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Gear List for PCT; advice appreciated
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Case Ramsey
(caserr) - F
Gear List for PCT; advice appreciated on 09/24/2011 18:25:40 MDT Print View

I'm preparing my gear list for hiking the PCT in 2013. I am fairly new to backpacking but have plenty of time to collect the things that I need and test them out. I plan on doing the Colorado Trail next summer as a test run before I do the PCT and figure I'll learn a fair amount about what I need/don't need. Anywho, I've compiled a list of things that I currently plan on bringing. If anyone has advice concerning what stuff is extraneous or how to lighten the load I would appreciate it. My goal is to strike a balance between pack weight and camp comfort.
My list is located at:


Evan Parker
(ecp12) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
Cutting some major weight! on 09/24/2011 18:39:59 MDT Print View

So this is most preliminary stuff, but two of your big 3 are much heavier than they need to be. If you're looking to go UL, you can get a smaller, lighter pack and you cut cut some major weight with a bivy and a tarp instead of the full fledged tent. Pick up a copy of Mike C's book off of Amazon, it will literally be eye opening. Welcome to the UL state of mind!

Here's a link to his book:

It truly will help you cut a ton of weight off of your base weight and will make your thruhike much more enjoyable.

Edited by ecp12 on 09/24/2011 18:43:52 MDT.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Gear List for PCT; advice appreciated on 09/24/2011 19:18:54 MDT Print View

You only need one knife...drop the heavier one.

Drop the sleeping bag liner. They don't add appreciable warmth and your clothing will keep your bag clean enough.

The above poster is correct - since have time, etc to acquire gear I would get a lighter option: SMD Starlite if you need a fairly large but light pack. Other options from ULA and MLD abound. As for shelter see further down.

Too many socks. I assume the heavy ones are for sleeping, so drop one pair of those.

A lighter pack cover is easy to find, too. If you really want to cut further, ditch the pack cover and rain jacket. Then buy a featherlite windshirt (there's one under 3oz on gear swap right now). And buy a Gatewood Cape - replaces your raingear and pack cover AND tent! It's what I use (usually pair it with the Serenity net tent) and add a polycro ground cloth if desired.

Do the above, or most of the above and you'll slash weight and probably be happier, too. Then sell the gear you're replacing on gear swap or eBay to help offset cost.

What shirt do you wear?

Good luck, and keep us posted on progress!


Edited by funnymoney on 09/24/2011 19:20:52 MDT.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Gear List for PCT; advice appreciated on 09/24/2011 20:02:50 MDT Print View

First, it will be easier for some of us if your weights for individual items are in ounces, not fractions of a pound. Also, separate your worn items (or items always in your hands, like hiking poles) from your packed items. Packed items=base weight. Having said that, here's my two cents:

Ditto what the post above says: your big three are too heavy, mostly the pack and tent. You seem to like Osprey--their Exos and Hornet series are much lighter than the Atmos. Cottage gear makers and/or going to a frameless pack will be lighter still. You use poles, so get a shelter that uses them instead of tent poles and save some weight. My shaped tarp and groundsheet weigh less than a pound, for example.

There's a lot of redundancy in your list. No need for 4 pairs of socks, for example, or a pack cover (which won't work as well as a liner in any event) AND a 10 liter dry bag. No need for water shoes with trail runners--just wade thru and keep going. Or two knives, esp. the SAK at over 4 oz.

Once you replace the tent and pack, and leave a lot of stuff behind, you can start trimming the weight of the smaller stuff. Getting to 10# or less base weight isn't too hard. Mike C!'s book (linked above) is a great resource, as is looking at the gear list of others on this site (click on the screen name over the avatar pic to go to the user's profile--many of us post lists there).

