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Gear Review – The Trek

Gear Review - The Trek

Simply over a yr in the past, I started my first preparations for my through-hike of the Pacific Crest Path. Giddy with the considered a brand new and thrilling journey, all I needed to do was plan. But life regularly took over. I discovered myself scurrying round within the remaining days of my departure, kicking myself for procrastinating. As soon as I hit the path, I started to comprehend that my lack of planning was good!

Early on, I started to understand that it will be almost unattainable to have a base weight underneath 20 kilos with my previous gear. The analysis started and I created an inventory of light-weight and costly dream gear. Because the summer time progressed, I purchased a brand new prepare dinner system and continued to drool over lofty, but compact sleeping luggage. The months went on and the ounces from my unique base weight have been dropping with every buy. Though my checking account was hurting even earlier than I began the path, I knew my arsenal of drugs would get me to Canada.

The key to my gear puzzle was my pack. I used to be torn between a burly 65L Osprey pack and a modern 40L Hyperlite pack, with no choices in between. By no means in my life have I been profitable in packing a 40L pack for a multi-day backpacking journey, however I used to be decided. A few month earlier than heading out, I used to be in my sister’s storage able to tear my hair out as I stored packing and repacking my pack in an try and make every part match. Annoyed, I referred to as it ok and set out on an in a single day coaching journey.

Whereas I used to be capable of match every little thing into my tiny pack, the actual problem was becoming a bear can inside. The check got here every week earlier than hitting the path with considered one of my co-staff in Yosemite. My pre-path jitters have been hitting an all time excessive and we agreed to go on a fast in a single day jaunt up North Dome. Regardless of having my again rubbed uncooked with the bear can and UL pack combo, I ignored the ache and felt able to tackle the PCT with a lighter system.

Now, loads of consideration went into the gadgets I carried. With the dynamic surroundings of the PCT, not all the gear I began with made it via the complete journey. The truth is, about half of the gadgets on my unique record made it from begin to end, together with:

Pack—Hyperlite Southwest 2400

Weighing a fraction of the load of my conventional Osprey pack, I used to be simply capable of reduce down on my base weight with only one merchandise. This pack was gifted to me three years in the past, little did any of us know on the time it might journey from Mexico to Canada on my again! Thanks Andrea and Joe! The simplicity of this pack makes packing up in camp straightforward and the sturdiness is unimaginable—just some scratches via the primary layer of fabric. The draw back is that it doesn’t breath properly—bacne is actual and gross! I might contemplate switching out to a pack with extra cushioning when I’ve to hold a bear can. There have been large welts on my again for everything of the Sierra.

Sleeping bag and liner—Patagonia 850 fill (19 diploma, brief size) and Cocoon microfiber liner

Palms down, this bag was my favourite piece of drugs on path. As somebody who usually sleeps chilly each night time, I can rely the variety of chilly nights on path on one hand. That is a powerful accomplishment for me! My one grievance is that this bag was so cozy that I wouldn’t need to depart it within the morning! I additionally simply took the time to scrub it and it appears model new as soon as once more!

Puffy—Patagonia MicroPuff hoodie

One other nice buy! I used to be planning to convey a Nano Puff and not using a hood or a Down Sweater (each from Patagonia). On my final day at work earlier than heading west, I impulse purchased this jacket and I’m so pleased I did! Having the heat of down, however the straightforward upkeep of artificial was very handy. The greatest a part of artificial was washing this jacket recurrently on the town.

Sleeping pad—Therm-a-Relaxation Z-Lite

Good for siestas and straightforward arrange in camp. My subsequent through-hike will in all probability contain an inflatable sleeping pad, so long as I discover one which I don’t roll off of!

Floor sheet—Tyvec

It began out white and now’s speckled with path spice. Light-weight and sturdy, and nonetheless has life left in it.

Hydration bladder—Platypus Hoser L with a hose

This factor is bulletproof and stored me nicely hydrated since day one. After minimal upkeep and chewing by means of the plastic on the valve, this factor was gnarly by the top.

Spoon—To Go Ware bamboo

Want I say extra. Nice spoon, didn’t get gross, and I by no means misplaced it!

Trowel—The Tent Lab Deuce #2

Mild and quick, and nonetheless striving for a 5 star dump!

Gaiters—Soiled Woman (normal)

Gaiters are a recreation changer. I’m the kind of individual that’s irritated by the tiniest of pebbles in my shoe and these stored most issues out. And let’s be actual, carpe donut!

Trekking Poles—Black Diamond Path Again

Earlier than the path, these trekking poles weren’t anatomically right, by the top they have been. Someway I stored every trekking pole in the identical hand and by the top, my hand print was indented within the grip. I’ve had these trekking poles for 3 years already, they usually’re not going anyplace! Though new ideas are essential, particularly after the lava fields in Central Oregon.

