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PCT gear review Part III (misc.)
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David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
PCT gear review Part III (misc.) on 10/18/2010 15:39:11 MDT Print View

Big 4 and clothes were in earlier threads.

Cooking: .9L non-stick Evernew Titanium pot, esbit tablets, Gram Cracker esbit stand, Caldera cone stand/windscreen. I was VERY happy with this system. The Caldera cone is fantastic. The esbits work fine if you're not doing anything fancy (i.e., you're mostly just boiling/simmering). But I didn't cook much at all, and I sent my cookset home halfway. If you are doing the PCT, you might consider going stoveless. It takes weight and volume away from the pack, and lets you carry less water. I felt sick each time I ate an entire noodle pack or mashed potato pack.

Water treatment: I used Aqua Mira or chlorine dioxide tablets. I got tired of the AM taste. If you have money, the tablets are lighter, easier, and taste better. They are pricy though. I didn't treat a lot of the high mountain water, or springs I could see coming out of the ground.

headlamp: Petzl E-Lite. For me, I would want something a little stronger for night hiking. I don't night hike much, though. Photon backup was great.

Pack liner: trash compactor bag. worked great. I have found most/all pack covers to be not very effective.

First aid kit: had a fair # of things in the kit, but I only used Advil, a couple small bandages, moleskin, and tape. There is this non-sticky stretchy "tape" with kind of a fabric-y feel, like stretchy gauze, that was great for holding moleskin on blisters. Any sticky tape I used, including duct tape, would come off when it was wet. The stretchy gauze never came off--just wrap it once or twice around the foot so it sticks to itself. Brand name of mine was "Cohere".

A headnet was great even if you don't use it for bugs. I used mine as a light ditty bag to hold my other small ziplocs. Easy to see where everything is.

Poles: Black Diamond Ergo Cork. Everyone who had cork handles was glad they did. My grips were tilted, which was easier on the hands. I never had any problems with the locks. Lots of people had carbon poles and lots (most?) of them broke a pole at least once. The carbon ones were a lot lighter than mine though. I didn't really feel the extra weight. YMMV.

ground sheet: Tyvek. I put grommets in the corners so I could stake/pole it as a sun shelter if needed. My desert section wasn't very hot though. I would write the name of the town I was hitching to on my folded Tyvek.

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Sent your Cookset Home? on 10/18/2010 15:51:23 MDT Print View

You sent your pot and stove home? What did you eat?

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
no cookset! on 10/18/2010 16:04:40 MDT Print View

Cereal, lots of nuts, raisins + other dried fruit, jerky, candy bars, energy bars, Lara bars (these are awesome by the way, a bit $$ though), Pringles + other salty snacks, cheese and crackers, salami, cookies, etc. I had more pack room coming out of town due to no cookset. I ate pretty well actually. Easier to resupply from gas stations, too.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: no cookset! on 10/18/2010 16:16:42 MDT Print View

Well, I'm not sure I'd call a bunch of processed food and junk food eating well. You can definitely survive without cooking though. :-)

Edited by simplespirit on 10/18/2010 16:16:54 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: no cookset! on 10/18/2010 16:19:19 MDT Print View

This year Amy and Jim Lauterbach covered the 450+ miles of the High Route Pyrenees without a cook kit. Although they ate in the huts and villages on occasion, the vast majority of their dinner meals were accomplished without cooking. Amy's trip report was posted here a month or so ago.

I would estimate 80% of all trip food is consumed without cooking, and that the only reason to cook the remaining 20% is for the pleasure of a hot meal. So if that doesn't matter to you, why not simplify a bit more?

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
No cookset on 10/19/2010 10:40:09 MDT Print View

"Well, I'm not sure I'd call a bunch of processed food and junk food eating well."

True, not exactly a raw food diet. If you go heavy on the nuts/raisins/shredded wheat type stuff it's not as bad. But if you are buying food at some of the smaller OR/WA towns, adding cooked food often won't be much healthier.

Mailing yourself food would of course be better, but that added time,$, and hassles that (to me) were often not worth it.

Andy Schill
(Aschill) - F
feet on 10/19/2010 12:46:42 MDT Print View

I'm curious how your feet held up. Were you constantly fighting blisters? or was it a rare occurrence that would show up every once and a while? Once you covered up the blisters how long would they take to heal on the trail?

Edited by Aschill on 10/19/2010 12:47:16 MDT.

