Gearlist: 3 Season Solo

Here is the gear I take for 3-season solo hiking. I’ve spent a lot of time and money figuring out what works for me so maybe this will help others.

The target weights here add up to 10.75 lbs but in many areas you’ll find you can get well under the target and many trips won’t need all this gear so you should be normally well under 10 lbs. My actual gear list is closer to 9 lbs and I find I’m quite comfortable.

PDF: UL Gearlist 3 Season Solo

Excel: UL Gearlist 3 Season Solo

The idea here is to have a kit that is light, high performance and durable. There’s no 2-layer raingear or cuben, although both can work if you can afford the shorter lifespan.

Another thing I value is versatility, so most of this gear is also on my 4-season list. The NeoAir XTherm is a great example of versatile gear. It doesn’t stand out in the summer compared to a NeoAir Xlite, but the extra 2-3oz delivers improved durability and a 4-season worthy R-value for a small difference in cost. Summer is already the easiest time of year to go light, so rather than buying gear to make summer even lighter, buy gear that will extend the season you can head out with a reasonably light pack.

This list includes both the criteria I look for and specific examples where possible. In a few areas I’m not super pleased with what’s available on the market (e.g. packs). There’s a dearth of packs that are under 1kg, waterproof and have a simple frame. Similarly, rain gear makers are still struggling to keep features off their products so it’s hard to find a nice 3-layer eVent or Gore-Tex jacket under 10oz although a few exist. When rain gear makers do cut weight it’s often by dropping the torso length an unacceptable extent.

This list is not cheap. I may put a cheap list together at some point, but there are many areas when you can substantially improve the performance of your gear by spending money (800FP down, titanium, carbon fiber) and doing so is more satisfying than compromising in other ways (durability, function) if you hike a lot. I like to buy quality gear and get the cost down by amortizing it over a lot of nights out. If you’re looking to shave costs, by good gear used rather that mediocre gear new. For that, the BPL Gear Swap is the best spot.



  1. “The idea here is to have a kit that is light, high performance and durable.”
    “Another thing I value is versatility.”

    Bingo! Same here. Thanks for posting your list and thoughts.

  2. Nice list! You propose the arcteryx norvan as a rain jacket. Interesting. Have you tried it? Did not find much info/review about it online. Wondering about it since Arcteryx is replacing my alpha SL pullover. I was going to get an alpha SL again, but the norvan seems more comfortable and is lighter too!

    1. No. I’ve worn it around the store to get an idea but that’s it. Seems like a good jacket.

      I was deciding between the Norvan and the Haglofs LIM III jacket, but my intention is to buy the LIM III because for 1oz extra it has a 1″ longer torso cut, the chest pocket, thumb loops and a better interior lining. I’m worried the fuzzy scrim (“C-KNIT backer”) inside the Norvan won’t hold up that well in the shoulder area with a pack on. The LIM III uses a “carbon reinforcement” which I’m not quite sure what it is, but I think it’s the same as some other jackets I’ve been looking at in stores that seemed more durable.

  3. I know these posts are 3 years old but Im currently looking at new rainjackets with the GTX shake-dry technology, which the Norvan has, so I think your experience would still be relevant to me.

    How did the Norvan hold up? Specifically under the shoulder straps? Any general thoughts about shake-dry? Thanks!

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