PCT Gear

If there’s one thing that most backpackers can obsess over, it’s gear.  Luckily, we did most of our obsessing when we prepared to hike the John Muir Trail (JMT) in 2015.  For that trip, we replaced our backpacks and sleeping bags (two of the “big three”) to go with lighter options.  While our packs were not small by PCT standards, other JMT hikers consistently noted our small pack size.

DSC01793

Elizabeth’s gear

DSC01794

Elizabeth’s clothes, backpack, and sleeping bag.

DSC01797

Michael’s gear.

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Michael’s clothes and additional gear.

Most of our preparation for hiking the PCT took place while we were traveling abroad.  This limited our ability to gather and test new gear.  We did upgrade our tent, replacing our old REI Half Dome that we purchased circa-2007 with a brand new Zpacks Duplex.  We easily shaved over two pounds on that switch.  Other changes include purchasing external batteries to keep our gadgets charged and the Delorme Inreach to give our parents some peace of mind.  We’ll also be experimenting with umbrellas to offer us shade in the hot desert sun (and rain protection of course).

IMG_3017

Testing out our new tent.

I know that there are additional ounces that we could shave from the gear lists below, but we’ve simply run out of time and will have to learn from our mistakes on the trail.  We’ll have the opportunity to swap out some gear after the first 250 miles, so it will be interesting to see what changes we make at that time.

We are each carrying our own individual gear and have split up the shared gear between us.  Michael is stuck carrying an extra three pounds at the start — both because his individual gear is larger and weighs more and because he’s simply bigger.  I’m sure our gear allocation will change as we hit our stride.

For now, this is what we’re bringing:

Item Specific Item (E)

E Weight (oz)

Specific Item (M) M Weight (oz)
Backpack:
Backpack Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack

27.8

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack

33

External shoulder pocket Zpacks shoulder pocket

0.55

Zpacks shoulder pocket

0.55

Waterproof Cover Sea to Summit Rain Cover (Medium)

3.45

Sea to Summit Rain Cover (Medium)

3.7

Waterproof Liner Trash compactor Bag

2.1

Trash compactor Bag

2.1

Shelter:
Tent M carries

0

Zpacks Duplex Tent

22.65

Tent stakes M carries

0

Kungix Tent Stakes Pegs 7” Aluminium Alloy

5

Tent stakes sack M carries

0

Kengix Tent Stakes sack

0.7

Ground sheet tyvek ground sheet

3

E carries

0

Sleeping:
Sleeping Bag Zpacks 10 degree (short/wide)

20.2

Zpacks 10 degree (x-long/wide)

25.6

Sleeping Pad Therm-a-Rest Neo-X Air (Short w/ bag)

7.65

Therm-a-Rest Neo-X Air (Reg. w/ bag)

12.95

Sleeping Bag Liner Sea to Summit Silk Traveller Liner

4.8

Sea to Summit Silk Traveller Liner

4.8

Kitchen/Food:
Camp Stove M carries

0

Jet Boil Flash

15.2

Bowls Ziploc Bowls w/ lids

2.75

E carries

0

Spoons 2 Light My Fire sporks + 1 Sea to Summit Alpha Lite Spoon — Long

1.15

E carries

0

Food Bag ZPacks cuban stuff sack (from sleeping bag)

1

ZPacks cuban stuff sack (from sleeping bag) & misc. Sea to Summit sm. bag

1.5

Knife Ceramic paring knife

0.7

E carries

0

Hydration:
Water Filter Sawyer Squeeze

2.45

Sawyer Sqeeze

2.45

Water Bottle Smart Water Plastic Disposable w/ flip top lid

1.5

Smart Water Plastic Disposable

1.5

Water Bottle Gatorade bottle

1.5

Gatorade bottle

1.5

Water Bag Platypus 1L Bottle

0.8

Platypus 1L Bottle (x2)

1.65

Water Bag Platypus 2L Bottle

1.25

Platypus 2L Bottle

1.25

Extra Clothing (in pack)
Stuff Sack (Clothing) Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Dry Sack (M)

0.7

Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Dry Sack (M)

