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AT/PCT gear lists
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Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
AT/PCT gear lists on 11/14/2010 03:48:23 MST Print View


I'm preparing for what I hope are AT and PCT thru hikes this spring (AT) and Fall (PCT) and I'd like to get a little feedback on my potential BP list. Most of the items I already have, but there are a few yet purchased. Nothing is set in stone though, and there are a few extra items I just haven't thought about in detail like what types of stuff sacks etc. I've tried to make sure that each piece of gear is as versatile as possible for the different conditions I'll see on each trail.

My plan is to go NOBO on the AT starting sometime between mid feb and march 1st and try to finish by mid june at the latest. If I have enough money left over, I'll hi-tail it to the WA border and go SOBO from there and try to finish by Nov 1st. Its a tentative plan as of now, b/c I'm not sure if I'll be able to save up quite enough $ for both and we'll have to see how my body holds up. Tips on $ saving on the trail are welcome too!

P.S. I know this is ambitious considering I haven't yet done a thru hike, but I have section hiked about 500 of the AT, hiked 1000's in the rockies/PCT and I often log 30-35 mile days here in CO in the summer. + I love walking in the mountains :)


Sierra Designs Nitro-30 degree (all the way)
(just bought, so input on actual experience with the bag is welcome). I also have a marmot helium if thats whats needed early AT/late PCT

Pad-- from 8 to 14 oz --Considering ridge rest/torsolight combo for colder weather and shelter use. Any thoughts? Will torsolite hold up over the long haul?

floor--polycro 1.5 oz

Tarp-- 12-13oz. SMD gatewood cape (titanium stakes)


BPL Beartooth Hoody--8-9oz
or, depending on weather
light merino t-shirt--I/O Bio or Patagonia

2 pairs of Merino socks, maybe Injiji or darn tough

shoes--NB 101's 16oz Pair--loving these so far, but montrail mountain masochists are backups if NB's don't work out

shorts--pearl izumi, no liner 2- 3 oz

undies--i/o bio merino boxer brief or ex officio? 3-4 oz?

North Face Triumph Anarak 6oz or Marmot Mica 7oz-
want the NF b/c it has less seems, but also more expensive.
Also, anybody have experience using just a poncho like the gatewood cape? Might use that sometimes supplemented with an OR windshirt. Thoughts?


montbell thermawrap vest--6oz
for warmth when moving and layering with parka
montbell U.L inner parka--10oz
will probably bring only parka for PCT. also considering alpine light parka for start of AT. Thoughts?

baselayer--I/O bio contact tights (warmer months)
Patagonia cap 3's for colder months

sleeping feet: considering goosefeet down socks 3oz or possum fur 2oz Thoughts?

Backpack--last summer used a golite jam. I'm looking into a GG gorilla or SMD swift '11. Going to try both with and without stays. Each is about a pound and a half with stays. I also like to do a bit of running too, so I'm considering more of an adventure pack like from Innov 8. Any thoughts from runners/fastpackers?

Kaldera Keg system F--6.2 (not sure if that is with alcohol or not?)

Phone--Droid X (4-5oz)--will probably have AT app available by then. Will use as guide/camera/journal/ebooks etc. 2 extra batteries + external wall charger (about 3-4 oz)

Wool or fleece gloves with vapor mitts--4oz
Recommendations on light gloves?

BPL backpacking liner

cheap/light stuff sack recommendations?

also have a 1.5 oz montbell synthetic/wool hat--do I need it in addition to the parka/BPL hoody?

Any/all input welcome. A lot of weights are not exact as I don't have a scale. I just want the lightest set up that does the job without breaking the bank too much more than I already have ;)

Thanks in advance!


Edited by sgiachetti on 11/14/2010 03:56:27 MST.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Umbrella? on 11/14/2010 04:52:25 MST Print View

I'm going with a GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella on my PCT hike.

Supplementing that on top with a Patagonia Houdini, which won't be called on to shed every single water pellet since I'll be using the umbrella, but will do just fine and also very breathable.

For the bottom, I'll use a Trail Lite Designs Cloud Kilt, a wraparound skirt made of cuben fiber that weighs two ounces. Testing on the Cloud Kilt was just finished and production just beginning. I'm going with the kilt because I am not going to have the patience with sliding my already muddy feet in and out of my rainpants, and the kilt is a "grab, wrap and go" style. Easy on, easy off, better ventilation, no clammy sweathouse buildup.

Umbrella keeps you from layering up with items that are either very un-breathable and/or just going to wet through anyway. Doubles for sun shade when needed as well, which is a lot on the PT.

GoLite Chrome Dome: 8 oz.
Patagonia Houdinin: 3.7 oz.
Trali Lite Designs Cloud Kilt (long): 2 oz (

I know I may have missed it, but are you bivy'ing it or tarping or tenting it?

Sounds ambitious, good luck!


Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
ambitious trip! on 11/14/2010 12:33:42 MST Print View

Umbrella: I started the PCT with a chrome dome umbrella and didn't use it much. I love the idea, but I use two trekking poles, and despite some cursory attempts I never found a hands-free solution that satisfied me. The other issue was just that sometimes when I most wanted a sun umbrella the wind made it difficult to use. Result was that I mailed it home. If you don't use two trekking poles your experience might be quite different.

Combined trip: seems ambitious to me, but do-able certainly. I started the AT this year in late February and I finished near the end of July, but I took in total about 3 weeks off along the way (over two weeks to deal with a bout of something giardia-like). If nothing forces you to quit or take a break and you're a strong hiker, mid-June should be possible. Far ahead of the norm --- even after three weeks off the trail I was still well ahead of the pack at the end --- but certainly possible.

