THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND I MUST GO
All points on my 13 point checklist before hiking for the PCT have now been checked off.
On March 15th 2019 I will embark on my north-bound thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in the United States of America, a solo foot-journey that will take me 4265 kilometers across the West-American wilderness through the states of California, Oregon and Washington.
Snowpacked mountain ranges, roaring rivers, vast, open deserts, and grand, majestic views awaits me. With it, comes a one-of-a-kind chance to live a simple life under stars, experience absolute personal freedom and reconnect with Mother Nature.
GO LIGHTER, GO FURTHER
The 2018 Hiker Survey from Halfway Anywhere reveal that the normal time span for completing the PCT is around 150 days, averaging a cadence of 32 kilometers per hiking day.
To obtain a higher mileage per day and minimize the risk of injuries, hikers are encouraged to shred the weight of their pack as much as personal comfort, safety and budget allow them.
With the lightweight & ultralight mindset taken into account, I've finalized my base weight at just over 7 kg (7,092 kg) / 15,5 lbs.
A BIG THANK YOU AND AN HONEST RECOMMENDATION
I'd like to give a big shoutout to Kenneth from www.backpackinglight.dk who have supported my thru-hike.
Backpackinglight makes lightweight and ultralightweight hiking way more accessible for Europeans hikers by pushing all the newest ultralight gear on the market from retailers who are hard to get by in Europe (HyperLite Mountain Gear, Zpacks, Big Anges - just to name a few).
If you're looking to go lighter, I'd give them my warmest recommendation - they know what they're doing.
ALRIGHT, LET'S GET TO IT - MY PCT GEAR LIST
Through countless hours of reading reviews, testing through trial and error on shakedown hikes, I've finally dialed my gear down to what I will be starting with from the Mexican border.
Here's my gear list broken into sections with notes and weight (on most on the items).
MY SHELTER AND PACK
- BACKPACK | Osprey Levity 60 (870 g)
- HIPBELT POCKETS | From a ULA Hipbelt (?)
- WATER HOLDER | HMG Porter Water Holder (57 g)
- CAMERA CLIP | Peak Design Capture Clip (70 g)
- SHELTER | Big Agnes Copper Spur UL HV 2 (1250 g)
The Levity is a great pack but there's two flaws: no hipbelt pockets and high side pockets.
Why Osprey omitted hipbelt pockets is a mystery to me. That's why I modified it with hipbelt pockets from an ULA belt and sewned it on with dental floss (works awesome). The pockets fit perfect and I'm so happy with the result.
The water bottle holder solves the other issue. With the HMG water holder I can get hydrated without ever taking off my pack.
MY SLEEPING SYSTEM
- SLEEPING BAG | Western Mountaineering Ultralite (880 g)
- PILLOW | Sea To Summit Aeros Premium (75 g)
- SILK LINER | Cocoon Mummy Silk Liner (135 g)
- SLEEPING PAD | Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Xlite (450 g)
- EXTRA SLEEPING PAD | Therm-A-Rest Z-Lite (415 g)
- STORAGE: SLEEPING BAG | Sea To Summit eVent 20 L (86 g)
- SLEEPING SOCKS | AegiesMax Down Booties (75 g)
Two sleeping pads?! How does that align with the ultralight mindset?
It doesn't. I'm bringing the Z-Lite to add some extra insulation and protection for my inflatable pad.
This year is a high snow year and the snowpack in the Sierra is massive. On top of that, I'm starting early in the season and the desert will be colder. Next, I've heard a lot of people deal with punctures in the rocky desert terrain and the Z-Lite doubles as protection and a back-up solution if the X-Lite punctures.
Also, the Z-Lite is just an awesome piece of gear for breaks and setting up camp. I might dump it along the way, but it's going with me at the start.
MY CLOTHES AND WEATHER PROTECTION
- HEADWEAR | Canada Cap Mesh (54 g)
- HEADWEAR | Buff Heavyweight Merino Beanie (60 g)
- NECKWEAR | Buff Lightweight Merino Wool (47 g)
- DOWN JACKET | Cumulus Incredilite Endurance (360 g)
- RAIN JACKET | OMM Halo Jacket (105 g)
- RAIN PANTS | Inov8 Ultrapants (95 g)
- SHIRT | Columbia Silver Ridge LS (240 g)
- SHORTS | Nike Flex (?)
