Feb 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm #1255042
I am trying to get ready for the PCT this spring and dont really know where to start. I thought posting a "gear list" would be a good first step- here is the gear I have/ordered and plan on carrying with me. Please rip this apart! I am sure there are many things missing. I will try to provide weights where I can find them (no scale!) Thanks so much.
Thorofare Pant 4.4 oz
Running shoes-currently own 3 pair 11oz
ExOfficio Hiking Shirt 6.7oz
OR Sun Runner Hat 2.8oz
Thin liner socks .7 oz
Suunto Core watch 2.3oz
Native Sunglasses w/cord 3.1oz
Pack: Gossamer Gear Gorilla 22.5oz
Pad: Thermarest Zlite Short 11oz
MYOG quilt 16oz
BMW nano tarp 3.35 oz
Line Locks .3oz
MSR needle stakes x6 2.1 oz
Ti stakes x6 1.7oz
BMW Aircore Pro .85 oz
GG LT4 poles pair w/baskets 6.8 oz
BMW Vapr Bivy Long 8.45oz
Golite Virga Rain Jacket 8oz
Montbell UL wind shirt 2.8 oz
Extra socks 1.4oz
Spare boxers 2.5oz
BPL UL mossie net .4oz
Light gloves 2.2oz
Long thermal underwear 4.75oz
Royal Robbins Down Vest 7.5oz
Evernew Water Bladder 2L 1.5oz
Aqua Mira purification 2oz
Trash bag liner for pack 1.5oz
Extra trash bag/rain coat 1.5oz
MP3 player and headphones 2oz
Total toiletries 3.8oz
First aid 8oz *will lighten with balm containers
Swiss Army Classis Knife 1 oz?
Petzl Tikka XP2 headlight 3.1oz
Serius balaclava 2oz
Camera Nikon Coolpix L11 6.4oz
Extra rope 1.35oz
DEET W/duct tape 1.3oz *in FAK
Dry bag 2.2oz
2 carabiners .2oz
can opener .16oz
Alcohol stove .6oz
.9L grease pot 3.7oz with lid
Fuel with bottle 4.6 oz
Light My Fire Scout 1.1oz
Light my fire spork .2oz
Halfmile Maps (selection)
Ice axe: camp corsa 70 cm 9.9oz
MSR Denali w/8in tails 4lb 5oz
Stabilizers 10.8ozFeb 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm #1571785
@chrisfolLocale: Denver, Coloado
A couple of things stand out to me:
– You don't have any insulation layers, nor a fleece hat or gloves.
– I can't see any rain gear listed
– A 10oz first aid kit? That seems far too excessive! What do you have in there?Feb 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm #1571787
I would get a scale before anything else. Its SOOOOO helpful!Feb 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm #1571791