Good luck--I'd love to do the PCT someday.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Some things I'd do on 09/24/2011 20:07:20 MDT Print View

-Lighter pack
-Lighter shelter. I really like the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. Six Moon Designs and Henry Shires make outstanding lightweight shelters and there are scores of them on the PCT for good reason
-Drop the sleeping bag liner
-Drop the pack cover. Use a plastic bag to line your pack
-Drop the water purifier. Use Aqua Mira
-Drop the pillow-pump. Use spare clothing
-Drop water shoes.
-Drop one pair of heavy socks
-Drop towel. Use a multi-use bandana instead
-Drop the trowel.
-Drop one knife
-4 oz. of emergency firestarter? Maybe 1 oz.
I didn't see the following, which I'd add:
-In September in long days of cold rain I was mighty glad to have gloves (spare socks would also work) and lightweight mitten shells to wear over them.
-Toilet paper
-Wrap some duct tape around a water bottle
-Toothbrush and paste
-Credit Card/ID
-Guidebook, maps
Here's : what I carried on the PCT

Case Ramsey
(caserr) - F
Thanks for the input on 09/25/2011 21:23:24 MDT Print View

So the most common advice seems to be to switch out the backpack and tent. My concerns about switching to a tarp are:
How effective are they at keeping mosquitos out?
How effective are they at keeping rain out?

I really like the idea of having a tent mainly as a means of escaping mosquitos. Plus I already have the tent and am very pleased with it. As a side note, the tent can be converted to more of a tarp tent set-up, just using the rain fly and foot print.

As for the backpack, I will try to find a place that carries the SMD packs so I can try them on and see how they feel. I find the Atmos to be very comfy and really like that it gives my back some air circulation.

Also, with chemical treatment methods, does it make the water taste funky? Ive never tried it but like the idea of the filter removing debris and what not without altering the taste.

I removed some of the redundant items, sorry for the units being in pounds, I just find it easier to imagine weights in lbs. rather than ounces.

Eric Swab

Locale: Rockies
Gear List for PCT; advice appreciated on 09/25/2011 22:01:39 MDT Print View


You need to be member to read them but Ryan Linn wrote four great stories about his PCT trip and had gear lists for the various sections and weather. It is in the articles section under "places". There are lots of great techniques articles to read as well.

Aqua Mira drops do not have any taste, so much less hassle (and weight) than a filter.


Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Bugs, Aqua Mira on 09/26/2011 08:00:11 MDT Print View

I agree with Eric, for me Aqua Mira has little or no taste. It's my favorite water treatment method. It's a favorite of other Backpackinglighters, also:

If you really like your shelter, keep it. That said, where there are lots of bugs I prefer an enclosed tarptent rather than a tarp. Keeps all the bugs out. I have no trouble keeping the rain out with a tarp or tarptent. It's all about site selection and setup.

If money were no object, it would probably make sense to carry a tarp until you hit skeets near Kennedy Meadows, then switch to a Tarptent, and then switch to a lighweight double-walled tent if and when you hit the wet rainy weather of Washington late in the season.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Thanks for the input on 09/26/2011 12:23:20 MDT Print View

Just to clarify, tarptents have full bug protection while tarps don't. To get the bug protection with a tarp you would need to add a bivy or net tent. Converting your tent as you described would be more like a tarp than a tarptent.

Some popular examples of tarptents are:
Lunar Solo

From my experience with tarptents, they have been effective in keeping rain out. I think managing condensation is the biggest issue.

The other option would be a modular system that would effectively give you a double wall tent. And if you're comfortable with it you could leave the inner netting behind when bugs aren't a concern. Some examples are:
MLD Cricket
MLD Solomid w/ Inner Net
YAMA (formerly Alpinlite) Terraform MD w/ Bug Shelter

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Ideas... on 11/26/2011 19:56:36 MST Print View

Just hiked this year, and I agree with the above...

Ditch the pack cover. I didn't bring one & never needed one.

I carried 3 pair of socks at the most, usually just 2 pair.

Yama Mountain Gear has a great tarp/bug tent set up that weighs a pound. (cuben fiber tarp/bug tent). It's a lot more versatile than a tent...set up the bug tent Aline or under the tarp. I cowboy camped more than I thought I would, and I was very happy with just a bivy that has a bug face screen. It's not just the Mosquitos though: ants through the desert all the way up. And the lime to pinch ya. :)

My gear list is on my blog, and I just did a review on most of my gear...