Pack Guide

  • Tent with Rain fly

  • Hiking boots

  • Para cord

  • Pack cover

  • Sleeping bag

  • Mattress

  • Hydration pack – Buy one that has you screw in the opening. The first pack that I bought had great reviews and had me zip up the top to seal it. I  tested it with well below the minimum amount of water, and it spilled out everywhere. I ended up going with ____ and it was great, and it never leaked. Whatever you buy test it well before you go!

  • Head Lamp

  • Trekking poles

  • Water filter – I dropped this item at the start of my hike, which was a horrible idea. You need to keep some type of water filter or purification system with you.

  • Food Sack –I ended up using my compression sack, which kept my food dry even in the rain. While I had no problem with bears, you will likely encounter deer, wild boar  and/or raccoons on the trail.

  • Cooking Set –Mine included a Pot, cup and spoon/fork

  • Lighter – I always carried two with me because I didn’t want to run out of lighter fluid.

  • Gas can with Stove

  • Footprint – My tent was borrowed so I didn’t have a footprint, but I ended up buying a small one. I used it under my tent, but also as mini tarp when I needed to take a break while hiking.
     

  • Phone

  • External Charger- I brought a light weight charger, that I ended up forgetting in my suitcase. So had to buy a battery powered one at the convenience store. I didn’t find a lot of places to charge myphone. So even with the backup charger you may want to consider having a battery powered backup, based on how much you think you’ll be using your phone.

  • Kindle – This was my luxury item, and I was hesitant to bring it at first because I was cutting weight whereever I could. I would have been immensely bored without it. If you bring one, load it up with more books than you think you need.

  • GPS

  • First aid kit

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  • Kerchief – I thought that this wouldn’t be an essential item, but because of how much you sweat on the trail this is a great item.

  • Hat

  • Socks – After cutting my pack weight after the first day I left my self with five pairs of socks, and two liner socks. This was the perfect amount. I was able to always have a dry pair of socks, and comfortable feet.

  • One long sleeve shirt

  • One short sleeve shirt

  • Convertible pants/shorts – I didn’t want to spend the money on these at first but it was a smart call on my mom’s part. There were days where I was cold and wearing everything I had. Then as I got into June I only wore my shorts and wished I could go topless!

  • Underwear- Like my socks I wore 5 pairs of Underwear which would last me for 10 days!

  • Rain jacket

  • Rain pants

  • Rain gloves – When I was back into town I bought a pair of these. They were great for the wet mornings when I was deconstructing my tent so my hands stayed dry and raining mornings.

  • Shoe covers – I wish I would have brought rain boot covers to keep my feet drier while it rained.

  • Travel Umbrella- When I was in the forest the rain wasn’t a problem as my rain gear kept me pretty dry. What was a major problem was when it rained on the forest roads or walking in  towns. I ended up having to by a bulky and heavy umbrella at a convenience store. REI sells small light weight ones, that were much cheaper than those I saw in Japan.

  • Better Utensils – My plastic spoon/fork broke quickly into my trip. I would not buy plastic again.

  • Better Cooking Set – I purchased this collapsible nesting set of a kettle and a mug that was made with silicone and aluminum. By the end of the second month my set was falling apart.

  • GPS map- I didn’t want to spend the money on the Japanese map that goes shows all the convenience stores because of the high price. This was a bad mistake. It would have saved me a lot of headaches. Invest in this!

  • emergency locator transmitter

  • Extra water bottle

  • “Quick Dry Clothing” – The clothing that I had was supposedly quick dry….they never dried until I put them in the dryer. The only item of clothing that did dry quickly was the shirt that I made myself It would have been great to have clothing that actually quick dried but I didn’t despite the advertising….

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For me this was my first adventure into backpacking, and I had no gear other than two pieces of raingear. I started this hike from scratch and wanted to do it on a budget,with my gear. I had some great experiences with my gear, and  some less than stellar. Below is a review of the big ticket items that I used, and my experience with them.

