May 1, 2009 at 7:06 am #1236019
I just signed up for the West Coast Trail with some friends. We are planning on spending 6-7 days on the trail. I have 10 weeks to train and buy all my gear. I am having trouble deciding between the regular backpacking and light weight and feel that I going to end up somewhere in-between due to cost and other factors. My budget is:
Pack – $100 to $150
Shoes/Boots – $100 to $150
Sleeping Bag – $100
Tent – $50
so I'm not going to be able to get the lightest stuff, so I figure my weight will be around 35-40 lbs. Can I wear trail runners with this pack weight?May 1, 2009 at 7:53 am #1498277
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
That trip can be very wet from what I hear so you'll want to invest in good rain gear if you don't already have it.May 1, 2009 at 8:53 am #1498294
your right, i hear it can rain for days and the mud and terrain are crazy. i need to get my shoes/boots and pack immediately to start with the training and will get the other gear later. i've read several articles that say your feet WILL get wet, so buy the shoes that dry the quickest…..but with all the mud and ladders and tree roots, etc. i don't want to buy trail runners with my 35-40 lb. load and have problems.May 1, 2009 at 9:20 am #1498300
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…May 1, 2009 at 9:34 am #1498303
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Rich, I would look at allocating you monies a little different then what you have. Here are my suggestions
Pack – $50 to $75 (save up to $100 from your list), buy used lightweight pack on the site or others.
Shoes/Boots – $50 (save up to $100 from your list), I picked up a good pair of trail runners, New Balance last year at sports authority. Look around, you don't need the most expensive pair (I also picked up a new pair of Inov8's for $50 also- you can find deal all the time). You don't need a waterproof boot/shoe, they will get wet and then not dry out. Buy a good mesh trail runner and with a good wool sock you will be just fine. If you lighten you load (and Budget has nothing to do with lighter weight) you will not need BOOTS! You will be far better off with a lighter pack weight and lighter foot wear.
Sleeping Bag – $250 to $300 (use the saved money from above), buys a good synthetic or down (my preference) you can find them newly used or new on this site. It's worth spending the money here, don't scrimp!
Tent – $50, there isn’t a tent on the market for $50 that is worth buying! But you can get a GoLite poncho Tarp for $50 and they only weigh 10oz. This will also work as your rain gear, saving you more money and weight!
Depending on the bugs you might need a bug bivy- like the A-16 bug Bivy, you can find them new/used for about $35 on the site(Use $35 of the saved money for a A-16 bug bivy if needed).
My list has the same total budget as yours but it puts the money to work in a more efficient manner
Go buy the book “Lighten Up” by Don Ladigin and illustrated by our own Mike Celland. It will show you how to make the transition to lightweight without spending the money you would on regular gear.
You will spend the same amount of money or more for heavy gear as light weight. Just be smart about what you buy and do your research!May 1, 2009 at 11:00 am #1498318
@mudmanLocale: Western Canada
Rich, I am all for going light on most trips but I think doing so on the West Coast Trail may leave you feeling rather miserable. Having completed the trip twice now, I would highly recommend a lighter weight hiking boot such as the Keen Targhee II, used a pair on my last trip and my feet were happy and dry the entire time. If I had opted for trail runners my feet would have been suffering! Also bring along a good pair of sandles for water crossings (cable cars are very time consuming and not necessary for all creeks), and in the event that you miscalculate the tides and are forced to wade. I would also recommend a good low gator such as the Integral Designs eVENT Shorie and a of course a light rain shell.May 1, 2009 at 11:03 am #1498321
some newbie questions:
what would be your suggestions for a cheaper pack? i don't want a frameless type. my local florida outfitter has mainly osprey and gregory packs. the lightest pack they carry is the osprey exos 58 (2 lb 10 oz), but the cost is $170 and they have a 4 lb osprey Kestrel 48 for $140.
i am going with four other guys….do two people typically share a tent?
the outfitter recommended a Marmot Trestles 15 sleeping bag for $100 that weighs 3 lb 10oz. what does the advantages of a $200-$300 sleeping bag?May 1, 2009 at 11:18 am #1498327
Are you talking about the mid Targhee II or the low cut? I looked at REI.com and they have both types. There were reviews that mentioned durability concerns and said they were not waterproof.