1. Do you have any practice with the poncho/tarp?
2. Lose the baskets on the poles.
3. My FAK + repair kit is 3.1 oz. Check out my Winter Gear list (this forum) for its contents.
4. How are you going to charge those iPod batteries? I recommend cutting it.
5. Get a small tube of tooth paste; shoot for two or three oz for your toiletries.
6. Have you ever done a long-term hike w/o a stove? Have you figured out your proposed diet?
7. Aqua Mira (or a Steripen) is great for water purification and no chlorine taste.
8. I use a hacked-up Ridgerest (more comfortable and better insulating than blue foamer).
10. Socks: I recommend Darn Tough Micro Crews or SmartWool Adrenaline mini crews
11. Boxers: Patagonia Capilene boxers or boxer briefs. GoLite also makes some spandex shorts that work well.
There's more to be added/cut, but good luck.Feb 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm #1571830
Chris- Can you reccomend any UL insulation layers? Fleece hat- I have an old lowe alpine hood/neck warmer thing made of a polyester/nylon/lycra blend. I dunno what it weighs, but almost nothing. It was really warm, I used it in the military.Do you think this would be as good as a fleece hat, or should I find a fleece one? What kind of gloves would you suggest? I dont tend to use them here in chicago winters and it gets pretty cold, but I have seen them on almost every pct gear list. I looked at those frogg toggs and driduck things I hear about so much on this site, but they seemed like a fancy trash bag system- I thought I could get away with the montbell UL windshirt and a trashbag or 2 for a top and rain skirt. You think of something else? I thought that would be both cheaper and lighter than the commercially available rain gear, but I would like to hear your suggestions. Of course I will look up some items as well, but I thought you might have some personal reccomendations. ahhh I was just guessing about the FAK- I have to look at Matt's list in a bit and kick some stuff out. Mine might not be 10oz really, but it does seem big.
Travis- a scale would be SO helpful! I was thinking of taking all my gear to whole foods and weighing it there- but I dont think they would be too happy about that. Maybe I can borrow one from a friend I have….good thought
Matt- 1. I have a little practice with the poncho/tarp in both poncho and tarp forms from backpacking through Africa where it was my main shelter. Dont like the weight for the tarp, or the waterproofness of the poncho, so I might have to switch it. What do you use?
2. I thought they would be useful for the snow areas…ditch them?
3. Will be looking at your FAK. I will be happy to use your example!
4. Was planning on taking a very light mp3 which uses 1 AAA battery and it lasts forever. I think this will keep me sane- replacements either by buying as I go or a bounce box (which I would like to avoid!)
5. Would love to get to 3 oz for the toiletries as well- I have a half toothbrush. How did you manage with such little paste? I feel like a small tube would be hard to replace- options?
6. I have never done a long term hike without a stove. I figured I would start without one, and if I needed buy a pop can in town and some alcohol. I heard about the dehydrating thing at home, but I dont like the idea of sending myself packages. Less flexability and more money, no? Suggestions?
7. I will look for the steripen thing- are they durable? I like the chlorine pills because they cant break. Used them a lot in traveling, so I dont really mind the taste. Is that the only drawback?
8. Ridgerest sounds GREAT but arent they expensive too? Maybe I can find one on gear swap…
9. I found when I travel with sunglasses I never use them. Did you find them useful? Do most people hike with them on the PCT?
10-11 will pick up those socks and boxer breifs you mentioned- nice call!
Will update in a few minutes…Feb 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm #1571840
Chris will probably recommend something different than me, but I'm leaning towards puffy materials for the insulation layer. I've been trying fleece, but I find that it's heavy, bulky, and not as warm. Down is very warm, much lighter, and compresses well….just needs extra care to avoid getting it wet. I doubt you'll use these layers when hiking, but you'll want it when you wake up and on low mileage days. Of course you may not need it when it gets warmer. For now, if you're trying to save money, I suppose you could reuse the fleece layers you may have been issued in the military, that it, the brown polypro underwear and the fleece full zip jacket. If you got SOF gear and have the primaloft level 7 outer layer, that may work too. I'm about to try the pants to see how that works. It's full zip sides which weighs more, but it allows me to keep them on while making camp and quickly remove them when I'm about to start hiking.
Have you figured out what kind of socks you like to wear? I'm finding that I prefer a double layer of liner socks. Thick socks are too hot for me, even when the ground is frozen.
You'll definitely want sunglasses. Your eyes will hate you if you don't, especially if you get out there when there's snow and ice on the ground.
I found that the little trekking pole cups still sink when the tip sinks…then again, I am using the rubber tips on my poles. I haven't tried my snow cups. I suppose that may be worth using if anything at all.Feb 9, 2010 at 6:25 pm #1571848
Evan, your height and weight are what jumped out at me even more so than the gear you are planning on carrying. At 6' 2.5" and 145 lbs. you don't have any excess weight you can afford to lose. You say you are not planning on cooking. Especially in the southern half of the PCT you will need a large number of calories to maintain your weight. If you are not cooking it will be very hard to get the number of calories you will need. It's just my opinion but I would seriously reconsider taking a stove and a pot large enough that you can cook in rather than just boil water.