0.75

Rain Jacket Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

5.7

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

7.1

Insulating Jacket Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down

6.9

Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down

8.6

2nd & 3rd Pairs of Socks Injinji

2.3

Injinji

3.3

Base Layer Top Smartwool Midweight Top

7.3

Smartwool Midweight Top

9.3

Base Layer Bottom Smartwool Midweight Bottoms

6.5

Smartwool Midweight Bottoms

7.5

Gloves Old fleece gloves

0.95

Black Diamond polartec

1.6

Warm Hat Smart wool beanie

1.45

Zpacks beanie

0.95

Buff The Original Buff

1.2

The Original Buff

1.3

Sleep Socks Smartwool Heavy Socks

2.3

Smartwool Heavy Socks

2.65

Extra Underwear Ex Officio (x2)

2.1

ExOfficio

3.35

Extra sports bra Patagonia Barely-There Bra

1.9

N/A

0

Camp Shoes Havianna sandals

7.9

“Havianna” sandals

10.6

First Aid/Hygiene
First Aid Leuko tape, ibuprofen, Advil PM, cortisone gel, Benadryl, sewing kit, Claritin, eye drops, extra contacts, blister block, tampons, electrolyte tabs

6.3

E carries

0

Toiletries chapstick, toothbrush, wet wipes, hair bands, ear plugs, sleep mask

3

E carries

0

Sunscreen Neutrogena Dry Touch (3.4 oz)

3.4

E carries

0

Bathroom Kit toilet paper, hand sanitizer, ziplock bag

2

E carries

0

Trowel Deuce of Spades

0.6

E carries

0

PT Kit N/A Tennis ball, pack strap

3.3

Electronics
Stuff Sack (Electronics) Ziplock bag

0

Ziplock bag

0

Camera Sony DSC100 iii

10.1

E carries

0

Camera battery charger & extra battery Sony extra battery and charging case

1.4

E carries

0

Phone iPhone SE

4

iPhone SE

4

E-Reader Kindle paperwhite

7.4

Kindle paperwhite

7.4

Headphones Apple Earbuds

0.4

Apple Earbuds

0.4

Flash Drive M carries

0

Flash Drive

0.2

External Portable Battery Anker PowerCore 10000mAh

6.3

Anker PowerCore 10000mAh

6.3

USB cords iPhone cord, mini USB cord

1.1

iPhone cord, mini USB

1.1

USB wall port Standard USB wall port

0.9

E carries

0

USB wall port M carries

0

NooQee 27W 5.4A 4-port wall charger

3.7

Personal Locator Device M carries

0

DeLorme InReach SE

7

Headlamp Petzal TIKKA XP 2

2.95

Petzal TIKKA Plus 2

2.75

Miscellaneous
Umbrella Swing LiteFlex Silver Backpacking Umbrella

8.3

Swing LiteFlex Silver Backpacking Umbrella

8.3

Wallet Ziploc w/ ID, CC, cash

0.5

Ziploc w/ ID, CC, cash

0.5

Glasses w/ case Zenni optical plastic case, prescription glasses, glasses cloth

2.45

Zenni optical plastic case, prescription glasses, glasses cloth

2.7

Retainer w/ case N/A

0

Retainer w/ case

1.1

Bandana Misc. bandanas (2)

2.15

Misc. bandana

0.75

Compass/thermometer N/A

0

Carabiner w/ compass & thermometer

1

Clothing (Worn)
Top REI Sahara long-sleeved shirt

8

Columbia titanium long-sleeved shirt

3.25

Bottom Under Armour Fly-By Run Short

3.4

Kalenji black running shorts

3.7

Shoes Brooks Cascadia 11

21.2

LaSportiva Wildcat
Socks Injinji

0.8

Injinji

1.65

Gaiters Dirty Girl Gaiters

0.9

Dirty Girl Gaiters

1

Sunglasses Peppers Sunglasses

0.8

Suncloud Sunglasses

0.75

Hat Outdoor Research Hat w/ Turban

2.75

Outdoor Research Hat w/ Turban

2.75

Sports Bra Patagonia Barely-There Bra

1.9

N/A

0

Underwear Ex Officio

0.8

Ex Officio Boxer Briefs

3.35

Hiking Poles Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z (110 cm)

9.45

Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z (130 cm)

10.4

Subtotals (w/o worn clothing)  Elizabeth

193.1oz (12.1 lbs)

Michael

243.6oz (15.2 lbs)

(Obviously I have no OCD tendencies… In my defense, this is the list that we’re using to make sure that we pack everything.)

We’ll be adding additional gear when we hit the snow at San Jacinto and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, such as microspikes and whippets.  And of course, we’ll be carrying our trusty old bear cans where required by park regulations.  Hopefully by then our legs will have adjusted to the weight of long water carries and we won’t mind the extra pounds (too) much.

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