Jan 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm #1253724
Shorts: BPL beartooth shorts
Hat: OR Sunrunner
Socks: Darn tough ¼ merino
Shoes: Montrail Hardrocks
Poles: GG LT4
gaiters: dirty girl
Beanie: BPL merino
Socks: Darn tough ¼ merino
Headnet: MLD headnet
Gloves: defeet duraglove+ eVENT mitts
Baselayer top: BPL beartooth hoody
Baselayer bottom: BPL merino longjohns
Jacket: Montbell UL Parka
Sleep socks: ?
windshirt: golite wisp
Sleeping bag: GoLite Ultra 20 regular
Pad: GG nightlight torso + thinlight 1/8
Groundsheet: polycro sheet
*System: Trail Designs ti-tri
*Pot: snowpeak 900 ti
Spoon: optimus folding spork
*MLD Duomid sil
*MLD duo innernet
GG Mariposa Plus w/ hip pockets
GG pack raincover
Stuff sacks: ?
Evernew 2L x2
Platypus hoser 2L
BPL droppers for aquamira
BPL balm jars for sportslick
BPL dropper for bronners
sewing kit: ?
*Pentax optio W80 + accessories
Ice axe: ULA potty trowel/ CAMP corsa ?
Bear canister: ?
Ice traction: kahtoola microspikes
Knife: victorinox classic
Watch: highgear axio mini
BPL benzoin tinctures
Keep in mind that I will be hiking with a partner. * signifies items that will be shared: don’t know how we will divide it yet.
I havn’t listed the weights, as I have some of this, but not all of it. Questions marks signify items I havn’t made a decision on yet, or have no idea what to choose. Some items, such as the duomid and beartooth hoody, I have decided to go with not just for use on PCT but for next winter in Manitoba.
Some other items, like the camera, I havn’t looked into much. I have also never really used a camera, so I have no idea if I need extra batteries or extra memory storage.
Open to all comments and criticism. Thanks for any input!
EDIT: forgot to put the raingear in there! maybe some other things too..Jan 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm #1558893
No personal experience with thorofare tops and bottoms, but some here have commented that they can run quite hot. You'll be in temps in the mid 80s to mid 90s for most of the spring and summer. The solution that worked best for me in warm temps was a light colored cotton dress shirt and nylon zip-offs. For colder temps you have the hoody and windshirt already.
Are the BPL beartooth shorts just for underwear or do you plan on wearing them as sole bottom layer. If the latter, I seriously doubt that the shorts will hold up for long.
You don't need a compass, the trail is well marked and obvious, but a little button compass weighs nothing and you never know what may come up. You also probably don't need an ice axe. Few carried them, and those that did including myself, didn't use them.
Traction for feet is a good thing, but you probably won't need it until kennedy meadows. Ship it their. It might be useful on fuller ridge. But if you leave after kick-off, probably not.
Bear vault has a the best deal and a program for thru hikers. The bearikade is the best approved canister if you have the extra cash and will be hiking in restricted areas for years to come.
6L of water is a lot to carry. I never carried more than 4L and I'm not a particularly fast hiker. I would drink as much as possible at water sources.
Have you used the gg nightlight before on a long hike? If so more power to you. If not think about some extra padding. Maybe the 3/8" instead of 1/8". Many folks upgraded their pads during the hike. I loved my neoair, but wouldn't recommend it, or really an inflatable, in the desert. Too many prickers. After KM it was fine.
Have fun out there!Jan 3, 2010 at 9:37 am #1559047
Your gear list is very similar to what I took on the PCT in '09. My comments are as follows;
1) throfare shirt was great. After the 5th creek washing, you can "scratch off" the logo and make it a plain shirt. I was still swatting the "bug" in the sleeve at the end of the hike. If you don't roll up the sleeves, and use that cloth & snap, then learn from my mistake and cut that snap off (for sanity's sake).
2) throfare pant was not strong enough for me to wear for 1 month, traded up for Rail Riders eco mesh pant. Wore that the whole rest of the way. Still needed to sew things from time to time, but much stronger.
3) Darn Tough socks don't work for me, thorlo all the way.
