Empty Your Pack: 55+ Ultralight Thru-Hiker

Barney "Scout" Mann hiked the Triple Crown after turning 55. Here's his ultralight pack list for trips of any distance.

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Triple Crowner, self-confessed gram-weenie, and Backpacker contributor, Barney “Scout” Mann has backpacked 16,000 miles–more than 10,000 of those since turning 55. “I use this packlist for a single-night or five-month trek,” he says. “The only thing that change is the water and food.” He is the author of Journeys North, which chronicles the reality of a northbound Pacific Crest Trail hike. Read the excerpt we published in our Nov/Dec 2020 issue. 

Barney “Scout” Mann with his PCT ultralight pack list

Total Pack Base Weight: 9 pounds, 3 ounces

Gear that saved the day: Tent

I’m in a lightning and hail storm—20 strikes a minute—on the Continental Divide Trail above 11,000 feet in New Mexico. I’m the only human being for miles. It’s only 17 degrees and the booming and rat-a-tat-tat on my tent sounds like a war zone. But I’m whooping and hollering for joy, wishing I could kiss the feet of whoever sewed this beautiful shelter.

My luxury item: Sit pad

For 1 ounce I get to insert a veneer of civilization between my rump and snow, gravel, or rock. It enhances any break, lunch or dinner, almost as much as a pizza delivered trailside.

I’ll never part with: My umbrella

You won’t find me peering out through a tightly cinched hood with a frown on my face in driving rain. Instead, my cone of dryness extends to my waist. I am “Umbrella Man.”

Weight (oz.) Gear
17.5 Pack: Zpacks Arc Blast
25.5 Sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering Megalite 30-degree
21.2 Tent: Zpacks Hexamid Duplex tent (17), Dyneema groundsheet (3.2), 8 titanium stakes (1.0)
1.1 Pack rain cover
8.5 Pad: Therm-a-Rest Neo Air Uberlight 72-inch
1.5 Food storage: OPsak
2.3 1.5-liter Smart water bottle and .5-liter soda bottle
2.8 Water bladder: 2-liter Platypus, drinking tube and bite valve
3.0 Water Treatment: Sawyer Squeeze [Video review]
7.4 Cooking: Stove BRS 3000 titanium canister stove (.9); pot .85-liter MSR Titanium (5.0); lighter (.5); bowl (.6); spoon/fork Light My Fire Spork (.4)
39.4 Clothes: rain jacket/windbreaker Marmot Paclite (9.0), socks Wrightsock Cool Mesh II Lightweight (1.6), warm socks (2.0), warm beanie hat (1.3), long underwear top (4.3) and bottom (6.4), clothes stuff sack (1.0), Down sweater Western Mountaineering Flight w/stuff sack (12.0); 1 pair underwear (1.8)
1.8 Pillow Sea-to-Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow
1.5 Pack towel
.4 Toothbrush/paste
3.4 First-aid kit
6.7 Ten Essentials (compass, mirror, garbage bag, matches, 25 feet 3 mm 300lb test lightweight rope, smallest Swiss Army knife (1.0), whistle, pencil, quarter) & baggie wallet (license, credit card, medical card copy, cash)
2.0 Toilet Paper, trowel (Deuce), hand sanitizer (.5oz), 2 small baggies
1.0 Sit pad, 9.5×16-inch closed cell foam

Total:  9 lbs. 3 oz. Base weight: 147.0 ounces (plus food, water, fuel)

Worn Weight: Full-length pants, long-sleeve shirt, sun hat (Sun Day Afternoon), glasses, sunglasses (Cocoons), shoes, socks, underwear; Dirty Girl gaiters, bandana, smart phone, hiking poles (Helinox Passport)(11.6), Pen/paper, maps/guidebook pages

Alternate Gear: Chrome Dome umbrella (7.9); nylon running shorts (2.5); short sleeve shirt (4.5); rain pants (Montane Minumus)(7.0); sleeping bags alternates: Marmot Helium 15-degree (33); and Marmot Atom, 40-degree (17); Sunscreen in small dispenser (1.0,face only); Bearikade bear canister where required.

From 2022