Of course you can’t really talk about the Appalachian Trail without bringing up gear, even if it’s boring store bought stuff.
Collapsible Bucket: Sounds a bit frivolous, but it could drastically reduce the amount of time and effort I have to expend on trips between campsites and water sources. Also, in the spirit of leave no trace, it’s important to move all water away from the source before using it. (gift/$30)
Fire Steel: Obviously you want a fire starter that will be minimally effected by damp, wind and cold. Hypothetically fire steel is the most reliable fire starting method and should even last the entire trip. Now that I’ve settled on using a soda can alcohol stove I’ll be testing this tool out soon. (gift/$14)
Eatin’ Tool: A very cool tool I had never even heard of before Christmas. I think this thing has as many tools on it as my pocket knife, which is pretty fun. I was really worried about how I would open my beer bottles on the trail >.< (gift/$7)
The AT Guide: Last but certainly not least. Combined with these articles over on whiteblaze.net about the quality of resupply points and average milage per day it has already been tremendously helpful in helping me work out an extremely rough itinerary. ($12)