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2012 PCT list
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clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
2012 PCT list on 01/31/2012 18:44:19 MST Print View

My brother,myself and my service dog are hiking the PCT and I wanted to get some peoples ideas/changes to our gear list. I have done the Oregon/washington section entirely so I know this setup is effective their, however the mid California Cascades are going to be the part we have the least experience in. We have made some things such as hats/gloves/our quilts so they will be labeled MYOG etc. This is just the basic outline, my total pack weight with 5 days food is at 24.1 pounds. Astrics mark things that are not bought and most likely undecided on, though their weight is considered in that 24.1 figure.

Gossamer Gear Mariposa +*
MYOG 20 degree Apex insulated Quilt
MYOG merino beanie
MYOG merino gloves
Iphone 4s (camera/blog/video/emergency use phone)
2x Gossamer gear nightlite torso length pads
Gossamer gear spinntwinn tarp*
Patagonia cap 2 top and bottom baselayer* (mostly only for sleeping or on cold days)*
Nike Dri-fit running shorts (99%) of what I keep on my legs.
Montbell alpine light vest
Montbell Dynamo pants (awesome)
North Face Venture Jacket

I will get a link for my gear grams list later but all the food dittys are relatively basic. The main concerns my brother and I have are.
1. During the non-winter months my brother and I do all of our backpacking and hiking in Chacos, is the snow in the Sierra's hard-packed enough for chacos?
2. Bear Canisters are going to bring pack weight to around 30 pounds, is that too much for the Mariposa to handle? The circuit also seems like a great pack but I hear it is better the shorter you are generally. We are both 6' 3" so many packs have trouble getting the hip belt down snug on our hips.
3.As far as charging for my iphone, has anyone had any luck with any portable solar chargers?

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Re: PCT 2012 on 01/31/2012 20:19:22 MST Print View

Well to start off the gear you have listed will be great for the sierras, minus the pack. I would try and take a circuit or something with a little more support for the extra weight. The snow will be fine in some areas for chacos, terrible in others. It looks like the snowpack this year will be nowhere near last year so you have that as a plus, but i would still invest in some trail runners and light ankle gaiters for the high passes. And last this is the best bang for the buck when it comes to solar chargers. From my experience this past summer on the CT I found that they are quite good at getting good charges, whenever there is sunlight. Chances are you'll rarely ever run into intense cloud cover on the PCT so I think you would be ok using one. Here is a link:

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Good luck on the trip ! on 01/31/2012 20:21:23 MST Print View

Super jealous you guys get to go ! Even though I just did the A.T this past year I'm already wishing I was getting ready to do the PCT this year....oh well, another year.

I'll chime in a few thoughts on gear, but I'm sure you'll get lots more great advice from people who have been at this a lot longer than I have.

Mariposa Plus -- I think that the most I've carried comfortably in it was around 25lbs, but I know I've carried over 30lbs in my Circuit and been very pleased with the performance. The Circuit handles the over 25 lb load much better than either the MLD Exodus or the GG Mariposa IMO. I'm only 6'1" but use a medium with 33" waist, but I think the Circuit may come in a size that would fit you.

GG Torsolite Pads -- used it for about 200 miles by itself during the end of my thru-hike....but not a whole lot of insulation for the mountains..may need something like the new Z-Lite Solar or something with a bit more R value.

What about a Hexamid twin tent (gives you full bug protection and light weight ?).

I'll let the actual West coasters and PCT'ers take it from here. Enjoy the hike!

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: 2012 PCT List on 01/31/2012 21:00:34 MST Print View

Unless California begins to get some serious snowfall soon, it could prove to be a fairly dry year on the trail. Keep this in mind in Southern California, where there could be some rather long distances between water sources. Thus, you may need to carry a good deal of water. I think in 2009, a slightly lower-than-average snow year, I had to carry five+ liters at times, and almost always had four litters when it was hot in SoCal. So keep that in mind. You will need the capacity to carry water and just as important, to get water out of what may be a trickle rather than a stream.

On shorts - many people wear them, but if you are not used to the heat/sun do make sure you have a lot of sunscreen. And in Southern California you do run into a good deal of thorny plants, so keep that in mind. I had convertable pants, which I liked for the simple reason I didn't have to be as careful where there was overgrowth. Plus, I didn't have to wear as much suncreen and in the heat, I figured I would dehydrate less quickly. Really, people wear shorts, love shorts, it's just as a northerner, I wasn't used to the sun that time of year.

Good hat that blocks the sun and sunglasses are advisable.

Edited by dirk9827 on 01/31/2012 22:10:02 MST.

