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PCT 2012 list - where to lose weight?
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Peter Gil-Montllor
PCT 2012 list - where to lose weight? on 02/19/2012 14:06:45 MST Print View

Looking for some comments on this from people who've been on the PCT, or even those who haven't. The total weight of the items below is 9.86 lbs, but I still need to add in some first aid, a small knife or multitool, gloves, sunglasses, and bug spray.

ULA Ohm - 22.6 oz
MLD Bivy - 6.7
SMD Wild Oasis tarp - 13.9
WM Ultralite 6’ – 29.0
NeoAir reg. – 14 .0


Fleece Hat - 2.0 oz
Marmot Mica shell - 6.9
Wind pants - 7.2
Montbell down parka - 8.3
Socks (x2) - 2.4 oz.
Nike L/S shirt - 6.2

Small gear

Aqua Mira - 2.7 oz
Drink bottle - 3.1
Platypus 1L - 1.8
Additional bottles as necessary

bear bag cord - 3.5 oz
Food sack - 3.2

Phone - 4.7 oz
Phone charger - 1.9
Canon camera - 4.9
Small notebook w/ Ziploc - 1.0
Pencil - 0.6
Maps & guidebooks - 6.0

Bic lighter - 0.6
Petzl e+Lite - 1.0

Purel - 2.2 oz
small sunscreen - 1.2
Small toothpaste - 1.3
Toothbrush - 0.2

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: PCT 2012 on 02/19/2012 14:50:50 MST Print View


Firstly, what's you're scheduled start date? Planning on flying in to SD on May 9.
You know of anyone else who hiking this year? I just know of you, me and mellow.

As for the GL, I don't see any advantage to using the Oasis + bivy. Get a GG polycyro ground cloth and leave the bivy at home.

I'm not planning on bringing any insulation layer, so you could leave the down jacket at home if you like.

Neoairs are heavy. I'd go to foam unless you want your plush mat.

Your wind pants are pretty heavy. B/c of costs at this point I'm gonna try tyvek pants and sprinkle a few replacements with my shoe boxes.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
PCT 2012 list on 02/19/2012 15:48:46 MST Print View

It's a good list for a start.

I agree with the above poster about the bivy being redundant with an enclosed tarp like the Wild Oasis. The only reason to bring the bivy is if you're planning to cowboy camp a lot, and even then you can get away without it if you have a groundcloth.

Is the l/s shirt going to be your second layer while hiking? You might think about a windshirt instead--lighter and more versatile.

I had rain pants for OR/WA and was glad to have them.

Unless you're planning to hike in shorts, you might swap the wind pants for tights. It's nice to have something dry to change into at night, and you can double them with your regular pants if it's really cold while hiking (though I never had to).

I never hung food once on my thru hike--just slept with it or had it in a canister.

First aid stuff? Duct tape/athletic/bandages/various drugs...

Good luck--it's a great trail.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: PCT 2012 list - where to lose weight on 02/19/2012 17:45:16 MST Print View

Nice list. I agree that the bivy/tarp combo might be a bit of overkill, unless you just want to set up the bivy only, which you would be able to do a lot of the time along the trail (or even Cowboy camp), particualrly in So Cal.

As for the NeoAir, I am completely biased, but this is the one great piece of gear that I would absolutely carry with me on any thru-hike. It allowed me to have a great night's sleep. Otherwise, as a side sleeper, I'd awaken several times a night from the pain in my hips. YMMV.

Bear canister is required in the Sierra - just something to think about. I hung my food bag maybe twice on the whole trip. I just slept with it and used OP Sacks.

Water capacity - without quesiton, be prepared to carry at least five liters of water with you in Southern California. It's shaping up to be a low snow year and as I recall from a normalish year, there were some very long stretches where there was no great water supply. Combine that with high temps, and you get the picture.

Insulation - I would absolutely carry an insulating layer. Yes, much of the time it's not necessary but when you need it, there is reallly little substitute. The Sierra can get snow in late spring - and it can get quite cold. In the northern section of the trail you can run into a lot of moist, cold weather, even in summer. It's very easy to underestimate the difference between cold Sierra and cold Washington. I guarantee the later will feel colder because the relative humidity on the west side of the Cascades is so much higher than the drier climes of the Sierra. Also, weather tends to stick a round longer.