4) I wore Montrail Continental Divides. Shoes are very personal though. I am always amazed at people who ask others for shoe recommendations; might as well ask me what the best flav of ice cream is…
5) I threw the dry ducks jacket in the hiker box when in Mammoth. Got a Marmot Precip. The (dry ducks) zipper had stopped working. Saw my dry ducks jacket again in WA, someone had sewn it into a pull over and didn't mind no zipper. Going again, I'd get a silnylon jacket for rain or put $1 ponchos in every mail drop and hiker-box the spares.
6) I think everyone should have their own shelter. I don't know your situation with your hiking partner, but pre-consider how you would handle things if one always hiked faster/slower, if one was injured, if one was lost and without the shelter for a night… Lots of people rely on a single shared shelter, but still…
7) Toothbrush; get a "toothbrush cover" sold in the camping stuff at walmart or anywhere. Nice way to keep it unscuzzy.
8) chapstick! Don't underestimate how the desert and sierras can dry you out. Also, maybe sun screen at the start & again for the sierras. Also, maybe a chrome dome? I liked mine, would use it again from border to northern sierras and again around hat creek rim and finally mid or to the ca border. Also maybe hydropel or something to rub on your feet at night.
9) I don't see "data" or "maps". I had Yogi, Shaffer, Harrison maps in Sierras, Erik The Black and elevation profiles from Mr. Parkay. Sure; I had too much. On a budget, take Yogi & add the Harrison Maps if you're early into the sierras. If you have time & a printer, half miles maps looked excellent the few times I could look over a shoulder @ one. If money doesn't matter much, read Yogi at home, add notes about towns to ETB's from Yogi, take Erik's + Harrison and ignore the elevation profiles in ETB's. They suck.
10) Ditto what Nia said about BV. After you use it, you can donate it to the bear cannister loan program.
11) Also I'll repeat Nia about pads, I ended up getting a winter-ridge-rest pad (full length, but narrow) part way through the hike and never regretting having it.
12) Consider route alternates; Iva Bell hotsprings (or Fish creek hot springs depending on who you talk to) was excellent! Eagle creek trail beats the pct hands down, but is crowded. Missing the rim of crater lake would be dumb. Go bag some peaks, Thielson, Shasta, Sisters, Lassen, and tons of others.
13) If the ants find your campsite in the middle of the night, give up & move instead of engaging in battle. I "won" by staying up for about 3 hours cursing.
So many excellent surprises out there, have fun & good luck!
–PiJan 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm #1559092
-I’ve heard the discussion on thorofares running hot. During the summers I work outside in jeans. After doing this for a few summers, I cannot even wear shorts, just a personal thing I guess. If they do end up being that terribly hot and humid, I’ll probably just switch to something else.
-I bought the beartooth shorts for underwear. Got most of my BPL stuff at the end of year sale. I figured I might as well try them, since I had wanted a pair of wool undies.
-I’m still undecided with the compass and ice axe. I’ve never had to use either of them, so I guess even if I have them I’d have to learn proper use first. I plan on getting into the Sierras before the herd, but this could all change.
-I have used a nightlight torso, but not more than 100 miles. I actually sleep on a ridgerest at home most of the time, so I’m hoping it will work out. Never tried an inflatable pad before though.
-I’ve only used the pants so far, and though they seem pretty durable, I havn’t used them for more than a week at a time. I am considering changing to something else.
-My personal experience with thorlos havn’t been good. For some reason the two pairs I’ve had didn’t last very long. I havn’t tried darn tough socks yet though.
-I’m still undecided on the shoes. I have had pair a hardrocks and they’re great. But the new line of montrail shoes sound wonderful. I might be hoping too much though.
-I was considering a marmot precip myself. I think that if the dri-ducks don’t work out, I’ll switch to the precip like you had done.
-Partner and I are close, don’t mind being squished together long term. I understand the differences in hiking abilities etc. But we generally do all our hiking together, and we’re going into this thru-hike with a ‘team’ mentality. If all goes wrong, one of us could just pick up a tarp and bivy.
-Thanks for the tip on the brush, will do that.
-I agree with the chapstick; forgot to put it in there. I never leave my house without chapstick, summer or winter; it’s a life saver.
-I have the wilderness press books and yogis.
