My GDT Gear List – Living in Luxury
Who doesn’t love nerding out over gear and what other people are bringing? Check out the list of things I plan to bring first and then a rationale behind my gear selection. Want a cool idea for a lightweight mug that fits in a titanium pot? Scroll down to the Kitchen section.
The Big Three
Sleeping System – Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad, Pillow
Sleeping Bag – Western Mountaineering Ultralite
This is easily one of the coziest sleeping bags I’ve owned. When I hiked the PCT in 2018, I had a Sea to Summit Spark which, for the model I bought, was only 1/4 zip. It was light AF, but there were times where I wish I could’ve unzipped it a bit further to let my legs breathe (like in Oregon). Not only does the Ultralite unzip most of the way, but it is also only 40g heavier than my Sea to Summit Spark.
Sleeping Pad – Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad
I’m a side sleeper and if I can’t get a comfortable sleep on my side then I won’t feel as rested and I won’t be able to hike as efficiently. I need a good sleep, and a good sleeping pad is a necessary piece of gear to get you there.
Pillow – MEC Deluxe Pillow
Is this a luxury item? Some people (like my partner) would say so. Here’s the thing: clothes crumpled under your head are not as comfy as a pillow. Period.
I sleep with two pillows at home; I can’t go from two pillows to a pile of clothes and expect to have a quality sleep night after night. My neck needs support; a pillow (with my clothes piled under it) does the job.
Weight – 1255g (44.27 oz.).
Shelter – Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 w/ Footprint
I hiked the PCT in the previous model and it lasted several more hikes before I sent it in to have the fly zipper replaced due to coil damage; Big Agnes sent me the new model to replace the older model and I haven’t looked back since. For one person, this is quite a spacious tent. You have more than enough room for yourself and your gear. It’s pretty easy to change in there once you get used to it. For two people, it is on the small side; doable for a few nights, but not very feasible for a longer thru-hike.
Weight – 1134.5g (40.02 oz.).
I dislike hiking with an overly sweaty back (weird, right?) so any packs I use during the warmer months (late spring-early fall) need to have a ventilated back. The Osprey Exos has been my go-to overnight bag for 7 years. It’s light, breezy, and comfortable; whatever gear you have in it, you can just cruise and forget about it.
Weight – 1145g (40.39 oz.).
Generally, I have clothes I deem as my moving clothes and those as my insulating layers. My moving clothes get wet, they get dirty, and they come off at the end of the day. If it’s possible, I’ll dry them out as much as I can. Often, they go back on wet in the morning (especially after consecutive days of rain). This is generally okay for me, because as long as I’m eating and moving, I generate a lot of body heat. Here’s a list of gear I consider to be my moving clothes:
- Half-buff (sweatband) – I’m a bald guy and without a sweatband, sweat just pours down my face and into my eyes.
- Hat – rain or shine.
- Fleece (when it’s raining) – I prefer hiking in the rain in a fleece. I always generate too much heat in a rain jacket and end up getting just about as wet from my sweat as I would from the rain. A fleece at least stays warm when it’s wet. The Patagonia R1 Tech Face is windproof and water-resistant; it makes hiking in a fleece even more tolerable.
- Neoprene gloves (when it’s raining)- when it’s day 2 or 3 of hiking in the rain, the neoprene really delivers. They keep your hands nice and toasty, regardless of the weather.
- Rain skirt – I dislike wearing pants in general, so why would I wear rain pants? Rain skirt all the way.
Weight – 1071.6g (37.8 oz.).
My insulating layers stay dry and their entire purpose is to keep me as warm as possible regardless of the weather I experienced during the day. Here’s a list of gear I consider to be my insulating layers:
- Spare socks
- Base Layer Bottom/Leggings
- Base Layer Long sleeve – I only bring this when I figure it’s going to be pretty cold and/or wet and will need something dry to wear once I get to camp and change into my insulating layers. I haven’t decided if I feel like this is necessary or not for the GDT.
- Down jacket – pretty much essential for colder weather hiking.
- Rain jacket – I don’t want my down to get wet and this ensures that it won’t.
- Toque – need a real toque so my head doesn’t get cold.
Weight – 1142.8g (40.31 oz.).