Climbing Garments—Beneath Armuor T-shirt, Lululemon operating shorts, and a Nike sports activities bra

My household regularly joked with me since Mile 1,100 that I appeared homeless. This as soon as neon pink t-shirt was pale to a pale pink and the sleeves have been shredding. After having the shorts for six years, the sides have been fraying and by the midway level that they had advanced to separate shorts, on one aspect solely. Regardless of the wear and tear and tear of sporting the identical factor on a regular basis for 133 days, my outfit survived! I wouldn’t have it some other approach.

Different gadgets got here and went because the temperature modified:

Six Moon Designs Skyscrape Trekker Solo

Sure, I didn’t carry a tent your complete time. About half approach via the desert, I despatched a majority of the contents of my pack as much as Kennedy Meadows. I needed to reside as much as my path identify of Cowgirl and selected to sleep underneath the celebs as a lot as potential. Once I did sleep within the Trekker I had an plentiful quantity of area for my 5’four” body and all of my gear. Flooring to ceiling mesh was a bonus on clear nights when the mosquitoes have been out. The vestibules have been nevertheless missing in measurement, making it tough to prepare dinner within the rain. I did nevertheless resort to cooking in my tent typically and by chance singed a gap within the mesh. Oops!

MSR Pocket Rocket 2

Boiling water in minutes—good for a number of scorching drinks within the morning and fast dinners at night time. In addition to the primary gasoline line clogging barely by the top, this tiny range carried out from begin to end. I did go stoveless for a scorching minute and thought of it once more in NorCal and Oregon. By Washington although I used to be having scorching meals 3 times a day with a number of scorching drinks in the course of the day.

Snow Peak 900 Titanium Prepare dinner Set

This was a panic buy two days earlier than I began. I had the identical actual pot, only a bit bigger. On my final REI journey, I used to be strolling across the cookware and purchased the smaller pot half anticipating to return it later that day. However I put it in my backpack and I’m very glad I did! This pot matches two packs of Ramen completely and the frying pan lid is nice for a dessert pan. It was even used for self protection in the midst of the night time when my tent was underneath assault from a mouse.

Patagonia Capilene Mid-Weight Crew and Bottoms

Good sleep garments. Though, as somebody who runs chilly, I used to be contemplating upgrading to Thermal-Weight in northern Washington.

Patagonia R1 Hoodie

Greatest determination ever to select this up in Steven’s Cross, Washington. Particularly when the rain stored coming, having an additional artificial layer was nice for climbing and sleeping.

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow Jacket

After sevens days of straight rain, this jacket soaked by means of on day seven. Mild and breathable, however stunk after 4 months.

Patagonia Alpine Houdini Pants

Waterproof and semi-breathable. What extra do you want in rain pants? By the top nevertheless, these pants have been falling down on me with my pack on, so I needed to knot the draw string making it tough to pee with my pack on.

Sawyer Squeeze water filter

This filter lasted simply over 4 months. I used to be lazy about again flushing, so I turned accustomed to a sluggish squeeze. By the top, I used to be so lazy about filtering that I ditched it in Stehekin. Name it a luxurious merchandise!

Black Diamond Revolt headlamp

I hiked the desert with a Black Diamond Spot, however shortly turned irritated by fading mild for night time climbing. After toying with the thought to improve to a chargeable headlamp for some time, I took the leap. With the ability to recharge as an alternative of throw away batteries with a bit little bit of life left was a pleasant luxurious, and figuring out that your headlamp would all the time be brilliant was even higher… So long as you keep in mind to cost it!

Anker 13000 Battery Pack

My charging state of affairs advanced fairly a bit all through this journey. At first, I had an Anker single cost block. For such a light-weight battery and environment friendly charging, this was nice. However as time went on, I began eager to take heed to music and podcasts. This battery didn’t supply sufficient energy for this to be potential. So at Kennedy Meadows (South) I picked up a Objective Zero Nomad 7 photo voltaic panel to cost the battery pack through the day. Within the Sierra, this technique was nice. As I dropped under tree line and began climbing in smoke, this technique turned much less environment friendly. By Ashland, I minimize my losses and despatched the photo voltaic panel and the small battery pack house and went for a bigger battery pack. Regardless of needing to cost each time I used to be on the town, this little sq. provided me all the fees I wanted within the final 1,000 miles.


Now the true rock stars on any through-hike are your ft. If my ft weren’t pleased, I might nonetheless be within the desert! It hasn’t been all sunshine and daisies although, my ft took about 900 miles to strengthen and harden. At a current submit-path pedicure, the person actually took a cheese grater to my ft to clean out my hard-earned calluses. He additionally talked about that I would wish a number of extra pedicures for my ft to look regular as soon as once more. Any who, footwear, socks, and orthotics are actually what stored my ft going, and can energy in fact!