-will consider all alternate routes, and will make sure to keep ants in mind!
Thanks for the input guys!Jan 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm #1559093
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
Looks like a great, well thought out list to me.
Ice axe: I carried a ULA Helix, the shortest version. In some testing I found that I can self-arrest with it. I think if doing it again, however, I'd go for the Camp Corsa, as it's still light but it's actually CE B-rated.
I used a bearvault brand and liked it. The Bearikade is indeed more expensive and better; a hiking companion had rented one for the trip. Even that's not cheap, but an option if you'll never use a bear can again.
Microspikes aren't a bad idea depending on the year you go. I mailed my ULA mini-crampons home from Independence, never used 'em. I have no experience with microspikes; if you're okay walking through no-snow zones when transitioning back and forth they might be okay. It just seemed like it would be too much of a PITA to bother putting on traction when I knew that 20 minutes later I'd be taking them off again …
I guess I agree that a pretty minimal compass is adequate. In the Sierras in particular you might have a better one sent along with ice axe, etc and send it home afterwards — the point is to be able to orient to figure out which of the various gaps you're looking at is the actual pass if you don't trust the various footsteps you find in the snow.
I liked having glacier glasses in the Sierras in particular, and really, in much of California. Not the darkest type, I forget the rating, but decent glasses with side shields (even if wrought of duct tape …).
Rain gear: for the first 700 miles I just carried a poncho tarp and a really light (not waterproof) bivy as both rain gear (the poncho) and shelter. If doing it again I'd go the same route but ditch the bivy, then pick up an actual tent in Kennedy Meadows.
I used the same pack you're using. I started out trying to put the bear can on top, but ultimately hated that and just made room inside by dint of putting even more stuff in the external mesh.
Best wishes for a great trip!Jan 5, 2010 at 3:19 am #1559627
Thanks, I’ve been lurking on the forums here for a few months, and have been changing my gear list around a lot. So far it’s worked out really well.
-I was thinking the same thing with the ice axe. Either way, I don’t know how to self-arrest, so I’m going to have to learn pretty soon.
-I havn’t looked much into the bear canister situation yet. I just know that I will be renting, since I have absolutely no use for one where I live. Is it worth using an ursack outside of the cannister required areas? Do most people hang bags?
-I have no experience with crampons or microspikes. Just have been reading other gear lists, and trailjournals; seems everyone takes something. I live in the prairies and have no experience with any altitude/ice hiking. I’m actually pretty nervous about it. I am trying to learn as much as I can though.
-I was looking into glacier sunglasses. Then I decided that I probably won’t like wearing contacts the whole time. This seems to be the hardest decision so far. There are SO many options, and it seems to be a pretty personal choice as well. I havn’t had much luck looking for prescription sunglasses that aren’t insanely expensive.
-I have been considering using my poncho tarp up to Kennedy Meadows as well. I have an Integral Designs poncho. I think I could save a few ounces that way, I hadn’t considered not bringing my bivy. Seems pretty logical though, since from what I’ve read, it will not likely rain.
-I had bought the Mariposa Plus so that I could carry lots of water comfortably, plus put the bear canister on top. It seems that it would have to be fully loaded to keep a canister right on top, but I’ll try it anyways. Trial and error. Did you ever have any problems with the outer mesh ripping?
I know the list was pretty sloppy, I'm going to put it on a spreadsheet pretty soon.
Thanks for the input.Jan 5, 2010 at 4:38 am #1559640
Hey Dan. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you with a lot of things. Hopefully I'll be at the kickoff party, but after that I'm not sure if I'll be ahead or behind the big group.
"-I was thinking the same thing with the ice axe. Either way, I don’t know how to self-arrest, so I’m going to have to learn pretty soon."
Same here. I really don't want to buy an ice axe if I can avoid it, but that's probably not the smartest way of looking at things. I wonder if I can find a Corsa somewhere for cheap.
"-I havn’t looked much into the bear canister situation yet. I just know that I will be renting, since I have absolutely no use for one where I live. Is it worth using an ursack outside of the cannister required areas? Do most people hang bags?"