BTW I am 5'10" and about 150lbs. so I can relate to being thin. Even on a short 1-2 week trip I worry about losing weight and it is a constant struggle. On a PCT thru you could potentially lose 20-30 lbs. which would be a big percentage of your body weight if you are not careful. I have done sections of the PCT but am hoping to do a thru in 2012 and calories will be my primary concern, much more so than my other gear.Feb 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm #1571851
Ok – commenting on your initial responses, with a new set of nunbers:
1. As far as insulation, I'm not sure as to the temps you'll encounter on the PCT. However, I'm a big fan of the Montbell Thermawrap PARKA or U.L. Inner down PARKA. Similar pieces can be warmer, but they are more expensive. Check out Will's recent reviews(MH Nitrous, PHD pullover, MB ExLight, etc.)
2. Toiletries: Just take a small amount in a re-fillable bottle and fill it up as necessary using a floating resupply box (one that you send yourself from post office to post office).
3. Baskets – yes, they are useful for snow areas. But you don't need them outside of snowfields. Use them in the Sierras (or whereever there is snow – plan this ahead) and send them home otherwise.
4. I asked about the no-cook because it can be a psychological thing – at the end of the day, you stop, cook and sleep.
5. I have no experience with the Steripen, but folks here have used them extensively. Do a search and read what you find.
6. Sunglasses – I don't go out in the woods without them. It makes the whole experience more enjoyable for the eyes. Get a pair that is cheap, polarized and protect it with straps so you can take them off without putting them down.
7. Fleece hats – you're looking at 1 to 1.5 oz. More and you should just get a balaclava. Patagonia R1 balaclava and the Mountain Hardwear Butter balaclava are great.
8. My shelter system: I have a GoLite Poncho tarp, but I have minimal experience with it (taken on two hikes; rained during day on one where I didn't use it as shelter; Did not rain during day where I did use it as shelter). It just takes practice. I normally take an Oware CatTarp 2 or Tarptent Double Rainbow when camping with another person. It helps to know how to set up a tarp quickly and efficiently. Check out the forums for the Ray Way two stick pitch method.
9. On the FAK – the trick is to figure out what you need to heal, and then work from that. Same goes for repair. I believe Ryan Jordan did an article on the minimalist repair kit (I carry what he recommends and can't see a way to add or subtract from it, outside of unique situations of course).
10. The Thermarest. It is a closed cell foam pad by Cascade Designs (owners of MSR). They are not expensive, and you should be able to find one on sale somewhere. Either get a full one and hack it into two torso pads, or get a 3/4 one and use that as a whole. Another good option are the Evazote pads from Gossamer Gear, cut to size of course.
Finally, I recommend a multi-day trip or two ahead of your PCT leave date just to make sure your system works together.
Good luck.Feb 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm #1571949
Eugene: I also like the weight of the down materials, but I am too worried about getting them wet. I am already worried about my down bag, and dont want to add more to that. I could definetly reuse the stuff I got in he army- although you are right, that stuff is heavy. It seems like you are going to use your insulating layers only during breaks and at camp, is that correct? Could I theoretically skip out the insulating layers and just stay in my bag during those times, if it is really cold? Ive done some hiking in desert atmospheres where it gets COLD at night, without much as far as insulation. Always just slipped into my bag. Are you planning on using anything while hiking, because that would be my concern- if I can keep my warmth while hiking without insulating layers I might skip them all together. Crazy, or realistic? As far as socks I seem to have the same problem as you. Even in my army boots, I switched out the issued long cotton socks for short below-the-ankle socks. Completed long hikes and everything with no problems. I would go barefoot if I could. I was planning on taking 2 pair of running socks, but had some good suggestions that I will have to check out. Added sunglasses to the mix. If I really dont want them, I will get rid of them, but from the sound of it I will end up using them all the time.
