The Ultimate PCT Packing List

Headed out on the Pacific Crest Path? Knowledgeable thru-hiker Liz “Snorkel” Thomas breaks down the instruments you’ll need.

A delicate safe haven will hasten a edifying distance on the PCT.

On a PCT thru-hike, you’ll be spending months alongside with your instruments. Protect end it wisely, and you’ll possess a honest friend who by no advance helps you to down. On the opposite hand, instruments that is radiant “upright ample” for a short hike would possibly perhaps presumably perhaps rub you the unfriendly scheme when carried daily and would possibly perhaps presumably even result in damage.

Some thru-hiking instruments is the identical stuff you would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably perhaps exhaust backpacking, but some is a dinky diversified. Because you’re carrying the instruments for for lots longer with a aim of hiking many of the day with much less time in camp, thru-hiking instruments tends to be smaller and lighter than most worn backpacking instruments.

There’s no such ingredient as the “ideal instruments for the PCT”—ideal the precise instruments for you. What instruments you exhaust is dependent to your abilities and abilities. But your picks additionally count to your age, effectively being level, and any effectively being factors you would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably perhaps presumably additionally possess. Whereas many PCT hikers who position out on a thru-hike possess a the same dream and aim in tips, everybody has a special scheme of getting there. Your instruments picks will change depending on whether your aim is to hike swiftly, pause tickled, purchase colossal photography, or gaze the path in as many seasons as that you simply would possibly perhaps perhaps stand it accessible.

I procure gentle-weight and even ultralight instruments when thru-hiking. Walking daily, month-after-month takes a toll on the body, and I procure that carrying gentle-weight instruments can attend in the bargain of the aches and concern linked with backpacking.

But gentle-weight instruments (heck, any instruments) is good important as prolonged as a thru-hiker is conscious of easy how to exhaust it in diversified stipulations. Test your instruments out on backpacking journeys before starting a thru-hike. Here’s a solid checklist of easy-to-be taught, thru-hiker-permitted instruments for your rush.

Expansive four

Are attempting to attend these most foremost items beneath 2 kilos each and every. 


Bewitch this final: If you know the quantity and weight of your other instruments, it’ll smash your picks more straightforward. A upright pack must match your body, scuttle effectively when loaded, and no longer rub or chafe in case you’re on the switch. I just like the Gossamer Gear Gorilla or its bigger cousin, the Mariposa. They ideal weigh two kilos but are made of abrasion-resistant 70-denier ripstop or a hundred-denier high strength nylon that can take care of a load, even a endure can and heavy meals carries. Most packs of this weight aren’t water-resistant, so I at all times exhaust a pack liner (a trash compactor earn works effectively).

Safe haven

A upright PCT safe haven is gentle-weight, sturdy, easy to position up, retains out bugs, and holds as a lot as storms. The sewn-in-Seattle Tarptent Rainbow or two-particular person Double Rainbow are a upright balance of weight, mark, and sturdiness, mixing the gentle weight of a tarp with the coverage of a tent. They’re 2 kilos or much less per particular person alongside with stakes, guylines, and stuff sacks, and you would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably perhaps presumably exhaust your trekking poles to position them up in freestanding mode (though they’re no longer required).

Sound asleep To find or Quilt

Temperatures on the PCT would possibly perhaps presumably perhaps additionally additionally be any place between the younger americans to higher than a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, so no one snoozing earn is going to be ideal for each and every evening. Most hikers procure a nice 20-30 level down snoozing earn or quilt to fulfill their wants for nearly each and every evening of the day out. PCT hikers are additionally extra and further selecting snoozing quilts to procure the warmth of a earn at 2/Three the burden and volume. I just like the Katabatic Palisade, which makes exhaust of 900 possess energy down. For these taking a gaze for a worn mummy style earn, the Western Hiking Ultralite has fleshy coverage and a hood but weighs much less than 2 kilos.

Sound asleep Pad

A snoozing pad is just not any longer radiant a mattress to pause relaxed: it retains you warm by insulating you from the bottom. That can mean the adaptation between no shut-look and a upright evening’s leisure in the Sierra or Washington. Quite loads of thru-hikers decide for a ¾ or kid-measurement pad to in the bargain of down on pack weight. At 12 oz.for a six-footer, the Thermarest Neoair XLite is one of many lightest pads accessible and is a total stare on the path.

Clothing: The simplest solution to in the bargain of your garments’s weight: speak much less of it. You’ll be smelly, but by carrying ideal what’s on this checklist, you’ll possess all you should outlive most PCT stipulations. Use laundromats usually.

Pacific Crest Path Apparel and Tools

Puffy Jacket

No matter your hiking style or targets, you’ll need a gentle-weight puffy to attend arrange the unprecedented temperature swings on path. I procure the Montbell Pleasant Down Jacket to be a upright balance of heat to its gentle 6.5 ounce weight. While you’re concerned about rain, its synthetic analogue, the Montbell U.L Thermawrap weighs ideal 2 ounces extra and stays warm when wet.


It can presumably perhaps additionally by no advance rain in California, but PCT hikers can present you when it does rain, it pours, hails, and snows. Oregon and Washington can procure precip for days. The Montbell Versalite, which weighs ideal 6.7 ounces, provides ample heat (but no longer too mighty) and vents better than most. Which advance you received’t constantly be taking off your pack to swap layers. A delicate-weight rain jacket that functions in this style wants to be ample to look most thru-hikers from Mexico to Canada.

Lightweight Gaiters

The PCT normally is a sandy and gritty path. I started with out gaiters, but after one too many rocks and pine needles in my path runners, I picked some up alongside the manner. I like Dirty Lady Gaiters, which weigh dinky higher than an ounce, and are made of a breathable four-scheme stretch fabric that doesn’t trigger toes to overheat. Finest yet, they attain in thousands designs to existing you character, which is severe on condition that you simply’ll be carrying the identical ingredient each and daily.