30-degree bag: maybe someone like Tatu Joe can get by with that sort of bag when it's damned cold out, but not this boy. I suggest that this winter you look for a place you can do a field test of your gear where the overnight temps get down into the mid-teens or so. If you can contemplate doing that for several night, and have temps in the lower 20's quite a few more nights, then okay, with the additional caveat that you'll have to be more sensitive and ready to walk out of danger if really cold temps set in.
Certainly that's going to be an issue in the Sierras and SoCal on the PCT as well. For most of the trip, however, 30F bag is a great choice for both trails IMO.

Torsolight pad likely will hold up for both trips IF you put at least something under it. Consider a 1/8" Gossamer Gear thinlight pad. I've never had an inflatable leak on me, but I always have at least some minimal padding like this underneath, and I sort of automatically pick out and brush off needles or other particulates when I roll up that minimal padding each morning.
Again, however, field test your padding combo down to mid-teens before starting.

Gatewood cape: I actually started the AT with a GC as well as a really light Oware bivy. For this year, at least, starting early going NOBO there were lots of blowdowns, and having not only my only raingear but also my only shelter at risk from going through those made me nervous, such that I ultimately switched to a rainjacket and tent. But perhaps in a more normal year (the south got hammered more than usual last year) it wouldn't be a problem.

In which case I think it's a great combo, as you'll almost always find shelter space if you start early and hike fast. I.e., a minimal tent option is a great choice then.
Would you add the SMD bug tent when appropriate? Or just a head net? Between the two trails you're bound to find some buggy times, perhaps not until the PCT however, given your schedule.

I used a montbell thermawrap vest and like it; on the AT I actually wore it while walking a few times, combined with a windshirt, normally too warm, but a nice layer to add sometimes, and bounce or mail home when it's warmer.
I combined that with an alpine light parka in a 20F bag on the AT, and that worked for me, along with down booties.

Backpack: remember that you need to be able to carry a bear can in the Sierras. And note also that if using a poncho that you might have an ice axe strapped to your pack.

Droid X phone: serendipitously, I just bought this same phone myself. Not sure what mapping software I'll put on it yet; it's actually backup, as I'm going for the CDT next year and will reluctantly carry a separate, standalone GPS. You definitely should not, however (!). Anyway, my conclusion too is that the Droid X is a nice choice, and it fits nicely in a snack-sized ziplock, and the touch screen works decently inside the ziplock. Voila, waterproof. Have to take it out to use as a camera, however ...

You're biting off a lot, but with the right prep, and if you're reasonably strong and fit when you start, it's certainly possible, and a heck of a journey. Best of luck!

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
thanks for the thoughtful comments... on 11/15/2010 05:25:03 MST Print View

keep em coming.

as for shelter, I'm thinking their will be a lot of AT shelter space with an early fast start, but I'm comfortable in the GC thus far.

I'm going to play bug protection by ear. I imagine I won't need any on the AT until perhaps the north? I read this little piece about going sobo on the PCT and they argued that you could pretty much miss bug season this way

I just bought a golite roan hooded parka (from the golite sale in boulder) which I think I can get down to about 15 or 16oz with mods. BTW, amazed with the warmth/weight of this jacket. I've done a little testing of it against the alpine light and its considerably warmer. I'd even say its comparable (and certainly warms a lot faster) to the MB frostline parka, but a lot lighter. Anyway, I'm thinking the SD nitro (said to be more like a light 20) with this jacket will be warm enough for early AT). Will be testing though plenty this winter.

Thanks again for the feedback. More is welcome!

tyler marlow

Locale: UTAH
Envious on 11/15/2010 21:08:01 MST Print View

That sounds like a great trip.

I hiked the AT SOBO last year and wanted to keep hiking once i got to springer!

I used my tent twice the whole time, and sent it home before i left Maine. Its super easy to just go shelters the whole time. If i did it again (which i plan on) i would just bring a bivy and small tarp.

The Gatewood cape will be plenty of shelter, the only thing i would consider is how you like hiking in it in 10 hours of rain. Most of the time i just got used to being wet and didnt carry rain gear for a couple stretches, but considering your timing i would definately want good rain gear at least for the beginning.

Also, I live in Atlanta and would be happy to let you crash at my place and drive you to springer if you want.
email me if youre interested at like.sisyphus at

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Sergio! on 11/16/2010 08:18:09 MST Print View

Sounds like a good deal!

I wonder about the durability of the MT 101 uppers. Probably fine on trails, but it seems like you might go through a lot of them. I got holes in my 100s very fast.

I'd think for Feb-March in the Smokies you'd want some solid raingear, the potential for cold rain is pretty good. The Triumph is light, and the two panel construction is impressive. I found the fit too baggy and the hood awful, but others don't mind those things so much.

Might you want traction devices for parts of the early season? Microspikes, or something? I've not spent enough time in the east to know.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
burning through 101's on 11/17/2010 10:22:00 MST Print View

yeah, you've got a point about the 101's. I've been able to find them for $55, so I was thinking I might go through like 4-5 pairs and that'd be OK, but I might opt for montrail mountain masochists which hold up a little better or perhaps some crosslites or crossleathers. Having crosslites would probably take care of any early season traction issues. If only they could make a super durable shoe that also dries super fast!

Yes, I'll definitely start with a good rain coat and I've got some montbell stretch wind pants which seem promising.

Thanks for the input Dave!

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: on 12/09/2010 21:55:06 MST Print View

Good luck on your trip.

I also thru hiked the AT this year and I would just suggest that you don't count on shelter space. I had an early start, March 1, but when the weather turns to sh*t everyone has the same idea and piles into shelters. The crowd will thin out but there will always be someone on trail with you. I spent a 150 days on trail, mainly to try and keep the experience from ending, and I only stayed the night at a campsite/shelter by myself a total of probably 7 or 8 nights.

Enjoy yourself, thru hiking is a drug.