There's a discussion about this going on at Whiteblaze, but as usual with those forums it seems to be devolving into some kind of insanity. The general consensus seems to be no hanging, which just doesn't seem right to me. I hope someone from the slightly saner BPL crowd has some insight on this.Jan 5, 2010 at 9:37 am #1559705
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
If renting a can, at least look into the Bearikade. It's the most expensive but light and fairly large capacity which is helpful for dealing with thru-hiker hunger in the Sierras. If not, I liked the (current version, don't buy an older model used) of the BearVault; the clear plastic IMO makes it a bit easier to pack efficiently, and the wider opening ditto.
Hanging elsewhere, ursack: of course different opinions on this. After doing the whole PCT, I think many people's opinions change a bit on this stuff. I had been a bit more aggressively "always hang or use an Ursack" but when so many people that you know do all those miles sleeping with their food and have no incidents, it changes your mind (or at least it did mine). I still generally use an Ursack outside of places where a can is required, partly to keep rodents out of my food, partly to at least slow down the bears if not hopefully deter them; ditto an odor proof bag to hopefully avoid the problem to begin with. For me, the right solution was to sleep with food for the first 700 miles — really relatively little to get at your food there. Bear can in the Sierras. Ursack plus odorproof sack after that. That's just *my* approach, I don't present it as some sort of universal truth (!).
Crampons, microspikes — depending on your snow year, consider (a) Kahtoola Microspikes, (b) Camp 6-point crampons, (c) nothing. Look on postholer.com and perhaps watch the PCT discussion list, http://mailman.backcountry.net/mailman/listinfo/pct-l to see if you can glean some ideas of how much snow it's looking like there will be. If not a high snow year, then IMO it's a very credible plan to go without any sort of crampon. Some in fact would opine that with low experience a person is safer without them; no personal opinion on that, other than I don't think it takes a ton of time to gain the requisite experience …
Sunglasses: whatever you do, make sure you have some, particularly in the Sierras. If you see your eye doctor before going, ask for a pair of those little folding paper/cardboard ones that they give you when the dialate your eyes — very light, use those as a backup pair. Being snowblind is not likely a lot of fun.
Not bringing the bivy: YMMV, of course, my experience is just from the particular year that I did it. Also depends on where you camp; I did get heavy dew on my bag one morning camped near a creek. I used the bivy once in the first 700 miles when bugs were bad enough that I wanted the bug netting, but apart from one or two nights there were no bug issues for me until the Sierras, a head net would have been enough.
Bear can on top of mariposa plus: in my initial testing it seemed to work fine, so in your testing absolutely load the thing to the max (weight). That "Y" strap isn't going to hold a smooth plastic (or metal) can when it's at max weight, regardless of how full your pack is. But again, I got the can inside by dint of holding more things in the mesh.
Any problems with mesh ripping? Eventually some mesh ripping occurs, but never enough to be a problem, and you can always field repair/reinforce with needle and dental floss as thread.Jan 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm #1559785
I slept with my food outside the restricted areas. I did hang the extra food that didn't fit in the bear canister leaving kennedy meadows. But after that I didn't bother. My experience with black bears outside Yosemite is that they run away when they see me. In yosemite they have just ignored me. I'm still alive with all my limbs. YMMV.
I used the camp 6 point crampons. They're about 7 oz. And the long spikes gave me a lot more confidence going across the forester ice chute. For me this is the only place where I felt like one false step and I would die (an exaggerated fear I believe). So having any extra confidence was a good thing. I also used them in the snow on the down hills and felt they gave me some extra traction.
We had a good snow in early june so there were long stretches to use the crampons. The aluminum camp crampons do not handle even short stretches on rocks so if you can't stay on the snow it's too much hassle to take them on and off.Jan 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm #1561150
-I’m not sure if I’ll make it to the kickoff party, I have to wait until my exams are finished. I too am not sure whether to stay behind or ahead of the group. I sure don’t feel like hiking with that many people. Not that I’m a recluse or anything; it’s just not the experience I am looking for.
-I just bought a Camp Corsa, and am going to practice self arresting this winter. I don’t think I can find any in person mountain training here in the prairies, but I’ll be reading as much as I can online. The Camp Corsa wasn’t that cheap, but backcountry had a coupon for 15% off, so I bought a few things. I think the coupon is valid until February.
