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PCT Gear List 2011
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Toby Maxwell
(eeooo4) - F

Locale: California, Central Valley
PCT Gear List 2011 on 10/28/2010 12:32:55 MDT Print View

I am just beginning to compile my gear list in an effort to prepare for my 2011 thru hike. There are a lot of things I'm sure about and a lot I'm not so I thougth that Id ask about what I have planned so far so that I could move on to the next phase of planning.

EDIT: Gear list link now on bottom of page.

Sleeping System:
Tarptent - Contrail - 24.5 Oz
Sleeping Bag - Marmot Helium L - 32 Oz

Pad - Zlite - 14 Oz
Groundcloth - Goss Gear Polycryo - 1.5 oz

Pack - Golite Jam - 31 Oz


Pants - Nylon - Not sure Yet
Shorts - Lightweight Running Shorts
Puffy - Montbell UL Parka - 9 oz
Marmot Driclime Windshirt - 11oz
Patagonia Cap 1 long sleeve - 3.7 oz
OR Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters - 4.3 oz
Rain Jacket - Patagonia Rain Shaddow - 11.5 oz
Windstopper Gloves - not decided yet
OR Balaclava - 2 oz

Stove - Vargo Triad - 1.5 oz
Pot - Snowpeak 900 - 6 oz
Titanium Spork - 0.3 oz

Swiss army classic knife - 1oz
Pack Cover - Sea to Summit -4 oz
Petzl Tikka Headlamp - 4 oz
Hiking Poles - not sure yet
Compass - 1oz
Extra light - photon - 0.2 oz
Aquamira water treatment -3oz

Water/Fuel Bottles will be soda Bottles (Ive heard cactus spines can pop platypusses)

There will also be a first aid kit and some electronics. So far my base weight is 10.11 lbs.

I also havnt yet chosen shoes and socks.

thanks for the help!


EDIT: gear list now changed and online at

Edited by eeooo4 on 12/17/2010 08:34:47 MST.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: PCT Gear List 2011 on 10/28/2010 13:53:44 MDT Print View

You could probably get a lighter pack, depending on your food weight.

Consider just using a trash compactor pack liner instead of a cover.

You could get your pot weight down to 1.3 oz with a 22 oz Heineken can pot (just be aware of possible BPA leaching from can liner).

A stove could be .5 oz. I like Mark Jurey's MYOG Penny stove or a 6 oz woodstove (Bushbuddy clone from tin cans) to save fuel weight.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Re: PCT Gear List 2011 on 10/28/2010 15:23:22 MDT Print View

Is everything debatable? Or have you already made some of these purchases?

1) Pack - I wouldn't go with the 31oz GoLite Jam unless cash is very tight and you've found a spectacular deal on the Jam. There are many packs that are as good or better for a lot less weight. You could get a pack with frame stays to help with times you got a heaver load (ie. GG Gorrila, ULA Ohm, HMG Windrider, 2011 SMD Starlite) for 22-24oz, or you could get a different frameless pack for half the weight, such as an MLD pack. Most of these packs are using the same durable fabrics as the Jam. The Jam used to be 20oz before they added a ton of frills to it.

2) Tent - The Contrail is a proven, good shelter but if you have money to spend you could go a lot lighter with a cuben shelter like the Zpacks Hexamid (9oz).

3) Sleeping Bag - I like quilts as they are lighter and nicer to use (less hassle getting in/out). On a budget, grab the GoLite 3+ Season quilt (25oz) at their next 30-40% off sale, or if you have money to spend look at Katabatic and Nunatak quilts.

4) Pad - The Zlite is fine if you are sure you're comfortable sleeping on that. If it's going to be a pain to sleep on, you could get a NeoAir for the same weight and get a lot more comfort. It's pricey though. POE & Kookabay make nice inflatables too.

5) Puffy - I have the Montbell UL parka. It's good, but on hind site I would have gone with the jacket instead of the parka. I find that the down hood is often a challenge to keep dry in the rain unless I wear it, and I often don't want to wear it. UL Down jkt + hat is a better combo in my opinion. This also might be a little low on insulation for the shoulder seasons. I supplement mine with a 7oz down vest in colder conditions.

6) Rain Jacket - Go lighter than 11.5oz. There's lots of nice rain jackets in the 5.5-9oz range like TNF Triumph Anorak, Marmot Super Mica etc.

7) Pack Cover - Zpacks cuben pack cover. Way lighter, more waterproof, way smaller to pack away. Better yet, use a pack liner (ie. heavy duty trash bag) since pack covers don't work that well.

