CrampPa Tillman’s Gear List

Pack Base Weight of 18 lbs.

Less than a week before I start walking the PCT.  I currently have my pack down to Base Weight of 18 lbs.  Not the lightest that I could go, but significantly reduced down from where I started.  I am about 6-7 lbs. lighter than when I hiked the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) last summer.   We’ll see how it goes….. I have decided to use the first couple of weeks on the trail to help me determine if anything else should be cut or perhaps added to my pack.

UPDATE:  CrampPa’s UL Evolution took a 2 lbs. Hit Backwards Today- 

The day before I leave I am finding mental and emotional discomfort with my weight reduction choices that my “civilized shower every day” persona has been attempting.  Also sitting in my house listening to thunder and lightning on a gray rainy day ain’t helping!  I’ve added a few extra items including my duck back into play. So my Base Weight  (excluding consumables) is up to 20 lbs. So after spending this morning on the UL tetter-totter fretting about the extra weight; I got off and had a bowl of ice cream.  By the second scoop clarity and acceptance washed over me…. I’m OK; evolution is a process that takes time, I sure I won’t become extinct, the trail will talk to me, and it’s time to eat more ice cream.

Shout Out to ALL The Gear Heads

Before I go into my gear and some of the thought processes that went into my decisions, I want to first give a SHOUT OUT to all the Gear Heads who have taken the time to write about their gear choices and share their perspectives.   I have never read a gear posting that did not give me a moment of learning or a perspective worth chewing on for my own gear decisions.  Knowledge along with experience are invaluable tools to lean on to feel confident in going exploring.  Sharing is a great way to help others to get up to speed faster and grow the “sport” of Trekking.  While gear provides functionality, each person’s relationship with their gear can be very subjective and personal for a variety of reasons. So here is to “hiking your own Hike”…..

Here is the run down of the gear I am currently planning on bringing along with a little discourse on a few of the items that I have spent the most time evaluating the pros and cons of the options available to me.  I thought about my gear through 6 basic lenses:  my physical needs as a 68 year old, quality, weight, increasing my odds to complete the PCT, functional flexibility, and my gear’s previous performances.

I’ve attached the itemized Gear List to this Blog for those that want to see it.

Hiking Boots

This is the piece of gear that I have put personal subjectivity as the main determining factor.  I will be wearing my tried and true Lowa Backpacking Boots that I have recently broken in.  I have worn Lowa Boots for the majority of my 50+ years hiking and backpacking.  I have tried wearing lightweight hiking shoes and a few other brands of hiking boots over the years, but none of them have provided the comfort, support, and the quality that I find with my Lowa boots.  The support, traction, stability, and quality of these boots allow me to feel comfortable hiking on any terrain, in any weather, with a pack on my back.  I think of the kids song about all the bones being connected and my experience is that my lower back all the way down to my toes handle the grind of the trail much better in a well constructed comfortable boot.  And as I get older I don’t have the elasticity or the strength in my ligaments and joints that I used to have.  I am laying a bet that the heavier sturdier boots will help my body handle the daily grind that the trail is sure to offer.  My current Lowa Boots are  7 years old and while they have not traveled a 2,600 mile Thru Hike, they have survived 6 Minnesota Winters as my primary winter wear along with many hiking and backpacking trips. Below pictures show the comparison of my new pair of Lowa Boots with my 7 year old boots.  I think is shows the investment is well worth it.

 comparison of 7 year old boots to new bootsDurability of Lowa Boots


I will be using my Osprey Exos 58 Pack.  I love the way it fits on my back and how the straps feel and adjust.  The belt is padded nicely and has the 2 convenient pockets.  Has a stretchy mesh panel.  The brain is good sized and easily handles my “Ditty Bag” items and has the underside zippered pocket.  Has strapping on the outside to carry items securely.    I thought about getting one of the ultralight packs to cut weight but investing in that for a 3-6 oz weight savings didn’t seem like the best place to invest my available gear money.  Besides I know I love the way my current pack feels on my body.  I will now start out with a rain cover for my pack.  I used it a couple of days last summer on the SHT and it worked great but I know the trash bag option is a popular lighter weight choice and one I was planning on using..


I will be using a Big Agnes Copper Spur for 1.  It has great length and height for a 1 person tent as well as great ventilation. I love the side door entrance which opens up wide for easy entry/exits. The rain fly has a good size vestibule and it is self standing.  This is the tent my son (Steady Eddy) used on the Te Arora Trail in New Zealand and he has loaned it to me.  Big win for me.

Sleep System

I have spent a lot of time on my sleeping gear options.  I had 3 good sleeping bag choices available to me. My internal conflict revolved around the desire to have a nice cozy sleep regardless of the various weather conditions.  But with extra warmth and/or extra length comes extra weight .  I liked the idea of a longer bag but being a side sleeper I realized it was not really the best bag for me.  This is also where I decided that I had the ability to layer up with some really warm and good quality clothing if need be and save 9 oz on the bag weight.  So I’m using my regular Western Mountaineering Down bag instead of the other 2 bags.  I also will be bringing my Silk Liner to help keep my sleeping bag cleaner.  It also adds a little to the warmth of the bag and on hot nights will actually be my sleeping bag.  Being able to throw the liner into the wash when I go into town is a huge plus.  One of my self indulgences is my Nemo Elite Pillow at only 3 oz.  I have slept with the clothes in a sack for years and it really doesn’t work for me.  I get grumpy in the middle of the night trying to figure out why I no longer have head support!  Lastly I have experimented with my pad system trying to come up with good ground insulation, packability, and weight.  I decided to cut my ThermaRest Z-Lite down to 9 panels, add in my old roll ThermaRest Ridgeway pad, along with a rolled Gossamer padding which will give me 4 layers of padding/insulation, ability to fit nicely on my pack with the fragile Gossamer pads rolled up inside my Ridgeway pad on the top of my pack and my Z-Lite fits on the bottom of my pack.  My inflatable Nemo pad will be staying at home and I hope I don’t have to go “Finding Nemo” later.


I spent money on new clothing items to build up my layering options depending on the weather.  My older items have been well used and I needed new items.  I’m particularly looking for UV protection and will use my Tilly broad rimmed Hat, Jolly Gear hooded long sleeved shirt, Buff Neckwear, sunglasses, and sunscreen in combination to protect from UV.  Got a new midweight long sleeve shirt, Fleece Jacket, and Puffy to provide options to handle varied weather conditions.  I can also use these combinations on colder nights.


Got a new Titanium Toaks pot and will use my Pocket Rocket Stove and small gas canister.  I will use a Sawyer Squeeze for water filtration but will also bring my bottles of Aqua Mira for chemical treatment.  Might be redundant, but water sources can be sketchy and there are plenty of blogs about stomach bugs and the fun stuff that goes with that.

Time To Hit the Trail

Time to start hiking and let the trail guide me on how good my decision processes about gear were.  I suspect by the end I’ll have a different perspective and figure out what worked best and what I would do differently.  Thanks for reading my Blog.

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Comments 2

  • Jeff Greene : Apr 17th

    It’s tough weighing (no pun intended) comfort vs heft! I feel your pain!

  • E Walton : Apr 18th

    Love the boots. I sent my Lowa’s off to the factory in Germany to be re-soled and they feel like new.
    Enjoy the journey!


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