-Thanks for the whiteblaze link. I think I will probably just go with an ursack after the sierras, as it seems a lot easier, for me anyways: I’ve never had to hang a bag.
-I think I’m going to pretty much mimic your approach to the bear problem. I’m not sure I feel comfortable leaving my food with no protection after the sierras.
-As for the crampons, I’m going to take your advice and just play the waiting game. From what I’ve read, the snowpack can change considerably fast.Jan 13, 2010 at 2:09 am #1562241
I think your clothes are well chosen for higher elevations like the Sierra (though a 200wt fleece equivalent may help here), or parts of the Desert Divide, and N. Washington. Its perhaps too much (!) elsewhere.
Think dynamically about your wardrobe, and send things ahead you won't need.
Pants: Personally I would roast without shorts; when I hiked the PCT through Oregon and Washington, even in June, I wore pants only when it was blowing rain or I was not moving (or the mosquitos were buzzing–but then the heat was almost intolerable). I know many people hike in pants all the time, but nothing is as light or freely moving as running shorts. You won't need thermal pants most of the time, probably only in the first few and last few weeks. Figure out your running temperature and then send them ahead—perhaps way ahead to where you'll need them. I don't think you'll need rain pants, even dri-ducks. If you do bring them, save them for September in Washington, not before.
Overmitts are not really necessary for the (absense) rain on the PCT, only for the bugs and sun (OK, maybe your last two weeks in WA); hence eVent mitts not necessary. Just sew some tubes for your hands; they'll work for the sun, too. .1 ounce.
Shirt: I wore a long sleeve shirt for sun-protection, especially when in open country, and there's lots of that on the PCT. I also highly recommend an umbrella. Many people do the PCT without one, of course, but this is one trail where, despite the lack of rain, you can keep nice and cool under its shade in the intense sun. This lets you go shirtless, too, which is oh so comfy. I admit I'm kind of an umbrella evangelist. At least consider carrying one for a while to see if it suits your style. It'd be most useful down south, through the High Sierras, to protect from the intense sun, and then again in WA to protect from the sometimes unceasing drizzle. There are ways of carrying one while using poles. Search the forums.
Poles: A matter of personal preference, of course. But for the PCT, which is never steep, I'd at least recommend sending them ahead for a section or two and see if you really miss them. I'm continually surprised by how many hikers have their poles stowed. And there are always sticks to use for a while.
Gaiters: I know people like them, but I'm not sure how much effort and annoyance they'll really save on the PCT. I'd start caryying them and see how well you do without them.
Cooking: consider a bigger pot, and sharing with your partner (1.5/2L for the two of you). You won't believe how hungry you'll become. If you already have more pots, consider sending a bigger one to pick up in Big Bear, when your appetite really kicks in.
Shelter: Anything will work fine; I used a blue woven poly tarp, 8×10. Not light, but only 4.99. Slept in headnets and bug proof clothing for a few nights.
Pack: Forget the pack cover, carry a garbage sack to line your pack in the slim chance of rain. Replace the sack frequently, as even unused they can develop holes where they're folded up.
Water: You'll need a few liters down south; elsewhere there are only a few places where you need to carry more than 1L of water, which at thru-hiking pace can last ten-15 miles easy. Water sources more than that far apart are few and well noted in the guides. Send the extra bottles ahead to those sections. If I were doing it again I think I'd use a UV purifier and drink a lot at each source. Then you don't have to carry so much while waiting for the treatment to take effect. I didn't filter most of my water, and in high wilderness areas, with no grazing or much horse trafic above, chosing sources carefully, you can get away with it. Just wash your hands after doing your business.
Camera: Consider one that takes AAs. That way you can dispense with the recharging hassle/worries.
Well, that's way too much procrastination. Back to work.
AndrewJan 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm #1562402
Speaking of sending things ahead, I'm planning on using a bounce box, which is something I haven't done on any of my other big hikes. Actually, I'm going to have three bounce boxes… all USPS flat-rate boxes, one medium (clothes, gear, etc.) two small (one for guidebooks, one for electronics chargers and things I might need to restock on more often). The medium box ships for about $10, and the smalls for $5. I figure I'll try this system out for at least a few weeks and see if I like it.
