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2012 PCT Gear List
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Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Take a look at my list? PCT '12 on 01/16/2012 13:44:18 MST Print View

Hey guys!

I'm a 17 year old who will be starting on the trail this year before college.

So here it is!

Some things that I am working on is whether or not I need as many clothes as I have.

Any other suggestions are more then welcome! I appreciate any help I can get. I do have almost everything as of right now, however I changes can still be made.

Thanks team!

Edited by climberslacker on 01/16/2012 21:28:46 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

PCT on 01/17/2012 00:00:49 MST Print View

1) Nice Pants. The Gi II's are great.

2) I dunno about bringing the 11.5oz Patagonia R1. With the WM Flash jkt along you should be warm enough.

3) Cap 3 seems like overkill for tights worn under your hiking pants. I'd go lighter and you could always layer your shorts in there if you're really freezing. GoLite has all their tights on sale right now for ~$55.

4) Maybe add a thin base layer top (merino or synthetic) to your kit. The RR shirts are nice, but I like to always have a base layer top along. Nicer for sleeping in.

5) Switch to the Ti LMF spork, or just grab a Ti spoon instead. In 2600 miles you'll break or melt that plastic spork.

6) Camera? First Aid Kit? Toothbrush? Deet? Headnet? Gear repair Kit? Bear bagging cord? Compass?

Edited by dandydan on 01/17/2012 00:03:32 MST.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Nice list on 01/17/2012 02:51:33 MST Print View

Dan's comments were spot on - I would echo his sentiments when it came to a sleep shirt. Nice to wear something else and allow you shirt to air/dry out overnight. I got cold - even in California - and liked having merino top/bottom along that I mostly slept in, for what it's worth.

What is your rain gear strategy? I will be the first to admit, I felt ridiculous carrying rain gear for much of California in 2009, but was very glad I had it for Oregon/Washington. But experiences often differ quite a bit - no two years seem alike.

Other thoughts -

Are you carrying any maps/guidebooks?

Bear canister for the Sierra?

Agreed on the ti-spoon/fork - guaranteed to work.

Food bag?

Have a great time out there!


Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
My Thoughts on 01/17/2012 07:19:38 MST Print View

Like Dan said thinner tights.

Sleeping Socks For Sierras?

If you love the R1 hoody you could add it back for Sierras or keep it as your sleeping base layer instead of picking up a thinner top. You could save weight here though.

Also don't be afraid to change to a different sleeping pad set up down the line. If you are getting cold or are not comfortable enough to get adequate sleep night after night. A weekend trip that setup is great but for 5months, it has the potential to get old (I know). With adequate sleep you will feel like a million bucks hiking and a little extra weight would be worth it. The new women's version Neo-Air X lite weighs 11oz and would give you great warmth and comfort. On the flip side not having anything to inflate or deflate every day means more time making miles miles miles.

With thru hiking there is a point of diminishing returns going lighter and lighter. Your body will adapt to what ever it is you choose to carry. There is not much difference between an 8 lb base and a 10 lb base, but the extra two pounds allows you to make your hike much more enjoyable. Your weight is already low so it is not like you have a 25lb base weight with superfluous extras.

The Give and Go's are great, that one pair should last you this thru hike and the next one.

Cell Phone?

Could go lighter on the shelter but if that is what you have or want than stick with.

Sun Screen?
For the desert I have heard of people using sun gloves to prevent sunburn on the hands, with your sun hat and pants you may not need it.

Good Luck

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
A few more comments on 01/17/2012 10:52:17 MST Print View

I agree with the above comment about just bringing the R1 for the Sierras. I added a mid-weight layer at KM just for sleeping and sent it home at Tahoe.

Pants + running shorts? Convertibles might weigh less.

Cap 3 tights - I used the equivalent of Cap 1 tights just for sleeping.

Do you have a groundcloth for your tent? I don't know well spinnaker fabric handles abrasion.

And as someone said above, don't leave Campo without a rain jacket. I also picked up rain pants in Sisters, OR and was glad to have them.

