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2012 PCT Gear List (WIP)
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Alex Meyer
(atm1993) - F
2012 PCT Gear List (WIP-Updated 3/27/12) on 12/19/2011 21:46:27 MST Print View

Hey guys, just updated my list! My hike is getting close and I think I have pretty mostly everything.

Here's some background info so you can get an idea as to where my gear choices may be coming from:
-First of all, I'm a college kid on a budget. I'm working part time in order to save up for this trip, so I'm doing the best I can to find lightweight stuff while being affordable.
-I'll be starting my hike the second week of May, and planning to finish by the end of August, to give you an idea of the conditions I'll be in. (I know this is pretty fast, but I'm in very good condition, as I'm a cross country and track runner, so I'm hoping to be able to manage. And if I don't, well, oh well :D)
-This is actually my first time gathering gear to go backpacking. I've only ever really camped out with boy scouts and stuff. Never did any real backpacking. So any ideas of what I think will work is coming completely from reading the internet, and/or my limited experience in cold weather hiking. So if I'm completely off-base on something, please tell me.

Alright, so far I have my big 3 and clothes somewhat worked out.

Pack: ULA Circuit 36 oz
Tent: Lightheart Solo 27 oz
Sleeping Bag: WM UL 20 Deg 26 oz
Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-rest Z-Lite 10 oz

Some comments: Got the Western Mountaineering. Came across some good fortune from Christmas and decided it was worth it.

O2 Rainwear Jacket 5 oz
Underarmour Thermal Top
Underarmour Thermal bottoms
Montane FeatherLite pants 4 oz
Nike Dri-Fit Running Shorts 4~ oz
Mountain Hardware Fleece Hat 1.5 oz
DryMax Hyper Thin Socks x2 1.2~ oz
Nike Dri-Fit Gloves Not sure on weight
Montbell Ex Light Down Jacket 5.6 oz

Mountain Hardwear Canyon Shirt
Nike Dri-Fit Running Shorts (1 pair packed/drying 1 worn)
DryMax Hyper Thin Socks (1 pair used, 2 pairs packed/drying)
Nike Lightweight Cap
Bandana for sun protection/other uses
Brooks Cascadia

Other stuff:
BearVault that I'll pick up in Kennedy Meadows
2x Nalgene 3 liter cantenes
2x 1 litre gatorade bottles
MSR SweetWater for treating
Canon Powershot Elph 300hs, with a few memory cards/batteries
Zpack silnylon food stuff sack
Another smaller silnylon stuff sack
Black Diamond Gizmo headlight 1.1 oz
Miscellaneous stuff (sun screen, toothpaste, toothbrush, babywipes, tp etc)
Amazon Kindle, keyboard version. It weights about 8.5 oz and I have quite a few uses for it. It has my maps on it, along with a data book, and I will use it for journaling, as well as reading at night if I ever get bored.

Comments: I dropped the windshirt and picked up a down jacket. I think I should be good with the clothing I have. The 8 liter water capacity is mainly for the desert since I expect it to be pretty darn hot once I get out there mid May. I'll probably drop the capacity later.

My trip is close! So any critiques would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for not having the weights on a lot of the gear, I don't have a scale. I'm pretty sure it'll all be under 14ish lbs though, but I could be wrong.

Edited by atm1993 on 03/27/2012 21:19:40 MDT.

Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: 2012 PCT Gear List (WIP) on 12/20/2011 01:17:36 MST Print View

Looks good but doesn't look like the list is complete.

Some things to add:

-bug protection (headnet and deet)

-kitchen (pot, stove) <<< here i would recommend a alcohol stove or esbit for your purposes. I would say go with something like an evernew ultralight titanium .6l or .9l depending on your meals, of course if you are just going to eat cold you don't need any of this.

-first aid/repair
-water purification
-water containers

-Consider an ice axe and microspikes for sierras if there is a decent snow pack. I am actually at mammoth mountain right now and this is the first time in about 7 consecutive years that that there isn't several feet of snow on the ground at 7,400ft + mid December(still early in season). I can still see the grass and pine needles on the ground all around. So based on that observation alone I will not be surprised if this year ends up being a below average snow pack.

I would at the very least throw in an ultralight down or synthetic vest for safeguard. Maybe like a Montbell ultralight vest at around 6 ounces or so. From what Ive gathered, it can dip into the 20s in the Sierras at night, and be nearly as cold early morning. The amount of warmth and protection a vest will give you is definitely worth carrying.

Of course, you could probably get by on what you got especially if you chose to use your sleeping bag as insulation as needed by stuffing it between your baselayers and o2 shell.

Personally, I would take a light synthetic jacket like a nanopuff at 10oz for emergency insulation in the event that my sleeping bag gets soaked, so that Ill still have a way to trap some heat.

Good start to the list, and good luck on your goals!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: 2012 PCT Gear List (WIP) on 12/20/2011 01:38:24 MST Print View

Jacob wrote, "So based on that observation alone I will not be surprised if this year ends up being a below average snow pack."

This is still December, and it is starting to look that way. Don't make any snow predictions until mid-January, at least.

Alex, once you get your kit halfway assembled, take it for a spin for a few days and see how it works.