The desolate tract is a sunny position. Bring a hat with upright coverage to present protection to your face. I just like the Sunday Afternoons Tear Hat, on myth of it has a broad brim and neck coverage and weighs ideal 2.6 oz. Many hikers decide for a baseball or trucker hat and exhaust a bandanna draped round the neck to procure the identical assist. Don’t disregard a beanie (any will work) to attend your head warm when the weather changes.


Lift an further pair (no cotton). Maintain utilizing prolonged undies as sleep garments and in colder stipulations.


On a 2,000-plus mile hike, you’re determined to procure just a few blisters no matter how upright your shoes are. Near to all hikers procure mesh path runners to pause in opposition to excessive foot sweating (which is able to trigger blisters) and in the bargain of down on weight. To pause in opposition to slipping, PCT hikers ford rivers with their shoes on, so you’ll need a shoe with mesh that will dry swiftly. Restful, hikers need ample enhance and cushion to set up all of them day with a sole that will persist with granite. Increasingly thru-hikers are finding that Altra Lone Peaks rise to that downside. Search data from to change your thru-hiking shoes each and every four hundred miles, particularly since many hikers procure their toes “grow” as a lot as 2-sizes over 2,000 miles.


Factual PCT socks can pause blisters, received’t scent, and want to set up up for hundreds of of miles. I procure the Darn Tricky gentle hikers to suit so effectively I can barely in actuality feel them, which cuts down on the roughly rubbing that can result in hot spots. Merino wool reduces stink. Since there are hundreds of colors and designs, it’ll attend you from by likelihood taking every other hiker’s socks from the laundry line.

First Abet and Emergency To find

I consist of a blade, dental care provides, blister prevention, krazy glue, and over-the-counter meds for belly factors, allergic reactions, fever, and misfortune. Sunscreen is a must for PCT hikers. Malicious program spray or lotion is important for heaps of sections of the path. A whistle and mirror can smash it more straightforward to be learned while you happen to procure misplaced. A needle, thread, and duct tape will veil most instruments repair.

Compass, Witness, Maps, Enable

Simply like on any path, on the PCT, you’ll need your navigation instruments.


While you’ll be doing severe evening hiking, carry a headlamp. In every other case, many hikers procure the zero.25 ounce Photon Freedom Micro LED keychain to be all they possess to zip up their tent at nighttime or get up and pee at evening. It comes with attachments so that you simply would possibly perhaps perhaps keep on it as a necklace or clip it onto a hat brim.

Potty Equipment

There’s thousands PCT hikers, and desolate tract soil doesn’t decompose poop so swiftly. This makes it all that mighty extra foremost that each person practices Leave No Put. Thru-hiking potty trowels just like the Deuce of Spaces weigh zero.5 oz.and smash digging a cathole the finest fragment of the day. Guarantee to pack out worn bathroom paper.

Water Filter

With so many americans utilizing the PCT at the present time, a upright water filter is foremost to pause in opposition to sickness. I just like the Sawyer Squeeze filter, which with out order screws onto a Smartwater bottle (the PCT hikers’ bottle of different) or would possibly perhaps presumably perhaps additionally additionally be worn as an inline filter with a hose and bladder hydration system. Its gentle weight and prolonged life (1,000,000 gallons!) smash it a end to ubiquitous different among thru-hikers.

Range (or no longer)

The PCT has seen suitable wildfires in the previous few years. In drought years, the Wooded discipline Service bans alcohol stoves, alongside with my favourite colossal-efficient gentle-weight stove from Path Designs. Reasonably than packing canisters or a fuel bottle, attend in tips going stoveless. As a change, that you simply would possibly perhaps perhaps chilly-soak many dehydrated meals or foods in a leakproof plastic container with a screw on lid.

Dangle Can

Many of the eight Nationwide Parks that thru-hikers advise over with require backpackers to exhaust a endure can. Hikers can mail themselves a endure can before coming into the Sierra and would possibly perhaps presumably perhaps mail their endure can ahead for other sections where endure cans will be required. At 36 ounces, the Wild Solutions Bearikade Blazer is the lightest endure can that can match nine days of meals, so it can in all probability presumably perhaps be ample to set up most PCT hikers all around the Sierra.

How to ranking shoes: Pacific Crest Path hikers struggle through hundreds of shoes—request to position on about seven diversified pairs to your day out from Mexico to Canada. For first-time thru-hikers, I expose starting the PCT with a pair of shoes that you simply’ve used in and belief, but haven’t worn too mighty. If that pair labored out, in case you’re 300 miles into your day out, exhaust the internet to expose yourself a unique pair of shoes. Have it mailed to a hostel or Put up Assign of job end to the four hundred mile mark of your day out (indicate: Put up Offices can no longer accept mail from non-USPS transport services). If your first pair didn’t work out, procure a instruments store end to the path and strive on some shoes to procure something that feels better. In every other case, that you simply would possibly perhaps perhaps exhaust the internet to measurement up or procure a special heed of shoes and possess that pair mailed to yourself. 

What to ship: Potentially the most efficient ingredient about thru-hiking is you received’t must open the path 2,000 miles’ price of meals and instruments. Use your guidebooks and maps to procure basically the most efficient take care of to send yourself instruments before you hasten into unique ecosystems. For instance, before coming into the Sierra mountain range, hikers send themselves a endure can and chilly weather instruments. Must you’re done with chilly weather instruments, that you simply would possibly perhaps perhaps ship it residence or ahead to the following broad mountain range.

Originally posted 2019-02-22 13:43:03.

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