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
RE on 01/31/2012 21:54:02 MST Print View

Yeah I live in Southern Oregon so I'm quite used to running around in shorts and chacos almost year round and my legs are pretty tough because of that, I also should be very tan so only the snow reflecting on previously untanned parts like under my chin or ears is scary for me I think. Thanks for the reply's and yeah we are definitely starting to lean towards the ULA circuit now which gives us 10 more pounds we can carry before its uncomfortable with bearcans, extra water etc. The problem with that shelter you listed is that its 400$ and for 2 college students thats pretty rough for a shelter unfortunately. Still leaning towards the GG shelter with bug nets to throw over our heads maybe. As far as pads, I think the nightlite has enough R value and its super light, although I would have to strap it to the outside of the circuit which isn't as nice for me personally.

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Circuit on 01/31/2012 22:12:29 MST Print View

You would have plenty of room to put your nightlite pad against the back of your pack on the inside, or roll it into a cylinder, whichever you prefer.

Edited by butts0989 on 01/31/2012 22:13:25 MST.

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
circuit on 01/31/2012 22:19:09 MST Print View

Could I fit a full length folded inside the circuit or do you mean torso?

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Circuit on 01/31/2012 22:25:39 MST Print View

Oh ok a full length, maybe not against the back of the pack but definitely in a cylinder. Ive been doing the cylinder method for 2 years now in my CDT with 3/4 length ridgerest and i love the support it provides.

Rob Lee
(roblee) - MLife

Locale: Southern High Plains
Re: circuit on 01/31/2012 22:36:14 MST Print View

"The circuit also seems like a great pack but I hear it is better the shorter you are generally. We are both 6' 3" so many packs have trouble getting the hip belt down snug on our hips."

One key to fit is torso length which is not always directly related to height. I'm 6-2 and the L was too long. The M allowed just enough shoulder strap wrap which allowed the load lifters to work properly. Call Chris at ULA. He'll talk you through a good fit if you decide on a Circuit.

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
Re: Circuit on 01/31/2012 22:42:42 MST Print View

Ah thank you for that info that is really good to know! Anyone feel that the stream crossings validate the chacos? As far as Oregon stream crossings go we generally just take the pack off our dog and we just walk across and he swims even in very fast water. If the Sierra's are doable safely in Chacos thats the way I want to go, but if forester pass or something like that is going to be impossible without micro spikes then we may have no choice but to go trail runners.

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
Squall 2 on 02/01/2012 11:22:15 MST Print View

Looking at the Tarptent Squall 2 it could be a good shelter for us. For only 65$ more than the GG spinn tarp the Squall 2 has a bug net already sewn in. Anyone used this shelter or even better used it in the Sierras?

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
mariposa vs Circuit on 02/02/2012 12:02:31 MST Print View

I am leaning more towards the Circuit now because of our pack weights hitting around 30 pounds when we have 8 days of food and a bear canister. If you are in really good shape is the mariposa going to be able to remain comfortable at 30-32 pounds for 2-3 days or will it just destroy your back? My 5 day pack weight without bear can is 24 so the mariposa + would be nice for the majority I'm thinking. Additionally after doing many night-hikes here in Southern Oregon in our Chacos over the last 3 months we are pretty sure we will be able to wear them for the sierras. My feet stay warm while hiking in 20-40 degree temperatures with just one pair of wool socks and even hiking on intense trails at night neither of us have had any problems.

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Pack choice on 02/02/2012 13:29:51 MST Print View

Ya I would probably try and stick with the circuit. There is no point on trying to push the limits of the pack and being uncomfortable while on the trail. You could hike from Mexico to the whitney portal with your mariposa, ship your circuit to the whitney portal and ship your mariposa to the end of the sierras, then when you get to the end just ship your circuit home. I feel like that would be your best option.

Also it might be wise to check out some neoprene or gortex socks for your chacos...? I feel like that would make things much more comfortable in the snow.

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
Chacos on 02/02/2012 13:53:08 MST Print View

Yeah my brother and I just had a discussion and decided were going to run ULA circuit the whole way. I'm probably gonna have a pair of gore tex sock with some decent breath ability for when the snow is powdery. I think typically I will be no socks but in the Sierras probably a pair of wool socks and some gore tex socks when the snow isn't packed very much. Anyone with a Circuit know if you can fold a thermarest prolite regular in half deflated and put it inside the pack to add a small amount of cushioning, or will only the 3/4 length fit?
Also we were thinking about Bear Canisters and we may have to both man up and get extra large bear canisters and carry the food for my service dog as well since I don't think I could strap one on him really. He will just carry a lot of our water I suppose. What are the best bear canisters that can support 7 days or so?
I have hear a lot about the BV500 but most resupply strategies seem to have a few 6-7 and even 8 day breaks in between resupply around Toulamane or whatever.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Padding for the Circuit on 02/03/2012 19:42:31 MST Print View

As for needing extra padding the Circuit - I don't think you will. I think the sleeping mats are fine however you want to carry them. I think the padding in the Circuit is fine for the load it takes from 30 lbs or so.

