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Last Minute PCT Gear List
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Brian Reily
(breily) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Last Minute PCT Gear List on 04/22/2010 23:57:39 MDT Print View

So I'll be leaving to solo hike the PCT in about two weeks, and was hoping you guys could give me some last minute input on my gear list:

My main question was on cold weather clothing - I'm thinking of using just two long sleeve synthetic shirts and a rain jacket outside of the high Sierras, but swapping one for a fleece when I'm in them. Does this sound realistic?

Any other tips would be much appreciated as well.

John Addleman
(Jaddleman) - F

Locale: Boulder
Real quick: on 04/23/2010 00:10:16 MDT Print View

This is what I notice offhand:

-Pants are heavy. Either wear them (sierras) or don't carry them.
-Pack is heavy. Tarp is big and heavy. There are some much lighter options here.
-Glasses and contacts?
-Knife is heavy. Aquamira can be repackaged. Headlamp is heavy.
-Ice ax in the desert?

I understand that, with the last minute planning, you might not be able to get everything as refined as you might want to, but the important thing is that you get out there. You'll still be lighter than most of the other people and too often we forget that it's the trip, not the weight, that matters. Have a great time.

edit: sorry, I can't speak to PCT clothing. I wish I could answer your main question.

Edited by Jaddleman on 04/23/2010 00:11:30 MDT.

Jeff Patrick
(callmeammo) - F

Locale: Sacramento
PCT on 04/23/2010 00:11:29 MDT Print View

You aren't going to cook anything for 3 months?

You could easily save a pound on your tarp.

Bear canister for Yosemite

Maybe an umbrella for the desert.

Any tape for repairs or blisters?

Maybe a water bottle so you dont have to drink out of the platypus, just a plastic disposable one.

Thats all i got.

Brian Reily
(breily) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: on 04/23/2010 00:26:16 MDT Print View

Tarp is heavy, but the budget is limited. I'm watching ebay, gear swap and for sales every day.

> -Glasses and contacts?

Always brought them as a backup; anyone with bad eyes - what do you do? Just an extra pair of contacts?

> -Ice ax in the desert?

Some people seem to say its good to have in the San Jacintos, but I could mail it ahead after that.

> You aren't going to cook anything for 3 months?

Hopefully not, I figure I can add an alcohol stove if I hate it.

Thanks for the other ideas, I'll look into them.

Pedro Arvy
(PedroArvy) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne
You don't need a Polycro ground sheet with a TiGoat bivy on 04/23/2010 00:27:29 MDT Print View

You don't need a Polycro ground sheet with a TiGoat bivy. Its completely unnecessary.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Last Minute PCT Gear List on 04/23/2010 00:53:16 MDT Print View

You've got 2 hats. The visor + a bandanna to protect your neck would be more functional.

You've got a bunch of stuff sacks and could probably drop 1 or two. Your few extra clothes can be stuffed in with your sleeping bag in the pack liner.

You've only got 6 stakes which means no center tie down points. Get at least 2 more stakes or be prepared to use deadmen (deadmans?) to secure the sides of the tarp. And yeah that's a heavy tarp.

Ice axe? You're not leaving for 2 weeks and it will take about 2 weeks to get to fuller ridge the first significantly high point on the trail. The little dusting they're getting now south of fuller ridge doesn't require an axe. So it's unlikely that snow will be much of an issue at that point.

As far as warmth you'll be fine during the day while your moving. You will likely get a few nights around 30F even before the sierras. Will you be warm with what you've got?

IMO the OP saks are pretty useless. It's impossible to keep all food odors inside the sacks and they don't hold up much better than normal, lighter, cheaper ziplocks.

The blue foam is pretty minimal comfort for 5 months. If I would upgrade anything after the tarp it would be that.

Edited by nschmald on 04/23/2010 00:55:35 MDT.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Last Minute PCT Gear List on 04/23/2010 01:20:40 MDT Print View

This list is a good start, in my opinion. Like everyone, there are a few things I would tweak. First off, I think your pack is fine. Yeah, there are lighter packs, but the worst thing is to load your gear, food and a bear canister in a pack that doesn't muster the load well. I can't speak to the merits of the Go Lite Jam 2, but I can say that I haven't had much luck with a lot of the suspension/belt combos of UL packs. But perhaps I need to pack much lighter! (Which is probably true). I guess if I had to make choices, I would start with other gear before the pack, especially if you are used to the pack and like it.

I assume you are going to stay with your sleep system, which is fine, since you are invested in it.

