Here is my updated gear list for my 2018 PCT thru hike. I’ll be updating the list as I make more purchases.
So, yes, yes, yes I was supposed to hike the PCT in 2017, but that didn’t end up happening. So, here we are, it’s 2018 and I am officially back at the planning stages for my April start. I have some of the same gear as my last post, but I have exchanged, returned, and bought many more items.
Backpack – Osprey Packs Women’s Kyte 46 Backpack
This pack is somewhat smaller than the average person takes (that’s usually between 50-65L) but I had read somewhere that no matter what size you take you are going to fill it up. Well, I’m trying to be as light as possible so I decided to risk taking a smaller pack. Also, I already had it and it’s traveled the world with me. We have a bond. Its name is Samwise.
This is ultra light and as easy to set up as I could possibly ask for. Its popularity has waned a bit in responce to other lightweight tents now on the market, but I think it’s still a solid, ultralight tent.
Sleeping bag – Enlightened Equipment Revelation 10 degree Quilt.
I’ve never used a quilt before but from all the people who seem to swear by them, I think it ticks the boxes that I need. Lighter than mummy bags, warmer than most but also able to open for those warmer nights. It also stuffs down quite small. Once I’m on the trail I’ll let you guys know how I feel about it.
Sleeping Pad – Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Mattress
Lots of people used lightweight air mattresses now, but from many of the “Post thru-hike gear review” videos I have watched, most people end up switching to foam by the end. The air mattresses obviously are likely to get a hole at some point, so I’m just going foam. I can always swap if I decide to.
Bear Can – BearVault BV500
Ugh, no one looks forward to the areas of the trail where carrying a bear can is required because it adds an extra 3 lbs to your pack, but it is an unavoidable curse. Pretty much everybody uses BearVault. So, I followed the crowd. TIP: It’s hella difficult to get into (hence why bears can get at cha food!) so practice using your knife to open it.
Food bag – Ursack Minor
For all the other time when the BearVault is not needed, I will be carrying my food in an Ursack. They have a number of different strength bags, but I went with the Minor because apparently mice are the main thing to worry about and this bag protects from them.
Spork – Snow Peak Titanium Spork
Sporks are magical and all you’ll ever need in this world.
Water filtration – Sawyer Water Filtration System
After getting duped into buying the Mini, I went back and have gotten the Squeeze. I’m very happy with it. I won’t be using the bladders or accessories that come with it, though.
Water bladder (x2) – Vecto Water Bladder 2L
This is a relatively new type of bladder, but from what I saw online, it seems great. The bladder is super strong and has a large opening. It closes down like a drybag to avoid spillage. I’ll carry two of these and 2 1L Smart Water bottles in the desert. UPDATE: Both of my bladders were faulty, so I will probably end up just carrying Smart Water bottles because I don’t want to put any more money into potentially faulty gear like bladders. I have much more ease of mind throwing a Smart Water bottle into my pack than a bladder, even if it does add some weight. I can drop liters after the desert. NEW UPDATE: Cnoc reached out to me and they are sending me replacements, so I am hopeful that the new bladders will work well and I’ll be able to have them on trail with me!
I had a very specific type of pant in mind, one that I wasn’t even sure existed, but low and behold, they do! I knew I wanted long pants because I am Guinness World Record pale and didn’t want to have to carry around the mass amount of sunscreen I would need to cover my body every day but I also kinda hate buttons and zippers. I live for leggings, but they tend to be thin and sheer. What’s a gal to do? REI had a single option for me with this thick and strong legging and they one had one left in the size and color I needed.
Shirt – Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Shirt
I knew I wanted long sleeves to protect against the sun and insects. I wanted a shirt that could roll sleeves, was ventilated and could button down. This is super lightweight and seems great.
Base layer – Champion sweatshirt and joggers (on sale at Target, I couldn’t find a link)
By far the most popular base layers are Marino wool layers which are lightweight and warm. That’s what I was planning on, but after seeing the $100 price tag for each no matter the brand, I could barely hold back a vomit. I headed to Target and got a moisture-wicking sweatsuit for $37. They are so, so comfortable and warm.
Down Jacket – Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket
Again, this is a popular item and since I won’t get to test out my gear, I went with the foolproof choices. It’s super lightweight and folds up into its own pocket. I’ve tested it in 20 & 30-degree weather and yes, it’s warm.
Rain Gear – Frogg Toggs Women’s Ultralight Jacket
I hate the color more than I can say, but it’s cheap and that’s what I care about. Rain gear is highly debated on the PCT. Some hikers swear you need a full, expensive rain suit, while others say it only rained a few times and a simple jacket was all they needed. Well, I’m taking a risk and going with the latter. If I need more, or to replace it since it’s cheap, I do that when I cross that bridge.
Bra – Champion Bra
I’m not gonna lie, this might have been the piece of gear that I fretted about the most. You ladies know, a bra can make or break you. I had already accepted that I would be willing to pay practically anything to ensure I was comfortable and had good support. Turns out, I absolutely love, love this $22 sports bra from Target. I hope I’ll love it as much out on the trail, but I’ve used the style in the past and it’s my favoirte sports bra of them all.
