Our Community - Reflections on Adventure

How To – Pack For A 300 Mile Thru-Hike

This September, Ambassador Melissa Luna is taking three weeks to hike the traditional 260 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota between Grand Portage and Duluth. This will be Melissa’s longest thruhike to date and we’re so excited that she’s teaming up with The Cairn Project to expand outdoor opportunities for more girls and young women.

Connect with Melissa on instagram at @an_anxious_adventurer
Donate to her campaign here: Melissa’s fundraiser.

Quick Stats

Superior Hiking Trail

Total Mileage: 260
Trail Shape: Point to Point 
Trip Length: 3 weeks (fingers crossed)
Trailhead: Northern Terminus 
Closest town to trailhead: Hovland, MN
Ending point:  Martin Road Trailhead
Closest town to trailend: Duluth, MN 
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Permit Required: Nope

Pre-Trip Thoughts

I am anxiously awaiting the start of our thru-hike! We (my partner and I) are learning a lot along our journey of prepping for our hike on the Superior Hiking Trail as this will be our longest thru-hike! We are working on our physical prep (strength training, yoga, and cardio) to help our bodies stay strong during the hike. We encourage each other and are able to push each other which will help with the mental strains of a long hike. I feel like doing the hike alongside someone will help us stay sane and on track! 

a spread of melissa luna gear

What I’m Packing and Why

We are finalizing our packing list. Below is a list of our essentials and a few more things we’ve come to love to pack on our hikes! We still have a few things we are figuring out like the best journal and getting a variety of food that is vegetarian but we are feeling good about the gear we have and how much we are packing.

  • Lightweight tent – Ours is only 2lbs, 3 ounces, easy to set up/pack out, and is comfortable for two people. Oh,  and it’s yellow (my favorite!)
  • Sleeping Quilt – Weighing in at only 19 ounces, this is such a cozy quilt. It will keep you warm in up to 20 degrees weather. I like this option because I am a roller when I sleep so this has the option to lay like a comforter or you can snap it to wrap around you.
    • Our Suggestion: Revelation Sleeping Quilt We got our quilts from Enlightened Equipment, they are a Minnesota based company and we love that you can customize the comforter too, again, I chose yellow for mine!
  • Backpack – I’m still learning all the cool features of my bag. It can pack a LOT and after trying on several bags, it’s pretty comfy too! We’ll see how it holds for 3 weeks of hiking!
  • Cooking System – Ours is 14.6 ounces and holds about a liter of water. It’s perfect for making our ramen or dehydrated meals. It heats up quickly and is pretty compact for easy storage.
  • Water filtration system – – We’ve only tried our out a few times but love how easy it is to use and how refreshing the water is!
  • Sun protection – I’ve worn this often the last few months and it’s a great lightweight shirt to protect me from the sun.
  • Satellite device – I’ve had a bit of a learning curve with our device but it has resulted in peace of mind for my mom and partner while I traveled solo. I am able to check in with them when I do not have cell service and they can track me while I am on hikes or staying in a place without service.
  • Antimicrobial Pee Cloth – This is a game changer for peeing in the woods. Let’s be honest, when you’re out there, it’s gonna happen so you might as well plan ahead. I appreciate that it is No Trace friendly, they come in fun designs, and they are reusable. 
melissa luna sleeping bag and pad

Final Thoughts

I’m excited to challenge myself on this hike and to spend some extended time outdoors, disconnected from the busy-ness of the normal days. We plan to go mostly unplugged (except for pictures, of course). I hope to inspire others to get outdoors, reconnect with nature and embrace the beauty of this earth. 

Please reach out with questions about our journey or gear and if you are able, please donate to my adventure fundraiser through The Cairn Project. Their mission is inspiring and allows more girls and young women to get outdoors. I am moved by their vision and hope that doing this fundraiser can help increase access and education for others. 

Melissa Luna | The Cairn Project-7324
Melissa Luna
Melissa Luna

Melissa Luna is a licensed Social Worker with experience working with a variety of people from different backgrounds and walks of life assisting to support folks in living a more fulfilled life. She enjoys being outside and challenging herself to get out of her comfort zone. She has only felt "outdoorsy" the last five years and enjoy kayaking, running, camping, walking, hiking, and her newest interest - backpacking.