Gear is an important choice for the Pacific Crest Trail, and one that has been discussed to death by many. My preference is towards the ultralight philosophy, I have a fairly high tolerance for discomfort, and the simplicity of carrying just enough and no more appeals to me. This of course brings other advantages, the reduced weight to carry means I can go farther in one day, which means I need to carry less food between resupplies.
- Osprey Aether 70
- Sleeping Bag
- Marmot Sawtooth 15F Bag
- Sleeping Mat
- Thermarest Self Inflating Sleeping Pad
- Rab Survival Zone Bivi, Rain Poncho
- MSR XGK-II, 1Litre Fuel Bottle
- GSI cookpan, Titanium Utensils, Foldable Camping Knife, Small sponge for wiping clean
- Water Treatment
- Katadyn Water bottle Filter
- 3L Camelbak Bladder, additional collapsible bladders in desert areas
- Halfmiles PCT maps, PCT App and PDFs on iPad Mini
- IPad Mini with Kindle App
- Icebreaker underpants 2x, Medium Thickness Woolen Socks 2x, North Face Hiking Pants/Shorts, treated with Permethrin, Icebreaker Merino T-Shirt, Rab Thermals, Patagonia Fleece Pullover, Arc’teryx Alpha SL Soft-shell Rain, Waterproof over-trousers, Hat
- Merrel MOABs
- First Aid
- Medical Tape; Small bottle of iodine; Assorted Elastoplast 10x; Medium adhesive dressing; large non-adhesive dressings 2x; Gauze Bandage 2x.
- Hygiene and Care
- 99% DEET Lotion; Ibuprofen Capsules, 400Mg, lots; Biodegradable, non-perfumed detergent; Microfibre Cloth; Scissors; Toothbrush; Toothpaste; Dental Sticks; 2nd Skin; Moleskin; Sunblock;
Much of the gear I already had which dictated many of the choices, I’ve had my backpack since 2005, and whilst its larger than I require, it more than meets the needs for the PCT, ideally a smaller, lighter pack could be used. The same goes for the sleeping bag, the sawtooth has been a great bag, and whilst its on the heavy side, I’ll stick with it. I’ve had it for 4 years, and I suspect this will be the last big trip for it.
I’ve been using the Bivi as an emergency shelter for a couple of years, and it’s proved to add a good few degrees to the bag and keep out the elements. The rain poncho will be used both during the day in wet weather where it will keep me and my pack dry, and at night where combined with my hiking poles it will function as a tarp tent.
The XGK is a great stove for mountaineering, but perhaps not a great choice for backpacking, with the larger fuel bottle it can simmer fairly well, however it is heavy compared to a canister or alcohol stove. I decided to bring this mainly because it is indestructible, and its very easy to see exactly how much fuel is left. As it can burn just about anything, this should enable me to reduce the amount of fuel I need to carry once I get a feel for how much I need. I’ll be starting out with about half a liter in the bottle.
Overall my base weight comes to 14lbs – about 6.5kg which feels pretty good on my back. This does not include water, food, or fuel for the stove however, which will not be insignificant.