Badger’s Pacific Crest Trail SOBO Thru-Hike Gear List

I‘m leaving for Seattle in three days.  If all goes according to plan, I will be back sometime around Halloween.  Below is my full PCT Gear List (minus consumables) during that time.

For comparison’s sake, I’ve added an additional 3 lbs of electronics and 1.5 lbs of snow gear above and beyond my 2011 AT gear list, and my base weight is still several pounds lighter.

Note: the weights next to the titles are the categorial base weights (i.e. everything minus what I’ll be wearing, food, water, and fuel).

Big Five 

Shelter (18.86 oz)

ZPacks Solplex (15.5 oz)

As far as trekking pole tents go, it doesn’t get any lighter than this.  Made with dyneema, an incredibly strong and water-proof fiber.

ZPacks Sonic Stakes (.22 oz each, totaling 1.76 oz)

Polycro (1.6 oz)

Backpack (23.2 oz)

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40L  (19.6 oz)

I’ve removed the lid, hip belt, stay and some straps. The sitlight pad serves as the extension on my short sleeping pad, as well as a nice place to rest my bum during breaks.

Fanny Pack: The Hipster (2.1 oz)

Since I’m doing away with the hip belt, I wanted some extra easily accessed storage.  Mostly for snacks, because I’m fat.  I’m tempted to not count this against my base weight since it’s borderline a piece of worn clothing, but on the other hand, who cares?

Additional Pocket: Shoulder Strap Pocket (1.5 oz)

For quick and easy access to my phone (GPS).

Sleep System (30 oz)

QuiltKatabatic Alsek 22 (22 oz)

This thing is warmer than my Enlightened Equipment 20-degree quilt.  I opted for the 850fp version with the hydrophobic down.

Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Small (8 oz)

As stated above, I will be supplementing the short length with the sitlight pad from the GG Gorilla.


Altra Olympus 2.5 (11.5 oz)

Altra’s max cushion trail shoe.  I’ve been wearing Altra’s exclusively on trail since 2013.

Altra Gaiter (1.3 oz)

Keeps out dirt, rocks, and soot.  I sincerely believe that’s the first time I’ve typed the word soot.

Clothing (39.75 oz)


Active layer: Exofficio BugsAway Halo L/S (8.54 oz, worn)

I lay awake at night fearing the onslaught of mosquitoes that awaits.  InsectShield is my ally.  Exofficio is leading the league in bug gear.  Thank you for existing.

Bottoms: Patagonia Baggies 5″ (7.1 oz, worn)

Underwear: ExOfficio Give-N-Go Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs (2.7 oz, worn)

Most people wear the Baggies without underwear since it has a liner, however, I prefer the longer compression offered by the boxer briefs.

SocksDarn Tough 1/4 Merino Wool Ultra-Light (2 pairs, one worn, 2.4 oz)

A great product and a lifetime guarantee is why I always go with Darn Tough.

Hat: The Trek Trucker Cap (Not pictured. Worn)

The store’s doors are closed for a few months.  These will be available again when I emerge from the mountains.

Rain Jacket: Outdoor Research Helium II (6.1 oz)

One of the lightest rain jackets out there.  A great piece.

Rain Pants: Montbell Convertible Rain Pants (6.1 oz)

I’m toying with the idea of using just the shorts portion of these pants.  A very versatile piece for that reason.

Wool Base Layer: Ibex Indie Hoody (8.75 oz)

Since I’m not carrying a beanie (although will likely add one in the Sierra), I wanted a base-layer with a hood.

Leggings: Ibex Pulse Knickers (6.6 oz)

Yes, these are women’s leggings. They are being used because they are 3/4 length (thus, lighter). I blame The Real Hiking Viking for encouraging me to crossdress on this trek.

Gloves: ZPacks DownPossom Gloves (1.4 oz)

Warm for its weight (which is light) and dries quickly.

Insulating Layer: Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Parka (8.4 oz)

The best down jacket I’ve encountered for backpackers (and priced accordingly).

Sunglasses: Native Eyewear Ashdown (Not pictured, worn)

I am especially a fan of their warranty.  For $30 they will replace your damaged pair.  The $30 is more than other brands, however, it covers scratched lenses, which most brands don’t, and is the most common issue with sunglasses (at least for me).

Kitchen (11.6 oz)

Stove: Snow Peak LiteMax Stove (1.9 oz)

It works well and weighs less than two ounces.  Need I say more?

Pot: Vargo Bot 700 (4.8 oz)

This thing is especially great because of its watertight screw lid, which allows you to cold soak food while you hike.

Spoon: Vargo Titanium Spork (0.5 oz)

Fire: Bic lighter (0.8 oz)

I wrap my leukotape around this guy.

StoragePlatypus Platy Water Bottle – 70 fl. oz (1.3 oz.) + SmartWater and Gatorade bottles (~1 oz each)

Filtration: Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Water Filter Bottle – 20 oz (2.3 ounces)

This thing is deserving of its own post. This is the new gold-standard for water filtration devices for thru-hikers.  It’s lightweight, and more importantly, destroys the Sawyer Squeeze in terms of flow rate.  The only question marks are its durability over the long haul.  I will report back.

Electronics and Accessories (83.93 oz)

Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot (3.25 oz) (Not pictured)

Cheap and gets great reviews.

Camera: Sony a6000 (12.16 oz)

Featured in our best cameras for hiking and backpacking.

LensSELP18105G E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS (15.06 oz)

Extra batteries (plus charger): Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Dual Charger (5.6 oz)

Charger + cords: Anker Quick Charge 3.0 plus assorted lightning + micro USB cords (7 oz)

Portable powerbank: Anker Powercore 20100 (12.56 oz)

Charges an iPhone 7 almost seven times.  Will be using the camera quite a bit as well. Heavy, but well worth the weight.

