Gear List

Gearheads, unite!  Listed below is the whole mess of stuff I'll bring with me on my PCT hike.  All together, my base pack weight (not including food, water, clothes I'm wearing, or the dreaded bear cannister) came in at about 22 pounds.  Not great, but not terrible either.  For me, it's a nice mix of essentials and comforts.

The Big Ones

  • Backpack -- Osprey Ariel 65
  • Waterproof Pack Cover  -- REI Duck's Back Rain Cover
  • Tent --  MSR Hubba NX  (POST HIKE NOTE:  The poles broke twice!)
  • Sleeping bag -- Sierra Designs Spark 15° 800 fill (POST HIKE NOTE:  Too warm in NoCal, but glad I had it in the Sierras.)
  • Sleeping pad -- Thermarest ProLite 3/4 length  (POST HIKE NOTE: Punctured it and didn't have a patch kit.  Ugh.)
  • Inflatable pillow -- ExPed AirPillow
  • Trekking poles -- Leki SuperMakalu


  • Phone with Guthook's PCT Ap, charger, tough carrying case
  • Tiny MP3 player and headphones (loaded with tunes, podcasts, and audiobooks)
  • Camera, camera case, extra battery, charger, extra memory card, gorilla pod, StickPic

Books / Maps

  • Half Mile's free PCT maps
  • PCT data book
  • Wilderness Press Northern California + South California (cut up and split into sections)  (POST HIKE NOTE:  Not worth it.  I didn't use them later in the trip)
  • Compass -- Brunton Type 15 (includes signal mirror)
  • Itinerary
  • Permits
  • Journal
  • Pen, pencil, highlighter
  • Book to read
  • Headlamp -- Petzl Tikka 2 (with extra batteries)
  • Wallet (with ID, debit card, credit card, insurance card, cash)


  • Platypus -- 3.0L Hoser
  • Backup empty Gatorade bottle
  • Aqua Mira
  • Sawyer Water Filter (POST HIKE NOTE:  I ended up swapping this for an MSR MiniWorks EX Water Filter.  Sawyers are okay for running streams and big lakes, but they suck in stagnant little pools, which I found in most of drought-ridden NoCal.  The MSR filter was pretty heavy but I already owned it -- in hindsight I would have bought something lighter.)


  • Bear Canister for Sierra Nevadas-- Garcia Bear-Resistant Container w/ carrying bag (POST HIKE NOTE:  Bear canisters are a necessary evil.  They're heavy as hell, and this one didn't fit horizontally in my pack, which made squeezing in all my other gear like an extreme game of Tetris.  For a while, I tried strapping it outside my pack, but that was super-awkward and threw off my balance.  It was also hard to fit all my food AND smelly toiletries into the canister.  Eventually I figured out a system, but it wasn't exactly legal:  I had both an Ursack and a Canister.  I would split my food between both of them for the first couple days after a big resupply.  Once I ate some of the food, I was able to fit everything in the canister.  Shhhhh, don't tell the rangers!)
  • Ursack food bag + cord for hanging
  • Stove -- MSR Pocket Rocket
  • Stove fuel
  • 2 lighters
  • Pots/bowls/sporks --GSI Pinnacle Dualist
  • Scrubbie
  • Biodegradable soap (for dishes, laundry, and self) -- Dr. Bronners
  • Plastic garbage sack


  • Trail runners -- Salomon Women's Eclipse GTX  (POST HIKE NOTE:  I loved these shoes, but they had GorTex, so I don't think they would have worked as well during a really wet year.  Ironically, GorTex is better in dry years, because streams are lower and don't usually come over the top of your shoes.  If the inside of a GorTex shoe gets wet, you'll be hiking in soggy shoes for days.  So weirdly, during wet years, it's probably better to hike in non-waterproof shoes.  Your feet will get wet, but your shoes will dry quicker.)
  • Insoles -- Green Super Feet
  • 2x socks -- Wrightsock Lightweight Coolmesh II
  • 2x short sleeve Ts -- Underarmour + Columbia
  • Long sleeve T-- Underarmor
  • 2 x hiking shorts -- Columbia + Brooks
  • 1x sports bra -- Lands End
  • Long underwear (tops and bottoms) -- Lands End bottoms + thrift store top
  • Camp / stream crossing shoes -- Crocs
  • Warm camp socks -- Smart Wool medium weight hikers
  • Rain jacket -- Frogg Toggs Ultra Lite 2  (POST HIKE NOTE:  Frogg Toggs aren't very durable and I ended up ripping mine towards the end of the trip.  Not a big deal, especially considering the price and the low weight.)
  • Rain pants -- Frogg Toggs Ultra Lite 2
  • Puffy jacket -- Patagonia
  • Warm beanie -- Turtlefur
  • Gloves -- Lands End
  • Sun Visor -- Columbia Coolhead Visor
  • Headband -- Prana Missy Headband
  • Watch --Timex Ironman water resistant 100m
  • Earrings
  • Bandannas


  • TP, hand sanitizer, poo shovel
  • Chapstick
  • Deet 100%  (POST HIKE NOTE:  I got lucky and never had to use bug spray, but I think that was a fluke, because I've heard horror stories.  It probably had something to do with fact I was hiking in the late summer and early fall of a record drought year.)
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste / floss
  • Hair ties / headbands
  • Glasses / prescription sunglasses / case  (POST HIKE NOTE:  I busted my glasses!  Next time, I'll bring a real case -- it's worth the weight.)
  • Q-tips
  • Nail clippers / file
  • Prescriptions
  • Earplugs
  • 2 extra ziplock bags

First Aid / Emergency

  • UltraLight/Watertight Adventure Medial Kit .5 (I added a lighter, Tums, Imodium, needle/thread, cord, eye drops, whistle, etc.)
  • Leatherman

I've used a lot of this stuff before, but some of it is new.  Once I'm done with the hike, I'll try to do a gear review to tell y'all what worked and what didn't.

(POST HIKE NOTE:  For the most part, my stuff worked.  My pack ended up being heavier than a lot of turbo-thru-hikers, who carry mostly ultralight gear.  But I didn't want to drop a lot of cash replacing gear I already had, so this list worked for me.  Lots of stuff broke along the way -- my tent poles, Thermarest, Frogg Toggs, glasses -- but that's probably inevitable with heavy use, and for the most part, I still think they're good products.  My water filtration system was the biggest hassle, especially since the water sources in Northern California were so nasty this year due to the drought.)