Edited by dandydan on 10/28/2010 15:25:28 MDT.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
PCT Gear List 2011 on 10/28/2010 15:47:55 MDT Print View

I would ditch the Marmot DriClime and replace it with a real windshirt. This will save you about 7-8 ounces and will be more useful. I dont own one, but from what Ive read the DriClime is too hot to hike in 90% of the days on the PCT and not warm enough when in camp. You could actually hike in a standard windshirt, and your Montbell UL puffy should suffice almost every day on the trail. I guess if you own it already you can test it out any maybe mail it to yourself in Washington when it gets cold, I just dont see the use of carrying an 11 ounce windshirt when so much thought goes into saving precious ounces.

I can make the recommendation of the REI Junior Traverse Trekking poles. They fit if youre not exceptionally tall, are only $40, lighter than REI's carbon fiber poles, and are aluminum so they are stronger. The will extend high enough to support your tent as well.

PS, as a tip, Ive heard of people drinking Airborne every morning and that it helped with energy and immune system. Foods important too, cant eat only Oreos

Edited by dharmabumpkin on 10/28/2010 16:18:29 MDT.

Toby Maxwell
(eeooo4) - F

Locale: California, Central Valley
cont. on 10/28/2010 19:32:19 MDT Print View

Thank you all for the help, to answer your question Dan, pretty much everything is replaceable, I do own some of this stuff already, but as it is from REI its very flexible with returning etc. Thanks for hooking me up with the ideas from ULA etc I definitely havn't looked into their stuff enough yet. I like the look of the OHM especially because it has load lifters as well. Also Ill reconsider the hood on the jacket although I do like the idea of a hood I could see it getting in the way while I'm active.
Andy, with regards to the pot, Ill probably opt for titanium because Im opposed to the idea of BPA. I guess Im timid to make a really dinky stove because I don't want to risk breaking it, do you have a feel for their durability?
With regards to using a pack liner as opposed to a cover, does the lightness and effectiveness of the liner trash bag make up for the fact that the pack will be wet on the exterior? Or should I just throw a bag around the outside as well?
Brandon - I was planning to hike in the patagonia long sleeve so do you think itd make more sense to just ditch that and the driclime for a lighter weight true windshirt? Also do you have a suggestion for a windshirt? Thatd leave me with just the puffy and my raincoat for warmer layers on top.
Also with regards to trekking poles, I am 6'4" so any small items are a no go. Do you know about any other good quality poles are are they all sort of the same?
One question I had was about socks, I was considering bringing a pair of neoprene for trudging through snow etc, do you think its worth bringing a bunch of pairs of socks in general or if just airing out my feet at night will be good enough over a long period of time.

with regards to airborne, I like the tip, ill probably do something similar as I am vegetarian Ill need to be really conscious to eat enough and get all my nutrients etc.

thanks again for your time and knowledge.

Edited by eeooo4 on 10/28/2010 20:21:42 MDT.

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
Pack Cover.. on 10/28/2010 21:22:56 MDT Print View

I"m going to get a Zpack pack cover. It's probably redundant because I also use a compactor bag for all my insulation/night clothes but there is nothing like peace of mind for under an ounce.

I was in Newfoundland and had to wait a day before a hurricane hit, so I did a day hike with a new pack (MLD Burn/DyeemaX) to test out my gear. Pack was basically empty but roll-top was cinched tight, after two hours in the rain there was a puddle inside the bag.

I gave my buddy my older packcover and I used an improvised compactor bag for the rest of the trip (w/duct tape), it worked but the convenience of having the purpose made pack cover and knowing your were bullet proof in the rain was huge.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Re: cont. on 10/28/2010 22:34:59 MDT Print View

I like the look of the OHM
I have an Ohm (see avatar) and it's an awesome pack to 30-35lbs. I have a baseweight in the 7-10 lbs range, so the Ohm allows me to carry tons of food & water if need be.

The HMG Windrider is essentially waterproof which is a big plus for that pack. I haven't used one, but not having to bother with pack covers or trash bags is a big plus.

With regards to using a pack liner as opposed to a cover, does the lightness and effectiveness of the liner trash bag make up for the fact that the pack will be wet on the exterior? Or should I just throw a bag around the outside as well?

With a pack cover, your pack can still get soaked in an all day rain because water can run down your back and soak in. A pack cover diverts 95% of the rain but eventually it will get soaked if you're a thru hiker. I don't rely on a pack cover to keep my contents dry although it usually does. I also use cuben drysacks for the essential stuff (clothes & sleeping quilt).