Jack G: You are right, I dont have any weight to lose. Add that I have hypoglycemia and a super fast metabolism and my caloric intake gets very important. I was thinking of shipping myself Muscle Milk along the trail for some additional nutrients. I really dont want to send myself anything, and would like to not use a stove. Just adds a whole lot more complexity to my gear. If I do decide to use one, would it be easy to get a pop can and alcohol on the go? Maybe at a trail town? You raise a very important factor, I do not want to lose weight!
Matt: You are very organized! Thanks. 1. I have seen those for sale in the gear swap a lot. I wonder though how often I would actually be cold ON the trail. I like to adjust my temp more with my hiking speed than layering up- and I would rather just get into my bag then carry around a bunch of insulating layers. I must find out what the temps while hiking will be, and if this will be possible or if I must get something to wear to keep warm while hiking. If I need to, could I just bring a think underarmour shirt? Ive got a bunch of those sitting around and I think they are pretty light…
2. Looks like I will have to have a bounce box for all this stuff. I will look into getting a small refillable bottle for the paste.
3. Snow baskets- another thing I can send in the bounce box
4. Looks like I will start out without the cooking gear and add it should I decide to cook. Maybe I can throw a light pot and stove in with the bounce box? Theres an idea…
5. I will research it, but I do like the chlorine stuff for weight and simplicity. I can take as much as I need, and bounce the rest.
6. Sunglasses- check Strap- Check
7. Ive got an old Lowe Alpine bachlava that I used in the military- looks just like the patagonia one you mentioned. Definetly bringing it
8. I think Ive got the tarp thing down- I am pretty good at A-frame and lean-to and can experiment more in the desert when I am bored. I would like to get the cuben normal tarp and pitch the sil nylon one…
9. Definetly redoing the FAK to make it lighter
10. Will look up the thermarest, or stick with a full length cheap one I have and fold it up when cold like Eugene mentioned earlier.
I will do a few day trip once I get all the gear straightened out to test it all.Feb 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm #1571967
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Lots of good questions. You are doing your research. You might find two books helpful
Lightweight Backpacking and Camping, by Ryan Jordan
Trail Life, by Ray Jardine
Typically you start scrutinizing your gear list by looking at the Big 3: Pack, sleep system, and shelter. Your pack and sleeping bag are heavy, IMO.
With a large tarp (8' X 10') you can skip the bivy if you are good at site selection and pitching. With a poncho/tarp you need a bivy, plus when pitched you don't have rain gear. Not too bad if you get good at setting up and taking down the shelter, especially the sequence. Cuben tarps are fragile and should be used by experienced tarp users.
Start out with a stove. 2,600+ miles with no cooked food is hard on the psyche if you are not used to it. Plus cooked food provides more options for your nutritional needs. No need to save weight here if you are carrying 79 oz in pack and sleeping bag.
Sun glasses are required in snow. The first section of the PCT covers a lot of desert, so they should be used there also.
A postal scale will be your best friend. You can get one for under $50 and well worth the investment.
Keep asking questions. A lot of people here have thru hiked the PCT, and will provide useful insight.Feb 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm #1571979
I got nervous when I heard most people spend a lot of time preparing for the PCT, and I am just getting started. I will look up those books- Matt also told me about Ryan Jordan so I take it he has some good ideas. I have never heard of those books though, so I will have to check them out. I agree, my pack and bag are very heavy. I was thinking of looking for a used circuit. Its a bit smaller and lighter than the catalyst I have at the moment. Do you know if it can fit the bear canister? That is what I am worried about for the sierras. I want to make sure all this gear will fit in a smaller pack, then I would definetly go for it. As for the bag, what else would you suggest? I would like to get rid of some of the weight considering I use the bag as a quilt anyway. The quilts I have been looking at are either just as heavy or very very expensive. Please let me know how I can take down the pack and bag weight, hopefully with minimal cost.
I do like the idea of a larger tarp and getting rid of the bivy, but I was hoping for this hike to use the bivy or nothing 90 percent of the time and carry a small tarp for when it gets nasty. Is .6 cuben much less durable than sil nylon? I was under the impression that they were comperable in strength.
