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PCT Clothes List
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Rich Hastings
(Hottrod33) - F
PCT Clothes List on 03/23/2011 22:43:17 MDT Print View

I just posted a Clothes Gear List for the PCT in my profile. Quick link is here:

PCT Clothes Gear List

* I broke out different gear options by PCT Trail section. I am still not quite sure what will be needed in the different sections and what temps. to be prepared for in each.

* I am not too sure what kind of pants I will need in the desert. Would wind pants work?

Edited by Hottrod33 on 03/23/2011 23:20:16 MDT.

Brendan Lammers
(mechB) - F

Locale: Washington DC
Straw hat on 03/24/2011 00:12:14 MDT Print View

I'm planning a PCT hike this summer as well, but I'm 98% sure I'm going SOBO (therefore different weather). I can't tell you exactly what the conditions are (no one can, really) since I haven't done it, but I can tell you what I plan on bringing for comparison.

However, I did find this awesome resource for weather/temperature data on the PCT. It has data and summary stats for temperatures encountered on the PCT, so you can decide for yourself what type of clothing you need to be comfortable. The webpage also makes recommendations that may help. Here's the URL:

I expect that the temperatures to remain more constant on a SOBO hike, since the Sierras will be warmer, the desert will be cooler, and Washington will be moderately coolish (don't know for sure, having trouble finding data for SOBO). Thus, my clothing list will probably stay about the same. This is what I plan on bringing, if it helps:

Rain jacket: Marmot Mica (7oz)
Wind jacket: Patagonia Houdini (4oz)
Wind pants: Homemade 1.1oz ripstop nylon wind pants with DWR (2oz)
Down jacket: Eddie Bauer Downlight Jacket (13oz--maybe slightly warmer than MB Down Inner?) OR Homemade M90/900FP down (3-4oz fill) at (~8-9oz)...if I feel ambitious.
Baselayer (bottom): Marmot Power Stretch 3/4 Tights (5oz) or MYOG Polartec Power Stretch Tights (5oz)
Fleece layer (top): The North Face TKA 100 Glacier Fleece Pullover (8oz)
Hat: Icebreaker Merino 320 WT Beanie (1oz)
Gloves: EMS Power Stretch Gloves (1.5oz)
Sleeping socks: BPL PossumDown Socks (1.5oz) or homemade down booties (again, if I feel ambitious)
Hiking shirt: Icebreaker Beast 150 short sleeve
Hiking shorts: Adidas soccer shorts

Total: ~33oz, just over 2 lbs

I think that's pretty similar to what you're carrying. I can't imagine a scenario where I'd get cold during the day, or even sitting around camp at night. Whether or not you're warm at night would depend a lot on your sleeping bag and pad, obviously.

One item I feel pretty good about, although it might even be overkill, is the North Face TKA 100 pullover. It's only 7.75oz, and it's super comfy and warm. I plan on sleeping in that to protect my quilt and stay warm, as well as using it as insulation under a rain jacket in the case of cold rains. It's also pretty cheap (~$35 on sale).

One thing people will probably recommend against bringing is full rain pants, especially at 11oz. I think the key is keeping your core warm--therefore dry--during rain. Your legs might get soggy, but it's usually not a big deal. A lot of people seem to use a light pair of wind pants with DWR to shed a bit of the rain and are fine with it (I've never owned real rain pants and I've been just fine in torrential New Zealand rains, among other places). Maybe check out the Montane Featherlite pants.

Looks like you're a shorts devotee like me. Most people have told me to go with long hiking pants, especially for the desert to protect from sun. I'm not sure if I'm sold yet, but it's definitely something I'm considering. I probably would if I were going NOBO due to longer days and more intense sun.

Anyway, there are my random thoughts. The only thing I can say for sure is a resounding yes on the straw hat, only because it sounds completely bad-@$$.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
clothing list feedback on 03/24/2011 00:37:58 MDT Print View

For a standard NOBO, I think your UL inner down jacket is fine, no need for the beefier down jacket; if you're cold in camp, crawl into the sleeping bag.

Shirt: I liked having a light, loose, button up shirt with good SPF that I wore just over my skin all the time; backup and "town" shirt was a short-sleeved smartwool shirt (doesn't smell). Maybe for the Sierras add a capilene 1 long sleeved shirt (?). Or maybe not --- a windshirt can do a lot when you just keep moving.

Shorts: it's a "style" thing; I personally always wear long sleeves and long pants (keeps off sun, brush, bugs), and use shorts as backup underwear and to wear in town when washing clothes.

Rain pants, wind pants: I suggest that you carry neither. Maybe a rain skirt, if you can get or make something quite light.

Insulated pants: I suggest that you carry neither. Maybe consider a pair of very light silk or capilene 1 longjohns if you're concerned, then mail them home when you're not using them ...

Hat: personal preference, but do provide some way for the straw hat to not go sailing off in the wind.

I would bring a balaclava and carry it until done with the Sierras, to sleep in.

Glove liners, and I suggest some sort of fairly light mitten --- the OR PL 400 is a good choice. Then maybe a shell, but perhaps only for WA state. For that amount of distance, you could just get a couple of bread bags and wear those over your mittens.