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
feet on 10/19/2010 13:57:11 MDT Print View

I have pretty good feet. But I think if you find a running shoe that fits and keep pack weight down, that will help. I got maybe a couple of blisters a month, and that was usually when I didn't stop to inspect and cover up the hot spots. (like one day I was trying to hike away from a crazy dude, and I hit it hard for 6-7 hours w/ no break). Hiking all day in the rain gave me a couple also.

Once I got them, I would try moleskin w/ a hole over the blister, covered by tape. It would usually turn kind of callous-like in a couple days, then it was fine.

If I caught it when it was a hot spot, w/no raised blister, I would just moleskin it (no hole over the area).

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: feet on 10/19/2010 16:33:43 MDT Print View

I had some pretty nasty and persistent blisters through the hotter sections, like southern california and then just north of the Sierras. Like David, mostly I could blame it on not stopping often enough for breaks. Sometimes, though, I think I just needed a different kind of fit for my sneakers than I was used to from the east coast. Weird.

David, I'm curious if I met you... I was Guthook. I only saw one other person with a MLD Exodus, so I have an idea who you might have been, and I think I met you once or twice.

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
Guthook on 10/19/2010 17:02:44 MDT Print View

Yeah, I'm Aface. Give me an email at dcw6363 at aol, I have something to ask you. Congrats on finishing!

Andy Schill
(Aschill) - F
feet on 10/19/2010 18:25:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info, I've never done a lot of long distance hiking before, my biggest fear would be having to quit because of messing up my feet.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: feet on 10/19/2010 18:34:08 MDT Print View

Congrats to you, too, Aface. I thought that was you... like I said, there were only two other MLD packs that I saw out there :)

Andy, I know exactly what you mean. A good test is always to try a week or two of backpacking before you commit to the big one. Of course, that's not always something we have time for. Spending a good, long time trying out different sneakers until you're completely sick of looking at them might help, too. Sometimes you'll find one pair that's actually perfect.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
Aface? on 10/19/2010 19:53:35 MDT Print View

Aface?... is that a shortened version?

I semi-led (as in provided the beta and gave my 2cents as we went up--but they were faster of course) General Lee, Axilla, and Dick Wizard up Mt adams this past weekend as they rounded out their post-trail time in the NW. A$$face and Balls came up as some names, like d-wiz...which were downright in-your-face and funny.

sorry for the thread drift, just trying to live a little pct hiker life as a weekend warrior. :P

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
PCT on 10/19/2010 20:35:12 MDT Print View

yeah I was Assface (no good story behind that). I never hiked with Balls, although I met him once. I only met General Lee of the Megatex crew. He was cool.

Thomas Jamrog
(balrog) - F

Locale: New England
PCT gear on 10/20/2010 03:20:42 MDT Print View

Holy Crap,
I just finish my own PCT thru hike and the very first forum thread I read anywhere has me reading the names of Guthook, General Lee, Richard Wizard, Axilla, and jumping out at me. I'm at home now sending back to companies the 2 failed packs, 2 leaky pads, failed headlamp, toasted orthotics, that need replacing or repair. MeGaTex rules! Everywhere !

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Nick-Names on the Trail? on 10/20/2010 08:50:33 MDT Print View

I joined this site to prepare for the 500-mile Washington State portion of the PCT next summer. Are you telling me that you don't introduce yourself by your real name on the trail? You use nick-names?

Edited by HairlessApe on 10/20/2010 08:51:20 MDT.

David Williams
(dcw6363) - F
Re: Nick-Names on the Trail? on 10/20/2010 11:21:04 MDT Print View

You can do either. Maybe 80% of the thru-hikers had nicknames. If someone tries to name you something you don't like, you don't have to accept it. Or you could just give yourself one.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Nick-Names on the Trail? on 10/20/2010 11:48:22 MDT Print View

Trail names are easier to remember but also if you have a Trail Journal or blog people can google you easy when they get home.

John Drollette
(tradja) - F

Locale: Central Oregon
Hi AF! on 12/17/2010 15:16:19 MST Print View

Hey Assface! Good to see your gear review. Glad the new packed worked out.


Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Re: Nick-Names on the Trail? on 12/17/2010 18:20:20 MST Print View

You can either deal with talking about 5 Johns and have to clarify which one you are talking about each time. "I saw John in town. The one from Boston Univ? No the middle aged one from Colorado." Or you can call one Splash and the other Snickers. Its easier for everyone to have a unique name and hence trail names were born on the long trails by long distance hikers. Some are cool, some have funny stories behind them, and some are just lame.

Never mind, I see I was just responding to a 2month post.

Edited by Miner on 12/17/2010 18:22:30 MST.