Do you know the availability of alcohol along the trail? For some reason I have been very against taking a stove, however a few people on this thread have mentioned that it would be a good idea. I have to trust those far wiser than myself.
Sunglasses are in.
Questions seem to be something I am good at :)
Hopefully I will be able to answer something for someone soon!Feb 9, 2010 at 9:46 pm #1571981
Re: what Nick posted, if you promise to read it before you head out on the PCT, i'll send ya my copy of "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping" by Ryan Jordan et al.
I'm paring down my books, and if you think it will help you prepare for your hike, gimme your email and i'll get a mailing address offline, and put it in the mail asap.
p.s. unless you are really into raw/cold/whatever diet, i strongly suggest talking a stove along. hot food is the treat at the end of each long day, especially if it has been cold/wet/lousy out. if i did it again, i'd take a simple alcohol stove with a 0.9L or so Ti pot.Feb 9, 2010 at 9:49 pm #1571983
Could I be experiencing trail magic already? Speachless….
Tried sending PM but cant…
I will read it the day I get it. Please e-mail me! Thanks
I am giving in. Starting search for .9L pot on gear swap, and beginning construction of alcohol stove. SO many videos on youtube…Feb 9, 2010 at 9:55 pm #1571989
i'll send it out tomorrow. but you don't have to read it all in one day.
there's lots to learn about doing the whole UL thing, and you can learn lots from this forum and books and whatnot, but you'll also learn what you need to know once you start walking north from the border. just get the best kit together you can, and then go for it. you are in towns every 3-5 days or so, so you can always send stuff home, bounce it forward, replace your heavy thing with a tinfoil thing, or whatever.
cool.Feb 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm #1571995
I cant wait to get to Campo.
Einstein said timetravel was possible, but never left instructions. If only I could get those on gear swap…Feb 9, 2010 at 10:29 pm #1572008
I see a 5.75 oz REI ti stove for 25 bucks on gearswap. You mentioned .9L but to your opinion would this be good for one person as well or what? just noticed it…thanks
EDIT: ahh I see he has a .9L for 22 bucks…sweet! save 33 USDFeb 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm #1572014
i'm not really an expert on alcohol stoves, but there are plenty of those folks on here.
if i did the PCT again, i might just go with the super cat alcohol stove, a 0.9 liter capacity titanium pot with lid, an aluminum foil windscreen, and whatever little plastic bottle i needed to carry enough alcohol between resupply. alternatively, the MLD gear caldera cone and 0.85L pot deal looks good, but i don't know much about it personally.
i found that a 0.9L capacity pot was right for the amount of food i wanted to eat every day for dinner (i.e. a fairly large amount).
info on the supercat:
zen stoves treasure trove of info:
http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htmFeb 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm #1572016
I'm not sure if you've been keeping track of snow accumulation data (which is a bit premature, as Feb is the heaviest snow month in WA), but it looks like this year could be one for a Southbound hike: very heavy accumulations in the Sierra and South, and 50-80% of normal in the PNW. See http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/reports/SelectUpdateReport.html
A more challenging beginning, to be sure, but it has its advantages.Feb 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm #1572017
sweet, thanks!Feb 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm #1572022
I suppose you could wear your sleeping bag for warmth if you really wanted to. Just make sure you practice setting up and breaking down your camp very quickly, otherwise you may get quite a chill. This also means you may want to do your hygiene stuff a mile or so before you make camp so you don't waste time and body heat when you get into camp. Also watch out for ways to supplement the warmth of your bag on especially cold nights, like using the rest of your clothing, finding good ground to sleep on, using your pack as a partial bivy or as further padding, and on and on.
I keep hearing that alcohol is very easy to find along the trail. You can have an inexpensive and lightweight cooking system by building a system like this with the Stanco/Kmart grease pot.
Also consider that alcohol can be used as a disinfectant.