You can't really throw a bag around the outside of your pack because you need to be able to use the hipbelt and shoulder straps to wear the pack. A pack liner will let your pack get wet which kinda sucks, but it's more trustworthy for keeping the contents dry.

Do you know about any other good quality poles are are they all sort of the same?
The Gossamer Gear LT4 poles are the popular ultralight choice for trekking poles, with the TiGoat poles also being popular. These poles can break if you land on them, but the rediculously lightweight is pretty awesome.

do you think its worth bringing a bunch of pairs of socks
I carry 1 pair and wear one pair of short cycling socks. Both of them are really light, synthetic fast drying socks (DeFeet VentilatorLite). I can wear them to bed if it's not too cold at night and they dry really 1-2 hrs. I can also air dry them quickly by hanging them off my pack during the day. If it is going to be cold I would also take a different pair of sleep socks and be sure to keep those dry. Otherwise I would sleep in these socks if they are dry or if I need to dry them.

Edited by dandydan on 10/28/2010 22:43:16 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Great starting list! on 10/29/2010 12:23:00 MDT Print View

Your list looks great to me, at least what you have there. About the only reaction I had was that you don't need a pack cover on the PCT. Pick up a trash compacter bag somewhere in northern Oregon perhaps, or just use a liner bag throughout for days that look threatening.

Contrail: I used the contrail from the Sierras forward and found it to be a great choice for the PCT. I used a poncho tarp as my only shelter and raingear for the first 700 miles and that worked great for me --- hardly used it in either role, but in different years folks have had different experiences so YMMV on that.

Best of luck.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: PCT Gear List 2011 on 10/29/2010 13:27:50 MDT Print View

Good start. If you own the stuff listed, take some of my critique with a grain of salt-- it gets down to small details and personal preferences. Nothing you listed stands out as a mistake or show stopper.

Have you tried the Triad and the 900ml pot? I'm not a fan of the Triad and wonder if it could boil 900ml in one go. It will need a wind screen. You can make one of aluminum foil, the heavier foil rigs as used with the MSR stoves, or some aluminum flashing from the hardware stove. Properly done, the flashing will fit in the pot with the stove. If you are going to go alcohol and haven't bought a Triad, consider a Caldera system. If you already own the Triad, a smaller pot may work better. If it works good for you, go for it :)

You will need more clothing. Doing the whole PCT will demand a varied clothing set that you can change as you make progress on the trail. By all means, check out Andrew Skurka's PCT gear list and seek others' experiences. You may need more puffy/layers than the Mont Bell. Perhaps a puffy vest would round out your existing collection.

As far as pants go, I see two options: running shorts with wind pants or zip off pants. I use light zip offs in the summer and have just switched to soft shell pants for colder/wetter weather. It doesn't make a huge difference on which zip-offs-- REI, Columbia, Ex Officio, Mountain Hardwear and Outdoor Research all make very usable ones. The OR Equinox convertibles have the least bric-a-brac on them--- no thigh pockets or other extras. I've given up on UL wind pants due to fragility-- you don't sit or kneel on your windshirt. Personal taste.

I like the Marmot DriClime windshirts, BUT they aren't versatile enough for a through hike. An UL windshirt coupled with other base layers will give you more options for the weight. A light colored wind shirt is handy for bug protection without cooking yourself.

I like Power Stretch for mid layers. Consider SealSkinz gloves for long days in cold rain.

Rain pants?

Ditch the pack cover and use a garbage compactor bag.

Don't forget your hygiene items. They can add up, even when using smaller bottles-- stuff like soap, insect repellent, dental care, hand cleaner, TP and trowel, etc.

Totally my opinion, and others may do back-flips, but I haul more knife than the Classic. For SUL food prep, the Victorinox 3.5" paring knife is 0.75oz and $4.50. I like a 3"-3.5" folding knife. The Swiss Army Hiker, Farmer, and Trekker are personal favorites. My "best" knife is a Benchmade Griptilian. Another option is a Mora Allround for a fixed blade knife, providing good backcountry survival/repair/food prep service. 4.1oz and $15.

Packs. I'm getting old and cranky on packs. I own a Jam and I think it is a lot of bang for the buck. You can buy lighter packs, but they won't be as durable. If you want the lightest possible kit, frameless packs are the way to go.

My complaint du jour on frameless packs is twofold: comfort and packing. You can improve the weight transfer on a frameless pack with good design and careful loading, but IMHO, it will never equal what a framed pack can do. Loading a frameless is a pain. I'm switching off to an Osprey Exos and taking the weigh hit-- better weight transfer, much better back ventilation. Too many gee-gaws for my taste, but I'm going to try them all out before doing surgery.

