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PCT through hike list
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Jeff Howell
(swimming) - F
PCT through hike list on 03/03/2013 11:36:40 MST Print View

EDIT: Updated gear list here:

Would still appreciate advice :)

Trying to get gear together for hiking PCT starting in June at Tehachapi. I want to lighten up but have a small budget. Any affordable light gear advice would be greatly appreciated! ALso let me know if you think there's anything I forgot!

Anywhere you see question marks means I haven't decided on gear yet:

Thanks in advance!!

Edited by swimming on 04/13/2013 18:31:03 MDT.

Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
comfort zone on 03/03/2013 12:58:43 MST Print View

i think your biggest problems are your pack, and sleeping bag, otherwise looks good. Key is how much volume you'll need.

Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: PCT through hike list on 03/03/2013 14:25:10 MST Print View

Looks like you've done your homework or have done this before!

My additional two cents worth:
The optional camera could be half the weight depending on your photography goals.
Extra socks & sleep socks could be a few ounces less.
Yes on the windscreen.
I like having a ground sheet for cowboy camping or sitting/resting on during the day.
Go ahead and put in estimated weight for things like the gaiters, rain jacket, pot and lid, windscreen, maps, hygene/toiletries. The weight adds up surprisingly fast.
Don't forget ID, credit card, insurance card, $$, etc.
I think the listed weight for your shoes is for just one, not a pair.

The spreadsheet nerd in me found a few formulas needing tweeking:
Total clothing in pack excludes Houdini windpants.
Formula for weight of 2 spoons is missing. Should total should be 1oz?
Formula for weight of 3 Gatorade bottles is missing. Should total be 6oz?
Formula for weight of food is missing. Should total should be 9 pounds?
3 days alcohol fuel but 6 days food?
Should total water weight be 2# or 4#?
Formula for 'total worn and carried weight (not including food)' excludes cooking and water gear category (E56) and other essentials category (E69).

Hope this helps!

Edited by Lancem on 03/04/2013 14:18:07 MST.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re: PCT through hike list on 03/03/2013 14:46:33 MST Print View

Why not go with the Driducks? I used my O2 Rainshield jacket (made of similar material) the whole way.

You might want a groundsheet to protect your tent floor from sharp or spiny things and to keep it from getting wet. A couple of square yards of polycryo, at about 2 oz., is all you need.

If you're not a cold sleeper you can probably get away with a 20-degree or even a 30-degree (what I used) bag.

There are lots of cheap, lighweight stuff sacks out there. Just look for anything silnylon. REI has their own line. I have several Equinox stuff sacks that are years old and in great shape still.

Bring some waterproof matches as a backup instead of another lighter. If your pack gets wet inside, both lighters may die.

Unless you have camel ancestry, I wouldn't leave Campo without 5 L of water capacity.

I think that Aqua Mira drops are cheaper than the tabs. To me, the tabs leave a bit of a chlorine taste in the water, but the drops never do.

Skip the trowel. Use your hiking poles or feet.

I'd leave the mace home. The trail is a pretty safe place. If you use a bear canister in the Sierras, you won't have to worry about bears. Outside the Sierras, the bears will be more scared of you than vice versa.

In a low-snow year like this year, you should not need crampons. I picked some up for Fuller Ridge, and they were totally unnecessary.

Have a blast!

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
looks pretty good on 03/04/2013 08:42:47 MST Print View

Starting a bit on the late side, Tehachepi seems like a good place to do it --- about 150 miles to get strong before you climb into the Sierras. I'm not sure that you will need so much water capacity starting from there, but maybe; I do recall getting close to Kennedy Meadows just how amazing it seemed to see so much flowing water for the first time (not counting the pipeline/aquaduct).

I don't think you need long underwear bottoms, though that likely depends on your metabolism. I don't wear them when walking unless it's colder than it normally gets on the PCT, and you just put your lower body in your sleeping bag in camp if it's cold.
Ditto long underwear top; put the windshirt on over your sunshirt when walking as needed. If you need this as a sleeping shirt then so be it, but I wouldn't go for a zip-neck.

Ditto wind pants. Of course you can always send these things home, so at 3 oz, maybe bring the wind pants until you're through the Sierras.

A 15F rated down bag seems a little on the beefy (heavy) side to me, but you know best how cold a sleeper you are; I found a 20F rated bag fine until after the Sierras and then a 32F bag was a great choice from there on. Is it possible for you to find a lighter bag to swap to after you get through the Sierras?

At over 3 pounds that pack strikes me as also a bit on the heavy side, but if you already own it ... so be it, it's certainly not a "bad" choice.

Really, kind of a theme developing here I think --- not bad choices, but not ones I would make. That tent (Nemo Meta) weighs what, about 40 oz? (I always hate when they list "packed" weight vs. "minimum" weight ... I guess repair kit plus stuff sack and stakes total 9 oz. A lightheart solo weighs 27 oz (not including stakes). But if you already own it, I expect it will do fine for you.

I agree with the comment about aqua mira, the drops are cheaper (but you can't buy them in California).

Why a separate camera? iPhone has a decent camera, does it not?

