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PCT gear list--help me spend $300
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David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
PCT gear list--help me spend $300 on 12/16/2009 14:29:53 MST Print View

I'm hoping to hike some or all of the PCT in 2010. I did the AT in 2001 with a base weight of around 30 lbs., so this is progress. This site has been a big help. Still, I can probably get lighter--I have a few hundred bucks more to spend. Thanks in advance. Some questions/issues:

1. I chose tyvek as groundsheet to protect the Neo. I also put grommets on the tyvek corners so I can make shade using my poles.

2. Hoping 32 degree bag is enough, I plan to sleep in l.s. shirt and DriClime if needed. I can also switch to a 20 bag if needed.

3. A couple things are "luxuries" (e.g. book) or preferences (e.g. I prefer Tarptent to tarp + bug netting). I could scrap the cotton T-shirt I guess, but man did I like wearing that in camp on the AT.

4. I know there are lighter poles (GG); I would prefer to reduce "back weight" first.

5. Add a fleece for the Sierras?

6. Could go with MLD pack--but with lots of water and food it hurts my back a little. With just 18-20 lbs. or so the MLD pack is better though.

7. For comic relief, see the "test" forum where I tried nine times to cut/paste a list from Word, excel, and pdf. Each attempt was progressively less successful.


All weight in grams. 1 ounce = 28.35 grams, 100 grams = 3.53 oz.


WM Summerlite 32 down...589g
Tarptent Contrail (w/ stakes)...695g
Osprey Exos...1151g
Thermarest Neo regular...370g

Clothes Carried

Gloves--Manzella polypro...40g
Hat--Serius Quickdraw...61g
Socks (extra) Injinji...47g
Socks extra-Wrightsock Coolmesh...28g
Shorts--nylon (double as extra underwear)...96g
L.S. shirt-Icebreaker Inca wool...190g
Short sleeve shirt--cotton...147g
Rain jacket--Go Lite Virga...238g
Warm shirt--Dri-Clime, size L...279g
Long johns--Patagonia capilene...190g


Pot--Evernew titanium .9L w/lid...150g
Fuel--Esbit tablets (3)...42g
Water treatment--Aqua Mira...84g
Esbit stand-Gram Cracker...7g
Windscreen--Caldera Cone...47g
Container for Caldera cone...48g
Water bottle--1L...45g
Water bottle--20 oz....35g
Spork--Light My Fire...11g
Water bag--Platypus 2L...36g
Lighter--Bic mini...13g

Safety and Navigation

First aid kit...78g
Compas--Suunto A-30L...30g
Headlamp--Petzl E-Lite...27g
Backup light--Photon...7g


Ziploc quart freezer bags (3)...21g
Pack liner-trash compactor bag...69g
Clothes bag--garbage bag...17g


Headnet-BPL...? g
Aloe vera gel...20g
Glasses + case...51g
Pocketknife--Victorinox mini...21g
Cash + license + credit card...20g
Tent stakes (2 extra)...25g
Hand sanitizer...30g
Sit pad...42g

Total weight carried: 5.64 kg = 12.44 lbs.


Extra water bottles 1L (2 or 3)
Sun gloves--Wintersilk liners (worn)


Bear Vault 500
Socks--Smartwool crew for sleeping


Shirt--Patagonia longsleeve capilene 1
Long pants--?
Underwear--Ex Officio boxer briefs
Socks--Injinji crew
Shoes--Saucony Guide XT-900
Hat--cowboy hat?
Hiking poles--Black Diamond Ergo cork

Jeff Patrick
(callmeammo) - F

Locale: Sacramento
PCT Sherpa on 12/16/2009 14:40:34 MST Print View

Spend the 300 on somebody to carry your food and water for you.

hmm. I wonder if anybody does that and what it would cost per mile. Not a mule or anything but just a backpacker looking for some extra money.

If you had ul gear with a traditional backpack and were carrying somebody elses UL gear you'd probably still be better off than a lot of people.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: PCT gear list--help me spend $300 on 12/16/2009 15:39:08 MST Print View

Looks like a solid list. You've obviously been doing your homework.

Definitely would recommend an insulated jacket for the Sierras. It got down around 20F on a few nights. A Montbell Thermawrap or WM Flash (hooded is nice) will let you sit out under the stars more comfortably and stretch your sleeping bag to the low end of the temp range.

The combination of a thermawrap, driclime and cap 1 would probably let you leave the icebreaker shirt at home.

A wide brim hat or baseball cap plus bandana is essential for the desert sun. A headnet is vital by mid June. I really like the BPL one.

5L of water capacity was enough for me. There's a couple of 20 mi dry stretches in Oregon and Washington too so I kept that capacity the whole way. Gatorade bottles are fine and easily replaced.

