PCT 2016 Gear List
I suppose I should put a disclaimer at the beginning of this post. I love gear. Or more importantly, I STILL love gear. Most people obsess over their kit before their first thru hike, it’s one of those things that people feel like they have some semblance of control over. Which they do, sort of. I definitely obsessed hard before my attempt at the AT last year. I read and reread so many articles! I loved it! The weird part was I was still into it during most of my hike. Every time I saw something different or new, I would inquire as to what it was, how it worked, what people liked or disliked about it. I was that person at trail days going to all the gear tents and talking to dealers, asking about this and that. Maybe I should be ashamed of my obsession? I’m not sure. Anyways. This is bound to be a bit more thorough than anyone truly cares for, but it’s the PCT! I have to be a bit more careful about gear. So here is my PCT 2016 gear list:
- Zpacks Solplex Tent
- Titanium Shepherd Hook 6.5″ Stakes x10
- Tyvek Groundsheet
I bought this tent used, and apparently it had only been used a few times. An incredibly lucky buy and for an affordable price! Very proud of this. Especially considering the whole shelter weighs under a pound. There’s enough room for me and my gear and that’s all I really need. I’m bringing a groundsheet both for my tent and to sit on in the desert. I also carry two extra stakes. Even though they’re painted orange on the top, I managed to lose one once and it was the actual worst since my tent wasn’t freestanding. PRO TIP: Those titanium stakes are nice and light, but sometimes when you’re setting up on loose dirt they have trouble staying. To help with this, put the stake into the ground at an angle. If rocks are available, those are also helpful.
- Gossamer Gear Mariposa
- Trash Compactor Bag Liner
I used this pack last year and it’s the comfiest thing ever! The exception to this is when I’m carrying anything over 30lbs. I’m hoping (and about 98% certain) that my pack will be even lighter when loaded this year and that won’t ever be a problem. Also, I used a pack cover last year. It was semi effective, but everything was in a ziploc/waterproof sack anyway, so this year I’m going with a liner instead. We’ll see how it goes.
- Enlightened Equipment Revelation (850 fill, 10°, 6’0″, BRIGHT PINK)
- Sea to Summit Insulated Ultralight Sleeping Pad
- Sea to Summit Air Stream Dry Sack Pump
I haven’t gotten a chance to try out my new EE quilt yet. Mostly I’m excited because I used my sleeping bag “quilt style” anyways last year, and now I’ll have it already set. Plus, it’s 22° warmer than the Western Mountaineering Summerlite I used on the AT. As much as I LOVE Western Mountaineer, Enlightened Equipment was much cheaper, exceptionally light, and met my needs. The Sea to Summit Sleeping pad I also used last year. It’s bubbly. Bubbles are awesome. Plus, with the Air Stream Dry Sack, I don’t have to use my lungs to puff it up. Plus, the r-value is legit. Plus… I dunno. I like it.
I used the mini for the last two months I spent on the AT, and it met all my needs. I’d used Aquaphor previously, which was pretty convenient, except when you’re dehydrated and need water immediately. I got sick of the slight taste after a while and then someone creeped me out and said that it “doesn’t kill the eggs” and I was never able to verify this one way or another. So as annoying as squeezing is, it’s also insta water and filters everything. Whew. The mini is compatible with Smart Water bottles, so I’ll carry at least two more with me. The Platypus I carried with me on the AT. It’s a bit grungy, but the big zip it’s decently easy to clean and met all of my needs. I really enjoy being able to slurp as I walk, but if I get frustrated with how much I’m carrying it might get mailed home.
I last minute decided to ditch my pocket rocket, at least for the desert. I’ve never hiked without a stove before, so that’ll be an interesting experience. It will save on weight though! My current plan is to cold soak various things for food. Like Oatmeal and Instant Refried Beans. I’ll still use the Sea to Summit Long handle spoon and the Zpacks bear bagging kit is leftover from the AT. It doesn’t have any holes so I’ve decided to use it to store my food again. I’m not sure how often I’ll actually be hanging my food though.
- Outdoor Research Helium II
- Patagonia Nano Puff
- Patagonia R1 Hoody
- Patagonia Capilene 1 Pants
- Ridiculous Hawaiian Patterned Not Cotton Shorts
- Patagonia Underwear x1
- Asics Fujitrail Socks
- Fuzzy Socks
- Granite Gear eVent Compression Sack – 10L
The Helium II is new and I’ve not had a chance to use it much yet, but I’m excited for how lightweight it is. The Nano Puff I’ve had for a while and I love it. I sweat a lot and the synthetic insulation will still keep me warm, even when wet. The R1 Hoody I haven’t used on trail before. I’m planning on sleeping in it mostly/using it when I’m chilly. It’s probably too heavy but those thumb holes and hood will be oh so helpful! We’ll see if I switch it out for something lighter early on, or maybe I’ll save it for the Sierras. The leggings are purple patterned and were a signature part of my wardrobe on the AT. After ripping a giant hole in my shorts in the Whites last year (I was wearing bright pink underwear, it was super cute), I’m a huge advocate of carrying an extra pair of shorts. Even if they’re ludicrous and not for hiking. Extra underwear, because yeah. An extra pair of hiking socks and fuzzy comfy socks for camp. Waterproof compression sack! Which will double as my pillow. I put a Buff over it and it’s fabulous.