By the time I finished the AT in 2007, I was pretty sick of mailing myself packages, but that was for food. I already know of the difficulties involved with catching the post office while it's open, but I figure the bounce boxes really could be a good way of having what I need available sometimes. Anybody else do anything like this?Jan 13, 2010 at 8:42 pm #1562524
If you have a down jacket and a rain jacket you will not need any other upper body layers. A windshirt is nice for hiking in the morning but as long as you aren't sitting around camp for hours every day I would ditch the baselayer top. Last summer I carried a Marmot Precip and a patagonia synthetic pullover and I wore them together ~3 times in all of California.Jan 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm #1562542
A second on ditching a top layer. Again, even in OR/WA in June I never wore anything more than a poly dress shirt + poly long underwear top + windbreaker. And even then I only wore the long underwear top once when not at rest. Again, I carried an umbrella, and had no other rain gear. Ditch the parka after the Sierras, pick it up again in N. WA (depending on when you arrive).
Crampons + Axe : unless you're really experienced, crampons, especially any with front points, can get you in deep trouble and onto exposed slope where any slip will cause your death. If a steep slope is too hard to kick steps you have no business being on it in Kathoola microspikes. On the other hand, flat or near flat snow with good runnout will be OK, and the spikes may help you move a little more quickly in the early morning.Jan 15, 2010 at 7:02 am #1563021
-I am going to be buying a pair of running shorts. Do you have any recommendations? I’ve been looking at the Ibex runner shorts, but I’m not sure how long a high percentage wool short will last. My skin won't handle tight synthetics.
-I am also considering an umbrella. What do you do with it if you use trekking poles? I like having the poles because I have runners knee, and they help a lot. I also use them for my shelter.
I have been planning on using a bounce box as well. From what I’ve read, some people use harder boxes, like buckets, because of the abuse the boxes take. I’m really not too keen on spending the money at every other town to send a bounce box, but I would like the extra flexibility with gear resupply.
-My plan was to use the dri-ducks only when I really needed them. I’ve read they don’t like shoulder strap abrasion too much. I’m either going to get a new rain shirt and ditch the wind shirt, or just stay with this.
-I keep reading all these warnings about it getting cold at night, and some are not prepared. How often does it really get under 25F? I could do without the baselayer if it went that cold ONLY in the middle of the night, but I wouldn’t want put too much wear on the down jacket by wearing it while on the move. I can never tell if people are exaggerating the cold weather, or if they’re just not used to it. If it was that cold here right now, I could walk outside in shorts and a tee. In the middle of summer, I’d probably be freezing.Jan 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm #1563201
"I have been planning on using a bounce box as well. From what I’ve read, some people use harder boxes, like buckets, because of the abuse the boxes take. I’m really not too keen on spending the money at every other town to send a bounce box, but I would like the extra flexibility with gear resupply."
That's one of the reasons why I'm thinking it won't be a perfect solution, but I also figure that as long as all the post offices allow me to "bounce" the boxes for free (when unopened), I won't have to spend too much money on the boxes. I don't plan on opening the boxes too often, but we'll see how that goes once I'm out there.
As for those 5-gallon buckets that I've heard of people using for bounce boxes… I wonder how the price of sending those compares over the long run with boxes.Jan 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm #1563244
Hi Dan, I can only speak for last year and I didn't start until mid-May, but it was never less than 25F in California or Oregon on my PCT hike except in the middle of the night, and that was only a few times. It will be cold in the morning in the desert, but will be above 40F by 8 am and way too hot by ten on most days. I found that an hour of hiking before breakfast makes the perfect warm up, and that gloves (or extra socks) are essential.
Sounds like you are almost ready, good luck and have fun.Jan 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm #1563260
-I had heard about it being free if the box isn’t open. I’m not familiar with USPS rules and regulations, or even Canada Post for that matter. If this is the case than I probably shouldn’t be too worried about money.
-I too was wondering what it would cost to bounce a package that big. I also need to find out if the packages are insurable. If I were to put all my extra gear in a box that big, and it got lost, that would be pretty devastating. Annoying anyways.
-I’m still unsure about how warm my gloves should be. What did you bring?
