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New PCT 2011 gear list
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David Wills
(willspower3) - F
New PCT 2011 gear list on 01/06/2011 06:00:25 MST Print View

Hey everyone, Ive been MIA for a year or so over hear in South Korea. Im going to give the PCT a go this summer and I was looking for a critique of my proposed gear list. I've already done the at in 09, but the PCT seems to be a bit of a different beast. Here goes, dont be gentle:

ULA Conduit 19
GG Pack Liner 1.5
5oz XP Topbag 30* 24
1/2 ridge rest 7
Suluk 1/4” Padded GS 4
6x4x9 Tarp 9
Easton Blue stakes x6 2
MLD Serenity MYOG 9
Shrink Wrap GS 2
Total 77.5

Super Cat/ windscreen 1
Montbell 1.3L Pot 4
Spoon, F.Bottle, sack 2
Ursack 8
Polar Pure 3
4L platy (+dipper cup) 4
Gatorade Bottle x2 3
Prefilter- coffee screen 1
Total 26

Pack Clothes
Smartwool Microweight LS 6
Montbell UL Down 8
Dri Ducks 6
Momentum Wind Shirt 3
Merino long johns 7
Wind Pants (1.9 DWR) 4
Fleece Balaclava 1.5
Grippy Glove 1.5
Total 37

Aurora Headlamp 3
Razor Knife .5
Med Kit 3
Camera 6
Journal / Pencil 3
Maps 4
Dr. Bronners 2
Toothbrush .5
Lighter .5
Bandana 1
Wash Bucket .5
Stuff Sack 1
Total 25

Base Total 165.5 or 10 lb 5.5 oz

Darn Tough running socks
Montrail something
Merino SS Shirt
Running Shorts
Headsweats Protech Hat

A few things im still trying to figure out-
Sleeping pad- i like nice sleep, but i dont need total comfort. aside from aboev, i have a BA insulated aircore (high weight 21 oz, fear durability or add 2 oz 1/8" padded foam), an orange prolite short (13 oz, still need foam for legs), or some combo of all foam (reasonable comfort gets heavy and bulky). Any other options?
Sleeping bag- The XP topbag is a little bulky and good to about 30*. Warm enough? I can save 4 ounces by making a warmer down top bag w/ lighter shell material, but for $$$. Any ready made solutions that are reasonably priced?
Jacket- is the UL down inner warm enough? I also have the montbell synthetic parka, but for 6 oz more
Water- should i go full filter on the PCT? i think a coffee screen should be effective enough to prefilter for chemicals, but i dont know. Other options?
Wind Shirt- do i really need it? maybe to help the dri ducks last a while
Ursack- i dont know what to do. I hate hanging bear bags with a passion, a BV500 is too heavy for the whole trip (bite the bullet in the bear country), and i like the idea of critter protection and a reasonable probability of bear protection outside BV500 land. Could shave a few ounces with a critter bag (ursack yellow or other). Ideas greatly appreciated.

A few other notes
Conduit will be modded to hold bear cans better
may make a slightly larger tarp
i dont want to go under 1L for a pot again. im a hungry man
polarpure- i like it- no mixing, lasts forever, cheap. any water purification advances lately?
Corsa Camp axe from REI in snow land
Trash bag skirt in the rainy part

Thanks for everything. Feels good to be back on BPL.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: New PCT 2011 gear list on 01/06/2011 07:20:21 MST Print View

Long term iodine use is unhealthy, I wouldn't do polar pure. Think about Aqua Mira. But I prefer steripens for long distance hiking.

Don't know much about your sleeping bag, but I doubt it's warm. Much of the trail will be warm, but for parts of it, you may end up cold at night if you don't change it.

The Montbell inner isn't very warm, but again, much of the trail is pretty pleasant at night. I'd think about more warm clothes for the sections where you might be walking in cold rains.

Most people just keep their food on the ground with them when not in bear country. Rodents may be a problem one or two nights. For some, an ursack is worth it. I'd ditch it. I'd also ditch the windshirt.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
rodents on 01/06/2011 08:14:40 MST Print View

When I've had food in bag next to me, maybe 1 out of 4 nights there'll be a rodent chewed hole in it in the morning, in the Oregon Cascades.

