Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) overview and ultralight gear list

My ultralight gear list for thru-hiking the TRT. Includes my bag, shelter, cooking gear, sleeping gear, clothes, and electronics.

Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) overview and ultralight gear list

Update: Check out my updated post for my 2021 trip.

The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) was my first long-distance solo hike. The trail covers 165 miles around Lake Tahoe. What makes the TRT a great option for a first thru-hike is that it’s a loop. That makes logistics easier: you end your hike where you begin it. It also offers numerous bailout points along the trail in case something were to go wrong.

Be sure to check out my updated 2021 list as well.

I had to split my hike in two parts because of work. The first part was from Tahoe City to Kingsbury South. I would then go back to work for two weeks before completing the trip together with my cousin.

Ultralight backpacking gear for thru-hiking the TRT
Ultralight backpacking gear for thru-hiking the TRT

Gear list

Most of the gear I had for the hike were already tried and true, with the exception of my brand new Zpacks Duplex. I had ordered the tent almost 7 weeks earlier, and had already mentally given up on getting it before the hike. At last, they shipped the tent and I got it a couple of days before heading out.

I wanted to go light, but still make sure I had everything I needed to stay safe and reasonably comfortable.

The big four (and friends)

In the backpacking community, “the big four” refers to the tent, backpack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. This is because they often make up the biggest part of the base weight.
  • Zpacks Duplex
  • 6 Zpacks titanium stakes, 2 MSR Ground Hog stakes, and Zpacks tent stake bag
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400
  • 2 Zpacks shoulder pouches
  • Therm-a-rest xtherm
  • North Face Furnace 35°
  • Zpacks medium dry bag for sleeping bag

Cook & Water systems

  • MSR Titan kettle (0.8l)
  • MSR Pocket rocket 2
  • Primus long-handled spoon
  • Bic mini lighter
  • Gerber paraframe pocket knife
  • Zpacks bear bag
  • Zpacks rock bag + line and carabiner
  • Katadyn BeFree filter + 3 liter hyrdopak soft flask
  • 0.7 liter water bottle

Clothes and such


  • Patagonia Strider 5” Shorts
  • Columbia Titanium hiking shirt
  • Darn tough socks
  • Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes
  • Altra gaiters
  • Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles


  • Patagonia Down Sweater
  • Long Darn Tough socks
  • Buff
  • North Face gloves
  • Patagonia Capiliene lightweight top
  • Patagonia Capiliene lightweight bottoms
  • OR Helium II jacket
  • OR Helium pants

First aid, hygiene, electronics, etc

  • Garmin InReach Explorer+ Satellite Navigator
  • Anker PowerCore 10,000mAh batter pack
  • USB wall charger
  • Lightning and micro-USB cables
  • Black Diamond Spot rechargeable headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Wilderness Medicine field guide
  • SPF 50 sunscreen
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Squirrel’s Nut Butter anti chafing cream
  • Dr. Bronner’s soap
  • Purell


It would take me 5 days from Tahoe City to Kingsbury South, which was the end of the first leg of the trail for me. The first and last days were only half days, so I only needed half the amount of food those days.

I accounted for 2 boils per day: one for morning coffee and one for a warm dinner.

Food resupply for backpacking the TRT

Without going into a ton of details, my basic “meal plan” was:

Granola with whole milk powder, freeze drided fruits or berries, and Starbucks Via coffee.

Street tacos filled with string cheese, pepperoni, and almond butter (for dessert, not mixed together).

Haribo gummy bears, Snickers, trail mix. Mio sport and energy for both electrolytes and boil-free caffeine.

I split my food up into separate bags per day to make it easier on the trail.

That’s it, time to hit the trail!

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 3400 with Black Diamond Alpine Cork trekking poles - all the gear ready for the TRT
All packed up!