As others have pointed out, you will need a bear canister for the Sierra. You can use bear boxes, but they are few and far between and restrict where you can camp.

There are lighter headlamps out there, and you might be tempted to replace your lamp for a lighter model. I have voiced this refrain a number of times, so excuse me if you've heard this all before, but I will almost guarantee that you will need to hike at night at some point on the trail - whether that be in the SoCal to avoid the heat of the day or because you are racing to make it to a post office before it closes for the weekend. Night hiking is much tougher with a tiny headlamp that doesn't throw much of a beam. It can be done, of course, but speed will be greatly reduced. I carried an ultralight headlamp but at the point I became a danger to myself hiking with it, I resigned it to camp use only. Consider the beam and brightness.

You might consider wearing pants in Southern California unless you plan to carry a great deal of sunscreen. I found that the pants helped prevent sunburn and resisted the brushy overgrowth. Everyone is different in this respect, but I was glad to have pants for the trip. Others hiked exclusively in shorts. YMMV.

On your warm weather gear, it can get cold in the mountains everywhere, I echo Nia's sentiments on carefully choosing the right gear for the situation. You can switch out the fleece, which will not compress especially well, for a MontBell down jacket that is at least 4 ounces lighter, compresses down to nothing and is every bit as warm or warmer.

I also agree with Nia's assessment of the blue foam pad. I also had better luck with the OPSAK than he did. I did have mine line a ultralight food sack, which maybe helped.

Agree on dropping a number of stuff sacks - you can make do without.

Finally, you will have a touch under 3.4 liters of water capacity. This is pushing it, in my estimation. There are a few relatively long (15+ miles) stretches with little water. When it is hot, this can become a pretty big concern. Plus, it can be very dry, so dehydration is an issue. I carried four - and if it was really hot - five liters these stretches. It wasn't particularly fun, but necessary.

Have a great journey!


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
jam2 on 04/23/2010 07:22:15 MDT Print View

Strip down your Jam2. I have the older model which is a bit lighter but it is down below a pound with no loss of functionality for me, and it's free. I took out the foam, hydration sleeve cut off most of the straps. I will try to post the pictures from the latest changes.

Also, my normal gear for summer in the sierras is :
Hike in white Capilene 1 LS. No sunburn and stays cool
Capilene 3 LS for insulation and night
Wind shirt if windy or need skito protection.

Also, as part of my PCT gearlist I have heavier headlamp than I normally carry because I plan on doing more night nighting in the future and the AAA batteries of my new light are easier to get. But, I did lighten my headlamp my removing the strap. When I need to use my headlamp I reverse my visor and use the backstrap of the visor for my headlamp.

Why don't you put a WTB for a tarp on this forum. I bet there are folks that just got new cuban tarps that have spare tarps at half the weight.

Edited by gg-man on 04/23/2010 09:39:55 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Last Minute PCT Gear List on 04/23/2010 10:37:26 MDT Print View

A hat and visor are not necessary.

The OR hat is good as it can cover the neck and ears. I burned the heck out of my ears a few years back and now never hike without a brimmed hat. I would take either the visor + bandana or the OR hat and dump the visor.

I use Platypus but don't like to drink or get them out of my pack much so I use a 1 liter big mouth soda pop plastic bottle, i.e. Pepsi, Mtn. Dew. etc. They last a long time are are easy to put in my side pocket.

Tarp. That is a lot of weight. Hopefully, you can sell yours and find a lighter cheaper one on the Buy Sell Board.

Check your clothes. Probably too many shirts.

I hope the no cook works for you. I love a hot meal at night.

I have never wished for things I didn't pack but have been very irritated by the extra things I did pack.

Brian Reily
(breily) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Wow on 04/23/2010 14:08:13 MDT Print View

Wow, thanks for the responses.

Ice ax: I'll ship it near the first high point, good call. This is my first thru-hike, guess I'm not thinking in the mindset of mailing stuff where I need it.

Water: I'll definitely add a 1 liter plastic bottle or two.

Headlamp: I was planning on night hiking the Mojave sections, but I'll test out clipping it to the visor.

Hats: Bandana is a good idea, more versatile than the sun hat. I'll try it out.

Clothes: I'll drop a L/S and see how it goes.

Thanks to all. (And thanks to John for reminding me that I'll still be lighter than most - it's easy to forget than when reading this forum).