I'm assuming your first aid stuff, etc. is TBA, but don't forget sunscreen and sunglasses.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
2012 PCT Gear on 01/17/2012 22:08:39 MST Print View

Thanks for the help. You guys have so far shared a lot of insight and brought up some things that I hadn't thought about.

For clarification, this is a list of things that I will be carrying leaving Campo, and I will probably end up adding some stuff for the sierra and onwards (like a real rain jacket).

My worry with just bringing a down jacket is that it is not something that I feel comfortable being active in without wetting it out. That being said, on some test hikes (If you are in SoCal you are invited!) I will see if I can live without the R1 as it has been my go-to piece.

Cap 3 is just what I had, I am trying to get something thinner ASAP. What if I dropped the pants and just took a pair of tights to walk in when it got cold? I don't usually sleep in anything other then boxers but I always could.

I kind of planned on using the R1 as a next-to-skin layer and wear the RR shirt over it. The system needs refinement, wich is something that I will work on. I will also try to pick up a Cap 2 or similar top layer.

I am planning on getting a Ti spoon, because , as you guys called, I broke my old plastic one. I just put it in there as a placeholder.

Camera will be my iphone 4s, I still need to figure out some stuff Re: electronics.

I also forgot to add in all of the ditty stuff. I still need to weigh it. I appreciate that.

Scott: The Squall has a 1.1 Sil floor. I will be using the houdini for a rain jacket through California.

Also, Re: the pad, This summer I spent over 5 weeks on it and didn't notice any effects. I am jut trying to save up to get a new one right now that may be more comfortable.

As always, please, if anything that I have said sounds asinine, point it out. I need all the help I can get! Again, thank you!

Stephan Doyle
Re: 2012 PCT Gear on 01/17/2012 22:40:56 MST Print View

Houdini as a rain jacket is a little iffy, but IMO if you're packing an R1 you shouldn't have too much an issue - be prepared to wait out a storm for a day or two.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Legs on 01/17/2012 23:03:18 MST Print View

"What if I dropped the pants and just took a pair of tights to walk in when it got cold?"

This can be quite comfortable to hike in, but you need to be careful about bugs. If they can bite through your tights then you've got no protection on your lower legs, which could suck in some areas. I think Skurka has done a ton of miles just with tights though, so I'm sure it can be done. Just plan your strategy well if you go this route.

You could bring wind/rain pants for when it's buggy, or use convertible pants and just carry the shorts when the bugs aren't bad, or just go tights + shorts and bring spray/deet, or just hike really fast.

Edited by dandydan on 01/17/2012 23:04:29 MST.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: 2012 PCT Gear List on 01/17/2012 23:26:54 MST Print View

Jace -

Hiking in a down jacket will likely be far too warm unless you hit some serious cold - so bring gear that you like and feel comfortable hiking with. There really isn't a right answer - some gear is lighter than others but ultimately you need to be the one who wears (and carries) the stuff.

In regards to a rain jacket - tt does rain in Southern California and people such as myself who've only hiked the trail once probably speak too much in absolutes. But I can say with certainty that it can and will rain in Southern California in late spring. Several years back there famously were some hikers who were on Mount Baden-Powell and got caught int he snow and rain. They were hypothermic. They had sent their tents and rain gear ahead and then called a trail angel to be picked up at nearby road. The trail angel refused, citing their lack of preparedness wasn't a reason to need "rescue." This resulted in quite a bit of gnashing of teeth over at the PCT List Serve (pct-l). But ultimately, the fact is that you are responsible for yourself and even a lightweight rain jacket such as DriDucks or something on that line provides adequate protection. Personally, I'd like a heavier duty rain jacket if I was going to use if for days on end (see the state of Wasington), but many have carried DriDucks and jackets of similar ilk and been fine.

Yes, you are likely to carry rain gear for many miles without using. You can always send it ahead to a post office if the forecast looks clear. Or you can hike right through bad weather or even wait the bad weather out. It generally doesn't last long. But my jacket made a nice wind breaker a few times in Southern California near the wind farms, where, it can really, really be windy (go figure). It made for some nice fashion while doing laundry in town. Mostly, though, it wasn't needed until I reached Oregon.