REI Co-op Flash Carbon Trekking Poles

UGH!!!!!!!! That sums up my experiences with these Trekking poles. It is essential to have a pair of trekking poles on this hike. I originally bought a pair of Black Diamond women’s trekking poles, however I they didn’t fit in my original north face bag so I purchased the REI poles. I did switch to a larger pack three days before I left I kept the REI poles because I liked their good reviews, and they collapsed down to a small size. They quickly fell apart, and caused me nothing but trouble on the hike. The clasp fell apart so when I was walking the pole would give out under me. I returned these as well, so if you are getting hiking poles avoid these. My hiker friends all swear by Black Diamond, I haven’t had a chance to test my pair out but I hope to use them on my next hike!

 

La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX Hiking Boots

I was told my many people that "a pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back."  so I decided to invest in a lighter pair of hiking boots. I think that it was a worthwhile investment, as I never had an issue with my feet. However these boots had plastic eyelets, which broke a month into my trip! This meant that I couldn’t lace up my boots all the way and that my shoelaces from the right foot would get caught on the broken edges. At the end of the trip I returned them to REI for a similar pair that has METAL eyelets. My advice is if you are looking to get a new pair is buy light, and buy a pair with metal eyelets.

 

3L Hydration Bladder & Insulated Sleeve - by Crystal Creek

This was a great investment. I didn’t use the insulated sleeve to cut down on weight. After my first hydration bladder that had a sliding opening I wanted something that was actually going to be leak proof. This one held up to that promise, and I am pretty hard on my gear. It also held 3 litters, and you want to carry as much water as you can on this hike.

 

Sea to Summit X-Pot Kettle - 1.3 Liter

Sea to Summit X-Mug

As I mentioned before I hated my cooking set. As the trip progressed I had more and more trouble with my food leaking out of the sides of my pot. This collapsible nesting set of a kettle and a mug that was made with silicone and aluminum. By the end of the second month my set was falling apart. The side of the kettle was coming apart and would leak while I was cooking, additionally the lid had become extremely warped.  The next time around I am going to purchase a set that is made of hard-anodized aluminum. I will say that the mug did hold up well, and it was wonderful to have something that I could collapse, however I am now not a fan of silicone camping gear.

 

REI Co-op Flash Insulated Air Sleeping Pad

I almost went camping without a sleeping pad…I’m not sure why I thought that this would be a good idea. I thought that this was a pretty good priced item and it lasted throughout my whole trip. I purchased the regular sized one, and it only weighed 15 oz.

Tent Selection

I lucked out and my wonderful friend lent me her lightweight, freestanding tent. The terrain does not have large spacious areas to set up your tent.  When I started my hike into Aichi I was even more thankful for this tent, because the camping spaces were pretty limited and small. You will want to bring a tent that is freestanding, and does not need to be steaked out. I’ve also seen sleeping hammocks for camping, and the teramin is not going to be conducive for these either. In conclusion you want a small, freestanding light weight tent. However the tent I used is no longer made, it seems to be most similar to the REI Co-op Quarter Dome 1 Tent.

Outdoor Vitals Summit 30°F Down Sleeping Bag (800 Fill Power)

This company was a great find for my wallet! I needed a light weight sleeping bag and after seeing some of the prices I was shocked!  This sleeping bag only weighed 2.2 lbs and  can be compressed down to 7 x 7 inches. It kept me warm at night, and it did get cold on some of those mountains, and it did not fall apart which seemed to be a constant problem with some of my gear. I found it very easy to pack up and compress each morning as well. I ordered the short size, as a 5’ 2’’ woman I felt that I plenty of room, Larger/longer sizes are available.

 

 

 

Outdoor Vitals Rhyolite 60L Internal Frame Backpack w/ Free Rainfly

My original backpack that I used previously didn’t hold all of my gear and food, so three days before my hike I ordered this bag from Amazon. Since I loved my sleeping bag I was hopeful that this pack would serve me well. And it did! It is easy to remove the different sections that you don’t want on the backpack. For my trip I took off the whole top part and hiked without it, and never had a problem. I found that the zippers, buckles and compression straps were easy to use and held up to my use and abuse.

The only problem I have with this bag is that it only comes in black, as does the rain cover. I did hike with it, but I should have put a bright rain cover over it. This a problem specific to hiking in the countryside of Japan, since black aggravates the Asian hornets. I would simply put a different color rain cover over it, because it was such a great pack I would recommend it.

 

I wish that Outdoor Vitals had a tent that I could buy! Unfortunately the areas you will be camping require a small one person tent, and are not condusive to any setup that is not free standing.