The Secret of my PCT Gear

This week I went into the backcountry to test out my gear. I backpacked just outside of Idyllwild and was able to experience a warm sunny day on the mountain, followed by a below-freezing night with howling winds. It was absolutely gorgeous and the perfect conditions for testing the range of my gear! When considering items to keep or add to my PCT kit I think about the survival factor and the ‘Marie Kondo’ factor. Essentially, does the item help me survive and/or give me joy? Thankfully, I’ve found a secret to allow much of my gear to help with survival and the Marie Kondo factor.

The Gear

After countless iterations of gear, I’ve finally gotten my ‘base weight’ down to about 12 lbs. (Scraggly hiker folks like myself refer to their backpacking gear minus food and water as their base weight.) So you may be thinking to yourself, “13 lbs of items for a 5+ month walk? Did you forget to pack a change of clothes, Hannah?” Well, some of my favorite items of gear are:
  • Toe Warmers — My Thermal Neoprene Toe Warmer Booties work absolute wonders on cold nights. My toes are always cold when I’m sleeping outside, but these little toe warmers have changed the game for me.
  • Hiker Trash Sewing Kit — There is nothing fancy about this, and that’s why I like this item. Essentially, my sewing kit is a container of floss and a needle. Floss is made of incredibly strong threading and can be threaded through the eye of a needle in order to make repairs. My sewing kit doubles as my floss (who would’ve guessed) and the needle will double as a trusty blister spear (with proper sanitation).
  • Journal — I’ll be bringing this item, thanks to the advice of many, to keep me company on the long days of solitude. Everyone enters the PCT with different intentions, whether it’s to challenge themselves physically, travel in a new way, or get away from it all. A big reason why I’m embarking on this journey is to see the abundant hope reflected in nature. I aim to document the hope embedded in the misadventures, highs and lows, and people of the trail.

If you’re interested in a breakdown of all of my gear, including the weight of the gear, feel free to check out my lighter pack link.

The Joy of My Gear (It’s you)

As I was looking through all my gear over my trip, I noticed a commonality. My tent was from a friend, my hat from my brother, hiking socks from my mom, a bear bell from my neighbor, my buffy from my aunt, a sunscreen stick from a friend, my sacred Garmin from my sibling (and a friend’s killer Facebook find), the list goes on. Each time I set up my tent, don my hat, and change my socks, I think of the people who have helped me get to the place I am now: one very feral but very courageous lady. Family members, friends, and even new acquaintances have given me words of encouragement, and wise advice, and checked my gear with me. Though I am incredibly excited for this upcoming trip, there is a measure of anxiety that comes with the planning. Simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know.
All this to say, if I’ve been hiking with you, have talked to you about this big trip, or if you’ve been following along from afar I’m so grateful for the encouragement you’ve given me. I feel incredibly lucky to be hiking the PCT with the support of my community. For me, it is the secret ingredient in my gear pack, the gift I don’t deserve, but so much need.

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Comments 1

  • Aaron : Apr 19th

    Thanks for sharing your list. I hope you don’t mind me asking, what’s your water storage system?


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