Hi! In case you didn’t know I will be hiking the PCT summer of 2022 (just a few months from the time this post is published)! ← Insert terrified-excited scream here.
Since I am treating this as more of an active online pre-trail journaling log (that’s my complicated way of saying, list of sh*t that might change), I’m keeping the post simple.
That being said, even the simplest of posts can become overwhelming and gear options are overwhelming. There is nothing like being crouched down in the middle of REI watching review videos comparing camping stoves and sports bra support.
And while part of the journey is figuring it all out for yourself, I definitely found posts like this helpful. So, today I’m sharing my Pacific Crest Trail packing list. I’m excited to see how these items may be abandoned or adjusted as I hike, and when the journey is complete, I will share my gear review – what worked out and what didn’t.
Now, let’s dive in.
The Main Gang
Main gear can be some of the most challenging items to choose from. They are important elements for a successful thru-hike – which means there are a lot of choices and many varying opinions.
Choosing a pack…
For my pack, I first did research; lots, and lots, and lots of reading posts (just like this one) comparing the various models of thru-hiking backpacks. I narrowed down my choices by picking my top 3 favorites.
From there, I took a trip to REI and tried those favorites out. Having your pack tested and measured to fit you is the best thing you can do.
REI will measure and fit the pack to you, then they weigh the pack down (I sampled my pack at 30LB). Once it’s weighted you are free to walk around the store and test it out.
It was this experience that lead me to choose, Osprey Eja 58 Pack – Women’s
Also purchased for the pack:
Choosing a tent…
This was perhaps one of my most complicated choices for a few reasons.
One, I have a tent which I love, but despite its lightweight “backpacking” claims, it is still way too heavy for a long-distance hiking trip. So, after much back-and-forth in my own head about whether or not to shell out the cost of a new tent, I finally decided the expense was necessary for the comfort.
Two, there are SO many options out there. It is really difficult to know what tent is going to be right for you. My advice, first decide what you don’t want. I knew that I didn’t want a tent that required my trekking poles for stabilization (may be lighter, but also a pain in the ass). This was a big deal because that one decision narrowed down the scope of options when comparing tents previous PCT hikers used. I also knew I did not want to spend a boatload of money if I didn’t have to (this one may seem obvious, but everyone’s budget is different).
After you know what you don’t want, then decide what you do want. The things that were most important to me:
- Compact & lightweight
- Relatively easy set up & take down
All of that brought me to…
My sleeping gear consists of three main components | sleeping bag + mat + pillow
Additionally, I went ahead and added the NEMO Switchback Sleeping Pad to my gear. This is for extra cushioning while I’m sleeping, but also for a squishy place to sit when I’m just hanging out.
I will tell you the Sea to Summit sleep pad is an absolute must (although seemingly luxury) item. I took this baby camping all summer and the difference it made for my sleep quality was other-worldly, 10/10 do recommend.
What I Plan to Wear
|Lightweight, quick-dry, UV t-shirt of choice|
|Shorts | Nike Tempo (might switch to PatagoniaBarely Baggies)|
|Shirt | REI Co-op Sahara Button-Up Long-Sleeve Shirt – Women’s|
|Warm Layer/Fleece | Patagonia R1 Pullover – Women’s|
|Wind resistance | Patagonia Houdini Jacket – Women’s|
|Puff Jacket | Women’s Torrid Jacket|
|Sports bra | Brooks Dare Scoopback Bra|
|Underwear | Patagonia Active Briefs|
|Sleepwear | Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Bottoms & Merino Base Layer Crew|
The Little Things That Make a Difference…
|Sea to Summit Head Net|
|Hat – Baseball Cap|
|Beanie | Smartwool Merino 250|
|Gloves | Outdoor Research Flurry Gloves|
|Darn Tough Micro Crew Socks – I can not stress how much I love these socks. I purchased two pairs last year to test before the PCT. I have worn these countless times, including back-to-back without washing during our Washington camping trips. These socks are AH-MAZE-ZING|
|Injinji Trail Midweight Mini-Crew Socks|
|Sunglasses | Goodr Polarizing|
|Chums Baja Urban Sunglasses Strap|
|Camp shoes | I’m bringing crocs, but I know a lot of people who choose to bring something less bulky|
For my feet…
Most PCT hikers will go through 4-5 (or more) pairs of shoes during their hike. However, it is not a good idea to stock up on shoes. This is because you may decide you strongly dislike the shoes you’re using, or you find other pairs more comfortable as your foot-support needs change.
I plan to start my hike with Hoka One One Speedgoat 4, I’ve been testing these babies out and they are clouds to my feet. However, I do see myself changing throughout.
Other Staple Items
|Trekking poles | Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork|
|Headlamp | Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp|
|Minimalist Bowie Cthulhu|
|Water Bottle Sleeve by Chicken Tramper Gear|
|Eating utensils | Reusable Bamboo Utensil Set (minus the fork)|
|Soto Amicus Stove Cookset + canister stand|
|Fuel | MSR|
|Lighter – Mini Bic|
|Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System|
|Vecto 2L Water Container by Cnoc Outdoors|
|2L CNOC Vecto Bag + Sawyer Fast Fill Hydration Pack Adapter Kit|
|(2) 1L Smart Water Bottle 1.5 oz ea|
|Food Storage Bag | Zpacks Cuben Food Bag (w/line)|
|BearVault BV500 | *0nly when required|
Toiletries, Hygiene, First Aid + Everything Else
First Aid Kit
|New-Skin Liquid Bandage|
|Neosporin Antibiotic Pain-Relieving|
|Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife|
|MediTac Extra Heavy Moleskin|
|Excedrin Extra Strength|
|Imodium A-D Anti-Diarrheal Medicine|
|Amazon Basic Care Naproxen Sodium|
|Small Clear Poly Zipper Bags|
|Band-Aids, Alcohol Wipes|
Toiletries + Hygiene
|Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes|
|Hand Sanitizer | clipped to pack|
|Toothbrush | Whatever you prefer|
|Toothpaste | Whatever you prefer|
|Lip Balm with SPF|
|Face Sunscreen | Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30|
|Dry Shampoo | Hair Dance small|
These may or may not be kicked to the curb, but I am bringing them along and we’ll see if they stick around.
|Journal + Pen + Stamps|
|Ultralight Wallet by Chicken Tramper Gear|
|Sea to Summit Stuff Sack Set|
|Cork massage ball|
|Iphone + Lifeproof Case|
|Remote for Phone Camera|
|External Battery Pack|
|Emergency Beacon | Garmin inReach Explorer+|
|Small Dry Bag | Osprey|
One Last Note
Thru-hiking is not cheap.
While overplanning is never recommended, I do think it is important to begin some form of planning in advance. This plays off when it comes to budgeting for the PCT. You can save money for trip expenses when you know what to expect and dispersing gear purchases can save you from breaking the bank in one large hall.
When it comes to gear I’ve had family support with some items, which I am so grateful for, but my husband and I have purchased the majority on our own. It’s been helpful buying items here and there – for cost and opportunity to test gear. For example, I’ve learned I absolutely hate the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork (an inexpensive experiment) and I love Sea to Summit Ultralight Sleeping Pad.
Remember, everything you bring is another thing you’ll have to carry – make sure it’s worth it.