I have 0.5 ounce of nylon cord to hang it at least a few feet off ground.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Re: New PCT 2011 gear list on 01/06/2011 08:43:17 MST Print View

YES! Steripen Adventure Opti looks exactly like what I want!!!! Thanks
Sleeping bag is a synthetic topbag i made, no hood. I used it on nearly all the AT and I would rate the comfort threshold to about 30* with long johns and a hat. Im leaning towards a quilt or top bag with about 12-15 oz of down which I figure to be warmer, smaller and lighter.
Good idea switching to the parka in the wet part. Synthetic + warmer would be good there.
I was hesitant about the windshirt idea, but they seem rather popular out west. Driducks should be breathable enough.
I think i may go with the Ursack Minor at 2.7 oz. Not much more than a sil stuff sack for some peace of mind + perfect for the east coast.
Thanks a bunch Jack.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: New PCT 2011 gear list on 01/06/2011 09:03:24 MST Print View


I just wanted to say "welcome back" and let you know I was just recently looking at some of your old MYOG projects - especially the Walmart sil projects. Nice stuff!

Good looking list, too. Nothing of value for me to add, however:)

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Re: New PCT 2011 gear list on 01/06/2011 09:22:52 MST Print View

Thanks Todd, its great to be back on my favorite time black hole. I wish that poncho had worked out. The walmart sil was just not waterproof enough or strong for that matter. The MLD dimensions were wonderful. The mini pack was fun for a few trips, but really a novelty in retrospect. Do i have dust in my eye, or am i getting nostalgic?

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Food bag on 01/06/2011 10:00:19 MST Print View

You can't go wrong with an Ursack Minor, but I've been really pleased using a Zpacks blast food bag with an OP Sack inside it. Blast is cheaper, critter proof so far, it opens up nice and wide, and it doesn't soak up water or dirt--just shake it off or wipe it clean and dry. No experience with this out west, but in the southeast it works like a charm. I think the rectangular one would fit perfectly in your conduit.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Nice list on 01/06/2011 12:57:10 MST Print View

I too think you might want a bit warmer bag, though you could swap to the one you used on the AT sometime after you get out of the Sierras. I used a WM 32F bag north of the Sierras, worked great.

The down jacket is likely enough, with a shell and of course ancillary bits (warm hat, gloves -- or better, mittens). If you don't already own it, consider a Montbell EX Light down.

Ursack: I generally use an Ursack where I live. didn't bother with it in SoCal, just slept with my food with no problems. Make sure your Conduit can handle an actual bear can (and other stuff) in the Sierras. I think an Ursack Minor is a fine approach apart from where a bear can is required, but really, rodents will get to your food on occasion but it's not nearly like the every night experience on the AT. I did use an Ursack Minor on the AT this year, typically slept in shelters with it next to me, and never lost any food, so it's a nice piece of gear I think.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Nice list on 01/06/2011 21:25:21 MST Print View

Thanks for all the advice. I am going to modify the compression straps to handle a bear can, empty on top of the pack.
So: Stripen Adventure
Montbell UL until oregon, switch to synthetic parka
Ursack Minor, add bear can in bear land

A few more queries-
sleeping bag/ quilt- seems all my UL choices are around $270-350 unless i make it, where it would still be around $180. Would a golite ultra 20 be acceptable? seems 9.5 oz of down is a little skimpy
pad- still clueless

ryan Ashby
(steveclimber) - F

Locale: So Cal
nice dude on 01/07/2011 00:47:09 MST Print View

welcome back! the PCT is awesome, and your list looks chill, everything will fall into place except.....
NO STERIPEN- 3 people I hiked with last year used them, and 3 broke. UV is cool but it takes to long as you have multi-liters to fill in the desert.
NO filter- this is a personal opinion, people used them with some success, I had a couple friends have Katadyn pros break and freeze and such.
I vote AquaMira (order it on line or you can probably just buy it at kickoff.)
You will be treated to many different ultralight vendors at Kickoff and their wears.
The Ursack is chill for sure, that being said: don't buy it if you haven't already, the little bastards are only really bad in certain areas (like under the bridge at cabazon. i used a large opsack and then put that in a stuff sack. reality: your food will overflow (you know this from the AT I am sure)), the animals are NOT that bad. most thrus ended up using trashbags and grocery bags for most of the desert.
PAD: overwhelming about of PCTers use the Zrest (whatever the yellow one is), is always folds to the same size, is easily deployable for break seats( nice in the desert stickers, trust me!).
Again, most all of the things you might need will be at kickoff (i guesS i DIDN'T ask if you were going. aNYWAY good luck with the bag( that is to personal for me to answer).

