Jon’s Initial Gear List

Nowadays, as gear technology continues to advance, it seems as though the mantra “less weight is best” resonates far and wide. With lighter weight often comes heavier cost though, so the trick for someone in most situations (myself included) is to balance the two. How does one maximize functionality but not spend a small fortune doing so? You’ll find in my gear list there is a pretty decent mix of higher end and lower end items to do just that. My mindset is that you spend in the areas that you feel are most important for you along the way and maybe skimp a little on the items you feel like aren’t as vital. Those decisions are left up to you and your personal preferences with the exception of necessities and food/water type items.

I’ve broken my gear list into sections to make it a little easier for me to keep track of what’s what. Keep in mind, as you’re going through everything, some of these items may or may not actually make it onto the trail. Since this is an initial list I am listing just about everything I could be taking should I need them at some point based on the weather conditions we encounter on the trail.

The Big Four

First section we’ll look at is “The Big Four”. This consists of my backpack, Shelter/stakes, sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Basically, everything you need to carry stuff and sleep outside. I have the REI Flash 62, which I got the REI outlet store for a pretty sizable discount making it a deal I just couldn’t pass up. Sure there are lighter packs out there, but for the price I wasn’t going to get one. I’m splitting the weight of the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 with another person I’m hiking with so that 25oz. represents roughly half of the weight of everything included with the tent. Sleeping bag and sleeping pads vary in preferences and while these are the two that I decided on after doing my own research based on my needs/wants I recommend doing the same for what you want. There are definitely cheaper options and there are definitely lighter options out there, but these were a nice balance and the XTherm is like sleeping on a cloud. The only downside is the risk of puncture, but it also compresses down nicely for easy packing with little space taken up so I’ll take the risk and a patch kit. Here’s the chart:

the big four
The PCT “Big Four”: Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag & Sleeping Pad. (Click image for larger view)

Clothing in Pack

Next, we’ll move on to the secondary clothing items in my pack. Things I won’t be wearing every day, or at least not during the day while I’m hiking. This section includes things like alternate shirts, base layers for cold nights, insulated jackets and rain shells, underwear, socks and a hat. My big ticket item in this group was far and away the Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket, but it’s much lighter and just as warm, if not warmer, than the other options I was considering for a down jacket. Then, when you factor in the fact I found someone selling one for below retail on eBay I couldn’t say no. The rest of the items are all things I found on sale at one time or another, with the exception of the ExOfficio’s (totally worth it though). Here’s what we’re looking at for clothing in the pack:

PCT Clothing in pack: Thermals, shirt, insulated jacket, rain shell, underwear, socks, hat & gloves. (Click image for larger view)
PCT Clothing in pack: Thermals, shirt, insulated jacket, rain shell, underwear, socks, hat & gloves. (Click image for larger view)

Worn or Carried Outside Pack

Since we’ve covered what clothing I’ll be carrying in my pack we might as well go right into what will be worn. There is some overlap here, as expected. I put two different kinds of socks on this section because the weather will really dictate what style I’ll be wearing. Outside of clothing, this list also includes accessories and carried items such as my watch, sunglasses, and trekking poles. Enjoy:

PCT Clothing: Underwear, Shirt, Pants/Shorts, Socks, Shoes, Sunglasses, Hat, Trekking Poles, Watch. (Click image for larger view)
PCT Clothing: Underwear, Shirt, Pants/Shorts, Socks, Shoes, Sunglasses, Hat, Trekking Poles, Watch. (Click image for larger view)

Hydration

Water is an essential part of life, as we all know. So let’s talk hydration on the PCT. I typically like to be able to carry as much as 6 liters of water at any given time, that isn’t to say I’ll always be carrying that amount, but there are stretches where you can end up going 20 miles or more without a watering hole to fill up at. For this reason I have 2 counts of 2 liter platypus collapsible water bottles, my standard 3 liter CamelBak reservoir which fits nicely into my pack which allow me to carry up to 7 liters at a time (I threw in that extra liter for free!). You can get smaller Platypus bottles, but the price is so negligible between the sizes and weights when empty that I just decided the bigger the better, can never have too much water. My filter is the Sawyer Mini Water Filter, which is crazy light and only cost about $25 if I remember correctly. Can’t really beat that for the money, easy to use as well. Here’s the rundown:

Hydration on PCT: Water treatment and water carriers. (Click image for larger view)
Hydration on PCT: Water treatment and water carriers. (Click image for larger view)

Cooking Items

We’ve already touched on water and shelter, so now seems about as good a time as any to talk about how I’m gonna eat for these 5-6 months or so. While I didn’t include food in my gear list, though it will be a necessary added addition of weight, I stuck to my cooking items. Mostly, I’ll be filling up on freeze dried meals as I make my way north. For the cooking of those meals I’m bringing along my MSR Pocket Rocket, will typically have an 8 oz. can of fuel, my handy dandy Light My Fire Spork and my Zippo Lighter. Pretty straight forward:

PCT, Now We’re Cooking: Stove, Fuel, Utensils, Ignition (fire). (Click image for larger view)
PCT, Now We’re Cooking: Stove, Fuel, Utensils, Ignition (fire). (Click image for larger view)

Navigation/Trail Essentials

Now there are a couple schools of thought when it comes to our next section. For some, it’s entirely superfluous and unnecessary. For others, it’s a can’t live without type of thing. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I’m talking about sanitation and hygiene. I’ll be taking some items, but certainly not the full gambit of cleaners and goodies that some bring. Here is my list:

PCT Navigation & Essentials: GPS, Compass, Lighting, First Aid, Knife, Cordage, etc. (Click image for larger view)
PCT Navigation & Essentials: GPS, Compass, Lighting, First Aid, Knife, Cordage, etc. (Click image for larger view)

Sanitation and Hygiene

Now there are a couple schools of thought when it comes to our next section. For some, it’s entirely superfluous and unnecessary. For others, it’s a can’t live without type of thing. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I’m talking about sanitation and hygiene. I’ll be taking some items, but certainly not the full gambit of cleaners and goodies that some bring. Here is my list:

PCT Sanitation & Hygiene: Toiletries and pleasantries. (Click image for larger view)
PCT Sanitation & Hygiene: Toiletries and pleasantries. (Click image for larger view)

 Miscellaneous Items

This next section is a bit of a mixed bag, so I just went with ‘miscellaneous’ for lack of a better categorical term. Of all the sections I’ve created this is the one most likely to have things possibly left off of it. While it’s unlikely I would leave behind a pack cover, solar panel and definitely not my passport and permits, it is possible that I end up ditching the old school writing devices (although there are few things on this earth like a good pen to paper). I will be carrying the AEE Magicam so we can add videos and pictures as we make our way north. Here is my list of miscellany:

PCT Miscellaneous: Ditty Sack, Pack Cover, Solar Panel, Journal, Pen, Towel, Camera, Permits, Passport, Phone, Wallet, Batteries. (Click image for larger view)
PCT Miscellaneous: Ditty Sack, Pack Cover, Solar Panel, Journal, Pen, Towel, Camera, Permits, Passport, Phone, Wallet, Batteries. (Click image for larger view)

Sierras, Oregon and Washington Items

My final section is that which I may need only seasonally, or in the High Sierras, or really just as weather dictates. These are your typical, ready for anything, types of items. Your shell pants, bear canisters, and heavier mountaineering gear. For most of these items the plan is to send them up to Kennedy Meadows where we will most likely be swapping out for heavier items as weather reports demand:

PCT Cold Weather Gear: Rain/Shell Pants, Ice Axe, Bear Can, Bug Spray, Gaiters, Jacket, Socks, Heavy boots, Crampons. (Click image for larger view)
PCT Cold Weather Gear: Rain/Shell Pants, Ice Axe, Bear Can, Bug Spray, Gaiters, Jacket, Socks, Heavy boots, Crampons. (Click image for larger view)

Total Weights

There you have it, the breakdown for all my different categories of gear one by one. What’s that you say? You want to know some totals? Alright, I get it. What’s my base weight, what’s your cold weather weight, blah blah blah. Well friend, here you go. Some very rough totals. Do keep in mind that these totals include the few duplicate items and other items that may not make the trip with me. So take that with a grain of salt for now, I hope to update everything once we get closer to the trip and then again after completion.

PCT Total Pack Weights. (Click image for larger view)
PCT Total Pack Weights. (Click image for larger view)

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