The Gear That May Get Me Through a Thru-Hike of the PCT


I figure this post is a necessity and I must write it to get it out of the way before I can move on. So- welcome to my blog! Let me tell you about my gear choices. I put considerable thought into them, but I also know that I’ll change many things along the way. There is just no way for me to know exactly what I’ll want out there, considering that this will be my first time thru hiking and my first time doing any considerable hiking on the west coast. And, from what I understand, the temperature can change roughly 100 degrees over the course of a day. I’m imagining blistering from the desert sun one hour and getting snowed on the next.

The Big Items

Everyone always talks about “The Big Three.” Since I can’t remember what those are supposed to be right now (backpack, tent, and sleeping bag? Tent, sleeping bag, and stove?), I’ll just let you know what my bigger items are.


Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Windrider! I cannot say enough good things about this pack. I’ve had one for several years and I love its simplicity. Plus it’s super lite, might I even use the elusive phrase “ultra lite?” I bought a new one for this hike at a hefty discount because of a manufacturing defect (it was stitched with black thread instead of white). Plus, the company makes all of their gear in nearby Biddeford, Maine, and it’s nice knowing that my pack was cared for by Mainers.


Zpacks Duplex. This was a splurge. I wanted something lightweight and it was only a couple more ounces for a two person tent which will allow me to organize my belongings inside my tent and feel as though my “home” for five months is larger than the bunk I slept in that time I lived on a boat for four months. I consider this a luxury item. And I’m excited about it. It can be set up using two trekking poles, which I purchased. Black diamond something…. My plan is for the poles to also help me hike faster (must keep up with Abby), protect my knees, and assist me in stream crossings. You can also buy tent poles from Zpacks if you don’t want to hike with trekking poles. Zpacks is based in Florida and they make all of their gear there.

Sleeping Bag

Or rather, quilt. This item I’m particularly impressed with. I went with the Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20-degree quilt. In purple. You actually get to customize your colors, inside and out, because they’re made to order. Made in Minnesota! The quilts are crazy light. They can be strapped around a sleeping pad so that there are no drafts, and they come with a foot box similar to a traditional sleeping bag. There’s no hood, which I could never get comfortable with in my bag anyway. I’ll pair this with a sea-to-summit silk liner, mainly to protect my quilt from my dirty body, but also for some extra warmth. I’ll stow both in a waterproof eVent sea-to-summit stuff sack.

Sleeping Pad

I’ve had the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir pad for a while. It’s comfortable. Really comfortable. And warm. It will work well with my quilt. I will try my hardest not to pop it with a prickly thing from the desert.


Got the Jetboil MicroMo. Not much to say about it. It’s small, lightweight, I believe has simmering capabilities, and I like the “scales” design. Should cook mashed potatoes and pasta sides well.

The Other Exciting Items

These items are not necessarily “Big,” but they’re items that I’m particularly excited about.

First off, I’m going to be hiking in a skirt!

Specifically, the Purple Rain Adventure Skirt. I’m excited about this for many reasons:

  1. it has pockets, which anybody who wears clothing designed for women knows is a luxury. I’ll be able to stuff them with snacks.
  2. thick stretchy waist band. It’s the small things.
  3. necessary air flow.
  4. I will probably be able to pee standing up.
  5. I’ll look so stylish!


Rain Mittens

I’m carrying Zpacks rain mittens because I have Raynauds which likes to make itself known when my hands are wet.


Liteflex Hiking Umbrella. This will be for the desert sun. As a coworker pointed out, perhaps a more apt term would be “parasol.” Regardless, I’ll do whatever it takes to cool down a bit. I’ve realized over the years that my comfort temperature range is small.

Battery Pack

Anker Power Core 10000 mAh battery charger. I’ll use this to recharge my phone, headlamp, and GPS spot. I’ll use my phone for maps and navigation, photos, journaling, and reading. I bought a Lifeproof case for it since I’ll be relying on it. And those stream crossings could be intense. I’m sure you’ve heard about the record snowfall in the Sierra this year. My hiking partner has been out there as a backcountry ski guide. I can only imagine the unbelievable winter she’s had.
Other brands that I’m rocking but haven’t mentioned include Exofficio, Darn Tough, and Patagonia. My base weight seems to be somewhere between 12 and 13 pounds. I’m pretty happy with this. Feel free to ask me for more details or if you see anything in the picture which you want to know more about.
Stay tuned! My departure date is April 26th.

From my device to yours,


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Comments 12

  • Katie : Mar 16th

    Very exciting stuff Leila! I can’t wait to follow your journey!!

  • Bruce Hyman : Mar 16th

    A great read on the gear list & other preps. I can’t wait to “travel along” with you two amazing ladies.

  • Kevin Trainor : Mar 16th

    Can you tells us about how you chose those plants for your journey?

    But for real, great gear post. I’m really excited for you and can’t wait to hear which things are most treasured on the trail.

  • Dave Truesdale : Mar 17th

    Don’t forget a etool and tp

    • Leila Pike : Mar 17th

      I’ve got a trowel and I definitely won’t forget the tp

  • Dwayne lambert : Mar 17th

    Awesome so excited for you

  • Mig Whitt Trail Name YIPPEE. : Mar 17th

    Do you have the ten essentials, compass at least/Maps or are you just counting on GPS? Mid layer or down jacket? Food bag? Gaiters? You probably have this and I just didn’t see it or maybe you don’t want it, No worries. 😉

    • Leila Pike : Mar 17th

      Yes! Compass, and maps for the sierras, phone maps otherwise. I’ll be wearing a sol cool hoodie by ex-officio, and in addition I have a merino wool layer, a down jacket, and a rain jacket. Osacks food bags and dirty girl gaiters! Thanks for looking out 🙂

  • Liz "Rest Step" Fallin : Mar 19th

    Lookin’ good, girl! I would only add one more thing: paper maps throughout the trail. I use my phone as my primary navigation source, just because it’s handy, but phones break (even with a Lifeproof, like mine), and get lost (had to backtrack, koff koff). One other thing you can do is put large scale maps on your phone. That will give you bailout trails, and will also show you landmarks.

    Happy trails!

  • Leo Yermo Adan : Mar 19th

    Hopefully you will post a blog and give us a link to it?
    Thanks in advance.
    BTW Great article. |
    Thanks very much.

  • J. Ford : Mar 20th

    I took that same battery pack on the trail last year and was very impressed with it. Hope it works out just as well for you.

  • Ernie Lukacs : Mar 20th

    You go girl!! And give us all the good stories!! And good adventures!! Keep on trucking. ???


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