Clint's suggestion for sleep socks is an excellent suggestion, particularly if you get cold. It also keeps your bag cleaner, particularly in SoCal where the dust and grime can build up in your shoes and there isn't always a lot of extra water around to wash up with.

More importantly, Clint point out that as a thru-hiker, gear weight is just but one consideration. He's right, you do adapt and if carrying a heavier jacket or thicker pad is the difference between enjoying your trip or not, by all means, carry the extra ounces. The point is to have fun out there and enjoy this opportunity to hike to your heart's content.

I admire your lightweight approach to things. I think the suggestions by Dan, Clint, Stephan and Scott are really insightful. Wish I knew more of this stuff when I started down the trail!

Take care!


Edited by dirk9827 on 01/17/2012 23:27:39 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Layering on 01/17/2012 23:48:32 MST Print View

Regarding the down jacket and upper body layers, here's what I do:

If I woke up and it was cold, it was probably a cold night so I would have slept with my down jacket on. Sleeping with a couple layers on makes getting out of bed less painful, since you don't have the cold getting at your bare skin when you get out of bed and get changed. I put fresh undies and socks on when I go to bed, so when I get up I just can roll out of bed and get going.

So I'd wake up likely wearing a short sleeve base layer and my down jacket. I'd fire up my stove in the vestibule and grab my breakfast from my OP sack which would be in my tent. While the water heats up, I'd pack up my sleeping bag and pad. Getting out of bed wouldn't be so painful because I'd be wearing pretty much all my clothes I need already. Most nights I sleep with my hiking pants on, as long as they aren't too dirty and it's not too warm. If it is too warm, then it's not painful to put them on in the morning.

So with breakfast eaten and everything packed, I'd normally switch out the down jacket for the wind shirt as the last thing I do before I start hiking. If it was a really cold morning, I'd hike with the down jacket for a few minutes until I'm warm and then swap it for the wind shirt. So it would never really get wet or sweaty, because I normally wouldn't be wearing it while hiking. Even on cold mornings, once you've been hiking for 15 min a wind shirt and a base layer is almost always warm enough when you're walking briskly. If the day is so cold that you need to wear a down jacket while hiking then you're either (A) not hiking hard enough or (B) in trouble because when you stop hiking that night and the weather cools off even more, you're going to be really cold. This kinda leads into the discussion of where to have your insulation (ie. warm sleeping bag, light jacket vs. cooler bag and warm jacket) which I go into in the other PCT thread in the gear list forum.

Depending on the weather & my hiking exertion, I'd normally have the wind shirt off after an hour or two, but it all depends on the weather. Even on pretty cold days, the down jacket would never come back on except at breaks and lunch stops. It's always nice to toss it on then (if it's cold) so you keep your temperature nice and steady.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
Socks on 01/18/2012 15:00:15 MST Print View

I'm no thru-hiker, but i will say I've worn out a few pairs of smartwool ultralight socks in less than 100 miles. In searching for a more durable alternative, I found these thin nylon running socks at Target (8$ for 3 pair!) and so far they have long outlasted the smartwool. They also dry faster, weigh less, and never bunch up on me. They are "Champion Duo-Dri" if you look for them.

When I'm 90% sure on a dry forcast, but want a backup plan, I just carry a big trash bag. Weighs less than 2 ounces, cost nothing, and in the event of a downpour you just poke a hole for your head. A bigger size will cover your upper body and pack. Maybe something to consider to supplement the houdini in that "ah crap" scenario.

If you wore just tights with shorts, couldn't you pretreat the tights with permethrin (or however you spell it) to avoid the bug problem? Never used it myself, but a few of my friends swear by it.

Have a good time, I'm jealous!

Edited by PorcupinePhobia on 01/18/2012 15:14:05 MST.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
2012 PCT Gear List on 03/08/2012 16:25:33 MST Print View

I have since made some updates to my gear after tinkering with it on weekend trips:

I will be rocking Darn Tough's Merino Micro-Cut socks (They are even giving me a free pair!) instead of the smartwool socks, wich have already started to wear out.