Music player: I think this is a good idea, to save iPhone batteries. A very light unit that works off of a single AAA battery is best IMO, and quite lightweight.

Starting in Tehachepi in June, and based on what we can guess now about snowpack, I'm guessing that you won't want crampons. Heck, you might not even want an ice axe, but that's hard to know. I favor the CAMP Corsa 60 cm. I suggest that you wait until just before your trip to buy one of these --- if snowpack is clearly on the low side, I'd go without it (and especially so if you lack ice axe skills/experience).

Windscreen: easy to make your own; zenstoves no doubt describes this, or you can use Brasslite's instructions:

Do you have Yogi's guide? If not, I suggest that you order this ASAP. Definitely to carry the "take on the trail with you" part in sections, but also read through the big "look at this at home" part. Then go out and do a shakedown hike of decent length (maybe 50 miles) if you're able, take careful notes about how all of your gear is working for you. Then read through it (Yogi) again. This somewhat patronizing suggestion doesn't apply (as much anyway) if you're already hiked the AT, but if you're new to long distance hiking then I think a good shakedown trip would help.

Jeff Howell
(swimming) - F
thanks!! on 03/04/2013 11:04:03 MST Print View

Thanks for the advice!!

I do have the yogi guide, and have found it very helpful. I am bringing extra warm clothes and sleeping bag because I do run cold, especially sleeping. I'm also planning to do an overnight shake down trip before I head out.

Unfortunately I can't afford to spend a couple hundred on a lighter sleeping bag and pack (most of my gear I got on sale, as a gift, or from working at patagonia). I'll keep checking the gear swap in case a good deal on a lighter pack or bag comes up, though.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
Clothes: on 03/04/2013 12:48:58 MST Print View

@ Brian: she can't leave the windpants behind, the only bottoms listed are shorts. I'd say the combo of shorts and windpants is a very good one.

You seem to have a lot of tops listed:
Overcast long sleeve shirt
T shirt
Longsleeve zipneck
Down jacket

For most areas it would seem like something you'd never all wear at once.

How about choosing depending on what conditions you are in:

Desert: longsleeve shirt, rainjacket and down jacket
Dry Alpine(Sierras?): Zipneck, rainjacket, wind jacket, down jacket
Wet(Cascades?): zipneck, t-shirt(in reserve for sleeping), fleece sweater, rainjacket

No rain pants or skirt for wetter times and places?
I know many hikers don't use them, but we have also all read the stories of hypothermia, often involving light packing and the Cascades.

What gloves are you using? What balaclava? My balaclava wighs 1 oz, and my powerstretch gloves 1.7 oz. You list 10 oz for the them combined.

$200 buys you a EE Revelation X 30 quilt, 6ft, regular. It would possibly be warmer than your current bag, and save you 43 oz, almost 3 pounds! And even more in space, freeing up space for the bear canister.

I know you said you didn't have much money, but this is a lot of weight saved for your buck. Especially since an old synthetic bag won't be nearly as warm as it was when new, and this will quickly get worse on a through hike.

Edited by Tjaard on 03/04/2013 13:06:34 MST.

Eli Simmer

Locale: Minnesnowta
Shoes on 03/07/2013 15:44:16 MST Print View

Have you hiked extensively in the Patagonia Drifters? I had those during my AT thru and the fabric on the inside of the heel shredded after 200 miles. I saw this happen to others too.

Jeff Howell
(swimming) - F
drifters/ ee revelation on 03/07/2013 21:45:05 MST Print View

No I haven't used the A/C drifters before...I worked at patagonia so I tend to have a lot of gear from them but maybe I should look into another shoe? It seems like most people wear Brooks or Solomons.

I ordered a Thermarest sleep haven quilt for about $160 but haven't received it yet...I am not sure how it will work with the NeoAir. Does anyoen have experience with that bag? If it doesn't work out I may go for the EE Revelation 30 instead.

I'm a cold sleeper / cold person in general so I will probably have a little extra weight in warm layers. I am thinking of leaving the sunshirt and taking a wool t-shirt and arm warmers instead. I can always use the houdini for sun protection too.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: drifters/ ee revelation on 03/07/2013 21:51:25 MST Print View

I can give you the link to BPL's review of the Haven but I am not sure you will be able to read it,but BPL did not give it a very good rating.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: drifters/ ee revelation on 03/08/2013 00:41:47 MST Print View

Here is a review you can read,it also has photos of it being used with a neoair.

Robin McKay
(rlmckay) - M

Locale: Auckland NZ
Re: PCT through hike list on 03/09/2013 21:05:15 MST Print View

Good job for a "beginner" light weight attempt. Suggestions:
1. Halve you tent weight - sell the Nemo and get a Zpacks Solo with built-in netting.
2. Likewise pack - the Arc Blast also from Zpack (383grams!) I love this pack
3. Shoes - Salamons are good, take a look at Innov8 315
4. Sleeping Bag - Once again you can't go past Zpacks or Western Mountaineering Highlite - both around 450 grams, 32 degrees F.

