Big Three Gear

The big three are your core gear when thru hiking, they are what compromise the most weight in your backpack short for food and water. As such they are the fastest way to drop weight on your body for your long distance hiking trek.

Quick Links:

About the Big Three
Backpack Options
Shelter Options
Sleep System Options

What Are Your Big Three For Thru Hiking?

The big three are comprised of the three biggest gear choices you will make for your gear overall. They are also the heaviest and most expensive items, they are your backpack, shelter, and sleep system.

For people looking to thru hike this set of gear is where most of your money should be spent to get the best along with lightest gear possible. The set of this gear will dictate heavily what your overall base weight will be.

With this in mind you need to focus on the big three far more than the rest of your gear as it will dictate about 80-90% of your overall base weight and will be how you drop pounds and not ounces.

In What Order Should You Purchase Your Big Three?

When you are looking to make your purchase to start your gear collection you may think you can purchase whatever when the right funds become available but there is more to it than this.

I would highly suggest purchasing your shelter first, this will then dictate the sleep system that will pair well with the shelter. This will be important as this will then let you know how large a backpack you need and what the weight and liters values will need to be.

What Should My Big Three Weigh?

You should expect that your big three gear overall backpacking weight be no more than six pounds to be ultralight, though to cut down on costs many will try to keep these under 10 pounds.

The big reason to focus on the weight for your big three over everything else is that this gear will be how you drop pounds and not ounces, making them the focus of the gear budget to get the biggest bang.

Backpack Weight Expectation

For an optimal gear setup you should try to make sure that your backpack weighs no more than 2 to 3 lbs if possible to ensure you keep your base weight manageable.

There is a wide range of backpacks which are available for under 3 lbs that won't break the bank and help you to keep those extra pounds off your legs and back for the long haul.

Shelter Weight Expectation

For an optimal gear setup you should try to make sure that your shelter weighs no more than 3 to 4 lbs if possible to ensure you keep your base weight manageable.

This number can vary dramatically based on the choice of shelter you choose to bring, many tarps weigh next to nothing but some hammocks and tents can weigh a significant amount depending on construction.

Sleep System Weight Expectation

For an optimal gear setup you should try to make sure that your shelter weighs no more than 2.5 to 3.5 lbs if possible to ensure you keep your base weight manageable.

There is a wide range of sleep systems that are available for under 3 lbs that won't break the bank and help you to keep those extra pounds off your legs and back for the long haul.

A big way to lose pounds here is to look at switching from the traditional sleeping bag to a sleeping quilt which is built to drop excess weight by removing the under fabric, down, and zipper saving tremendous weight.

Backpack Options

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Shelter Options

how much should a backpacking tent weigh?

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Sleep System Options

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