Titanium pots are pretty standard these days, but my half Nalgene bottle-turned-cup isn’t. I took an HDPE 1L Nalgene, cut it in half, and it fits perfectly inside of my pot. I also bring things to clean my pot (like a scrub brush and soap) because I feel like a clean pot goes a bit of the way to helping to keep me healthy on the trail.
Total weight – 359.2g (12.67 oz.).
Hygiene, First Aid, Survival Gear
- Spade – Is a spade worth it? Yes. Save your pole and yourself the time (especially in those critical moments when you aren’t quite sure if you can trust that fart or not).
- Toothbrush/Toothpaste – why wouldn’t you brush your teeth when you’re outside? You’re not an animal.
- Hand sanitizer – pretty self-explanatory.
Weight – 97.8g (3.45 oz.).
What should your first aid kit have in it? Generally, the things that you know how to use/think you will need. A pretty basic first aid kit for hiking should probably have:
- Blister care (leukotape is my favorite)
- Safety pin or two
- Bandaids (few in different sizes)
- BZK Wipes
- Rolled gauze
- Tensor bandage
- Non-adherent pad
- Medication – I usually carry ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and 2-3 Benadryl
- Neosporin – getting an infection sucks.
Nice, but not necessary:
- After Bite – I get stung by so many wasps (seriously, I was stung every second day for 2 weeks in September of my thru hike of the PCT in 2018; it culminated in me getting stung 17 times after walking too close to a nest on the trail).
- Anti-chafing gel
- Lip balm
- Foot balm
- Triangular bandage – I don’t have one in my kit.
Weight – 153.9g (5.43 oz.).
- Water bottles – they’re cheap and they last forever.
- Sawyer Squeeze – consistently good as long as you remember to flush it after you want to store it…
- Headlamp – I swear by my Nitecore NU20. It’s super light and, if you’re crafty, you can get rid of the headband it comes up and replace it with an elastic cord.
- Knife – something small and sharp enough that I can carve things if I feel like it. I made myself a spoon on the PCT when I lost my spork.
- Bug net – who wants bugs flying in their face? Not me.
- Bear Spray – as I’ll be hiking in grizzly territory, I’ll be taking some extra precautions; this is one of them.
- Bear canister – as much as I dislike the canister, it is nice to sit on and it will also protect my food from real bears and mini bears (like mice).
Weight – 1688.2g (59.55 oz.).
To be fair, most of my luxury weight comes from my camera. Could I get away with something smaller? Yes, probably. Would it be as fun? Probably not. So here I am, with my camera and its various accessories. The pictures are worth it though.
Weight – 1716.3g (60.54 oz.).
When I’m off on a day hike somewhere, I’m often asked by passersby whether or not I’m off for an overnight because of my Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite. My partner and I have cut one in half so that we could have an extra luxurious seat pad whenever we want a break. It provides ample room for two people to squish together or enough room for one person to sprawl out on for an afternoon nap. I’ve used it year-round and the space it provides is perfect for the rainier and wetter months in BC when you’re unlikely to find a dry place to sit; it’s also perfect when it’s snowy out because you can sit down in a snow-free zone and not freeze your buns off.
Weight – 205g (7.23 oz.).
The use of a speaker is often a point of contention among some hikers. Personally, I often use one but turn down the volume so that others can only hear it just as I’m passing them; I don’t use them during break times and rarely at camp because I want to preserve that sense of peace and quiet for others. I mostly use it as a way of letting other animals know that I am here; the sound of a bear bell drives me mad and I have a habit of not talking out loud to myself. After almost stepping on several rattlesnakes in the desert section of the PCT because I had my headphones in, I have opted for a safer means to still listen to music or audiobooks without the risk of sneaking up on something.
Weight – 191.1g (6.74 oz.).
Do I need stuff sacks? Nope. But they sure make organizing my pack much easier. This is another piece of luxury I allow myself.
I shave my head when I’m in town and I’m not about to buy a new pack of disposable razors every time to do so. It’s much easier to send a razor blade in my resupplies boxes.
I need to charge my things while I’m out there and recharge everything when I’m back. Simple as that. I’m debating bringing a second charger because why not?
Total weight -368.3g (12.99 oz.).
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