Lightweight PCT gear list
As the PCT class of 2018 might be already busy preparing, I finally got around to update my lightweight PCT gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail.
Choosing the right hiking gear for my first long-distance hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016 was a very challenging undertaking. Weeks and months of doing my research turned me into an expert about backpacks, tents and hiking shoes, different materials used and how they affect weight and durability. My PCT gear list developed over a few months and I am especially proud to say that I could realize some last minute weight savings before I hit the trail.
When it comes to long distance hiking every gram or ounce (for Americans :-)) counts. Ultra-light hiking and hence the gear is by now not very common in Germany. People start looking at you in a different way once you are saying something like “It weighs 50 grams, sorry that’s too heavy.”
By reading tons of blogs and gearlists from experienced thru-hikers and simply by asking some questions I could venture a guess what might work for me on trail. I decided to be a “not very ultra-light” hiker and carry maybe too much or too heavy items. But as I said before finding appropriate gear in Germany has been quite a challenge so I was very happy with my still lightweight gearlist. I decided to adjust along the way and to use a bounce box (That’s a box you can send ahead of yourself on trail and if you don’t open it you can forward it to the next post office for free.) giving me the opportunity to send gear I don’t need ahead of me.
How to choose the right hiking gear for the PCT?
Regarding the selection of your own gear all the PCT gear lists and reviews on the internet are more than helpful. Lots of products are very successful and that’s for a reason. Actually more important than to look at what others use is actually to try and use gear and find out what works for yourself. So go out and hike!
Just in case you want to get an idea of what I was carrying in 2016 scroll down and have a look at my lightweight PCT gear list. My approach was to separate the gear I used for hiking the first section from the stuff that is in my pack. In the end the numbers showed a total weight of my backpack of 7.6 kg and another 1.1 kg I would wear or use initially (including hiking poles).
Overall I was very happy with my gear. I still use most of it and will definitely take it on my next hiking adventure!
Gear used while hiking
shoes: LaSportiva Women’s UltraRaptor
hiking poles: Leki Micro Vario Carbon 478g
desert pants: lightweight convertible pants
sierra pants: Lundhags Traverse WS pant
shirt: Craghopper’s Nosilife longsleeve shirt 200g
underwear: Craft women’s boxershorts 70g
underwear: Icebreaker sports bra 60g
socks: darn tough vermont womens socks 50g
sunhat: Arc’teryx Sinsola Hat Woman’s 53g
scarf / neck protection: Buff 35g
gaiters: Dirty Girl Gaiters 30g
Backpack, tent and sleeping bag
rain jacket: OR Helium II Jacket Women 168g
rain “pants”: ÜLA rain skirt 72g
puffy jacket: Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody 313g
extra hiking socks: darn tough vermont socks 50g
sleep socks: Smartwool W’s PHD Outdoor medium crew 50g
extra underwear 30g
top for sleeping/cold: Woolpower Zip Turtleneck 200 200g
pants for sleeping/cold: Odlo Evolution X-Warm Pants 152g
gloves: OR Backstop Sensor Gloves 60g
glove liners: Icebreaker Merino Oasis Glove Liners 22g
beanie: Mountain Equipment Alpine Hat 31g
custom “pot” for rehydration 70g
cutlery: Esbit Titan longhandle spoon 21g
2 small nalgene bottles for hot sauce, olive oil 30g
Water & Filtering
waterfilter: Sawyer Squeeze Mini 55g
backup waterfilter: Micropur Forte 100l 21g
2x 1l Smartwater bottle
self-made adapter for filtering
towel: PackTowel Nano Gr. S 20g
trowel: MSR Blizzard Snow Stake (for digging catholes) 33g
Liquid Hand Sanitizer
toothbrush & Toothpaste
Headlamp Petzl Tikka R+ 113g
Camera Olympus Tough TG-4 250g
Camera Mounter Stick-pic 12g
iphone 4 160g
USB Travel Adapter: Anker Power Port 4 132g
Portable Battery: RAV Power 7800 Ah 181g
cords for electronics 103g
stuffsack: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack 8l (for clothes) 24g
stuffsack: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Dry Sack 2l (for electronics) 16g
trashbag: Opsak 18g
Euroschirm Swing Liteflex silver 230g
Repair Kit (fire starter, duct-tape, repair kit matress) 40g
rope parachute cord 5m 31g
knife: Leatherman Style CS 43g
Sea to Summit Nano Headnet 13g
Oakley sun glasses 32g
Halfmile maps printed (first section) 100g
Aloksak + passport, permits, paper, pen 64g
Aloksak + money, credit cards 35g
I carried temporary gear in the Sierra Nevada. The required bear canister made for a heavier backpack from Kennedy Meadows to Kennedy Meadows North. The micro spikes were with me for nearly the same stretch and very useful while crossing some of the high passes in snow. Not having had a proper training in it’s usage, I didn’t carry an ixe axe though. But on trail there were nearly no sections where I really would have needed one.
Bear Canister BearVault BV500 1160g
What gear will you take on your hike on the Pacific Crest Trail?
I hope you’ll find my PCT gear list helpful for your selection. You can find more information in my detailed gear review. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment section!
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is about more than gear and there is much more to consider before you can actually pack you backpack and start on your hike. Therefore I have written another blogpost about planning and you can also find a list of good books to read.
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