- SOCKS | Darn Tough Quarter Cushion (50 g x 2)
- UNDERWEAR | Smartwool Merino 150 Boxer Brief (90 g)
- THERMAL TOP | Smartwool 250 NTS Mid (260 g)
- THERMAL BOTTOM | Aclima HotWool Long Pants (190 g)
- GLOVES | Arc'Teryx Venta (60 g)
Not much to say here - I'm quite happy with my clothing setup. I might grab an extra mid layer to start with (i.e. a lightweight fleece) if the desert is colder than expected.
MY SHOES AND HIKING EQUIPMENT
- SHOES | Merrell 2 Moab Ventilator (888 g)
- INSOLES | SuperFeet Blue (?)
- TREKKING POLES | Fizan Compact 4 (167 g x 2)
- GAITERS | Dirty Girl Gaiters (42 g)
My Merrell shoes did so well on the West Highland Way in Scotland last summer that I want to bring them on the PCT.
They're super sturdy, so I don't think they're going to wear out anytime soon, but I realize that my feet will probably swell and grow, so I might need to opt for a new pair of a different shoe on the trail.
Also, I'm bringing a pair of baskets for my Fizan trekking poles, because I'm going to hike a lot in the snow. These will help to prevent my trekking poles poking through the snow.
MY COOKING SETUP
- STOVE | Soto Windmaster (60 g)
- POT | Snow Peak Trek 700 ml (88 g)
- POT SUPPORTER | MSR WindBurner Pot Supporter (?)
- UTENSIL | Optimus Long Spoon (11 g)
- GAS CANNISTER | Not in picture
- LIGHTER | Not in picture
My Snow Peak is going to double as a cooking pot and coffee mug. Hopefully, it won't get too nasty from all the mac 'n cheese.
Let's see how it works out. A little extra flavor might not be too bad?
MY CAMERA GEAR AND ELECTRONICS
- CAMERA | Sony a5100 w. 16-50 mm lens (399 g)
- CAMERA FILTER | Kenko Smart Filter UV Slim (?)
- CAMERA TRIPOD | Joby GorillaPod 1K (197 g)
- MEMORY | 384 GB of Kingston Canvas Select MicroSD/XC (?)
- SD CARD PROTECTION | No Name Card Protector (?)
- POWER | Anker 10.000 mAh QuickCharge 3.0 (181 g)
- CHARGER | Anker Powerport 1 USB-C (67 g)
- HEADLAMP | Black Diamond Spot (88 g)
- HEADPHONES | Not in picture (white Apple ones)
- PHONE | Not in picture (Apple iPhone 7)
- CORDS | Not in picture
I'm super excited about my camera setup. I hope to shoot a lot of photos, video and time-lapse on the trail. Hence, why I'm bringing a tri-pod.
I was advised to go with the GorillaPod 1K instead of the GorillaPod 500 even though my camera only weighs 400 grams. The numbers on the models resemble the max camera weight in grams.
The GorillaPod 1K has a sturdier ball head, which is beneficial if you have an external lens that makes the camera weight tilt slightly forward (like my Sony a5100). Other cameras like Sony RX100, Canon G7, etc. should have no problems with the 500 version.
ALL OF THE REST
- STORAGE: FOOD + CLOTHES | Tread Lite Gear (36 g x 2)
- BUG PROTECTION | Sea To Summit Head Net (34 g)
- WATER FILTER | Katadyn BeFree 1 Liter (63 g)
- RAINCOVER | Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Rain Cover (113 g)
- TROWEL | Tentlab Deuce of Spades (17 g)
- WALLET | Eagle Creek Zip Stash (15 g)
- MULTITOOL | Not in picture (Victorinox Classic SD, 22 g)
- KNIFE | Not in picture (Leatherman Skeletool KBX, 36 g)
- PASSPORT | ID
- PERMITS | PCT Permit, California Fire Permit, Canada Entry Permit
- DIGITAL MAP | Guthook's
- FIRST AID KIT | Repair Kit, Leukotape, Imodium, Ibuprofen, Alcohol Wipes, Steri-stripes, Katadyn Micropour, Thread 'n needle, plaster, lipbalm
- WATER CARRY | Not in picture (Smart Water Bottles x 6 L)
- TOILET PAPER | Not in picture
- TOOTHBRUSH | Not in picture
- TOOTHPASTE | Not in picture
I recently acquired my new packing cells from Tread Lite Gear. They're made in Dyneema, 8.2 liter each and top notch quality - I can highly recommend visiting Paul's site at www.treadlitegear.co.uk, great sewing quality, and awesome customer service.
I intend to store my clothes (except down jacket) in one cell and my food in the other.
TIP: I laminated all of my permits so I don't have to worry about them tearing, wetting out or anything like that.
Want to follow my 2019 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike?
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