Real, 100% wool (or close to it) decently thick socks for the Sierras, two pairs --- one to hike in, one to sleep in. One pair before and after the Sierras. Apart from that, whatever you're inclined to.

Shoes: no one can help you find the right trail shoe, but you. Lots of threads on this topic, search this (and perhaps other) forum(s) to find many and often conflicting comments about what's "best".

One thing that I like to bring is earbags (google it). Little units that snap on to cover your ears. They make the cold windy times a lot more pleasant.

If going with trail runners (which is all you need, including in snow), you might consider goretex socks for the Sierras, and maybe WA state. Size them up to fit wool socks inside them.

Consider some sort of sun gloves; there are some that are explicitly for this (such as those made by Coolibar), or perhaps you can find something light that breathes well elsewhere. Especially if you use trekking poles, the backs of your hands can get quite burned. I personally like covering up and hence not using a lot of sunscreen in the south (and elsewhere). Lightweight, quick-drying loose clothing.

Consider a pair of bread bags as emergency VB socks, and for use in camp to keep your dry socks dry when you put them in your wet trail shoes.

Best of luck!

Edited by brianle on 03/24/2011 00:41:04 MDT.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re: PCT Clothes List on 03/24/2011 05:43:46 MDT Print View

A few comments:

You might be okay in the DriDucks the entire way. I used my O2 Rainshield jacket (material similar to Driducks) for the entire trail. You'll probably be wearing your rain jacket more in OR/WA than the rest of the trail, so a highly breathable jacket might be nice to have.

A s/s t-shirt + the Railriders shirt is probably overkill. I wore a l/s nylon button-down the entire way. Most of my friends did the same.

I don't think you need rain pants in the Sierra. June is usually dry. Even if it's wet, like the year I hiked, I was fine in nylon pants.

I'd bring the fleece hat for the entire trail. You will have cold nights in the desert. The only place I didn't use my fleece hat for mornings/evenings/sleeping was northern California.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: PCT Clothes List on 03/24/2011 13:35:36 MDT Print View

Here's my suggestion. I have hiked the PCT and some of the suggestions so far are for clothing I would never wear. I think clothing we like to wear is pretty subjective. So here's what I would do, assuming you have experience with hiking:

Bring the clothing you normally hike in.

Expect a maximum temperature range in the desert section of about 80 degrees between daytime highs and nighttime lows. Between 100 and 20 on the same day. That's pretty much the maximum you will ever have to deal with on the entire PCT.

Expect very bright, harsh radiation from the sun for the first 1000 miles.

You will be in your sleeping bag when it's 20. What do you need to wear inside your sleeping bag to be warm at 20 degrees?

On a rare occasion, it might be snowing outside, in which case it might be right around 32. What can you wear while hiking and still be warm at 32?

It may rain, so what can you wear while hiking and still be dry and comfortable at temperatures over 32 degrees?

That's all you need to bring.

Rich Hastings
(Hottrod33) - F
Additional comments on 03/24/2011 17:49:52 MDT Print View

I thru-hiked the AT 9 years ago. The majority of the time I just had a SS shirt, a lightweight fleece, and Precip jacket and shorts. Then I added the rain pants at the beginning and end for colder temps.

As most of my time was in the green tunnel, I don't have much experience in the sun exposure or the extremes and high elevations. I attempted to take cues from others gear lists, hence my gear additions.

The Montbell UL down jacket seemed to be a staple on everyone's list. The railriders seemed to have a strong following as well. Hence I acquired both.

Other items I was eyeballing in my gear search were the Marmot Driclime and I also liked the Pat. Nano Puff Pullover.

Anyway, is there a chance that I would not even need the rain jacket in the desert?

Also, which is colder, night in the desert in April or the high sierras in June/July?

Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: PCT Clothes List on 03/26/2011 21:34:31 MDT Print View

I like the practical "situational" decisions that Piper provides. I've found that rather than slice and dice all my possible gear choices, approaching it in terms of "most extreme condition hiking" and "most extreme condition at camp" the way to solidify my choices.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Rain Jacket on 03/27/2011 13:57:02 MDT Print View

Hey Rich,

Southern California native here...In my experience with the desert, you'll need rain protection. It can get very cold at night, and if you decide to night hike, that peace of mind is worth it. The days where you do get rain, you'll appreciate some type of protection. I'm trying to save weight, and double up my shelter for my rain gear through the desert...going with the "poncho/tarp" combo. There's a bunch of people who make them, I went with GoLite's as they make allowances in the rear for wearing it over a full pack. 7.3 ounces, double duty.


Rich Hastings
(Hottrod33) - F
Weather Info on 03/27/2011 15:41:51 MDT Print View

Brendan, thanks alot for the weather data that you posted. That was very insightful. I didn't realize that it will stay consistently cool throughout the entire trip. Any I thought the desert temps. would be warmer daytime temps.

I guess the starting desert gear is probably most important to figure out. I'm sure I'll get a lot of good advice along the way.