My PCT Gear List 2022 – with Ratings
Here it is in all its glory: my starting gear list for the PCT.
But before you read it, I want to offer an important caveat: I didn’t buy this stuff all at once. I bought this gear slowly over many years, trading gear in and upgrading gear that didn’t work. It took me years just to get the sleep system dialed in, and the rest came slowly over about a decade.
Rating my gear: I like every piece of gear on this list or I wouldn’t be taking it on the PCT. However, there are some pieces of gear I like more than others. So here’s my personal rating scale for each piece of gear in my list:
- 0 = This piece of gear is good and I am happy with it, but if it broke tomorrow I’d probably buy something else (like a different brand, size, or model). If I rate something 0, I’ll try to explain what alternative I might prefer.
- 1 = This piece of gear is good. If it broke tomorrow, I might buy exactly the same thing, but I wouldn’t mind if I had to buy an alternative.
- 2 = This piece of gear is perfect. If it broke tomorrow, I’d make sure it get exactly this as a replacement.
Sleep system See weights + links to gear here.
- Petrel 10 UL Women’s Sleeping Bag from Feathered Friends. (1) This amazing bag is so dang warm and incredibly light, and it fits my small body perfectly. The one thing I don’t entirely love in every way is the hood, which is slightly awkward. That’s the only reason I’d consider a different bag.
- Note: in hot weather, I use a 20 Degree Revelation Quilt (Enlightened Equipment) bag, which I would rate at (0). If it disappeared tomorrow, I would probably get the same one but I feel like it’s not quite big enough. I got the regular size/regular width one, and as a 5’3” woman who sleeps on her stomach and likes to pull the bag up over her head, I would get the long length and I might even choose the wide width. I’m not starting with this quilt, but I might switch over and use it for a while in Northern California.
- Nemo Switchback Sleeping Pad (0) I love closed cell foam sleeping pads, and I’ve learned over years to sleep comfortably on them. But I sort of miss my old Zlite Sol pad. I am trying the Switchback for now, but I would return to the Zlite if this one broke.
- Osprey waterproof compression sack (1) I stuff my sleeping bag in here while hiking and I love knowing it’ll stay safe and dry regardless of the weather. At night, it’s my pillow, and I throw any extra clothes in here.
Backpack See weights + links to purchase here.
- Gossamer Gear’s Mariposa (2) This is a solid backpack. I wrote an extensive article about my decision to go with this backpack over similar packs, and so I feel like I’ve thoroughly investigated packs of similar weight. I’ve been using this one for 6 years now and I’m really happy with it. I wondered about replacing it, since it’s getting old and a few snaps have broken. But I felt like it was still working well and I had to buy enough new gear for the PCT (hello, new tent!) that I didn’t want to replace a totally functional backpack.
- Zpacks Pack Cover (?) This is a new purchase for the PCT, and so I don’t yet know how to rate it.
- Tarptent Aeon Li (2) This is a relatively new purchase so my views on this piece may change over time. But, I like that it only takes one hiking pole to set up, it’s very well-made, and I like the tiny footprint.
- Note: I won’t be carrying a tent when I start the PCT, since I’ll be with my partner. He’s carrying the Zpacks Triplex. I would rate that a (2) – it’s an absolutely phenomenal tent for 2 people. But it’s too big for me when I’m solo.
Electronics: See weights + links to purchase here.
- Nitecore® NU25 Triple Output USB Rechargeable Headlamp (2). Best headlamp ever. I would get this again in a heartbeat. I bought it from Litesmith, who puts it on these nice elastic bands.
- Quick Charge 3.0 RAVPower 10000mAh Portable Charger (0) I can’t find this exact model on Amazon anymore, which is fine because I think it’s a little heavy anyway. I’m bringing substantial battery weight because I’ve moved mostly rechargeable gear (headlamp, steripen, etc). It’s possible I might downgrade to a smaller portable charger later.
- iPhone (2).
- Garmin vivosport (1) – I like this watch and I’ve bought it several times. I like that it’s small and rechargeable. But it really excels as a running watch, especially running laps. I find the weird recharging cord annoying and the connection points can get messed up and then it has a hard time recharging. So I’d be open to trying a different watch if this one broke.