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Fastpacking the PCT on 12/20/2011 05:34:22 MST Print View

You will get all kinds of input on your gear list. On that front, I will just point you to my Postholer journal from last year that has exactly what I took. (My gear list on this site was revised a bit.) I completed the PCT last year in about the same timing that you are proposing and I will tell you that the speed you are planning will make this a much different hike than what is normally done. I wrote my PCT journal specifically to document a fast paced trip since there is very little info out there on the higher speed trips. A couple of quick suggestions:
1) You will have 100 people tell you it can't be done. In 90% of the cases they will be right, it is partially within your control to be in the 10%. But most of those telling you it can't be done can't fathom hiking A 30 mile day, let alone averaging that.
2) Not sure where you live but you need to get out and test your gear as much as possible. It sounds like you have very limited BP experience. To do a fast trip you will need to have everything optimized and hit the trail ready.
3) IMHO trail running is probably the most time efficient training that can be done in prep for a thru hike BUT you will need to average close to 30mpd and I believe that you should be able to HIKE 150% of your average (40+), painfree with the expected elevation gain of your trip to have have a good chance of hitting that average.
4) Get your pack weight low, most of the high speed hikers I met last year had base weight below 10lb. But don't spend too much time worrying about gear, training and nutrition, ie getting enough calories in, is much more important.

You can find the link to my journal in my profile. Good luck and enjoy your hike.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
2012 PCT Gear List (WIP) on 12/20/2011 06:10:57 MST Print View

One small comment on your clothing list: you might rethink the DriClime windshirt. I have one, but I left it home for my PCT thru-hike. I think that it's just way too warm to hike in unless the temperature is the 30s or lower. At the same time, for 9 ounces, it provides very minimal insulation. A jacket like the Montbell Thermawrap or one of the WM down jackets weighs about the same and will provide you with much more warmth.

I would also suggest adding a UL windshirt. I used mine all the time on the PCT, especially first thing in the morning and sometimes all day early and late in the hike. If you go to the gear reviews here, you can find lots of good windshirts, some of which aren't expensive at all.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: "2012 PCT Gear List (WIP)" on 12/20/2011 10:14:09 MST Print View


Firstly, I am planning my PCT hike for the summer currently and have the same constraints on time--which happens to be the window between semesters. Greg has already made many good points about the pace you will be attempting with that window. I yo-yo'd the CT this summer and made a point to hike 30+ miles every full day on trail with the idea to get ready for this summer. The hardest part about doing 35 mpd is getting up and doing it the next day. It is very very do-able--don't get us wrong we just want to point out the extra prep your hike will require. My advice is try and find a multi day window, like your spring break, and go do a multiday long distance hike and push yourself. The best tool for high mileage is experience--being mentally prepared to do the walking in spite of blisters, foot pain, knee/hip pain, lack of sleep, and the elements.

I think I'll just +1 everything Greg has said. Getting as light as possible and having experience using that gear is key.

"Jacob wrote, "So based on that observation alone I will not be surprised if this year ends up being a below average snow pack.""

Hold your tongue! You guys are gonna jynx it. Still a La Nina year so anything could happen--just as long as it isn't in March and April like last year.

As for the gear list, I would beg, borrow, scrape to try and get a replacement for your current bag. The GoLite Ultra 20 would be your best bet--watch the gear swap forum or search for the GoLite discount code in the gear discounts forum and with that you should be able to get a new one for $160. Would save you 15oz or so.

You probably don't need a windshirt + rainjacket. Take the one you like better

Get rid of the extra running shorts. And if the "fleece hat" is in addition to the balaclava you can get rid of that too.

You can use your sleeping bag as your insulation layer--those things are too d@mn heavy to not use for more than sleeping in. And definitely get a hat, I'll probably be using a Headsweats visor + bandana.

Pack as much white as you can, reflecting UV at elevation cannot be understated in being comfortable.

Edited by mzion on 12/20/2011 10:14:50 MST.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: 2012 PCT Gear List (WIP) on 12/20/2011 12:59:41 MST Print View

To save money on gear, your base layers could be from a discount store. The performance difference between my Patagucci top and a $7 top are minimal. Instead of a driclime, a fleece shirt from a some cheap pajamas could be an insulating layer and would be very light.

A ridgerest should last longer than a zrest before going flat and be a little more comfy.

A down quilt from Tim Marshall would be about $230 if you can't find something on the gear swap forum. He makes synthetic ones too that would be even cheaper. Pack and tent are good to go.

For cooking, a Jim woods super cat stove is great. the snowpeak personal cooker is $15. If you only use the pot and a foil lid, it is around 5 ounces + or -.

Buying shoes on sale ahead of time can save money.

Good luck.

tyler marlow

Locale: UTAH
Re: Matt Zion's advice on 12/22/2011 00:20:51 MST Print View

I'd follow Matt's advice, I hiked with him this summer on the CT and he knows what he's doing!

The key is not necessarily hiking fast but hiking long. The day I hiked with Matt I had no problem keeping up with his pace but he hiked for a while after I stopped.

It seems like being experienced and having light gear that youre comfortable with makes a huge difference.

Good luck man, I be following the next season!

Alex Meyer
(atm1993) - F
Updated list on 03/27/2012 21:17:51 MDT Print View

Hey guys! I updated my gear list, I'd like to see what you think. Adjusted my comments and such as well.

Looking forward to the hike!

Mathew MacDonald
(kaymat) - F - MLife

Locale: Alaska
PCT gear list on 04/09/2012 21:19:56 MDT Print View

Just a few things I would suggest.

I would pick up a polycro ground cloth from gossamer gear. It will keep your tent dry and help protect the bottom of the tent, plus you can cowboy camp on it.

get rid of the extra pair of shorts. You can wear your wind pants in town when you are doing laundry.

Get a pack liner (trash compactor bag) and a pack cover (z packs cuban) or at least another garbage bag to put over your backpack.

Bring another garbage bag to wear as a skirt for rain. Even in Southern cali you can get some cold rain.

Perhaps switch to paltipus 2L from the nalgene canteens to save a couple ounces. (not a big deal)

Don't worry, it will be all good once you are out there. Have fun, enjoy the trip!