-Also, you said you had left in the middle of May. What were the water caches like after the big herd had their way with them? If I were to leave around that time, would it be wise to have extra water bottles? I am already planning on carrying a 7L capacity for southern California.Jan 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm #1563277
Dan- I carried polyester liner gloves. They are EMS and are just very thin, not windstop or anything.
I found every water cache before Aqua Dulce to have water, most of the time the caches were very full. After the herd went through it seemed that trail angels refilled the caches last summer. The water report is generally up to date.Jan 15, 2010 at 10:31 pm #1563290
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
If you have thin liner gloves, and if you want them to stay warm during rain, then simply cover them with disposable latex first aid gloves. That makes them waterproof with virtually no weight gain.
And, of course, they get multiple use as first aid gloves or (dare I say) cut off one finger of the glove to use as a condom.
–B.G.–Jan 16, 2010 at 1:24 am #1563308
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
As a fellow PCT alum ('09) I can attest to the quality of advice presented here – if you were to follow it you would do fine.
That much said, every year is different – the weather could turn out to be very different than what we experienced. As someone who attended kickoff, it was pretty darned hot in SoCal until I reached Big Bear, then temperatures cooled down about 10 degrees and things were rather mild. Heck, I wore a rain shell walking through the corner of the Mojave. The year before it had been 110 degrees, I am told. Nothing I write here regarding conditions are set in stone.
I carried rain gear the entire time – yeah, looking back at it, in California I wore it as often in town while doing laundry as I did on the trail. But it's a nice to know that I had rain gear at the ready. Ask the Saufleys (trail angels in Aqua Dulce) about the hikers who got stuck on Mt. Baden-Powell sans raingear and without tents.
On bounce boxes – I don't know if I would send out multiple boxes by design – but people did and it worked for them. I would bounce my box (actually, a paint bucket sent priority) ahead by about 200 miles a shot but as the trip wore on, I pretty much settled on sending the box home with the instructions if I need anything, I would call. I found I used the bounce boxes more for food – sending food ahead from towns with good grocery stores to towns and in some cases, summer camps and rural post offices without a grocery store at hand.
Do send everything PRIORITY mail and do make sure to add tracking for a dollar for any gear that is valuable. You can insure boxes, I believe. You can find out more here (http://www.usps.com/prices/priority-mail-prices.htm). Boxes did get lost in the mail, it was rare, but it happened. The further north you get, the opportunities to replace gear in trail towns diminishes. The trail town get smaller and smaller for the most part.
Another consideration is there a number places (especially in Oregon and Washington) that are only served by UPS. Make a note of these – Yogi does sell a set of cards with all the trail towns and services offered – I liked the set although details do change (like store hours, PO hours, etc).
I didn't rely upon caches – this is a really controversial topic. Some advocate the elimination of caches altogether because they are a bit of a blight and because hikes have become dependent upon them. While I didn't depend on them, I miscalculated twice and was sure glad to have them there a couple of instances. Third gate water cache was particularly critical for me – it was just incredibly hot in the desert. But carrying 6+ liters is incredibly difficult (2.2 pounds per liter). I carried 4 1/2 liters and that was hard. If it is getting up to 100 degrees or so, and you are not used to that kind of weather (being from the Pacific NW, it nearly killed me), we would stop hiking around 11 a.m. or noon, hang out in the shade sometimes as late a 3 or 4 p.m., and hike into the evening. Not all the time, mind you, but sometimes the heat was just brutal.
At risk of stating the obvious, I would recommend in the dryer reaches of the trail that you don't pass by water sources without seriously considering the water situation ahead – if there is any doubt, stop, camel up. But often, i was so careful with my water I found myself carrying the same darn two liters for 20+ miles until I reached another stream. So I was perhaps conservative with my intake (well, I know I was an was often dehydrated in SoCal as a result).
Finally, one of the principles to live by in the northern climes is that the mountains can get cold, rainy, and (sometimes) snowy in fall. In summer, they will get at least cold and rainy on occasion. To illustrate, I finished October 14th. We got snowed on for several days those final couple of weeks and it was COLD (under 10 degrees at night and never much above freezing for about a week.)