Underwear – ExOfficio Give-N-Go Bikini Brief
These are recommended by all the ladies. I just followed the crowd with this purchase.
I went into REI knowing I wanted this shoe. This is the shoe it seems that everyone ends up switching to because it is just so darn perfect for thru-hiking. I’ve never spent $120 on shoes, but I don’t regret it. Hopefully, that sentiment stays.
I’ve had minor plantar fasciitis in the past, so I’m going to be as careful as I can to avoid it o the trail.
Gaiters – Dirty Girl Gaiters
Mine are red & sparkly. I look like Wonder Woman.
Darn Tough is the gold standard and has a lifetime guarantee on them. If you get a hole they will ship you another pair for free. They have a variety of different colors, lengths, and fusion options. I bought two pairs for hiking. I bought a pair of toe sock liners just to try out. They supposedly help prevent blisters a lot, which I know from past experience I tend to get blisters on my toes. I’ll see how they fair and just chuck them if I decide they aren’t doing much. I also am bringing a pair of sleep socks from Target, nothing special.
Buff – Adventure Band
So there’s this bandana thing called a Buff that many hikers use. It doubles as a headscarf, hair tie, mouth covering etc. It can be about 25 different things. I was gonna get one to be cool like everyone else on trail, but decided to go with the Bucketlist Family’s Adventure Band. It does the same thing and costs the same but the proceeds go to end human trafficking. Also, it is patterned after the beautiful Nepal prayer flags which will remind me of my years in Asia and one of my dream destinations – Nepal. Finally, I got the green one which symbolizes the ocean. How perfect is that?
Hat & gloves – Baseball cap & beanie & basic gloves
The beanie and gloves are from Target, I already owned them. They should do the trick. I’ll be mailing my gloves probably to Kennedy Meadows. The cap is silly but amazing. It’s from a company called Whosits & Whatsits and they make all Disney themed products. Mine is Moana themed, cause she’s my girl and I want everyone to know it!
Hiking Poles – Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Shock Walking Pole
I’ve also never used trekking poles before but I have a feeling I’m going to love them. Everyone swears by Black Diamond or Leki, but my REI had these on sale and they seem that they’ll do the job just fine.
Ice Axe – Camp Corsa Ice Axe
Super lightweight and occasionally goes on sale. I got the 50cm.
Microspikes – Weanas Microspikes
These were $16 and had great reviews. This probably won’t be a very crazy snow year, so I went ahead and didn’t sell my first born child for a more expensive pair of microspikes. Hopefully, these don’t cause my death.
Trowel – Tentlab Deuce of Spades
This thing weighs nothing, why wouldn’t you take something that makes pooping in the woods easier? Protip: some of the colors tend to be cheaper, check all the colors before purchasing. I saved $6 by getting gold instead of blue.
Towel & Headlamp
I bought these in Hong Kong and I’ll be taking it with me but I don’t have links to them. They’re nothing special but should do the trick.
Apparently, this is a lifesaver on sections of the trail.
Pillow – Cocoon Travel Pillow
This is a piece of gear I already own, so I will probably start with it on the trail, however, it very well may be sent back. It’s not particularly comfortable but it gets the job done. I would recommend the Sea to Summit pillow if you’re looking for one.
Sleeping Bag Liner – Cocoon Travel Liner
Again, this was another piece of gear I already owned. It’s kinda bulky and heavy, but I feel like my quilt needs it to stay clean and add a bit of warmth. I’ll start with it and see what happens. Go for silk if you’re looking for your own.
Footprint – Gossamer Gear Polycryo Ground Sheet (M)
I’m not the most knowledgeable about ground cloths, so rather than pay $90 for one made for my tent, I went with this one with 2 for $10. The reviews are pretty amazing, but it seems so thin I’ll be amazed if it really does anything. It’s like putting your tent down on saran wrap.
Power bank – Anker PowerCore II 20100
I spent SO MUCH time choosing which power bank to bring. I needed a lot of power for my phone and camera but they are so dang big and heavy. I ended up with this one because it charges in 5 hours but still has a huge capacity.
Charger – Anker Quick Charge 4 port
I had to get this so my power bank would charge faster and with four ports, I can charge my power bank, phone, camera batteries, and kindle at once if I’m short on time.
GPS Locator device – SPOT Gen3
It’s expensive, but my parents wanted me safe, so they offered to get it for me. Thanks, Mom & Dad!
This is for you guys so I can log and use my trekking pole as a selfie stick.
Camera – Sony a6000
I’m going a little excessive with the camera because photography & videography are one of my biggest passions – and I’m planning on shooting and creating a documentary of my hike after it’s all over.
Camera case – Matador Camera Base Layer
It’s like a down jacket for your camera. Brilliant.
Cardholder – Waterproof SD Card holder
I’ll be carrying my SD cards with me and I am praying that this dude will keep them safe!
Drybag for electronics – Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano 2L
Self-explanatory. I’ll keep my electronic gear in plastic bags and in this lightweight drybag.
travel toothbrush & toothpaste
duct tape & leukotape
meds (Aleve, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, iron suppliment, anti-diarrhea pills)