What type and how heavy was your pack for the WCT? How many days did you take to complete?
I've seen WCT blogs where people used heavy boots with 60 lb packs and other that use trailrunners with 25 lb packs. My concern with trailrunners are the mud, ladders, and my pack weight but there are articles say all shoes/boots will get wet so pick shoes that dry fast. i think peoples experiences are determined alot by the weather they encounter on the trail.May 1, 2009 at 11:45 am #1498332
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Rich, look around for a used light pack- most non-frameless lightweight packs weigh between 2.5 and 3.5 lbs you can find a good one in that range for a good price. But before you purchase a pack get you gear together to see how much you have then look for a pack that will fit it all in, be aware that most people always have more gear then they need. There are many used packs available.
3 lb 10oz. for a sleeping bags is waaaay to heavy!!! For the most part the more you pay for the bag the better it is, the longer it will last and the lighter it is. Read the reviews on this site for more information.
Tent sharing- its up to you. Don't carry more then 2 lbs per person for shelter.
I would spend a lot of your free time reading up on what you need. There's tons of information on every question you have asked. It is very hard to get it off a single thread. Good luck, keep reading and asking. Don't buy until you have all the information you need.
BTW, most local outfitters are trying to sell you what they have and most will be happy to sell you gear that would put far to much weight on your back and feet.May 1, 2009 at 12:05 pm #1498336
The Exos would save you a pound and a half for $30. That's cheap weight loss!
An Equinox 8×10 sil tarp weighs 13 ounces and costs ~$84.
I'd second the recommendation to put money toward a sleeping bag. That's probably one of the best places to budget toward. You can save not only pounds of weight, but of overall volume–which will in turn help you reduce pack volume and actual pack weight.May 1, 2009 at 1:19 pm #1498356
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
And… if your pack isn't waterproof might I suggest a dry bag (such as the ones from OR) for your clothing and sleeping bag.May 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm #1498405
Rich, I am local to the WCT so can help you a fair bit.
The Exos will be great. I love mine, just be careful with the hip-belt buckle.
Pack weight is a function of your body weight and your age. In general, 10% is great, 20% is ok, 30% is bad.
Tarping is not a good idea since you will have too much difficulty setting up on the beach where stakes don't hold or are difficult to place. A freestanding tent is best.
A sleeping bag rated around 35-40F should be about right.
Don't worry about rain too much, the third week of July is the driest and sunniest week of the year…usually :)
For footwear I would use a lightweight waterproof boot with a shorty gaiter. I would also take a pair of microspikes for use while walking on the sandstone shelves. You could wear runners if you don't mind them filling with mud.
Check the tide tables for the week you will be going. If the tides are going to be low during the day then you can walk on the beach shelves a lot. This is much easier, faster, and more interesting than staying on the trail.May 1, 2009 at 6:24 pm #1498437
Can you recommend any lightweight boots?
I've seen several WCT gear lists that recommend synthetic sleeping bags over down. Most other hikers recommend down. What is the reason for this….the rain?
What is the issue with the hip belt buckle on the exos?
Any other tidbits of WCT info would be greatly appreciated.May 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm #1498443
btw…i am 175 lbs, so 20% would be 35 lbs and that is what i'm shooting for.
i looked up estimated tide tables and they are showing high tide starting at 4:08 PM on the day we start, July 11th, and 7:40 PM on the day we finish with the high tides going from 9.5 to 10.73.May 4, 2009 at 8:29 am #1498951
I went to a local outfitter and tried on the Vasque Breeze LT GTX. They feel like a trailrunner but are boot-height and waterproof. My only concerns are using these with a ~35 lb pack for six days with the conditions of the wct. these boots are new for '09 so there is not a lot of reviews by people on a week hike with moderate weight.May 4, 2009 at 11:56 am #1498999
Hi Rich, those look pretty good…there is a review going on at backpackgeartest.org. The most important thing is fit. You cannot have any heel lift or you will get blisters. Make sure you do a fully loaded test hike to make sure that your foot system is good. You might also like some better insoles like SuperFeet.