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Good list on 01/07/2011 01:54:50 MST Print View

I liked it, am a little envious at the lightness you've got there. :)

My two cents, for whatever it's worth:

I have the ZPacks "Blast" cuben fiber food bag. It's tight. Get one. Rodent varmints can't chew through cuben the same as some bags (Ursack not included, that's a beastly weave). It's also spacious, and light, but made of a thicker, stronger cuben. Joe at ZPacks is amazing to deal with as well.

If you hate bear bagging, I understand, but check out Lawson Klines' bear bag kit he has on his Mountainfitter site. I haven't used it, but have talked to one person who has, and they hated bear bagging until Lawson's kit came along. I'm looking at every alternative to using a bear canister if possible. I just dread the thought of that beast in my pack!

Filter: I'm going with the trusty bandana + coffee filter method for the trail, backed up with either AquaTabs or AquaMira. (Aqua Tabs are pretty cheap, although hard to locate. Here's a link:

Good luck with the planning, I'll see you out there his year...When are you leaving? I'm aiming for late April.


Edited by Pittsburgh on 01/07/2011 02:02:30 MST.

Ryley Breiddal
(ryleyb) - F - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
stuff on 01/10/2011 18:36:31 MST Print View

Sleeping bag- If you think it's good to 30, I would say you'll be fine, assuming you aren't a cold sleeper. You might have a night or two of discomfort if you're starting early in April, and then maybe another couple early in the Sierras, but that's about it.

Jacket- sounds warm enough to me, I'm assuming you'll just be wearing it around camp/sleeping?

Water- I had no problems with just Aqua Mira... Never even had to do the pre-filter. The desert caches and the water report will keep you going in the right direction for the first 700 miles, assuming you don't mind occasionally carrying some extra water. I also essentially stopped filtering from Kennedy Meadows onward.

Ursack- I carried mine the whole way, including when I had the bear canister. I didn't do a resupply from Kennedy Meadows to Red's Meadow (Mammoth), so I ended up "needing" both. Also this way when rodents were annoying me, I'd just roll my food bag 20 feet from my tent, and that way they could frolic to their little heart's content, and I could get some sleep. But as an AT hiker, you are probably immune to rodents, so I would say you could easily just do whatever you did on the AT, and add a canister when required.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
h20 on 01/11/2011 00:28:09 MST Print View

Why use water treatment to begin with? I think people get sick from not using adequate hygiene and not the water they drink. Spend the $100 you save on other gear.

And I'd suggest something other than Montrail. Used their shoes for close to 1500 miles this year and they began to fall apart really quickly. Ended up super glueing the midsole and the actual soles several times. The buy out has ruined their quality. But their customer service was awesome about replacing the shoes.

Edited by mzion on 01/11/2011 00:36:38 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: h20 on 01/11/2011 00:59:31 MST Print View

"Why use water treatment to begin with? I think people get sick from not using adequate hygiene and not the water they drink."

Matthew, you are entitled to think what you want to think.

However, a number of people get sick from giardia each year, from drinking untreated water.

I was on a group backpacking trip to a lake. Everybody who swam in the lake (and ingested some water) got sick from giardia. Everybody who did not swim in the lake did not get sick. The giardia victims started getting their symptoms at one week, and all had it by two weeks.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Gardia on 01/11/2011 02:44:36 MST Print View

Some people have a high tolerence for gardia. They may have some sickness for a day or so. That said, I would go with AquaMira. I have used the Adventurer for 3 or 4 years, but, batteries can be a problem. Between the gadget, batteries and spares it adds weight if you are already carrying AM. The AM drops are very low weight. Save the 8oz or so. I only use the Adventurer for short trips where time is more important than weight. I do not bring it if I have extra time.

Easton Stakes, take 1(~.33oz.) Switch to ti hooks for 5(~1oz.)

Aurora Headlamp? E-light is .75oz A spare set of batteries .3

I too would suggest a heavier bag. But, I typically hike the ADK's with it's variable weather. As always, you are close on that prepared for wearing all your cloths. Not really familiar with the PCT, sooo....

The list looks real good. Nitpicking....

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gardia and Gear List on 01/11/2011 06:24:55 MST Print View

I agree with those who advocate some treatment for your water. There are people who don't experience symptoms of suffering from gardia - maybe 30 percent. But having traveled through cattle country along the PCT, I did know of people who had to be treated - Nia on these boards got sick twice.