Bon voyage!

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Windstopper Gloves on 10/30/2010 12:26:33 MDT Print View

I wouldn't recommend windstopper gloves. They seemed like a great idea, but in my experience with them they aren't very warm for the weight, are terrible when they are wet, and take an absurd amount of time to dry.

You're much better off with some regular fleece or wool liners, and add shell mitts (e.g. MLD Rain Mitts, or Extremities Tuff Bags)if it's sufficiently cold.


Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Windstopper Gloves on 10/30/2010 13:14:25 MDT Print View

I did a week long section this year and used the GG Gorilla. I was able to fit the BV500 vertical in the pack with all my gear. It worked excellent. The Gorilla is lighter than the Jam and has support. I've used both and no comparison IMHO.

Sleeping bag:
Helium is great, but part of the hike you could switch to the lighter Hydrogen. Never used a quilt, but sure they would work.

I have a couple tarptents and they work fine. On my trip I used the MLD grace cuben duo with a bivy. No issues. This week I purchased a MLD Solomid and I think that is going to be my go to shelter. I haven't field tested it yet, but it pitches very nice and has plenty of room for me (5'10"). The MLD Duomid would give you extra room and I'm sure it would work equally as well.

Just my two cents. Many others have a lot more experience than I do.


Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Try the pack before you go too light on 10/30/2010 13:58:57 MDT Print View

One thing I'm seeing is a recommendation to go sub-2 lbs with the pack, and that's not a good recommendation for everyone across the board for a hike of this distance. Some people may need more support for their neck, trapezius, or back, and need more lift from the pack. Just my two cents. Try different packs, internal frames as well. It wasn't too long ago that people were hiking with 6 pound packs and being successful at it. I'm not wanting to open a huge debate on this. Just try different packs. They don't have to be massive monsters, but they also don't have to be silnylon sacks with two shoelaces masquerading as shoulder straps either.

Airborne: Try Emergen-C. Much better, more flavors, and less expensive. Less effervescent, and tastes better a few hours down the trail too.

Quilt: Jacks'R'Better makes some awesome quilts, for different degrees. I know one guy just used a Sniveller model for this years thru-hike of the PCT, and I already have my Sierra Sniveller. Mine is 24oz, super nice. But the others listed are fantastic as well.

Check out Gen at Alpinlite Gear, he has a variety of lightweight shelters that are pretty sweet. Joe at Zpacks can get you set up with food bags, pack liners, and tarps as well.

I'll be heading out in April next year...hopefully see you on the trail!


Edited by Pittsburgh on 10/30/2010 14:02:07 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
pack on 10/30/2010 15:00:48 MDT Print View

agreed ... find a pack that fits you

make sure you load it up with 20-30 lbs and walk around rei for at least 1-2 hours up and down stairs

theyre pretty good about that

if you do buy online, then make sure theres a good return policy

IMO ... the pack is something you dont want to be gram counting at the cost of comfort ..

along with shoes its the MOST important piece of yr kit

David T
(DaveT) - F
pct pack on 10/30/2010 15:09:39 MDT Print View

I would suggest a pack that has a real-ish suspension, and real hipbelt with padding. There are times when you might be carrying 30+ lbs (food and water) and in my opinion an extra 8-16 oz. of suspension is worth it.

I used an Osprey Aether 60 in 2004. Even after everything I learned and how much I slimmed my kit down, I'd still use something like a Granite Gear Virga or Vapor Trail (though probably too much volume usually), or perhaps something maximally robust from MLD now. I like that real suspension when carrying lots of weight for long hours every day. I'd cut weight everywhere else.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Shoes on 10/31/2010 03:28:15 MDT Print View

I remembered you mentioned you hadn't found shoes yet. Check out Inov-8 line....depending on your size, some internet vendors sell them for a good price, but I think the best I've found for most sizes is Amazon...I'm going to be using the Inov-8 Roclite 315's. Good stuff, and very light and durable. They have Gore Tex models, as well, but I'm going to stick with the airy, quick drying model...

Toby Maxwell
(eeooo4) - F

Locale: California, Central Valley
thanks everyone! on 11/01/2010 10:07:05 MDT Print View

Scott- I like your better safe than sorry pack cover policy. Ill have to decide for myself what the best option is I spose when I get everything together and see the actual final weight.

Dan- I think Ill probably do something similar to your sock plan. 2 pairs + the potential for sleeping socks sounds reasonable. Also do you have any insights into whether heavier poles are really a big difference, compared to extra weight on your back for instance?