You will also need some shorty gaiters, maybe like these ones.
Next time I go I will definitely take some microspikes for walking on the sandstone which can be extremely slippery with various types of algae.
Synthetic fill sleeping bags are better if they get wet, and are cheaper to purchase. But they are bulkier. For your trip and with an Exos 58 I don't think this is important. A nice one is the Velocity 35 (or 30) from EMS, but you really don't need to spend much to get a decent synthetic bag which is less than 2 lbs.May 7, 2009 at 10:05 am #1499701
I purchased the Osprey Exos 58 L, 2L Plataypus, & Big Agnes Air Core L today from winterfix.com using their 20% off code and spent $235.
I purchased the Vasque Breeze LT GTX and Smartwool Adrenaline LT Crew socks from moosejaw.com with their 15% off code and spent $124.May 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm #1500399
Good thread…my wife and I are planning on doing the West coast trail this summer too. We're leaning towards a bit later in the season though….probably September. Is this a good time? We're thinking it would be less busy…hopefully not too rainy.May 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm #1500420
Sept is awesome for WCT and JDF. Shoot for the first week for WCT, but JDF would be good all month.
If you *really* don't want rain then 3rd week of July.May 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm #1500422
What's the JDF? I'm new the West Coast….I just moved out here in the fall from Ontario.May 10, 2009 at 7:35 pm #1500432
Hi Dan, welcome to the coast! JDF is the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, runs 47 km in length going south from Port Renfrew. Sort of the poor man's WCT but a lot more accessible and no reservations needed. Some people even prefer it. Sombrio beach and Chin Beach easily best any on the WCT.May 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm #1500436
Oh yeah….someone did mention that trail to me once.
Why do you recommend gators? Is that so sand doesn't get it? Or mud? Or water? Would you be okay without them if you had higher footwear?
I've got some Gore-Tex hiking boots that are unbelievable waterproof…I've hiked through a hundred meters of ankle deep water with no leaks on many occasions (spring camping in low areas can be dicey!) Should I bring these? Or bring my lighter hiking shoes and just some other footwear to wear while these dry? I'm considering buying some water shoes that could suffice on the trail for a couple hours if my shoes get wet.May 10, 2009 at 8:09 pm #1500437
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…May 10, 2009 at 8:11 pm #1500438
I just got back from the WCT. A few things:
-a tarp will work just fine. Take 8" Easton pegs from MEC and bury them. They work.
-no bugs on the beach at this time of year. Too cold at night so bug netting would be optional for sure.
-a down bag is fine but double bag it and use both a pack cover and pack liner for security.
-wear light hikers – forget the heavy leather boots. Your feet will thank you during your beach trek.
-bring several pairs of socks and robust rain gear. Don't forget gaiters – preferably shorties.
Short of buying really used gear, your price parameters are unrealistic. If it rains the entire trip this is a very challenging trek and it is best to be slightly overprepared in my opinion.
Couple of more notes for this year:
There are abnormal sightings of wolves in the area, likely being pushed west from the clear cutting being done. Be aware.
Carmanah and Tsusiat Falls has more drift wood than I have ever seen and there are limited places to pitch a shelter.
Landslide close to Pachena now means it is home to the longest ladder on the trail. Cedar smells nice if that is any consolation.
The trail has changed over the last couple of years and I suspect longer than the 77 kms total length (not including the vertical parts). There are two 55 and 33 KM markers; KM #4 is a 5 minute affair.
By the way, my avatar is just ouside Cribs in 2007.May 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm #1500439
Wow that's a knarly section of trail! Hiking is really wet environments is going to be new for us (my wife and I). I'm not sure whether to try and keep my feet dry, or to just assume they are going to get wet and plan accordingly.
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