Apr 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm #1271958
I'm trying to sort out a few gear items for my PCT trip this year. Let me know if you have any thoughts or recommendations.
Hat: I was planning on wearing a straw hat in the desert, but I just realized that it will be hitting the top of my pack frame. Looking at some of the Columbia, Exofficio, OR, REI and Sunday Afternoon hats.
Balaclava: Many people recommending having one. Fleece or poly? Full balaclava or a ski/neck gaiter to go with my OR windstopper fleece hat?
Sun gloves: Many people recommending this when using trekking poles.
Long pants: Wind pants or the Columbia / Ex officio style long or convertible pants.
Gaiters: Should I splurge on the dirty girl gaiters? I have a pair of OR low rocky gaiters that I used on the AT, but with boots
Mits/Gloves: I have some glove liners, but many saying may need over mits for colder/wetter weather.
Groundcloth: I tarped on the AT and never used a groundcloth, just put my thermarest directly on the ground. Will all of the dust and snow require me to use a groundcloth?Apr 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm #1722465
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
I don't think there is any one right way to bring gear – but here are some thoughts. I hiked the trail a couple of years ago and would do things differently this time around.
I'd wear a hat with a wide rim in the desert and possibly a cord for under your chin for it does get windy. I think anything that provides shade and relatively good coverage would work.
Balaclava: I honestly found it nice to have in the north, starting around mid-Oregon. But this is really a function of many things: your speed, off days and the such – the later in the year you push it, the colder it gets with a great possibility of wet and cold weather. I used a thin fleece one, worked well ehough. It was very lightweight. Was it a necessity? No, but it was nice when it snowed.
Sun gloves – This is a preference thing…I put on a ton of sunscreen and went that route and was okay. Some people swear by sun gloves, for me, I swear by heavy duty sunscreen. I still developed an incredibly dark tan over time (and I am a pasty white guy).
Long pants – i used convertable, but honestly, get whatever is light if you go the long pants route. I hiked in shorts sparingly – in the desert the pants helped with all the thorny things and minor scrapes. By the time I got north, I was just used to wearing long pants.
Gaiters – Again, a preference thing. They do help keep dirt out of your shoes. A lot of people loved them. I didn't use them, but I'd try it out next time. I opted for breathable shoes that ended up allowing a lot of fine dirt/sand to pass through, so I don't know if the gaiters would have helped me much.
Mitts/gloves – I personally like gloves because my hands get cold. It was nice in camp. I don't think you need anything super duty, but by the time I got to Washington, between cold rain and snow, I carried multiple pairs (I know, it make me a heretic on this site) so I could swap out the wet ones for dry ones.
Groundcloth – I slept directly on ground plenty of times. But there were thorns in SoCal which can play havoc on the your inflatable thermarest. In the north it can just be wet. Those polycro groundsheets weigh very little. http://sectionhiker.com/gossamer-gear-polycro-ground-cloth/
If you haven't used a polycro groundsheet, they are at first very clingy, but after a couple of uses that goes away and they become a snap to fold. I always put a small piece of tape on the "UP" side so I can keep the same side to the ground.
DirkApr 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm #1722468
I'll be on the trail this year too. I'm taking a wide brimmed hat from OR called the sun hat. I'll have a fleece balaclava because none of my layers except my rain jacket have a hood. I'll have sun gloves the whole way through, I won't have any other glove and I'm not much for wearing sunscreen, I have the good kind of skin for the sun anyhow. I'm definitely taking dirty girl gaiters because I'll be hiking in shorts mostly. Taking a GG polycryo ground cloth. Hope to see you out there!
BrianApr 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm #1722526
Ill be out there this year too with an umbrella and visor for shade, sunscreen for hands and thighs, shorts, and simblissity levagators (gray color). I was going to get the dirty girls, but Skurka recommended these on his site and you dont have to fool around with velcro and glue. Hopefully all of our setups will work well, whatever they are.
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