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PCT gear list (quasi-neophyte)
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Frances Bothfeld

Locale: Iowa
PCT gear list (quasi-neophyte) on 03/06/2012 16:34:22 MST Print View

Hey all-

I would like some help on this. I have been slowly transitioning to UL backpacking this past year- getting used to slight modifications in a once luxurious gearlist. I backpack a lot, but UL is a new (and wonderful!!) transition. This is my PCT list. I am planning on hiking it in 2013, with a test run this summer section hiking washington (or the long trail but I won't change the gear list that much other than raingear). The only things that I own on this list and probably won't be trading out are the clothes, sleeping pad (I cannot sleep on a foam pad), sleeping bag, and cookset. Therefore I would love comments on:

Backpack choice-
Right now I am leaning towards SMD starlite. I like the idea of the aluminum stays and it is much lighter than the catalyst. I am just worried about water weight in southern california. The longest I will go without a reration is 8 days, but that will be in wet terrain. I currently carry a 2.5 lbs granite gear pack that I like, but could clearly get lighter.

I like having a bug shelter incorporated because I am really allergic to blood suckers that is why I chose the alpinelite stratiform. Anybody have comments on the GG spinnshelter with a bug canopy? Zpacks with bug net seems a but out of my price range, but nice.

I will be trading out rain skirt for rain pants at the sierra's. do I even need a rain skirt in southern california?

Thanks for the help!


Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
PCT gear list (quasi-neophyte) on 03/06/2012 17:56:44 MST Print View

Be aware in SoCal, you can have sun the entire time, or it can be very wet and cold with rain and even snow at times. It changes from year to year. Just be aware that nights in the desert can drop below freezing. A rain skirt is probably fine. Many hikers only have a rain jacket or pancho. But if you have a rainy spring like 2010 was, you'll likely want some rain pants or the skirt. Beaware, that SoCal can be very windy at times.

As for your pack choice, many have used it. I used a ULA circuit and could have gone smaller but it depends on your gear. A pack is usually the last thing your buy since it has to hold all your other gear with its associated weight. I think the most water I carried was 6L at one time. But that is partially dependent on how many miles you will hike each day (many start off slow to allow their body to adjust). My heaviest packload was in the Sierra Neveda with its long resupplies, the requirement to have a bear cannister, and the need for an ice axe. Some choose to go 10-12days without resupply there but I recommend cutting it in half and resuppling over Kearsarge Pass.

If you are allergic to the blood suckers, I recommend using Permithren treated clothing (either do it yourself) or buy something like Ex Officio's Buzz Off clothing. I only used a Tarp with a headnet or hid in my lightweight bivysack ( both from MLD) but I only camp when I'm ready for bed so I'm not looking for a large netted shelter to hang out inside for few hours before sleeping. You will need DEET no matter what.

You can pretty much make any piece of gear work if you know how to use it properly. But lighter is easier on your body and thus you are less prone to injury. I hiked with a guy who bought most of his gear from Walmart though he did buy a decent backpack from Osprey.

Over all, your gear list isn't bad. The only suggestion might be to wear long sleeves and pants in the desert if you burn easily. I don't think the down parka is necessary. I used a Montbell Ex Ul Down Jacket and just a lightweight Balaclava for the head to sleep in. Never felt the need for warmer covering for my head. But I'm a guy who sleeps warm. The 11oz NeoAir seems heavy and you will run some risk of puncture. Many are happy with just a cut up Z-Rest foam pad. A 3/4 length pad is all you need. You can always put your backpack under your legs if they get cold. Consider using Freezer Bag Cooking and then you won't need to clean your pot.

Yogi's PCT Handbook comes with a large planning guide which includes contrasting opinions on gear from previous hikers (I'm one of them). You might check it out.

Edited by Miner on 03/06/2012 18:09:14 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: PCT gear list (quasi-neophyte) on 03/06/2012 18:12:01 MST Print View

"do I even need a rain skirt in southern california?"

A friend of mine once headed out on a 9-day solo backpack trip in Sequoia during late July one year. He got rained on for the first seven days, so he bailed, literally.

My rain pants weigh 2.45 ounces, so I don't consider that much of a burden.


Frances Bothfeld

Locale: Iowa
sleeping pad on 03/06/2012 18:21:48 MST Print View

I am worried about the risk of puncture with the neoair. However, when I attempted a 7 day trip with a zlite I woke up with such a bad bruise on my hip that I had to bail it hurt so bad to carry a pack. I have boney hips.

I will try it out again and maybe bring two pads, which would still be lighter than a neoair.

Got Yogi's book for christmas and it is super helpful!

Thanks again,

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Re: sleeping pad on 03/06/2012 19:57:45 MST Print View

"I am worried about the risk of puncture with the neoair. However, when I attempted a 7 day trip with a zlite I woke up with such a bad bruise on my hip that I had to bail it hurt so bad to carry a pack. I have boney hips."

What many women do is dig a small trench for their hips under their pad. Usually done with their heel before they set up their camp.

Edited by Miner on 03/06/2012 19:58:18 MST.