I use the above - Hiked JMT, but as I live in NZ. Have given this gear a good workout in much tougher conditions to what you will expect. Have a great hike. For more suggestions check my blog at

Edited by rlmckay on 03/09/2013 21:06:46 MST.

Jeff Howell
(swimming) - F
Lightheart or Zpacks Solo? on 03/14/2013 19:12:16 MDT Print View

Which would you recommend between these two tents? The Zpacks solo is insanely light, but is cuben fiber durable enough to last several months? It also looks like you need a big area to stake it down, and it has a LOT of guy lines, so I guess it would be really hard to set up if you had tough staking ground.

I like the look of the lightheart as well, but really can't seem to tell the difference between it and MLD tents and tarptents and big agnes... They all seem to be about the same weight / size. Do I need to worry much about finding a freestanding tent?

Any shelter recommendations in general?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Lightheart or Zpacks Solo? on 03/14/2013 19:53:02 MDT Print View


FWIW I am very pleased with my Lightheart Gear Solo silnylon tent.

It has plenty of room to sit up in the center and lots of room to stow gear inside. It sets up really easy using your own trekking poles.

Solo at Kisatchie

It sets up with 4 stakes in good weather and a minimum of 6 stakes if the fly is used and the corner stakes next to the trekking poles are left in place.

It is possible to use the stakes by the trekking poles on the fly by removing them after the netted portion of the tent is set up. The poles will keep the floor in place allowing those two stakes to move on to fly duty.

There are additional tie outs if the weather gets really nasty.

After a cool to cold night I noticed a little condensation at the very ends of the tent where the hybrid "roof" and the end corners of the tent basically form a single wall. Everywhere else, with the exception of the ridge line, it is in effect a double wall hybrid shelter.

It is available in a cuben version. ;-)

Cuben Solo

Party On,


Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
ditto on Lightheart Solo on 03/15/2013 10:03:05 MDT Print View

"The Zpacks solo is insanely light, but is cuben fiber durable enough to last several months?"

Relating somewhat to both of the last posts, I hiked the CDT in 2011 with a cuben-upper Lightheart Solo, and recommend it. The tent is still overall in fine shape, still my go-to tent after most of five months of continuous use. One of the zipper pulls is a bit wonky, so if I stop being lazy I'll look into replacing that pull. The cuben is all still fine, haven't had to patch it or anything like that.

The Lightheart design is a very good one, with a good amount of room right where you want it. I found that it wasn't ideal when using snowbaskets on trekking poles, and it can act as a sort of bug catcher (bugs fly in under the 'fly' and don't seem to want to fly/crawl back down to get out). That happens with some other tents too and overall wasn't that big of a deal.

And Judy and her husband are good folks; I met them at Trail Days in Virginia in 2010, it's always a pleasure talking with the owners of these little cottage industry companies.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Hexamid solo plus on 03/16/2013 19:56:17 MDT Print View

Love mine...and there have been a few times when staking it out was a challenge, but it always seems to work. It seems like an intimidating selter to set up, but I watched the video and thought, hmmm that's not so bad....

Needless to say it is the easiest shelter I've ever put up. Hands down.

I've had it for just about a year and I still smile every time I pick it up to pack it...I just can't believe how very little it weighs. Just incredible to me....

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Alternate "staking" for the Hexamid on 03/17/2013 03:13:18 MDT Print View

This site was basically solid rock, stakes wouldn't penetrate at all:


Edited by drewjh on 03/17/2013 03:16:56 MDT.

Jeff Howell
(swimming) - F
updated list on 04/13/2013 18:32:08 MDT Print View

Thanks to all your advice, here is my updated list:

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"PCT through hike list" on 04/13/2013 19:23:09 MDT Print View

I've staked out my Fly Creek the way Drew Jay does his Hexamid often in the Sierra. In my experience using rocks this way is as solid as can be and relatively easy to do.

That Hexamid is a sweet looking tent! It's weight is just ridiculous. A bit of sticker shock though...

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
get your shoes dialed in soon on 04/14/2013 10:59:58 MDT Print View

Looking at the updated list, the thing that jumps off the page for me is this text in bold font: "trail running shoes??"

If you don't already have your footwear dialed in, I strongly urge you to prioritize that. And then do some decent miles in your shoes of choice to see how they work before you hit the trail.

Some (perhaps even 'many') people seem to be blessed with off-the-shelf feet; they can grab a pair of likely looking shoes from a local sporting store and hike hundreds of miles in them with no issues.

Others of us, unfortunately, need more time, effort, attention, and perhaps money to go through shoes until we get something that works really well. For me personally, a pair of shoes that feel fine for a several mile walk can start to make my feet ache after about 50 miles of backpacking if the toebox isn't wide enough. Then there's sizing up before a thru-hike (whether do to this and by how much); I suggest about 1 full size but this too varies by the individual.

Apologies if you already have some distance hiking under your belt, but at least for some people I really think that footwear is the single toughest piece of gear to get right, and certainly among (if not just truly) the most important thing to get right. Particularly for distance hiking; stuff that you can just shake off on/after a 2-week trip could cause problems after hundreds or thousands of miles.