The area in the north that catches a lot of people off-guard isthe Sisters Wilderness. Oregon is pretty balmy in the southern reaches generally, but by the Sisters you've gained in elevation and the area is prone to prolonged rain and wind (this is the part of the state where Oregon begins to resemble the place people imagined). Several hikers had to bail out to hitch into Bend and buy more gear because of hypothermia issues.
Food: I slept with my food everywhere but the restricted areas as well. I used a custom sized bearkidade (between the weekender and expedition). It worked great, no complaints. A hiker I met was caught and fined by rangers for not carrying a bear cannister through the Sierras – honestly, I think the weight penalty is so minor at that point (the thing weighs about the same as a liter of water and in the Sierra, water is abundant so you only need to carry a liter or two at the max.) Plus it's nice to go to bed at night not worrying about food hanging from a tree.
My best advice: Go out there, have fun, when you get beat up and tired and want to quit (which happens on occasion), take a zero day, rest up, call some loved ones, and eat what you crave. A bit of rest and time off will generally cure what ills you. The Sierras are THAT GREAT, gut out the tough parts of SoCal with that in mind!
Have a great trip! You can do it!
DirkJan 16, 2010 at 5:20 am #1563315
Running shorts: I've never paid any attention to brand or material. The lightweight shell should be synthetic the inner liner could be anything very wicking/breathable/odor resistant. The liner us not usually tight fitting. With typical running shorts the liner wears out far before the shell. I'd not expect more than 1000 miles from a liner (which is to say either have spares or plan on buying some along the way), but then again you may get some that will last the whole trip. With the liner, I'd not expect wool to last long, unless its mixed in with synthetic, which defeats the oder prevention benefit anyway. Running shorts + windpants was all I ever used (though I never went into fall rain/snow up north).
Umbrella: Here are a couple of links on how to use in conjunction with poles:
There's more advice out there. Just sticking the handle beneath a shoulder strap is a quick and easy solution.
As per poles, again, I'd keep close track of how much you use them, and seriously consider not using them for a section or two, a little ways in, to see how much you really miss them. I'll confess I'm not a pole guy, but my advice is not based on this, but on how many people I see carrying their poles. The PCT is not steep like the AT, and there is an abundance of sticks—especially for pitching a tarp, but also for helping in the ascents.
FYI, my clothing choice is based on constant movement in bad weather; if its cool I'd rather be moving than carrying an extra layer so I can sit still for a while in the rain. You can cook underneath a tarp while underneath your sleeping bag, if it comes down to it; and when you get skilled, you can pop up your tarp in a couple of minutes to cook in a sheltered place. Up north and in the Sierras, that extra layer will help you go with the same sleeping bag as much as providing clothing while hiking/resting.
There's all kinds of gear that has gone the distance. Keeping yourself lean will increase your chances of success, but keeping a positive attitude, expecting some hardships, getting adequate rest, eating enough and good quality food, and having companions will help you just as much.Jan 16, 2010 at 10:05 am #1563369
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
I hike a ton in the Sierras and coastal ranges of California, tho not the PCT (yet) – if I do, the first thing I will get will be a Bearikade appropriately sized to get me from one resupply to the next in the Sierras. Yes, expensive, but there would be no difficulty selling the thing to someone else for 2/3 of the cost, and even if I figured out that a size other than the Weekender or Expedition would be better they do some custom work! I rented a weekender for a week on the JMT last year. For the PCT I'd bounce the canister's box (with one or two Ursacks) to the point where I planned to switch from can to bag, and mail the can home.
Ursacks or other bagging methods would probably suffice the rest of the time – it's not just the bears but the rats, ringtails, raccoons and squirrels.
I have never had any luck getting the Y strap on my Mariposa Plus to retain a canister. Squirts out or deforms the pack to a ridiculous degree. Pulling the extension up around the canister fixes it.Jan 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm #1563437
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
Dan I think you mentioned you were looking for a camera. I'm no expert but I would recommend one that uses AA batteries which are easy to get and SD memory cards which are fairly standard. I would invest in Lithium batteries (longer lasting) and a couple of 2 Gig memory cards. I used a Nikon L15 for a long time and loved it but there are similar models by other companies. I also have a very small tripond someone gave me that is nice for self portraits.
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