged between towns. This will vary depending on your usage and personal needs.

7 : Lighter

Not everyone is a no-cook ultralight wizard, so it’s important to remember to carry a little lighter to start your stove up. Now, this may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget one in the mad rush of putting together your kit.

A mini Bic lighter is good enough for most people, but there are also much heavier waterproof/windproof lighters available on the market.

8 : Sewing Repair Kit 

Time to recall your brief foray into hand sewing and carry a lightweight needle and thread to do emergency repairs on trail. For negligible weight penalties you can prepare yourself for the inevitable damage some of your gear will incur out there.

9 : Pocket Knife

I mean, it’s a pocket knife, you know what it’s for: Cutting up cheese.

10 : Repair Kit w/ Tape

Another smart and lightweight option to carry in your repair kit. Holes and tears happen, so it’s nice to have patches when they do occur.

Plus, the repair scars add character to your gear.  Works great on blisters too!

11 : Lightload Towel

If you’re rocking a single-walled tent you know condensation can be an issue from time to time, which is why it’s smart to carry a light towel to wipe that away when it gets a little out of hand.

12 : Tooth Brush + Tooth Paste

Lightweight travel toothbrushes and toothpaste can make a huge difference in your overall well-being. 

While you may be covered in dirt and smell like a dumpster festering in the sun, it doesn’t mean your teeth and breath have to match.