- Suunto Compass. (1) Yes, I carry a compass and a map. I don’t need them that often, but they are important for safety, especially if the phone is broken, runs out of battery, or gets lost.
- Garmin InReach Mini (1) Garmin has an upgraded version of this now, so I’d probably buy the upgrade if this broke tomorrow. Otherwise it’s great.
- Philips over-ear headphones with adapter. (2)
- Recharging cords and plug.
Water treatment and storage See weights + links to purchase here.
- Katadyn Steripen Ultra UV Water Purifier (2) I realize this is not the default for the PCT, but I love this thing. I love the process of purifying water with this, and I just use a bandana to pre-filter dirty water. Mostly I love this purifier because I don’t have to worry about it freezing the way I have to worry about a filter freezing.
- Aquamira Water Treatment (2) Aquamira drops are fantastic. I always carry them as a backup water treatment system. Slightly less convenient than the Steripen, I still turn to them often.
- Nalgene (1) I used to just bring a disposable plastic water bottle, but I bumped into a few issues with warped bottles so now I normally carry a Nalgene as well.
- Several Smart Water bottles (2) – I buy more as needed and discard them when I don’t need them.
- Platypus Hoser Reservoir (2) This one has worked better for me than the Camelbak, which was constantly developing pinhole leaks. But I miss the Camelbak’s lovely close-top.
Kitchen See weights + links to purchase here.
- Ursack Major (2) – I love this bear-resistant food bag and I recommend it to all my friends.
- Note: When I’m required to carry a bear canister, I have the very fancy Bearikade Blazer from Wild Ideas (2).
- MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove (1) – This is my partner’s and I am carrying it on my PCT trip.
- TOAKS Titanium 750ml Pot (1) – This will heat up water for 2 people for dinner.
- Plastic mug (0) I’m bringing this when I am hiking with my partner, but plan to just use the TOAKS pot for heating water and as a mug when I’m solo.
- Long-handled Valtcan Titanium Spork (1) – Love this thing. But there are lots of long-handled titanium sporks, and they are probably all about the same.
- Big Sky Insulated Space Bag (0) – I like this, it’s super light and it’s a good place to keep my spork during the day and rehydrate food in the evening. But I don’t really need it, so if it was lost tomorrow I likely wouldn’t replace it.
- A lighter. (1)
Menstrual products, hygiene, etc See weights + links to purchase here.
- Some plastic trowel (1)
- Kula kloth pee rag (2) I’ve been using this on trips for a year and it’s actually much nicer than a bandana
- Genial Day menstrual cup (1) It’s hard to find a good menstrual cup. I moved to Genial Day away from Diva Cup because it’s slightly softer, but I might experiment with the Saalt Soft regular if I need to replace this one.
- PStyle funnel with case (2) On a training backpacking trip earlier this year, I got completely covered in poison oak. I swore that I would stop squatting in random bushes until I got out of the low country. So now I have a pee funnel. Take that, poison oak.
- Lunapads (2) I normally carry 2 lunapads for the last few days of my period, and I’ll wash and then hang dry one while the other is worn. Lunapads have been discontinued, sadly.
Worn Clothing See weights + links to purchase here.
- REI hat with neck cowl (2) They unfortunately don’t sell this particular hat anymore.
- Brooks Cascadia Trail Running Shoes Women (2) I’ve gone through four different hiking shoe options in the last year since my ankle surgery, and this is my favorite by far because they come in wide sizes and are well-shaped for my foot. There’s an 8 MM heel to toe drop, which is a little high for me but I think will work fine.
- Eclipse Sungloves (2) – I normally hate the feeling of sun gloves on my hand on a hot day, but these are sheer and have great ventilation. They are perfect.
- REI Active Pursuits Long Sleeve Shirt (1) – I used to wear shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. But I’m trying to embrace long sleeves to save my skin from the sun and avoid coating myself in sunscreen.
- The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pant (2) These are the best women’s hiking pants. I recommend them to everyone.