Patch kit for the neoair? You'll likely need it. You might also swap out the sitpad for a gossamer gear 1/8" thinlight (or the suluk46 pad/groundsheet) for more protection of the pad. Rolled up it makes a nice sitpad too. Tyvek is heavy and is a magnet for needles and other little pokey things which are bad for the neoair. Polycro might be better.

You'll want long pants. A number of sections that are overgrown can scratch up your legs pretty good. I like zip-offs as did most. My choice where softshells to cover normal use, plus wind and rain. But I hardly ever used the legs. You can get by with shorts, sunscreen, and windpants too.

Perhaps a brighter headlamp if you want to do much night hiking? Petzl Tikka XP 2?

One extra pair of socks is enough. You can wash and dry the spare in a single day.

Wouldn't recommend the MLD packs. Some kind of frame really helps even with the 10 lb baseweight. If you get down to 5lb then maybe.

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
PCT gear list on 12/16/2009 16:21:44 MST Print View

"magnet for needles and other little pokey things which are bad for the neoair"

I don't have any experience hiking in the SW/dry areas: are you saying that needles/burrs stick to tyvek more than they do to polycro?

I have a polycro but it seems--I don't know--fragile? and a little unwieldy. I've never used it for more than a couple nights--does it hold up well?

Yeah the GG 1/8 is a good idea, that could also make sleeping a little warmer.

Hmm... use the $300 to hire a PCT sherpa. I'd be famous. More like infamous probably.

I am planning to get a hat--just unsure if a cowboy hat would be too hot/dorky looking. o/w I'll just go with the floppy wide-brimmed I guess.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: PCT gear list on 12/16/2009 17:05:38 MST Print View

"I don't have any experience hiking in the SW/dry areas: are you saying that needles/burrs stick to tyvek more than they do to polycro?"

Yep, that's what I'm saying. Polycro is just a sheet of plastic, they same heat shrink stuff used to insulate windows. So nothing really sticks to it, except itself. Tyvek is made up of lots of little fiber strands so needles and burrs can weedle their way between the fibers.

I didn't use polycro, I had made a tyvek bivy, but I know several who used it for the length of the trail and would do so again. I, on the other hand, will never use tyvek again.

Polycro can rip but is easily patched with duct tape. I previously used a polycro sheet for a JMT hike. Other than the rip I put in it while testing it out in my back yard it worked fine. I still have and use that sheet from 3 years ago.

The other option that I would check out is the plastizote foam sold at Steve Evans, who is a regular contributor here, says he uses plastizote both as ground sheet and foam padding. It weighs about the same as the gossamer gear thinlight. Not sure about durability though. My thinlight has some rips in it.

Go for the cowboy hat. Why not?

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: PCT gear list--help me spend $300 on 12/16/2009 20:15:07 MST Print View

"One extra pair of socks is enough. You can wash and dry the spare in a single day."

One of these days I will get to go out west and experience that. It must be nice as nothing dries here.

That looks like a pretty solid list. Have fun and good luck!

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Good list...few small suggestions on 12/16/2009 21:53:08 MST Print View

Good list, can't find

Do carry the patch kit. The only hole I put into my NeoAir was self-inflicted about 3/4 the way through the PCT. I had a pen in a pocket and it punched a hole. The patch kit weighs nothing and provided that you can find the hole (a tricky process), it is fairly easy to apply in the field.

I carried that e-lite headlamp. And I liked it. For camping. For hiking at night, I ended up buying a much more powerful headlamp. It is very, very difficult to make any speed with the e-Lite because the beam just wasn't bright enough. And I didn't plan to hike much at night, but I had to at several times to reach the post office to pick up a package, to meet my girlfriend, to avoid the heat of Southern California.

I would carry sleep socks the whole way, but that's me. It does get cold in the Sierra and if you end up being Mr. Slow and Distracted like myself, you would have found yourself finishing in mid-October, experiencing the joys of snow and in the North Cascades, temps that dipped to a robust 9 (nine) degrees.
For what it is worth, I wore pants the whole way...yeah, they were convertible but I rarely used that way. There was a lot of prickly things out in the desert and they prevented me from having to wear so much sunscreen.
Finally, I carried max 5 liters in SoCal (and I was hurting for water on more than one occasion) but generally carried 2 or 3 at the most elsewhere. But it wasn't that hot either when I went through Oregon and Washington.

Finally, depending upon your inclination toward such gizmos, cell phones work fairly well on the least mine worked fairly consistently (I use Verizon). There was no coverage for days at a time, but as a check-in-with-the-family-and-I-am-still-alive tool, couldn't beat it.

Good luck and have fun! It's fantastic.


Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: PCT gear list--help me spend $300 on 12/16/2009 22:00:23 MST Print View

Why do you have such a large pot? Is this for two people?

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: Re: PCT gear list--help me spend $300 on 12/16/2009 22:59:49 MST Print View

Pot size is relative I guess. I wouldn't do the PCT with less. You'll have a big appetite and you often have to cook in your pot.