MLD also makes a bear bag/hanging system. I didn't hang my food very much on the trail, except for the Sierras, where I used the bear canister

Finally, like the others, I'd suggest a warmer bag. Every year is rather different, so it's hard for me to make set recommendations other than to say that it really depends on how fast you hike. At the end of the trip, the weather can change rather significantly depending when you wrap up. I was later than most and ran into snow and temperatures in the single digits in the North Cascades/Pasayten.

Other than that, it got cold for me in the Sierras a few times. But last year they had experienced significantly more snow in the Sierras and cold temperatures in Southern California. So your mileage may vary.

Have a great time. It's a fantastic trip.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
water treatment on 01/11/2011 07:50:41 MST Print View

I don't treat water from alpine streams, haven't noticed getting sick

Giardia sickness is similar to food poisining and fecal contamination sickness so it's hard to know if someone's sickness is really Giardia

Some people have no Giardia symptoms but their fecal material can infect other people.

If you're the forest service (or whatever) it's easiest to just recommend treatment than deal with people complaining about it.

Maybe those chlorine treatments aren't all that healthy

Discussed in BPL article

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Gardia on 01/11/2011 08:06:21 MST Print View

Thanks for the advice everyone, and for being nitpicky. A few things I decided to change were based on the 40% off golite coupon i caught wind of on gear deals. Pulled the trigger on a Golite 3 season quilt- Long at 27 oz. Much warmer and only 3 ounces heavier than my topbag. I also got the 6 oz umbrella (shade) and the v stakes for $205 delivered. Sweet.
I decided to get the golite stakes after reading lots of quality control issues about the easton stakes heads popping off. I have some Ti hook stakes, but I dont really like them. Very low holding power and they bend easily. The Golites look like a good all around stake.
I ended up using an umbrella for much of the AT due to the ridiculous rain and my Marmot Mica's dysfunction. Having lived in Korea for a while now, it seems umbrellas are also the best defense for sun and snow. Seriously though, seeing everyone walking in the snow with umbrellas is hilarious, but it works.
I think im just going to bite the weight bullet and carry my BA insulated aircore. Laying in bed last night, i had visions of what it would feel like sleeping on foam, followed by the slight improvement of the prolite shorty, and finally the bliss BA provided me for so many nights on the AT. Much more gratifying than 8 ounces off my spreadsheet. I will also carry a 1/8*60*20 thinlite to protect the bottom with help from my backpack.
Regarding the water treatment- I've been sick from untreated water before and so have several of my friends. To me, not treating is not an option. aqua mira definitely seems to be the most popular route, and for good reason. I just hate the idea of waiting for the chemicals to mix and again for them to work. The new Adventurer Opti is reported to have solved the problems of the previous version- improved battery life and better water sensor. Im going to buy it from REI in case it doesn't work out (weight, quality, or practicality), then switch to Aqua Mira or tabs for a sure thing. I priced out those tablets at $100 for the PCT. Pretty good deal, may change my mind before I get the steripen.
Concerning the light, the Aurora is truly night hikeable, great battery life for no spares, uses easy to find AAA's, and I have a lighter headband for it sewn to fit my melon to save weight and bulk. It's good and light enough to stay around indefinitely.
I think the white ursack will serve me best in the long run. Its a lot more weight than the yellow one or some string and a tiny rock sack, but the time and trouble saved in most situations will probably be worth it even if its and eyesore on my spreadsheet. An OP sack could be helpful to keep the mouse droppings off it.
Thanks a ton to everyone for putting forward your opinions and helping me sleep better at night. Ill try to load up my gear list on PDF.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
xp on 01/11/2011 08:17:00 MST Print View

list looks pretty solid

regarding the bag, just perusing around a bit, it appears 5 oz of xp would be pushing it a fair amount to even the 30's from others accounts- I think I would definitely go warmer and as you said- you'd be both warmer AND lighter!

there have been a lot of folks try to get something to work on carrying a canister on top w/ smaller packs, not w/ a lot of success- if you come up w/ something (maybe visit w/ ULA?) that works be sure to report back :)

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: New PCT 2011 gear list on 01/11/2011 08:22:33 MST Print View

Got the new list up on PDF. Bumped up to a bone crushing 11 lb 5 oz from 10 lb 5 oz, but I will be warmer and more comfy, and have an umbrella for shade and rain coat support.