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PCT 2013!!! How am I looking? What should I consider changing?
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Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Northern California
PCT 2013!!! How am I looking? What should I consider changing? on 10/01/2012 21:48:48 MDT Print View

Hey guys, started applying for colleges and found out that I will have about 110 days of free time summer 2013, and that may be the only opportunity I will have to do the PCT in the near future.

A little background:
I do have some experience doing long distance thru hikes. I have thru hiked the JMT, and done several weekend long and a few other week long hikes. I did the JMT in 22 days with 3 zero days, so i did take it relatively slow. I know that doing the PCT in 3.5 months will mean I will have to average close to 25 miles per day for the entire trip. That's a lot, but I did have a few 16 and a 17 mile day on the JMT and did not feel like I over did it. By the end of my JMT I think 25 mile days would have been very doable, but not neccesariy a stroll in the park. How does the terrain of the rest of the PCT compare in difficulty?

I need to get my pack weight as light and refined as I can. And heck, if I end up not being able to do 25 mpd, Ill just do as much of the trail I can and the most beautiful parts of the trail.

Here is my current gearlist, most of which I used on the JMT.

I have not used the litemax stove yet, and am coming from using a homemade penny stove. I got jealous of the simplicity of of my partners canister stove during the trip. Seems like it will be worth the weight, but I am concerned about fuel availability along the trail. Any input here? I am also looking into using esbit.

The other thing I have not used yet is the neoair xlite. I am concerned about durability, but will have the 1/8th pad as a backup, that will double as a sitpad and possibly a makeshift frame in my ULA circuit. The inflatable pad is another thing I got jealous of other people during the JMT thru hike. Should be worth the weight for a better warmer sleep. Convince me otherwise.

I'm still deciding about taking out the aluminum stay in the ULA circuit and just going frameless. Anyone have any experience with that? I love the pack, it has never given me any problems even when loaded up to 40 lbs with lots of food and water. Would a folded up 1/8th be sufficient? Obviously I will need to get out and test it to decide for myself.

Clothing look sufficient? Should I consider ditching the rain jacket and just getting something like a pata houdini? Or would I regret not having some sort of full rain protection?

Ice Axe and crampons I will add to the list if the season demands it.
I still need to add in my cell phone charger. I think I may get a battery brick to go with it as well.

Suggestions for changes in gear based on your opinion or experience will be appreciated. I do not wish to lose comfort though, or safety.

Thanks for your input,


Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Pack on 10/01/2012 23:11:18 MDT Print View

First off I would NOT take the frame out of the Circuit. Here is why...

If you really want to go frameless I'd get a lighter pack like the ULA CDT, a MLD Prophet etc. These packs actually save a significant amount of weight over a Circuit. If you try to turn the Circuit into a frameless pack you'll have a couple of problems.
1. You won't save much weight.
2. It won't carry as well. For one thing a 1/8 pad is not going to do a lot of good. And for another the pack is not designed to be a frameless pack.

I don't think Circuit is a bad pack choice, especially if you've already tried it and are happy with it. Yes its a bit heavier then some but the frame will be nice in a number of situations.
1. In dry areas you'll be hauling more water.
2. In some areas you'll need to carry a bear canister and/or extra food.

The rest of your list looks pretty solid. I would go ahead and keep the raincoat. If you're out that long you'll want it at some point.

I'd suggest an extra pair of socks and some in your resupply boxes. Blisters come fast and furious when socks wear thin. You might also consider Andrew Skurka's idea of two lights for night hiking. His system is a floodlight worn at waist level for depth perception and a spotlight on his head for looking farther ahead.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
PCT 2013!!! How am I looking? What should I consider changing? on 10/01/2012 23:12:30 MDT Print View

The Circuit has a stay (2 oz) and an inverted U hoop/frame.
The U frame is made up of two CF pole section and a Delrin tube , not sure but probably less than 2oz.
If I were you I would try it out for myself.
So I would load the pack with the maximum weight you expect to carry with and without either or both of those frame bits and walk around for a few hours to determine if you can feel the difference.
Sorry I cannot provide you with the usual scientific formulas and data that pops up in here but that is how I do it.

Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Pack on 10/01/2012 23:31:06 MDT Print View

Thanks Luke, exactly the input I was looking for regarding the pack. I think you are right, especially when you bring up the fact about hauling water which I will need to do in the dessert sections. Saving 2oz by ditching the stay might look like something on paper but it's not really going to be a game changer. The pack works for me as is right now, but I am still curious about frameless. Maybe Ill give one a whirl during my training hikes.

The idea of 2 lights sounds interesting. I suppose that could help especially if I end up doing like A LOT of night hiking. I did a fair amount on the JMT, and really didn't find it an issue at a pace of about 2mph. How much night hiking do PCTers typically do?


Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: PCT 2013!!! How am I looking? What should I consider changing? on 10/01/2012 23:41:10 MDT Print View

Whats the most weight that people carry on the PCT with a baseweight similar to mine(~10lbs)? I'm assuming this would occur in the desert and maybe in a stretch in the high sierras.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
shelter on 10/02/2012 00:09:35 MDT Print View

I would reccomend a Go-lite poncho tarp at 7-8 ounces if I was doing that many miles per day. The real weight savings comes from that doubling as your rain jacket, rain pants, and just nix the wind pants. Nix the capeline if you can. Get a 2.3 ounce windshirt from stoic ($36) it has DWR.

That saves roughly 25 ounces, and sell the circuit for a zpacks 50 liter blast for a combined total of nearly 50 ounces off your back.

Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: shelter on 10/02/2012 00:35:52 MDT Print View

THanks Michael, all sound like great ideas for just purely saving weight. I am not interested in losing weight for the sake of losing weight. What I want to do is lose weight without sacrificing more comfort or convenience. I have never used a poncho tarp, but have heard stories about how crammed they are. I'm not that big though, only 5 ft 6 ~145 lbs. I do also like the full bug protection of the hexamid. I usually do well with mosquitoes, a handful of them doesn't bother me. They don't like me that much, especially if I am with someone else. However, Ive been out in ridiculously buggy conditions before before where I got chewed to hell. Was wishing I had something the entire time, as the suffering and discomfort was definitely not worth the 1/3 lb I saved.

The stoic windshirt does catch my eye though. That makes me wonder if something like that coupled with like a trash bag with holes for my head and arms would be sufficient for really rainy days. That would definately save weight. Theoretically it would also allow myself to use the shell on just cooler or windy days without becoming super drenched, unlike when I hike hard in my mica rain shell. Thoughts on this?

I love zpacks, Joe is awesome and makes awesome stuff. The blast is interesting in how simple it is. It really seems like it would be too light and delicate to handle loads on the heavier stretches though. How is the comfort of those packs when hauling 25+lbs?


Edited by surfingdwedge on 10/02/2012 00:37:33 MDT.