Which bear canister are you looking at? If you want a big Bearikade Expedition, there's a guy on whiteblaze that's selling one. Of course he said he had one for sale like right after I put in an order for a new one, but maybe you can benefit from my bad timing. Be warned that the Bearikade is the biggest and most expensive bear canister, but it's also the strongest and provides the best weight to storage ratio. If you will be eating more than a BearVault can hold, then you don't really have any other legal option.Feb 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm #1572041
Andrew: I have been keeping a close watch on the snow in Cal. I agree it looks like sobo would be the best bet at the moment (still early to tell as you mentioned) but unfortunetly I have to be back at school in Sept. I was pondering the idea of flip flopping, although I have no idea how to do that. I will figure it out, or have a good time going NOBO with all the other crazies!!!
Eugene: I feel like it might be a good way to lose some weight- although as was mentioned earlier I should start with my heavy pack and bag. I hope I can hike at a confortable temp and just jump into the bag when it gets cold. Using the bivy I should have a fast set up most of the time, I will just have to get fast at the tarp set up. That said, I may end up taking a think underarmour top or something I have around the house and seeing how it works. I looked at that grease pot set up and actually decided to get the "thru hiker" deal #2- I did the math and it just made sense. I tried making some alcohol stoves a few months ago before a thru hike in the middle east, and lets just say it wasnt pretty. I was going to pay 22 bucks for a TI pot, but this one is lighter and for a bit more I got a whole set up. I think that is pretty cool. I will have to get better in the meantime with some MYOG stuff before I would trust anything I make on the trail.
I was thinking of renting a bear canister. How much is he selling his for? I will go look it up now…Thanks so much! I really like this dialogue, its helping me a ton to get ready for this adventure.Feb 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm #1572043
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Great advice here! But carry a stove…there were days on the trail when the idea of a hot meal at the end of the day really made a huge difference in morale…especially when it grew cold in the fall.
The Caldera Cone system works really well with a number of different pots. I liked mine, made cooking with an alcohol stove a snap.
Best of luck to you!
DirkFeb 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm #1572045
I just caved and got an alcohol stove, windscreen, pot, etc. It will be nice to eat a hot meal, and its not too heavy. Are you hiking this year?Feb 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm #1572056
I'll probably go with deal #1 myself because I already have a firestarter. I don't know if I want to go with an alcohol stove yet, but this is an inexpensive way to try it out. If the experiment fails, I'll still use the pot with my other stove, or without a stove for use in emergencies. The weight of that pot is nice eh? The pot may get beat up a little, but I don't care about that.
For some reason long tight underwear like Underarmor doesn't do much to keep me warm. Even my winter biking tights didn't keep me warm.
I don't really like using a bivy for a thru-hike, but it may be a good idea on sections of the trail where you can't set up a tarp. The first section of the PCT is kind of like that. You may have a tough time getting to Lake Morena on the first time. Usually this is a real big challenge, but the rain is killing the trail, and we keep getting more rain. Unless your ankles are very strong, you'd do well to make it to Hauser Creek the first night, which I believe is about 14 miles from the border. If you can't get there or Lake Morena, there's not many places you can set up a tarp off the trail due to the dense brush….often manzanita, a protected plant with beautiful bark and flowers.
Anyway, I'll push a puffy jacket once more. A large New Balance Fugu down jacket is about 14 ounces. You can probably cut an ounce by removing the internal pocket and internal stuff sack. Only $120. If you get a jacket this warm, you can probably get by without an insulating layer for your legs.
I find that I cool down on breaks if I take longer than 10 minutes, which would be the case if I stopped for a meal. If nothing else, pack an extra layer from your military days. If you find that you're not using it, throw it in a hiker box or send it back home.
Oh, and I'll pm you about the Bearikade. Please don't let me know how much he's selling it for. I'll probably just get upset about it. A new one is a little over $300 in CA. Ouch. Big ouch.Feb 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm #1572058
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