This is a list of the sleeping gear you will need at night on the Appalachian Trail. Sleeping gear is your protection from the elements at night. It should function to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. The tent and sleeping bag will be one of your most expensive and heaviest pieces of equipment. Below are some guidelines and weight comparisons. Shop around and find what suits you.
1. Tent or Hammock – ($100-300) Most hikers select free standing tents that don’t require a lot of guy lines to set up. Some hikers choose a lightweight hammock. Whatever tent/hammock you select, get one that’s as lightweight as possible (i.e., around 3lbs or less for a single person tent). When researching your tent/hammock, read reviews and select carefully. Click <HERE> to see some tents that thru-hikers have used.
2. Sleeping Bag – ($100-350) You will have to make a few decisions when it comes to a sleeping bag, but choose the best one that you can afford. Go to an outfitter and actually lay in the sleeping bags. Before making your decision, consider the sleeping bag’s degree, its fit, and the material in which it’s made. Click <HERE> for more information.
3. Sleeping Bag Liner (Optional, $36-60) – A lightweight bag liner gives a little extra warmth to your bag, usually about 10º. It also helps keep the inside of your sleeping bag clean. It feels like a sheet and should weigh very little. It should also be made of materials that can wick moisture away from your skin. On really hot nights, it can be used as a lightweight sleeping bag. Click <HERE> for some examples.
4. Sleeping Pad – ($40-100) A sleeping pad provides a little cushion and insulation from the cold ground. Typically, thru-hikers carry either a foam pad or a slightly heavier self-inflating pad. Click <HERE> to see some examples and to read about advantages and disadvantages of each.
5. Stuff sack – ($9-12) This stuff sack will be your pillow once you fill it with all of your clothing and other bags. Some people just use their sleeping bag cover and stuff everything in it. It’s not the most comfortable pillow, but it will help to elevate your head. Click <HERE> for more information.
6. Plastic grocery bag – (Free) After rolling up and stuffing your sleeping bag into its stuff sack, place it inside a plastic grocery bag and tie it off. You can use 2 small grocery bags if you feel like one’s not enough. Having a plastic bag around your sleeping bag ensures that if your pack gets soaked, your sleeping bag will stay dry. You never want a wet sleeping bag.
For sleeping clothing, see <Clothing>
Disclaimer: This list contains gear that worked for some thru-hikers. A lot of the gear is lightweight and bare minimum. In other words, you might want to add some items to this list. It’s always important to test each piece of gear before you start your hike. Read the instruction manuals and understand your equipment.