After not wearing it on a winter backpacking trip (At all!) with temps in the 15s, I will be jettisoning the R1 hoody.

I am still not 100% about this, but I think I will leave the pants behind and hike in shorts when it's warm enough and then if it gets cold I will put on the Cap 3 long underwear I was already going to bring.

After nearly destroying it (and being made fun of by some other BPLers), I have replaced my Caldera Cone with the Ti Tri in order to gain durability, and if needed the ability to use a controlled wood fire. Hopefully I won't need to, but it is nice to know I can.

Instead of using an endless supply of ziplock bags for my food, I ordered the Zpacks Food bag, coming in at .85oz, it is lighter than two gallon sized bags.

After an experience in relatively gnarly wind, two of my stakes have been replaced with MSR groundhog stakes (the two holding up the ridge-line). I hope to get more support from this setup.

Because I will be starting late, I have a 2L (74oz) Platypus bag that I will use in order to help tank up on water. I will have a 6L capacity in the desert.

The updated gearlist can be found here: here.

I am still looking for any and all advice. I can handle it, I promise.

In case anyone is curious, I will be keeping a trail journal here.

Edited by climberslacker on 03/08/2012 16:34:29 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: 2012 PCT Gear List on 03/08/2012 17:17:54 MST Print View


Solid list. Good thinking on the Sharpie!

Only one question. Do the Nike DriFit shorts have pockets? None of mine do. I find I can't operate efficiently without pockets. I like to keep my camera, chapstick, and maybe a snack in my pocket. You might want to check out the Patagonia 5" Baggies. Durable and comfy. They dry quicker than DriFit and seem not to hang as close to the body parts. If you prefer the boxer shorts you can cut out the mesh liner.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
2012 PCT Gear List on 03/08/2012 17:31:58 MST Print View

They have a zippered pocket on the back, enough to keep in them the few things I need as I keep many of the others in the small top pocket of my Mariposa and can access it without stopping (terrain dependent, of course).

I was actually about to buy a pair of the 5" baggies as one of my friends swears by them, but they were out of stock and I wasn't sure if they were going to bring them back or not. I might still see if I can get a pair locally.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: 2012 PCT Gear List on 03/08/2012 17:37:36 MST Print View


My ancient mac doesn't like the Adobe needed for the website but your profile list looks solid -- considering the updates you've listed. Unfortunately, I'm starting a week before you and likely won't have the pleasure of running into you. But I'm on Postholer too, trailname: Mouse. I'll try and post about water and snow conditions without being dramatic. GL on the rest of your planning and prep.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
2012 PCT Gear List on 03/08/2012 18:31:44 MST Print View


I would greatly appreciate that! Should be a low water year though!

I don't know if you are on facebook, but we have a fairly active facebook group for all of us Class of 2012 hikers. Lots of info being passed back and forth.

I think that my profile list might be off, I will update it right now. Thanks!

Nick E.
(trAletrasch) - F

Locale: PNW
Goofluck on 03/08/2012 19:10:25 MST Print View

Good luck bro this list seems bomber.
Im a 21 year old WA section hiker, I get too poor to thru-hike haha haha

Anyway, I spent 2 months on the trail last summer stopping in towns rarely to get food.

I thrived and dont relish the thought of tramping through desert but ill thru in 2014 I think, but my advice to you is THIS:

pack as LIGHT as you can ewhile staying safe and comfy,
A good night sleep is worth every effort
Pack light
Dont over do it
Dont cinch your waiststrap too tight
basically if you need Vitamin-I yoyr overdoing it. I developed a VARICOCELE last september hiking from stevens pass to snoqualmie for the 3rd time in a month and man, was it hell. Thought id need to use SPOT. ditched my then-lightweight 18lb pack or I wouldve been in alot more pain.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: 2012 PCT Gear List on 03/08/2012 20:24:53 MST Print View

Thanks for the tip. I just joined.