Of course, should you blaze the trail quickly, and hike through Washington in August/early September, you may find it pleasant and warm in the mountains. If you plan to finish in late September, be aware that the weather is quite unpredictable. If you finish in October, all bets are off. Speaking as a Washingtonian, I'd say unequivocally that September / early October are generally my favorite months to hike, no bugs, great change in colors, nobody really out there. I'd also argue that Stevens Pass north is one of the most spectacular sections of trail along the entire PCT.

Also, any plans on carrying gloves or mittens?

Finally, I carried the same headlamp - great for camp, worthless for night hiking in my opinion. If you plan or have to do night hiking (for example, to get to a post office where a food drop is located), there are many better choices. The e+Lite doesn't throw much of a beam, and i found I was sloooow hiking with it. Of course, by going light perhaps you won't need to hike with it.

Have fun!


Edited by dirk9827 on 02/19/2012 17:46:40 MST.

Peter Gil-Montllor
response on 02/20/2012 21:41:52 MST Print View

Thanks for the comments, hi to Mouse. Nice to hear Mellow will be out there too, I don't know of any others.

I'm planning to start around April 25-27, but haven't bought tickets yet. I intend to hike very quickly, because I need to finish around mid-August. Thanks for the ideas about how this affects insulation. Would it make sense to use a lighter, 32 deg bag (Mtn Hardware Phantom)?

My old thermarest is heavier and shorter than the neoair, so I think I'll use the neoair in the beginning. If it gets a puncture I'll try to repair or suffer through until I can pick up a foam pad somewhere or have one mailed out.

Good call on the windshirt, I have one but forgot to include it. It's about 4 oz. The longsleeve nike shirt I usually reserve for sleeping or colder days. The wind pants are my only pants, although I should probably add some real pants for the mountain sections. Any recommendations?

I've used the petzl headlamp many times and I agree that it's not the best for night hiking, but it works well if you hold it in your hand close to the ground. This way, the beam illuminates the ground more brightly and it also casts longer shadows that show the rocks roots, and other things that you might stumble on in the dark.

Michael Fleming
Re: Re: PCT 2012 on 02/21/2012 11:22:50 MST Print View

I'll be there this year. Probably flying to san diego the 10th or 11th of May

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Schedule on 02/21/2012 21:09:21 MST Print View

I have similar constraints, chimi. Looking like May 9th is the earliest I can leave and need to be done around the 3rd week of Aug. Snow isn't turning out to be too intimidating but I will be hunting for company through the Sierras. The pants you have will probably do the job.

edit: What bag were you carrying on the AT? If you 'downgrade' your temp rating you may want to carry an insulation jacket to substitute on the occasions that may require extra warmth. As summer progresses you could mail off the jacket and eventually save some weight. If you're interested I just updated my GL on my profile to reflect what I'll be carrying.

Edited by mzion on 02/21/2012 21:13:14 MST.

Peter Gil-Montllor
Mouse on 02/22/2012 09:37:23 MST Print View

Gear choices:

The Phantom 32 is the bag I carried on the AT, it was definitely too warm there.

PCT itinerary:

We should talk. I can definitely adjust my pace so that we meet up at Kennedy Meadows or beforehand.

Jeff Morton
(mortonjl) - F
list on 02/23/2012 10:25:36 MST Print View

You gonna cook with anything?

Peter Gil-Montllor
Update on 02/23/2012 13:51:09 MST Print View

I'm planning on going cold food. The time and mess of cooking hot food is not worth it to me on a trip like this. I figure I will hit towns often enough for warm meals.

I'm going to try swapping the Wild Oasis tarp and the Mica shell for a Golite poncho tarp, saving 7.1 oz overall while keeping the bivy. If this works, I'll use this setup until Kennedy Meadows, and then switch back to the original list.

Also going to try using a long 1/8" 3 oz foam pad and a shorter 3/8" foam pad instead of a neoair and groundcloth, saving 6 oz there.