SD CardSanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB SDXC (four cards; 3.2 oz)

Tripod: GorillaPod Hybrid (6.4 oz)

A very versatile tripod. Can wrap around a tree branch.  I have yet to take advantage of this feature, but feel much cooler knowing its available to me.

Camera carrying system: Peak Design Capture Clip Pro (3.5 oz)

This has been my go-to camera carrying system for the last two years.  Because this leaves your camera exposed on the outside of your pack, it requires a bit more precaution than other systems.  However, it’s very lightweight and makes the camera incredibly accessible.

Satellite Messenger: SPOT Gen3 (4 oz)

For nervous parents and fiancée.  Will be only be carrying this through certain sections of the trail.

Phone: iPhone 7 plus (11.2 oz)

The ultimate Swiss-Army Knife.  GPS, Music / audio device, camera, video, Internet device, and last but least, a phone.

Watch: Garmin Fenix3 (2.9 oz, worn)

Serves as pedometer, compass, barometer, altimeter, and thermometer.

Misc. (7.25 oz)

Trekking poles: Leki Carbon Ti (7.4 oz) (Not pictured- waiting for me in Seattle)

Stuff sacs:

Bug head net: Sea to Summit Head Net with Insect Shield (1.3 oz) (Not pictured)

I have been informed that I will be going to war with mosquitoes.  This is my battle armor.

Trowel: Deuce of Spades (0.6 oz)

Bury your poo, crew.

First Aid / Hygiene / Survival (15.4 oz)

First aid kit: Leukotape, Benadryl (x4), Immodium (x4) (.6 oz)

All-purpose tool / knife: Swiss Army Knife (0.8 oz)

Star of David edition.

Baby wipes: Wet Ones (3.6 oz)

Toothbrush + Toothpaste (2 oz)

SPF 50 (2.6 oz)

I am 80% ginger.

DEET 100 (1.1 0z)

I fully intend to punch every single mosquito I encounter in right in its smug face.


TP / Hand sanitizer (2 oz)

Vaseline (1.8 oz)

My anti-chafe savior and emergency fire starter.  In that order.

Maps: Halfmile Maps (~2 oz per section)

Snow Gear (23.8 oz)

TractionKathoola Microspikes (11 oz)

Ice Axe: Petzl Glacier Literide plus Petzl Linkin Leash (12.8 ounces) (Not pictured- waiting for me in Seattle)

Base weight (with snow gear): 15.86 lbs

Base weight (minus snow gear): 14.37 lbs

Items I plan on Swapping, Adding, Subtracting, etc.

Swapping: Montbell Convertible Rain Pants for Montbell Tachyon Wind Pants once it gets warm enough. Thinking somewhere around Cascade Locks. Weight savings 4.9 oz.

Swapping: Ibex Indie Hoodie base layer for Kora Shora base layer.  The Kora piece is the warmest base layer I own. Weight addition: .75 oz

Subtracting: Snow gear ASAP.  Weight savings: 23.8 oz

Subtracting: Bug head net when the coast is clear.  No clue where this happens.  Maybe near the Oregon / CA border?  Weight savings: 1.3 oz

Subtracting: SPOT Device as soon as I can convince family that I don’t need it. Weight savings: 4 oz.

Subtracting: Leggings when it gets real summery. Will add these back in the Sierra. Weight savings: 6.6 oz.  

Adding: Montbell Sun Umbrella when sun exposure and heat become much more intense.  Thinking through NorCal and the desert.  Weight addition: 6.1 oz

Disclosure: Many of the above items were donated for the purpose of review. I have had the privilege of testing a ridiculous amount of products over the last few years, and all of the products I’m carrying are solely because they have my full confidence.

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Comments 9

  • Haiku : Jul 7th

    I’m super curious about that Kathryn bottle, which you say is the new standard among thru hikers? I haven’t seen a single hiker with one out here this year. Anyway great list and hope to see ya going the other way!

    • Haiku : Jul 7th

      Ugh katadyn sorry auto correct

      • Zach : Jul 9th

        It will be the soup du jour on Trail next year, unless Sawyer can make something comparable. The flow rate + weight of the BeFree makes it the best option for long distance treks, in my opinion. The only question mark is the durability, which I will get a good answer to shortly 🙂

  • Steph : Jul 7th

    Love the Katadyn Be Free filter, super fast, but be careful not to try and squeeze all the water out of it too hard as the flexible reservoir easily separates from the more rigid plastic collar. Happened to me first hike with it as I was decanting to my regular water bottle. It was quickly replaced but in future I will swap my platypus collapsible bottle for one of the Katadyn ones with the same bottle neck thread size for the filter so if it fails next time, I have another compatible reservoir. Last time I was left being unable to filter my water.

    • Zach : Jul 9th

      Noted! Thanks for the heads up.

  • Shelby Butz : Jul 10th

    Curious about your choice to remove the hip belt from you GG pack since you are still using a fanny pack and shoulder strap. Why the swap to those two items instead of a hip belt? I’m just wondering. I have the Gorilla as well (the previous model since mine came sans lid) but I love my hip belts. Is it just personal preference and if so why?

    • Zach : Jul 10th

      Hey Shelby- good question. More than anything, it’s personal preference- in that I prefer to have as little constraining my hips as possible. Less material against my hips equates to less trapped heat, and thus less sweating. Additionally, even with the added shoulder pocket and fanny, the pack system is still a few ounces lighter than it would be with the hip belt.

      That said, this is the first long trek I will be doing sans hip-belt so the jury is still somewhat out. I’ve enjoyed the freedom during shakedown hikes, although that may change over longer distances. I’ll be sure to report back.

      Thanks for reading.

  • james : Jul 17th

    bear canister?
    fuel and container for stove?
    Nice list….


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