- Patagonia Barely Bra (2) Bras are such a personal thing. I wore this every day for a month on the Colorado Trail and it may have been my favorite piece of gear on that trip. Plus, it works fine as a swimsuit top in a pinch.
- Darn Tough No-Show Socks (1) I wear a pair and pack a pair
- ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go 2.0 Bikini Briefs (1) I wear a pair and pack a pair
Packed Clothing See weights + links to purchase here.
- Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket – Women’s (1) this is a solid rain jacket if I’m expecting only a little rain.
- PLASMA 1000 Alpine Down Parker (Montbell) (2) This puffy jacket is completely amazing. I have the men’s version because it’s much puffier than the women’s version. What it lacks in style it makes up for in incredible warmth. If I lost this tomorrow, I’d cry and then buy the same one again.
- Torrid Mitts (2) These are great gloves and shockingly lightweight.
- Patagonia Capilene Air Bottom (1) I think these are fine and fit well. I like the wide waistband. I don’t think they are the warmest and so for temperatures in the mid-20s and below I’ve needed to wrap my hips in another layer, like my rain jacket. But they are a good compromise for trips where some nights are warm and some are cold.
- Kuhl Alf hat (1) I like this hat. I really like a roomie hat, and this one does the trick.
- Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Crew (0) I don’t love this shirt because it doesn’t fit me perfectly. But the material is nice and it’s a good weight.
- Ultralight Goose Socks (0) – These are less warm and less cozy than I would have hoped, so I probably wouldn’t get them again. But they are very lightweight.
- Bombas compression socks (1) I’m on the fence about whether I’ll keep these on the whole trip, but I’m starting with them because I’d like to try them to help with recovery after hiking. On practice trips, I’ve been wearing them for about 5 hours after I hike, but not sleeping the full night in them. I don’t want to carry both these and the goose socks, so I’m hoping to send one of them home after a few weeks.
- Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles (2) Fantastic hiking poles. Not the lightest, but they feel nice. And I hate trekking poles.
- 2 bandanas. (1) I keep one clean for draping around my face and using to filter water, and the other one becomes a handkerchief and whatever else it needs to be.
- Sea to summit headnet (1) My partner jokes that whenever he carries this, he doesn’t need it. And whenever he doesn’t carry it, he’s swarmed by mosquitoes. It’s light so I’m bringing it.
- Map – National Geographic (1). Yes, I bring a map. I think it makes a lot of sense to carry a map even if you primarily use a navigation tool on your phone. I’ve gotten lost on too many backpacking trips to take navigation lightly at this point.
- Rawlogy cork ball (1) I’ve been using this on backpacking trips for about a year. We’ll see if I actually use it on my trip. It’s nice but it’s also at risk of getting sent home, since I’ve moved a lot of my post-hike recovery to a stretching routine.
- Japa beads (1) . For meditation.
- Lightweight journal and pen (1) . For journaling
- Prescription glasses, contacts and contact solution (2). I spent a long time trying to find something that worked for me around glasses. I landed on using Ultras from Bausch and Lomb, which are contacts I can put in my eyes and leave in for several days. I just take them out to clean during days in town, and I add a few drops to them at night and in the morning while I’m on trail. I’m starting the trail with a spare set of contacts and with some Zenni prescription glasses, but I might send something home if I’m not really using them.
- Sunglasses (1)
- Black Diamond Distance Spikes (?) These are new and I haven’t had a chance to try them yet. But I’m sure they’ll be better than the yaktrax held together with leukotake I’ve been using for the last several years.
Medical kit. Over the years, I’ve stopped carrying anything I don’t frequently use. I’m also relying heavily on leukotape plus a bandana to get me through until I can get to a town, and that’s worked well enough for me. If you choose to carry a more substantial kit, that’s certainly reasonable and probably even smart. My medkit currently is a ziplock bag with:
- Allegra tablets
- Benadryl tablets
- Pepto Bismo chewable tablets
- Some ibuprofen and tylenol
- A few throat lozenges with zinc
- Boric acid tablets
- Diflucan (need a prescription from the doctor for this)
- Small scissors
- Small tweezers
- Small nail clippers
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