I'd still like to hear thoughts on bringing the lighter 32 deg bag instead of the 20.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Update on 02/23/2012 18:41:04 MST Print View

I think if you're still carrying the Montbell and the bivy you can probably go with the 32*. Those two items should make your bag comfortable down into lower temps.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Depends on how warm you sleep on 02/24/2012 06:41:32 MST Print View

I'd say with your jacket and the bivy you'd likely be fine with the 32*. On the A.T I brought a WM 35* inside a MLD bivy with a Thermawrap jacket (probably not as warm as yours) and took it down to 18*. It was a very cool evening - but not unbearable, I probably got about 5 hrs or so of sleep during the night. I'd say if the expected lows are 20* or higher you should be fine...any colder and I'd want my 20*.

Josh Greninger
Re: Update on 02/28/2012 13:30:51 MST Print View

Peter -
Can you give me an idea of what types of cold foods you'll be eating? I was debating between 1 vs. 2 cooked meals per day on the PCT. I'm not sure if I'd be satisfied on gorp/fruit leathers/jerkey for 2/3 of the day.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Cold food on 02/28/2012 17:35:41 MST Print View


I prefer to only cook 1 meal a day. I tried an all cold diet and maybe its what I chose to eat (too much healthy organic and too little fat/sugar) but I crave that hot meal once a day. But the rest of the day is filled with energy bars, snickers, potato chips (hiking super food), nuts, fruit, peanut butter burritos (wrap + peanut butter + honey or nutella + granola or cornmeal). So yeah, you can go cold for most of the day I just wouldn't limit myself to trail mix and dried stuff.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Fast Hiking the PCT on 02/28/2012 19:29:13 MST Print View

Peter and Matthew,
Sounds like you have a pretty aggressive schedule planned. Don't know if you ran across my PCT journal from last year but I put that together specifically for others who would be doing fast schedules. You will likely find a couple bits of useful info. It's on Postholer, trailname Malto.

I took a tarp bivy setup last year and only setup the tarp three nights. For the other days I rolled out the bivy with the quilt inside, blew up the air mat and was done. Super fast and easy which is nice when you are on a fast schedule. Also, I think bivy only is the ideal setup in SoCal with the wind. A tarp or tent will flap all night, a bivy will keep the winds at bay. Plus you can tuck yourself in little corners out of the wind, something that will be harder with a larger shelter.

Are you guy doing a journal and have you picked up a trailname?

Good luck and have fun, it a wonderful adventure.

Michael Fleming
fast schedule on 02/28/2012 19:38:26 MST Print View

Hopefully i'll see you all out there. I'm also starting in may and need to finish before school starts back up august 22nd.

Ryan W
(mwilks) - F
Re: Update on 02/28/2012 20:24:33 MST Print View

Hey Peter,

I've pushed that MH 32 bag into the 3 seasons in the Sierras and Rockies.

My usual sleeping setup for a high altitude trip a month or two either side of summer has been a WM Flight vest, light LS top and bottoms, cut down ridgerest, fleece beanie, and bivy. Pretty comparable to your setup. I think you will be fine.

Of course I always had the backup of a hot waterbottle or warm drink if needed...

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Fast Hiking the PCT on 02/28/2012 22:14:21 MST Print View

Thanks Greg, I'll definitely have to check it out. I think you had a much tougher year with the snow. At this point I'd be interested in reading where all you resupplied and how you paced in between. I was hoping to do a blog but with my schedule and incompetence with web code I will likely just journal on TrailJournals or Postholer under the trail name Mouse.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Fast Hiking the PCT on 02/28/2012 22:22:09 MST Print View

As someone in the decidedly not-so-fast camp of hiking, much respect to Greg and all of you on your schedule on the PCT. There is more than one way to hike the trail, and I really respect those who can put in the miles days in and days out. I wasn't fast until I needed to be, and I recall how worn out I got after averaging just under 30 miles a day for a week. To do that day after day, well, that's saying something. I am still in awe of Greg's trip, reading his journal it was quite impressive.

Have fun out there!


Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Re: Fast Hiking the PCT on 02/28/2012 22:55:16 MST Print View

I agree Dirk. I've done the 30+ for 35 days and even during that it got tiresome (mentally more than anything) doing it for a 100 days is going to be a new challenge. I think I'm going to have to read all of Greg's journal then pick his brain. Mean while I should be writing a lab report...