- Anker 10,000 mAh External Battery
- Droid Turbo + Lifeproof Case
- Charger + USB cable
- Yurbuds Inspire 300
- Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
- Rite in Rain Flipbook
- Mini baby sharpie
- Glasses Case + Sunglasses + Glasses
The Anker was inexpensive on Amazon and super reliable, it charges my phone 2.5 times. I ♥ my phone and the lifeproof case is a lifesaver. The Yurbuds are water resistant so I can sweat all over them and they have a built in microphone so if I magically have cell service I can make a call while I hike, which is such an awesome thing to do. The Spot is last year’s model so it’s only “water resistent”, but I’ve been in a deluge while wearing it and I couldn’t ask anything more out of a headlamp. Super bright, red light mode, lock mode. Perfect. I bring the Rite in Rain flipbook because I enjoy writing a bit on trail. I recently acquired fancy sunglasses because I guess the desert actually has a lot of sun or something? I carry the lightweight glasses case because I actually need my glasses to see and therefore can afford for them to break… Gawsh.
- Mini toothbrush/toothpaste
- Mini hairbrush
- Contact case/mini contact solution
- Dr. Bronners
- HAND SANITIZER
- Baby Wipes (dried)
- Trowel/Tent Stake Cathole digger combo
- Toilet Paper.
Tooth care is important, brush your teeth, folks. I’m bringing a mini hairbrush because I won’t have super short hair this time and my hair is super fine and tangles like nobody’s business. I’m also blind and I sweat so much that my glasses fall off my face, so contact case/solution is necessary. The Dr Bronners is more of a “just in case” thing and I carry it more to make myself feel better than anything. I let the baby wipes dry and then put them in a ziploc, it’s quite easy to rehydrate with a bit of FILTERED water. Worth it. Because you know what’s worse than stank? Butt chafe. It’s real, people. Baby wipes are worth it. Cat holes are the worst to dig, so I bring a super light (less than ounce) trowel plus one of the “v” shaped tent stakes and I sort of stab and then dig? I dunno. They’re difficult and Leave No Trace is SO important. Worth it. And NEVER FORGET TOILET PAPER. And PUT IT IN A ZIPLOC.
- KT Tape (6 strips)
- 2nd Skin Blister Kit
- Mini Swiss Army Knife
- Nail Clippers (small)
- Safety Pins + Needles + Thread
- Alcohol Wipes
- Antibiotic Ointment
- Mini Bag Balm
- Sawyer Stay Put Sunscreen
The KT tape, because I’m always rolling my ankles, though you have to get the more expensive “pro” kind, otherwise it comes off when you sweat. 2nd Skin Blister Kit, because blisters are real and unpleasant. Mini Swiss Army Knife, because mini tweezers/scissors/toothpick/etc. Nail Clippers, BECAUSE FEET ARE IMPORTANT. Safety Pins + Needles + Thread, because gear repair/blister popping. Alcohol wipes, because clean wounds = faster healing! Antibiotic ointment, mostly for peace of mind. Bag Balm, because sun/desert/dry skin/chafe/superficial wounds. Sawyer Stay Put Sunscreen, because melanoma is real/sunburn is wretched. Meds. Last year I was a walking pharmacy. I intend to downsize a bit, but I’ll still carry my personal prescription meds and the following: antihistamine, ibuprofen, zofran, multivitamin, and immodium. Because being that uncomfortable isn’t worth it.
- Rail Riders Eco Mesh Men’s Top
- Patagonia Barely Bra
- The North Face Reflex Core Shorts
- Ex Officio Give and Go
- Asics Fujitrail Socks
- Altra Lone Peak 2.5
- Dirty Girl Gaiters
- Timex Ironman 30 Essential Watch
- Leki Micro Vario Carbon Women’s Trekking Poles
- Tiger’s Baseball Cap + Bandana
- Zamst J Strap x2
I was just going to thrift for a desert shirt, but then everyone kept telling me about Rail Riders and this shirt was on sale so I decided to go for it. It’ definitely a bit big, but breathability is nice. Plus spf protection since I’m so so so white it’s not even funny. The patagonia bra isn’t the most supportive bra ever, but it’s so dang comfortable and the material dries super quickly so I’m wearing it regardless. The shorts are hopefully long enough that thigh chafe won’t be a thing, because that’s the worst. New underwear! Synthetic Socks! Super wide breathable shoes! Really though. The Altras saved my feet last year and I’m intending on wearing the same pair that I wore in Hawaii and for 200 miles on the AT. They’re still holding up great! And they literally feel like you’re wearing slippers. Dirty Girl Gaiters because the Altras are low profiles and sticks in shoes are annoying. I finally got a watch! I’m hoping it’ll encourage me to not use my phone quite so much. Trekking poles. “Hike Your Own Hike… with trekking poles!” I wore this hat on the AT last year and I really just want to see how disgusting it gets before I either lose it or it just disintegrates. #GoTigers. And then I have the Zamst patella straps because my knees are my weak point for hiking. We’ll see if I need them for both or just for my left.
Well. There’s my gear! I’m hoping I’ll look perpetually less nerdy the further I hike and that a decent tan is acquired at some point. I leave Michigan for San Diego in 15 days and begin the PCT in 17! So soon!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.