1. Altra Lone Peak three.5–Worn for 750 miles (together with pre-path coaching) from the Mexican border to Kennedy Meadows South (Mile 702)

2. Altra Lone Peak three.5–Worn for 1,050 miles (together with a summit of Mount Whitney and exiting the Excessive Sierra from Kearsarge Move to resupply) from Kennedy Meadows South to Ashland, Oregon (Mile 702-1,718)

three. Altra Timp—Worn for 950 miles (together with all hearth alternates) from Ashland to Manning Park, BC (Mile 1,718 to 2,652)

On common, hikers undergo 4 pairs of footwear. In my case, if I had deliberate higher and had been much less cussed, I might have bought a fourth pair of footwear in both Northern Oregon or Southern Washington. My first pair of footwear have been just too small for my swollen ft after mountaineering by means of the desert. The second pair of Lone Peaks appeared surprisingly good for having so many miles on them, however the cushioning was gone. These footwear have been so achieved that the lady on the clothes shop took a photograph to ship to the gross sales consultant.

Since Altra was updating the Lone Peaks in August, my measurement 11 ft made it difficult to seek out replacements in a small city. I ended up within the males’s equal measurement, simply in a special mannequin. The added cushioning if the Timps was a welcome change, however quickly the mesh of the higher began to tear. The holes grew greater till my proper foot was almost falling out of my shoe whereas the left shoe was going robust till the final 50 miles. What was as soon as my good shoe shortly turned a catastrophe and compelled me to duct tape my shoe onto my foot for the final two days.

Even after the mishap with the Timps, I’ll possible proceed to put on Altra’s. The customer support is unmatched and you actually can’t beat the broad toe field. Be warned although, after sporting nothing however Altra’s and Bedrock scandals for 4 and a half months, your ft will turn into extraordinarily broad.

Regardless of having flat ft, I’m a fan of added arch help in my footwear. I began the path with inexperienced Superfeet, however was shortly realizing that there was not sufficient help. In Wrightwood (Mile 379), on the ironmongery shop of all locations, I discovered Spenco orthotics and shortly switched to the entire help insoles. As I climbed to the summit of Baden Powell that night, all of my Achilles points have been solved and these orthotics lasted to Canada!

Model new socks to a through-hiker is eludes an identical feeling to your first scorching meal and chilly drink on city. I went by way of seven pairs of socks on path and it was like Christmas each time I broke out a brand new pair. With a background in distance operating, my sock model of selection was Swiftwick. These socks are tremendous light-weight, breathable, and supply a small quantity of compression. After getting some gnarly blisters in the midst of the desert, I examined my luck with Darn Robust operating socks. Each pairs of socks have been nice, however the friction from the warmth of the desert shredded the pads of my ft.

By Kennedy Meadows South, each pairs had spectacular holes within the backside. I made a decision to attempt one thing new and went for a pair of Injini toe socks. From then on, I wore nothing however Injini’s and went by way of three extra pairs. The unique pair made it 1,000 miles to Ashland, however have been promptly positioned within the trash on account of large holes and their capacity to face up on their very own. (I’m not joking).

The quantity of wear and tear that goes on to sturdy outside gear is spectacular. As I transition to the entrance nation, my free time has been spent cleansing my gear and trying to get the hiker stank out of my garments and my automotive. (The draw back of being a dirtbag). Once I flew again to my sister’s home in San Diego, each her husband and her father-in-regulation commented on my physique odor. I defined that I showered and did laundry earlier than flying and informed them to take a whiff away from my pack. It was like night time and day.

Sadly my pack needed to be left to ferment in my automotive for six days as I traveled to a rowing regatta in Florida. Once I returned to my automotive, I almost handed out by the odor. With a fast flip round to start out work, I left my rain gear in a bag and my pack in a bin with a bottle of air freshener shut by. There was rain throughout my first week of labor as an outside educator, so I used to be obligated to unearth my rain shell. After spraying the jacket down with air freshener, I put it on and the very first thing on of my sixth grade college students stated to me was ‘you stink.’ I don’t blame them… I did stink! Fortunately the rain didn’t final lengthy.

After hauling round smelly gear for 3 weeks, my washing window opened. I flew residence to the East Coast for a go to with my household and open entry to a washer. After a number of weeks in a plastic bag, I actually thought I used to be going to cross out from fumes as I moved my rain gear into the washer. The subsequent merchandise on the record was my sleeping bag. After 5 hours of drying and fluffing, my beloved Patagonia bag appeared model new. I used to be amazed by the quantity of loft this sleeping bag was capable of restore. My subsequent problem will probably be cleansing my as soon as white pack. Want me luck!

The PCT undoubtedly impressed me to proceed exploring the world on foot. After being surrounded by so many hikers with so many variations of drugs, I can’t assist however day dream about modifications to my system. Once I look again nevertheless, I can’t actually consider any modifications. All of my gear carried out and guarded me from the weather when Mom Nature was able to throw us a curve ball. There’s all the time going to be the brand new and improved, should have ultralight backpacking gear. It’s enjoyable to look and analysis, however for now I’m going to maintain my system. I made it from Mexico to Canada with this gear, why not apply it to extra adventures!

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