Sure you can get by with half that if you mail yourself dehydrated food along the way and eat it out of a ziplock, but flexibility is important on long hikes IMO.

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: PCT gear list--help me spend $300 on 12/16/2009 23:11:24 MST Print View

I think esbits solely would not be a good way to heat up a 0.9 pot or to melt snow with. With a 0.9 pot, assuming that it's a wide mouth, an alcohol stove would be a better choice

Edited by Antig on 12/16/2009 23:15:59 MST.

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
PCT gear list on 12/17/2009 05:35:51 MST Print View

I do have an alc. stove that came with the Caldera. I could take both I suppose--as the Esbit stand weighs almost nothing. But I have all these esbit tablets!

I won't be cooking all that much--maybe every other dinner--so maybe the esbits will be ok. I could switch to alc. in the altitude/snow. The dinners I do cook take a fair amount of water--the .9 seemed a good size.

Oh one other question: skeeters can bite through Cap. 1 easily. What shirt could I add for protection in the bad spots?

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Light longesleeved shirt on 12/17/2009 06:41:13 MST Print View

Eco-mesh shirts from Rail Riders are light and offer UPF 30+ sun protection. Dry fast and add warm layer in Sierrra evenings. (It will put a good dent in your budget!)

Here i a site for your start:

Edited by rambler on 12/17/2009 07:02:30 MST.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: PCT gear list--help me spend $300 on 12/17/2009 09:46:54 MST Print View

GG LT4s. Some of the best money I've spent on gear, total game-changer for me. Light, strong... always there, but completely unobtrusively.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 12/17/2009 10:33:20 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 22:57:35 MDT.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Random comments on 12/17/2009 11:27:12 MST Print View

Sleeping bag - I used a WM Summerlite (32 F) and would use it again on another thru-hike. I'm a fairly cold sleeper, but I only had maybe 4-5 cold nights the entire trip (I also used a silk liner almost every night, mainly to keep the bag clean).

Water - I started with 6 L capacity (2 1-L soda bottles and 2 2-L Platy bags). Went down to 3 L from Kennedy Meadows to Tahoe and then 4 L the rest of the way. It was nice to have the 2 L bag even in the Sierras because I could collect all my water in the evening and not have to make repeated trips to the water source. I'd go with the same capacities if I hiked again.

Pot - I used a 1.3 L pot the whole way. By the time I got to central CA, I was doing double couscous (2 boxes) or double Liptons most nights. That wouldn't fit in a .9 L pot. If you haven't done a multi-month hike before, you can't even imagine how hungry you're going to be.

Lights - bring the photon. If your headlamp dies, it can get really dark out there. And if you're doing long days, you'll be setting up camp right at dusk (or later) a lot of nights.

Shirt - why the capilene? You'll get better sun and bug protection with a l/s nylon shirt.

Rain jacket - The O2 Rainshield (or Driducks) is lighter, more breathable, and cheaper than your GoLite jacket. Mine lasted the whole trip, and I wore it a lot.

Windshirt - The DriClime is super-popular on the trail, but I think it's too warm for general use. I took a Patagonia Houdini, which I loved. When it got really cold, I just put on my rain jacket over that. That kept me comfortable down into the 30s while hiking.

Edited by sschloss1 on 12/17/2009 12:00:23 MST.

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
Thanks all on 12/18/2009 19:52:29 MST Print View

good stuff in the comments, thanks guys/gals.

will add neo patch kit.

may change shirt to nylon or ecomesh. will go with long pants, perhaps the BPLs.

William Murphy
(33972) - MLife
Chrome dome? on 12/24/2009 09:03:13 MST Print View

I loved the dome up to mile 700 this year and regretted not having it thru the sierras and again on hat creek rim. Doing the pct next time it will be with me from campo till I send my bear can out at the north end of the sierras and again for the lava rock walks and hat creek rim.

I would strongly advise in favor of sunscreen in your Sierra mail drop. My earlobes burned so bad they bled. Never hurt though. Sun glasses at the start and again at km if you've destroyed/lost/sent home.

And I was very happy to have my compass when cloud level was hundreds of feet below ground level and I was navigating passes. On the other hand clouds in the Sierra are weird from what others say and it was useless the other 95% of the hike.

I liked having a very warm bag (nunatak 15?) and would not go with your choice. I was early into the sierras though and refuse to ever do the "waking shivvering" thing on a regular basis. I did end up doing the waking shivvering thing though when we got three days of non stop drizzle and snow in Washington. Humidity levels were very high. My bag hadn't been washed mid trip as planned. I also happened to have a cold. Only thing that didn't happen was I didn't fall into a river to make it worse. Long story short, even with an early/mid sept finish Washington can get you cold.

You sound ready. Use the extra cash on the trail? Warner springs serves a good margarita. Tahoe has super buffets.