Chris Gray
(ChrisFol) - F

Locale: Denver, Coloado
Re: Last Minute PCT Gear List on 04/23/2010 19:46:29 MDT Print View

- There are light tarps available
- Nix the ground-sheet, you have a bivy.
- Bivy-- look into bouncing this at some point if you can (weather/bugs permitted)
- There are also lighter packs.
- Nix the clothes and poncho stow-sack. You have a pack liner, no need for anything else.
- Repackage the Aquamira
- Dr. B's and hand sanitizer? Nix one, preferably the latter.
- TP could be nixed. Personal call
- Do you need both glasses and contacts? Personal call
- Are you sure on your paracord/rock bag weight? 3.77 seems like a lot. My 50ft of paracord weighs 1.5oz-- a 2oz rock bag is a little much.
- Ice axe, is this needed in the desert?

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Last Minute PCT Gear List on 04/26/2010 11:51:26 MDT Print View

Couple of comments:

Echo the earlier concern about the 3.4L water capacity. This year is an abnormally wet year, so you might be OK for the first couple of weeks, but you'll likely need to have at least 4L (and possibly more) for some of the later sections. I'd recommend adding at least one Gatorade bottle - having a stiff bottle is useful for getting water from small seeps/springs where you can't get a flexible reservoir to fill up.

Unless you're normally very warm I'd add some kind of insulated jacket, especially for WA (this can be much the coldest part of the trail, depending on when you reach there). Something like the WM Flight Jacket would weigh much less than your fleece and be much warmer. Understand that budget considerations might limit what you can buy, but something warmer than a fleece is useful.

On the ice axe topic, I just came back from the kick-off, and most people are planning to road walk the San Jancintos around Idyllwild and also road walk around Mt Baden Powell due to the snow up there. General consensus was to not even attempt it if you dont have an ice axe and (ideally) crampons. Will be somewhat better by the time you get there, but they're expecting additional snow this week so Fuller Ridge will probably be very tricky for a while yet.

Do you have a bear canister sorted out for the Sierras? That's not showing on your gear list.

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Nice Work! on 04/26/2010 16:43:17 MDT Print View

It looks good, but I'm going to tell you that that blue pad isn't going to be comfortable at all. Do yourself a favor and get somthing with some more padding, atleast a Thermarest Z Rest.

Brian Reily
(breily) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Re: Last Minute PCT Gear List on 04/26/2010 20:23:35 MDT Print View

Chris: Good call on nixing some stuff sacks, never tried it but it seems fine. The bear bag cord weight is over 3, maybe my paracord is a knockoff brand.

Graeme: Yea, after I saw the earlier comments I checked out other water suggestions and realized I'd need probably two 1-liter bottles.

Budget is the main driver behind the fleece - I already own it. I decided to just figure that out as I go; hopefully if I get cold with what I have I can just hike faster.

Thanks for the news from the kickoff; hopefully it clears up a bit but I was looking forward to Mt San Jacinto.

I don't have a bear canister - I'm going to mainly hike bear box to bear box, sleeping with my food or hanging when necessary and allowed.

Peter: A number of people have suggested that - I'm hoping I can count on finding good campsites and being young enough not to get sore. Otherwise I'll have a Z-Lite or similar mailed out.

Edited by breily on 04/26/2010 20:25:54 MDT.

Travis Naibert
(outwest) - F
My 3 cents on 04/26/2010 22:27:09 MDT Print View

Stay with the blue foam pad, you'll be perfectly comfortable sleeping on it after the first few nights of adjusting and it is not only lighter than an inflatable pad but you will get to laugh at all the people with flat thermarests before Aqua Dulce. And you will sit on it at lunch every day, guaranteed.

Bring your fleece (or better yet a down sweater) from the beginning. The coldest nights of your trip will probably be in SoCal and some of the hottest nights will be in the Sierras (unless you sleep on Muir Pass).

Don't roadwalk around the San Jacintos. Just budget an extra day and bring your ice axe if you don't feel comfortable in snow. You ARE NOT going on the adventure of a lifetime to walk on roads!

Finally I have a question/concern. Why aren't you bringing a compass or sunscreen for anything north of the sierras? If you desire a compass for safety then you should carry it all the time and you will see plenty of sun in NorCal/Oregon.

Brian Reily
(breily) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: My 3 cents on 04/26/2010 23:36:47 MDT Print View

Good note on the San Jacintos - that sums up my attitude exactly.

As for the compass and sunscreen, I'm thinking I may not need them up there. I don't normally use sunscreen, but think I may want it for the desert and for reflection on snow. I also normally don't use a compass, but want it for snow covered sections of trail. Might not be worth it just to save the 1.5oz, but we'll see.