Dale: I have the triad, but am planning to return it to REI because of what you mentioned, I tested it on a 16 oz cup and it only boiled for 2 1/2 minutes. THe caldera looks pretty good, do you know what the whole set up weighs it didnt say it on antigravity gear's website? I am also looking into just making my own stove. As far as layers go, Ill probably add some sort of long underwear layer for the cold sections and a vest is intriguing for the coldest. Thanks for the tips on pants etc too. Ill probably pick up a pair of rain pants too.

David - Ill definitely go the liner/shell route. thanks!

Brad - Due to money Ill probably stick with the same sleeping bag the whole way.

Dug - Thanks for the comment on packs, Im not sure how to go about it though, does anybody know about the return policies at ULA, I would like to try the Ohm because it has a full suspension set up, but naturally I can't really get a feel for it without buying one. Also, Ill be a little bit of a late starter (may 7-13th is the guess) because Im about to graduate college so hopefully Ill catch up with some people, Ill see you there!

eric - I like the idea of extended pack trying on sessions. REI will have to get over it!

Dave T (and anybody) - do you know about the padding on ULAs packs for the waist and what the back panel is like?

Thanks again for all of the advice!

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: pack on 11/01/2010 12:14:52 MDT Print View

I agree with the above statements about shoes and packs. I have tried several of each. In the end I chose Aarn over Osprey as comfort is very important to me even though I am not a thur hiker. I finally found a pair of Inov-8 shoes for my narrow foot, the X-Talon 212. I have and think highly of Tarptents. Works very well easy to setup not to expensive and made in the USA. I also use a MLD Solomid which works well with no bugs around.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: thanks everyone! on 11/01/2010 14:39:49 MDT Print View

Hey Toby, I'm kind of late to this thread, but it looks like you've got a very good start with the gear. I thru hiked this year and most people were carrying heavier loads than you've got listed. Plenty of folks had Jams for packs and did just fine with them, too, even in the Sierras (bear canister and all). So if you have one of those and have used it a bunch, I'd say stick with it. ULA packs are really nice (I got a Circuit at kickoff), but if you're worried you won't be able to try them on before the hike it certainly won't be the end of the world to go with the Jam (although if you can work with them to try on a few by mail, you probably won't be disappointed).

Poles... I hiked the AT with Leki Makalus and the PCT with Gossamer Gear Lightreks. I like the GG's better, but again, the Lekis worked fine. It's not going to be a deal-breaker for your hike.

I'd suggest leaving some of your gear at home and having someone who is willing to mail stuff for you (or use a bounce box). There's going to be a lot of gear that you don't want to carry through Southern California but will probably need in the Sierras, then different things for NorCal, and maybe even different things for Oregon and Washington. It's best not to carry things if you won't need them for several hundred miles. Like anything for snow... you won't run into major significant snow until the Sierras unless it's a freakishly cold year. And then after that, probably not until Washington.

Most of all, just try to be flexible with your plans and especially with your gear. And don't listen to people who try to scare you with dire prophecies about the hike. It's really much easier than I was led to believe :)

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Re: thanks everyone! on 11/01/2010 16:33:39 MDT Print View


We're the guys that make the Caldera Cones and can answer any questions you might have. Contact me through

Rand :-)

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
PCT Gear on 11/04/2010 10:50:00 MDT Print View

I used a frameless pack for two weeks on the JMT and found myself wishing for shoulder relief by the time I had finished. I have since gone to the Granite Gear Vapor Trail for a bit more support. It fits the Expedition size Bearikade.
Shoes: I tried the Inov 8's but found they were not a good fit. Be sure to try whatever footwear you plan on using several times be ore you set out.
DriClime: I used to be a big fan, but have found a light sweater and a wind shirt just increase the layering options.
I use the same low cut socks several days in a row and am surprised how much dirt comes out of them when I wash them. I use the canister as a wash tub. Works great and clothing dries very fast ijn the Sierras. It is important to keep socks clean for hygiene and blister prevention. It is nice to get a clean pair in a mail drop, too! I usually carry two pair to hike in and a warm sock for camp only.
The pack tarps are great. Mine is floor less, but with the wind flaps which are an excellent design and very helpful. I also bought the pole for the "short end" since my poles are fixed in length. It is very easy to use and I can use the "extra" pole to tie out another side.
I highly recommend poles to help save your knees for the long haul.
BTW: There is a wind shirt with a positive review recently posted among the articles here at BPL.
At "Aricles" look for MontBell Tachyon Anorak...."

Edited by rambler on 11/04/2010 10:58:54 MDT.