Brian Raap
(braap) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Re: Padding for the Circuit on 02/03/2012 21:06:00 MST Print View

I fold my thermarest prolite regular in half, then half again and place it against my back in the circuit. Don't really think the extra padding is needed, but it works fine.

As per bear canisters, there is a lot of discussion around various places about the best to use. The two most popular are the Bearvault 500 and Bearikade Weekender. Both will be good to about 7 days of food if you are careful to pack the right way and kinds of food. The Bearikade can be rented (for $55 I believe) if you mention you are doing the PCT.

Edited by braap on 02/03/2012 21:07:04 MST.

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
Mariposa on 02/03/2012 22:22:57 MST Print View

Even though many of you have suggested the circuit we are going to go mariposa plus because our weight throughout the non-bear canister required part of the pct is going to be around 24 pounds which on a friends mariposa I finally got to try out today feels like nothing.
My main concern now shifts to clothing/sleep warmth.
Currently we are about to make either a 20 degree apex quilt or a 30 degree. Because I live in Oregon I think 30 degree would be better overall and lighter. For clothes I currently have cap1 top and bottom, montbell alpine light vest and undecided on tshirt, some type of super light merino wool to wear all day essentially. Do we need to add in a big fleece or wool sweater of some sort in case we encounter a 20 degree night? I also have a North Face venture for rain, I wear it almost every day here in Southern Oregon, although it adds almost no insulation as it is a rain shell.
Edit:Possibly the Patagonia R2 Fleece? It is on sale for 75$ currently. Or would I want something more Wind proof for the Sierras?

Edited by ClintG on 02/03/2012 22:37:44 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Insulation on 02/03/2012 23:45:56 MST Print View

"Or would I want something more windproof for the Sierras"

If you mean a windproof fleece I would NOT buy that. You can get the same thing by layering a light windshirt or raincoat over a fleece. A windproof fleece is just going to be heavier and bulkier.
That Alpine Light vest looks nice. I don't know what the Sierra's are like but I've used a similar vest as my only insulation (over a long sleave shirt) in Colorado in the summer. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a name brand fleece. I think a cheay one from Walmart or the thrift store would be about as good.
If you expect it to be colder a fleece under, than vest, than shell works well. I used that system in Colorado once when it was less than 20 and was okay.

Edited by Cameron on 02/03/2012 23:53:54 MST.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Mariposa on 02/04/2012 06:08:39 MST Print View

"Even though many of you have suggested the circuit we are going to go mariposa plus because our weight throughout the non-bear canister required part of the pct is going to be around 24 pounds which on a friends mariposa I finally got to try out today feels like nothing."

What's your estimated total weight (food, water, bear can etc) *in* the Sierras? I used a Mariposa Plus and overall liked it fine, but I overloaded it in the Sierras. I think that with a very full bear can I started in at 45 pounds or something (I think my base weight for the Sierras climbed to about 22 pounds).

The pack didn't give out on me, but by Tuolumne Meadows there was some alarming wear showing in the stitching of where the pack straps attach to the upper pack. I broke a needle trying to reinforce this in a trail town and ultimately did a swap-by-mail with my wife to get her Mariposa plus to finish the trip.

Started the AT with the repaired Mariposa plus and it was clearly worn out around mid-way. Now I use a ULA Circuit. A mariposa plus is, in my estimate, good for about one thru-hike. I suspect you can do three or so thru-hikes with a ULA pack, and the weight isn't much more and overall it rides better IMO.

Do make sure that you have a good way to carry the bear can; that 'Y' strap just didn't cut it, and in general having a very full bear can strapped to the top of the mariposa plus was an unhappy combination. I ultimately switched to hang even more crap outside the pack so that I could (barely) fit the bear can inside.

clint gorbett
(ClintG) - F
Re: Mariposa on 02/04/2012 11:42:58 MST Print View

Sierra's will be a max weight of 30 pounds. I still have a long time to decide on a pack, I was planning on putting my Bear can inside. When my Yogi's guide book comes in the next few days I'm going to read what they have to say about bear canisters. I know you that the actual required use is limited to a few areas with the longest stretch being around 90 miles which we could do in 3 days. Ultimately I'm going to hold out another 2 months before I finalize my pack decision. The mariposa+ seems to be hit or miss with people. A friend of mine has 2 thru-hikes on his and very little wear, where some people are having there's rip and tear within a few hundred miles. The thing that looks the most nice about the GG pack is the huge shoulder straps which are pretty darn comfortable from my 1 hour test I have done.