Florida Trail Thru-Hike Gear List

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This article contains our Florida Trail Thru-Hike Gear List. For more information about all things Florida Trail, visit our Florida Trail page. Please remember that what you pack is determined by your level of comfort and risk tolerance.  It takes time and experience to figure this out, of course. 

Our recommendations come from our experience and risk tolerance, which may be different from yours.  We try to pack as light as we can without sacrificing our safety while maintaining a reasonable level of comfort. This post contains affiliate links. Help support Hikerlore content by purchasing through these links.

If this is your first thru, you will probably take more than you need.  You will learn and shake down your pack as you go.  If you don’t use it, lose it!

Base Weight

This is the weight of all your gear save water and food.  We aim to be around 10 pounds.  You could certainly go lighter.  We are carrying some camera gear and a few luxury items, which makes us a bit heavier than an ultra-light hiker would be.  Still, this is a respectable base weight.

The Big Three:

Of course, you’ll need the big three.

Sleep System: quilt or bag, mat, bag liner (optional), pillow (optional).

Shelter: Tent, tarp (hope you like bugs), or hammock, repair kit.

Backpack & pack liner.

Clothes

Here is some of the clothing you might bring rain gear, cold-weather gear, wool sleeping clothes & sleep socks, 1 pair hiking pants and/or shorts, 1 long-sleeved shirt, 1 short-sleeved shirt, wide-brimmed hat, buff, darn-tough hiking socks, gaiters, bright orange bandana (for filtering and visibility), and trail runners.

Food System

You may choose to go stoveless as we did.  In that case, you’ll need a cold-soak receptacle (like a Talenti jar), and a spoon.

To comply with regulations, you must hang a bag or have a canister in all Florida Trail National Forests.  Therefore, you’ll be needing a food-storage bag with hang line or a bear vault. Here is a link to our LiteAF bear bag review and PCT hang video.

If you like to cook, take a backpacking stove, pot, and lighter.

Filtration System

To maximize your chances of staying healthy on the trail, bring a water filter.  You’ll also need a water bottle for your filtered water, maybe a bandana or coffee filter for removing pieces of debris, a heavy-duty ziplock bag or other receptacles for scooping, and possibly water bags for storage.

Water

Of course, you should always treat your water.  We will use a bandana to remove any large particles when collecting water, if necessary.  Then, we will use the Sawyer Micro Squeeze Filtration System.  It is unfortunate that. in some areas of the Florida Trail, there are pesticides in the water from agriculture.  There are filters that will remove these, but they’re heavy.  If you don’t have one of these and you’re able to cache water in these high-risk areas, that would be ideal. 

One thing is for sure, pesticides or no, you must stay hydrated. (there ended up being so many volunteer- maintained water caches near the canals that we didn’t have to filter. also, our water filters didn’t work after a few days in the swamp. they were completely clogged, so we used bleach instead for the rest of the trail. this worked great! we’ll never squeeze again).

In the swamps, there are cypress domes and strands where drinking water can be found.  We use Guthook Guides, an app, to help us navigate, resupply, and find water sources.  You will see the location, description, and pictures of domes and strands in this tool, along with dated comments from hikers about the status of the source.  There are good guidebooks and maps available also.  See below, under resources, for more details.

What to Eat?

We’re not dieticians or nutritionists, so we can’t make recommendations.  But here is what we eat: high-calorie foods with a good balance of carbs, proteins, and fats.  We have found low-glycemic foods to be beneficial for endurance exercise.  Also, whenever we get to town we try to eat a lot of fresh produce.

A typical day will start with a “breakfast bomb”.  This consists of muesli, whey, almond flour, peanut butter powder, and milk powder.  Add some water and viola!  A mid-morning snack may be a pro-bar or trail mix.  Lunch usually consists of trail butter and tortillas.  A mid-afternoon snack may be another bar.  Dinner is pasta or beans.  These are a few suggestions.

Stoveless?

You will learn whether or not you like to cook on the trail.  We now have over 4,000 miles of long-distance hiking under our belts, and we have finally decided to go stoveless.  It’s not for everyone.  My advice to you is that if you find yourself eating trail mix instead of cooking dinner, stoveless may be right for you.  We prefer to have a hassle-free approach.  This way we don’t have to carry fuel, a stove, or a pot.  Try it out on a test run before your thru-hike.

Navigation

The FTA has maps for sale, please see below under resources.  We use the Atlas Guides Guthook App.  There is also a data book and a guidebook available, also listed under resources below.

First Aid

This depends on your level of comfortability.  All we bring is NSAIDs, anti-diarrheal, cortisone cream, tweezers, body glide, and leuko-tape.

Miscellaneous

There are some items that you may want to bring, including an external battery, adapter, & cord, trek poles, phone (can be used for navigation, taking photos, journaling, reading, watching, calling, etc.), bug net, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, chapstick, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, pocket knife, fingernail clippers, and wet wipes.

Test Run

If you’re new to all this, take your gear and yourself on a backpacking test run.  Get used to using all your gear before you head out.  This will also allow you to evaluate whether or not backpacking is as fun as you imagine it to be.

Our Gear List

Summary

Thank you for reading. We hope this will help with your FT planning process. If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to us in the comments. Happy trails! For more posts on the FNST including our post-Florida-thru-hike article “Wrapping up the Florida Trail”, click here.

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